Color, style, and look aren't the only considerations when choosing a vintage engagement ring or wedding ring. Each engagement ring stone has its own unique physical characteristics, spiritual meanings, and rich history. Selecting the right engagement rings stone and understanding its meaning can make the ring even more sentimental and enhance the significance of this wonderful purchase.
“Diamonds are forever!” That sentiment has made diamonds the most popular gemstones to signal a love everlasting. Diamond engagement rings and wedding rings have enjoyed a run of popularity that shows no signs of ending.
Diamonds are made from carbon and are most famously known as the hardest naturally occurring substance on Earth. That strength makes their use in jewelry ideal, as diamond wedding rings can retain their original beauty for hundreds of years.
Inclusion of trace elements or impurities can result in a spectacular range of colors in diamonds, including yellow, chocolate, blue, green, ebony, pink, orange, purple, and red. Most diamonds come from Central and South Africa, Canada, Russia, and Australia.
The spiritual properties of diamonds are most commonly related to its reputation for strength, endurance, and purity. The meanings of this engagement ring stone include:
- Clarity and cleansing of mind and body
- Improved energy
- Enhanced courage and fortitude
- Replacement of negative energy with love
Diamond is also the birthstone of April, making it a popular choice to mark anniversaries and important occasions.
History of Diamond Engagement Rings
Diamonds were first discovered in India, perhaps as far back as 6,000 years ago. For many centuries, they were more celebrated as tools than as precious gemstones. Their beauty could not be ignored, however, and today almost every culture has elevated diamonds to the apex of preciousness.
The tradition of diamond engagement rings began in Europe as early as the Renaissance but did not truly take over Western culture until the early 20th century. Now, everyone is familiar with the “4 C's” that are used to gauge the beauty and value of a diamond. Diamond is a stone that is very well represented in vintage jewelry, offering unique styles, enduring beauty, and richness of character.
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Emeralds have fascinated and beguiled cultures around the world for thousands of years. Their dramatic color and vibrant spirit have made them a favorite of kings and queens, beloved and treasured as emblems of singular beauty.
Emeralds are found in a spectrum of green hues, ranging from a lush bluish green to a lighter yellowish green. Emeralds are primarily composed of beryl. Trace amounts of chromium or vanadium contribute the green color, while iron is responsible for bluish or yellowish tints. The largest emerald-producing mines are located in Colombia, Zambia, Brazil, and Zimbabwe.
Gemstone-quality emeralds sometimes contain inclusions and/or surface reaching fractures. This is natural and expected. Inclusions often add distinct character to vintage engagement rings and other jewelry. Emeralds pair extremely well with diamonds, which together create a look that is lavish and seductive.
Emerald is the birthstone for May. Since ancient times, these gemstones have been associated with a variety of noble characteristics and benefits:
- Beauty, love and fidelity
- Improvement of memory and intelligence
- Healing powers and cleansing
- Abundance of positive energy
The strong association of emeralds with these properties has persisted through generations and ensures their popularity in engagement rings and wedding rings.
History of Emerald Engagement Rings
Many cultures have celebrated the beauty of emeralds, including the ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans. Emeralds enter Western literature as early as Aristotle (4th century BC), who claimed that merely possessing an emerald endowed the owner with a commanding presence guaranteeing victory in all manner of trials.
Notable emerald enthusiasts throughout history include Cleopatra, Shah Jahan (builder of the Taj Mahal), and the Russian Imperial Family, which made emerald jewelry a significant component of the crown jewels. The link between emeralds and everlasting love and beauty are obvious.
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Opals are available in an almost limitless number of colors and looks, from shimmery eggshell and brilliant blues to reds and clear stones with a fire to rival a diamond. The feature common to all opals, however, is a distinctive play of color throughout. This spectacular pearly luster can capture every color in the rainbow!
Almost all gemstone quality opals are mined in Australia. Finished from a mineral called hydrated silica, these engagement ring stones are cut into a wide variety of shapes that enhance their unique shimmer.
Opal is the birthstone of October. Throughout history, opal has been associated with many positive benefits and mystical powers:
- Love, passion and desire
- Enhanced confidence and self-esteem
- Improved creativity
- Protection against illness, fever, and dependency
Like the play of colors on their surface, opal offers a little bit of everything to the spiritual wearer.
History of Opal Engagement Rings
The Romans believed opal was the most powerful and precious gemstone of all, because it contained the colors of all others. Bedouin cultures believe these gemstones contain lightning and fall to Earth during thunderstorms. They have been used enthusiastically in jewelry, to adorn weapons and armor, and to accent precious items. Because of its popularity, many exquisite pieces of vintage opal jewelry are available today to charm a new generation of enthusiasts.
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Rubies are part of the corundum family of gemstones. Like emeralds, chromium is responsible for the color. Trace amounts of chromium create a light pink hue, while increasing amounts deepen the color saturation to the darker reds and crimsons that make rubies so familiar. Gemstone-quality ruby requires color in the orange-red to slightly purplish-red range, with the most preferred color a pure and vivid medium-to-dark red.
Ruby is among the hardest of the precious stones, providing durability that adds to their value. The most abundant ruby mines in the world are found in Southeast Asia, including Myanmar, Thailand, Burma, India, and Afghanistan.
Almost all modern rubies are treated to improve their color, transparency, or to heal fractures. Rubies in vintage jewelry are less likely to be treated, however, and may have visible imperfections which typically add drama, distinction, and authenticity.
Rubies look absolutely gorgeous set with diamonds. The fiery color of the former and crystalline clarity of the latter complement each other amazingly well.
Rubies have an energy that is bold and fiery, like its color. Many of the spiritual properties ascribed to rubies are based on light and the sun, like the following:
- Healing of mind and body
- Love, energy and passion
- Prophecy and positive visions
- Ultimate vitality and balance
Ruby is the birthstone for July and is also popularly used to signify summer weddings.
History of Ruby Engagement Rings
Rubies have for thousands of years been celebrated as uniquely precious and beautiful. Known popularly as the “King of Gemstones,” rubies appear in the Bible and 2nd century BC trading accounts from the Silk Road. Rubies hold a special regard in Asian cultures, where they have traditionally been used to ornament weapons and armor, crafted into magnificent jewelry, or offered as king's ransoms.
In Western tradition, beginning in the 17th and 18th centuries, rubies and diamonds were paired to create extravagant and captivating engagement rings and wedding bands. Vintage jewelry that includes rubies is a popular choice today for couples that want to invoke romantic traditions of the past.
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The spectacular hues of genuine sapphire are unforgettable: subtle Tiffany blue, delicate cornflower, lush Egyptian blue, and indulgent royal. A vintage sapphire engagement ring is a thrilling treasure that evokes the adventure and splendor of romance.
Sapphire is of the corundum family of gemstones and a cousin to ruby. In sapphires, however, it is trace amounts of iron and titanium that cause the blue color to develop. A deep and vivid blue is the hue that is traditionally most desired. But sapphires also occur in a wide range of attractive colors, including violet, fuchsia, orange, yellow, green and the unique “padparadscha,” which is a dazzling blend of pink, tangerine and salmon hues.
Sapphire is second in hardness only to diamonds, which is why so many brilliant pieces survive through generations of wear. Modern sapphires are typically treated to remove imperfections, while sapphires in vintage jewelry are less likely to be treated and more apt to display charmingly unique imperfections that enhance their authenticity.
Sapphires are mined throughout the world, with many of the finest gemstones originating from Kashmir, Burma, and Sri Lanka. Sapphires are uniquely suited to pair with diamonds. Together they create a look that is luxurious, breathtaking, and commanding.
The irresistible beauty and lush color of sapphires endows these precious gemstones with abundant meaning and spiritual significance including:
- Heavenly favor
- Innocence and truth
- Strength, good health and vitality
- Protection against negative energy and spiritual disharmony
Sapphire is the September birthstone and a popular choice for September or autumn weddings, as well as for couples who desire to invoke the stones' wholesome and protective powers.
Sapphires show up in the stories and artifacts of numerous ancient cultures, including the Persians, Greeks, and Romans. Sapphires were often associated with great rulers, who were inspired by the gemstones to demonstrate nobility and sincerity. They were a common adornment of spectacular crowns, necklaces, and royal jewelry.
In the Victorian Era, engagement rings that featured sapphires were a preferred choice of young couples. Many of those gorgeous rings are available today as vintage sapphire jewelry is enjoying a resurgence in popularity with couples eager to celebrate their love with a meaningful treasure from the past.
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Vintage jewelry features the full range of precious gemstones from turquoise, pearl and amethyst to jade, tourmaline, topaz and more. Each stone has its own story. Explore our selection of engagement rings featuring these unique gemstones, and find the perfect ring that tells the story of your love!