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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.

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?


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About Ashley Catherine

I’m a 24-year old marketing coordinator from Portland, Oregon who enjoys outdoor activities like hiking and riding my bike, reading, blogging, and indulging my nerdy side with video games and trivia nights. I’m marrying my wonderful fiancé Tom in a fall-themed wedding on October, 5 2013. I’m lucky to call him my best friend.

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  • Rachel

    Wow! That is a truly amazing ring! Just gorgeous!
    I am running into the same problem with my engagement ring — as a long of the details are not visible from the top, wearing a plain band alongside it would obscure those wonderful details! I like the idea of wearing if on my right hand … will have to consider that more. Do you have any more pictures of your ring? I would love to see a closer shot of the details from the top and side. I’m telling you, that ring is beyond gorgeous! Congrats!

    • Thanks so much! Unfortunately the photos you see here are the best shots I have of the ring. But yes, there is no rule about having to wear your rings on the same hand so why force yourself to do it?

  • Gorgeous ring – congratulations!

  • Jewelryshopus

    Beautiful ring.

  • What a great gift and one you can continue to pass on! I was very surprised when my engagement ring was not the conventional diamond solitaire – but I’ve grown to LOVE IT and that he chose it just for me.

  • Sidra

    What a beautiful ring! I love that it’s got a story behind it. Your kids will get a kick out of this one day!

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