While we were browsing the internet looking at beautiful rings we noticed that many people are using a few terms for metal-smithing techniques interchangeably. If you are finding this confusing, you are not alone. Never fear, we are here to set the record straight.
Filigree is the process of coiling and bending tiny threads and beads of metal into ornate patterns and soldering them together or onto another metal surface. The term comes from the Latin word filum - meaning thread, and granum - meaning grain.
Milgrain refers to the delicate edging of tiny indents and bumps that jewelers sometimes apply to the borders of a design using a "knurling" tool. It is a great way to add a bit of intimate detail to your ring. Sometimes milgrain is incredibly tiny and delicate, sometimes it is so large it can look like a row of beads along an edge. The word milgrain is a literal translation of a French word meaning 'a thousand grains.'
Engraving is when the jeweler cuts grooves into the surface of your ring to create images or patterns.
Relief is much like engraving but instead of simply carving a pattern into the surface, in a relief the background is deeply cut away to leave a raised surface which is then carefully engraved. The end result is a is much more three dimensional effect.
Don't worry, there isn't going to be a quiz. If you have any questions about the techniques or rings you see here please don't hesitate to get in touch with us!
The national average for an engagement ring generally fluctuates between $3500-6000. It's our pleasure to bring you our curated collection of fave engagement rings under $3000 on Pinterest. There are absolutely stunning rings out there that don't require you to overspend. We are big fans of helping people stay within a super reasonable budget. All said and done, $3000 is still a lot of dough to throw at some rocks and metals. So you'll want to come out on the other side with a stunning, heirloom quality piece that is both stylish and unique.
The THREE pro tips for folks looking in the $3000 engagement ring budget range:
1. Look for antiques! Play up clusters, halos and unique styles....
There are some really amazing antique ring curators out there. I always find something amazing at Erica Weiner, Victor Barboné & Metier.
2. Check out artists on Etsy! There are some incredible designers showcasing their work here. You just have to sift a bit.
Don't be afraid of Etsy designers! Some of my fave indie designers list on Etsy. Check out Sharon Zimmerman, Melanie Casey & Kate Szabone.
3. Open your mind to something totally different!
Often times the bigger the budget, the more basic and well travelled the ring style. Open your mind to something unique. I mean. This ring. Can you believe it's under $3000? I know! You'll find treasures in many places, Jewels by Grace has a great eye...
If you need help understanding how to set your budget and what you can expect to find based on your desired price range, don't hesitate to reach out of a BIRD CALL. We will hook you up with all the salient deets you need to nail it.
Antique engagement rings are a fantastic choice for a multitude of reasons: they are super unique and one-of-a-kind, they are recycled and therefore make a socially and environmentally sound choice, AND if you're planning to propose during the holiday season (or an any type of tight timeline) they are a huge timesaver. If saving time is a factor in your engagement ring shopping process, then you've likely considering shopping online as well. Shopping online for an engagement ring can be a challenge, and it might feel extra challenging to decipher the visual characteristics and inherent rarity and quality of a genuine antique ring from afar. While there are many online engagement ring offerings, not all of them offer fantastic imagery and details about each ring. Furthermore, perhaps the most important feature of an online collection is that it is curated by someone with an eye for unique, well balanced, beautiful pieces in fantastic condition. Enter: one of our favorite online antique engagement ring shops, Victor Barboné!
Owner and curator Andria is newer to the antique ring scene and has arrived with a stunning collection of both classic antique engagement rings alongside really unique silhouettes, all with extremely reasonable price points. We picked her brain to learn more about her curating process. Check it out:
LITTLE BIRD: At any given time, how many rings are on your site and how long do they tend to refresh? How quickly do they sell?
Victor Barboné: We try to keep a wide variety of rings on our site at all times and are constantly adding to our selection! We add 3-6 rings to our site per week so it is a good idea to get on our email list so that you can be one of the first to see our new additions! I’ve had rings sell within hours of listing and some that have taken MONTHS to sell. You never know which person will connect with which ring! Because all of our rings are one-of-a-kind pieces, we strongly encourage you to move quickly when your dream ring pops up! We offer 90 day payment plans for this reason so that you can secure your unique ring and have up to 90 days to pay for it!
LB: How do you select rings? Do you have a favorite era? And who is the woman you shop for?
VB: I have learned to select rings based on my gut. “Would I wear this ring?” is the question I always ask before I make a purchase. I once saw a ring that I thought was rather odd (the Caitlyn ring) but gorgeous! I thought, no, people will think that it is too weird. But, I just had to have it! So I bought it and it has been one of my most popular and widely shared rings! Once Wed even pointed out that it is their favorite!
LB: What are the most popular antique ring styles you sell? Also, most popular era?
VB: Solitaires with engravings and clusters go the fastest! Solitaires that have delicate, subtle details where it’s all about the diamond are super popular, such as the Lola and Marcella rings. Clusters where there is a central diamond surrounded by other diamonds (not quite a halo) such as the Clementine and Jacqueline rings are the second most popular!
LB: What's your favorite ring in your collection right now and why?
VB: Oh, gosh! My favorites change from day to day but if I had to choose which I would have as my engagement ring, the Vivienne ring as my engagement ring! I love the old cut diamonds and to me the diamond in the Vivienne is the PERFECT example of what makes an old cut diamond special! It has the perfect checkerboard patterns, a good sized culet, and a high crown that gives OECs that cloud-like appearance! I am also baguette-obsessed so I love those tapered baguettes that highlight that stunning 2.60 carat diamond!
Thank you for
Just kidding. There's really only one reason to avoid "trendy" engagement rings: because you should have something you love that represents your unique style. The point of an engagement ring is that it's here to stay, and the point of trends is that they aren't. Trends are fleeting. So what do you do if you've fallen in love with a majorly re-pinned ring from Pinterest? The fact that your favorite ring is on Pinterest means two things: it's probably a lot of other people's favorite ring, too, AND it's probably not available from the original retailer any longer. Sad story getting sadder.
Guys, we have an idea. What if you recreated that popular setting you love, but with a unique center gemstone? Enter the Eighty-Eight Diamond Cut. This diamond cut looks like something from a bygone era, but it's actually a newer and pretty rare cut. Note: this means you won't see it all over the place. Instead of recreating/straight-up-copying a ring you see on Pinterest, consider what it would be like to look at that ring design with a kaleidoscope and bring some more interest into the design. Make it yours. Creating a setting with an Eighty-Eight cut diamond center is a slick way to accomplish this. This diamond has 88 facets, which is about 30 more facets than your basic round brilliant (learn more here). ALSO, eight sides. We are into it.
So we took the top 8 rings people bring us and we are reimagining them set with an Eight-Eight diamond in the center. Imagine with us...
perfect for an Art Deco-inspired piece
the ultimate no-brainer for an 8-sided diamond
this, but with an 88. can you see it? we can see it.
for a twist on the simple solitaire
a ring with eight prongs = a diamond with eight sides!
would look super cool with compass point prongs
octagonal halos are made for 88 cuts
octagonal solitaire settings work, too
From our experience, you guys (all ya'll engagement ring shoppers) don't want to be trendy. In fact, one of the biggest trends these days is to avoid trends. For such a personal piece of jewelry, most people ask us how they can personalize a ring they've seen that they really liked. Check out the Eight-Eight and drop us a line if you need help reimagining your ideal setting!
One of our favorite clients opted for this combination recently and the results were spectacular. More people should do this. We wanted to discuss the pros and cons for the rest of y'all out there.
Old Mine cuts and old European cuts are harder to find. They are not included in the inventories of major diamond retailers, so you have to have an insider hookup. That being said, they are not as expensive as you'd think - considering their rarity - and if you know the right people you can get your hands on some truly gorgeous diamonds. Luckily, we do. ;)
Old Mine cuts and European cuts were crafted long before the Modern Round Brilliant was invented. The cut is blockier, more fiery, and is not graded by the same standards that the industry uses to analyze modern brilliant cuts. Often these stones do not come with a certificate from GIA or another grading lab. This makes antique cuts a bit tricky to shop for, but on the plus side they are valuable because of their appeal, so you can feel free to trust your gut, follow your instincts, and choose a stone that you fall in love with. (If this sounds really scary to you, never fear, we are here to talk you through it.)
If you are looking for the classic Tiffany or Cartier engagement ring, this may not be the best route for you. These diamonds generally have a slightly warmer color and a faceting pattern that needs a jeweler who specializes in setting antique cuts to compliment their uniquely beautiful qualities. This is the best way to get the warm look of an antique without the years of wear and tear on the setting. You can work with your jeweler (such as the lovely and talented Linsday Chapman of Giador Fine Jewelry in Nashville, TN) to decide what antique elements you want to include, and what elements you want to update for your modern, glamorous lifestyle. Or your rustic, bohemian lifestyle. Or your drunk, yoga, camping lifestyle. Your call.