Keeping it in the Family

My fiancé made an extremely budget-friendly decision with my engagement ring. How? He didn’t buy it! Unknown to me at the time Tom had started shopping around for rings just after the second holiday season we shared as a couple. But he also made a point to let his parents know what he was up to.

heirloom engagement ring

His mother was the one to suggest the ring he proposed to me with. It is a vintage art-deco style engagement ring from the 1920's featuring a single mine-cut diamond. The ring belonged to her great-aunt, a dancer with the famous Martha Graham dance troupe. It started out as an engagement ring but was passed along to women in the family as a piece of heirloom jewelry.

When Tom proposed to me with this ring I was surprised at how beautiful and yet unconventional looking it was. I like to call it my Great Gatsby ring! I had honestly expected something like a traditional diamond solitaire. But I love that it’s different and that it belonged to his family, the family I will now be a part of. The ring is extra special because Tom’s mother picked it out with me in mind, and she passed away from cancer shortly after we became engaged. Every time I look at the ring I am reminded of her.

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heirloom engagement ring

One potential downside to the ring is that some of its most unique features are along the sides, underneath where the diamond sits. Placing a wedding band next to it would obscure these details. For this reason and others I’ve decided I will not wear my engagement ring on the same hand as my eventual wedding band. Instead I’ll move it to the ring finger on my right hand where it can shine on its own! My stepmother did this with her engagement ring. Another reason for doing this is that I’d like for my wedding band to share a similar design to my fiance’s (I know this is not necessary but I like the idea a lot). And while my engagement ring is a lovely white gold, Tom prefers yellow gold. So our wedding bands will either be yellow gold or in my case incorporate some yellow gold. I don’t plan on having any stones set in my wedding band.

Do you have an antique or vintage engagement or wedding ring? Did you receive a heirloom engagement ring from a family member?


Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here

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