Engagement ring: Grey Poupon taste, French's budget (not quite)
July 4, 2013 10:16 AM   Subscribe

We're looking for an engagement ring, and I've fallen in love with an antique ring 1, 2. But it's out of our price range by a factor of seven. Please suggest alternatives, so that we can get something that looks similar, but is around 5,000 USD.

Things I like about this particular ring:

- non-diamond center stone with unusual shape. I like blue sapphire, but am not dead set.
- smaller, also interestingly shaped diamonds on the side.
- platinum band with details.

I don't think I need a 5 carat stone, but I have short fingers, so tiny, dainty rings don't look wonderful. We are open to having custom work done, and would welcome any tips on that. Otherwise, we are looking for other sites, suggestions of shops, or a reality check if it is unrealistic to get what I seek in my price range.

Other factors to consider: I live in Northern Europe; he's about to move to West Africa; and we have family spread between Boston and DC who are willing to help facilitate.

Thanks for your help!
posted by eulily to Shopping (21 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Etsy! So many people making stuff well within your price range. Start here
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:26 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just bought a ring that looks shockingly similar to that for $4k at Brodney Antiques on Newbury St. in Boston. It was antique, so I got the one they have, but they had lots of fairly similar ones in the same price range.
posted by bowbeacon at 10:26 AM on July 4, 2013

This shop seems like quite your taste too - they have beautiful rings.
posted by nakedmolerats at 10:28 AM on July 4, 2013

My partner and I both got our engagement rings from the Winged Lion shop on Etsy, and we love them. The sellers are a husband and wife 'team' - I believe the wife designs the pieces and her husband makes them; they were very responsive throughout and we get compliments on our rings all the time. Maybe something like this would be up your alley?
posted by DingoMutt at 10:30 AM on July 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Are there are styles or time periods (or metals, even) that you are especially interested in? I know a lot of Deco rings have similar interesting settings with diamonds, sapphire, and filigree, for example.

Just throwing these out there:





I haven't been to or purchased anything from this shop, but they have a huge range of pieces/styles/ settings, and I found it very helpful to see so many types of rings when I was looking for an engagement. I ended up with a surprise Etruscan revival piece, which is very different than that, but I hear the designer (NYC) was great to work with so let me know if you would like his name.
posted by jetlagaddict at 10:42 AM on July 4, 2013

Nthing Etsy! I got a nearly 1.5 carat diamond ring, custom made, for (I thiiiink) $1600. It was important to me to have something unique, something I could picture wearing every day, and something that was affordable but a real diamond. I just searched for "diamond engagement ring" on Etsy and took time to go through every single thing in my price range. Obviously you'd use different terms, but I am SUPER happy with what I ended up with. For your reference, my artist is/was William White and I think he's freaking amazing.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 10:52 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

You may have some luck buying a stone and setting separately.
I purchased a lab-grown sapphire from Better Than Diamond. It is chemically identical to a "real" sapphire, just made in a lab instead of clawed from the guts of the Earth.

I paid about $350 for the one I got - a comparable-sized and colored "natural" stone (except for the "natural" stone's enormous color inclusion) was about ten times that.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:54 AM on July 4, 2013

If you are open to lab created stones, get one of these beautiful lab sapphires. I have seen them in person and they are stunning. The concave round cut in particular is gorgeous. (Put it in a hexagonal bezel, perhaps?) Then take the photos you posted to any reputable jeweler and have them design a similar piece. You should easily be able to get a nice platinum engraved ring with smallish diamond sidestones in your price range.
posted by ohsnapdragon at 10:55 AM on July 4, 2013

Also Nthing Etsy! There are SO MANY gorgeous, interesting rings for very reasonable prices on that site. My fiance and I got our engagement rings there and plan to get our wedding bands there too. Mine is a pearl and I looooooove it and get tons of compliments on it. We got swift delivery and great craftsmanship and paid, like, $50 per ring.

I'm sure you can find a ring similar to the ones you linked for a much more reasonable price.
posted by Aquifer at 10:57 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Looking at some estate jewelry sites for Art Deco rings:

$1450 - aquamarine - very pretty

$4950 - square emerald in geometric setting

$5850 (over-budget) - gorgeous deep blue sapphire with triangular sides
posted by clerestory at 10:58 AM on July 4, 2013

My vintage engagement ring matches your description exactly. I don't know how much it cost, but surely closer to 5k than to seven times that. My husband got it at Doyle and Doyle. They currently have one on their website for $4750. Look under 'colored stones ' for more.
posted by kestrel251 at 10:58 AM on July 4, 2013

Etsy for sure, or look for a local custom jeweler. I too have short, not danity fingers. My engagement ring has a big pear shaped sapphire surrounded by diamonds. The pear shape actually works to sort of elongate the look of my chub fingers a bit, and it isn't a shape you see everywhere. It was made locally by a jewelery store that makes all their own stuff. It actually wasn't originally designed/meant to be an engagement ring, so a wedding band to fit it had to be special made. It is just wonderful. AND it was under 3k.

Kudos for the gemstone ring! I can't recommend a sapphire enough. I wasn't sure if a gemstone ring was what I wanted, but it is absolutely perfect. I love mine, it is gorgeous and eyecatching, I get a lot of comments on it from people saying how beautiful it is and how it isn't like every other engagement ring out there. :)
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:02 AM on July 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

clerestory linked to Lang Antiques, which is where my antique art deco wedding ring came from. I don't recall the actual price, but it was well under $2000.

We don't live in San Francisco (where their storefront is), so the entire process was a little nerve-wracking, but their customer service (and return policy in case you don't like it in person) is really great. We worked with a local jeweler to re-size it and spoke with a number of sales reps about choosing the right ring from a couple of rings they had available.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:28 AM on July 4, 2013

From Toronto: Antiques on King (Cynthia Findlay) has tons of Art Deco rings much like pictured above.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 12:11 PM on July 4, 2013

I've bought a couple things from Peter Suchy on ebay; he appears to be reliable & has lots of antique rings. 5 carats is going to cost you plenty, if you can settle for 2 or 3 you'll be close to your price range.
posted by mr vino at 12:53 PM on July 4, 2013

Best answer: On Etsy, here are a few shops to peruse:
posted by absquatulate at 1:25 PM on July 4, 2013

When I first saw the ring, I thought, oh it looks like it's from the Generations 1912 line. It's not, but that line has a very similar feel. Stones other than diamonds, lots of engraving work, and a vintage feel. The difference is it's not platinum but white gold (or these days silver).

It can't hurt to flip through the items for sale on Margem. Taking a very quick look these seem like possible candidates:

Demantoid garnet

Pink tourmaline

Tanzanite (although oval)
Red spinel (another oval)

They're also likely to turn up on ebay and other places people sell their old jewellery.
posted by sardonyx at 5:02 PM on July 4, 2013

Best answer: Seconding Kate Szabone. She made my sapphire wedding ring for about a quarter of the original price (for reference, this was the one we wanted, but were not willing to sell our souls to buy it). She was super nice, very helpful, answered our three million questions and offered us lots of choices.

posted by mrfuga0 at 1:18 AM on July 5, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you very much, folks! There are a lot of options to sift through, but you've pointed me in some interesting directions. I welcome more suggestions if you think of any.
posted by eulily at 6:27 AM on July 5, 2013

Pinterest led me to Topazery.com which has rings in the same style at the price you mention.

(And Janeliunas on Amazon, well under budget.)

You have good taste!
posted by inkypinky at 6:30 AM on July 5, 2013

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