It Happens. Many Grandmothers Pass their Diamond Rings and Wedding Bands down to their Sons, Grandsons and Daughters.
The Sentimental Value is Priceless.
Often Guys will ask me whether it’s Wise to use these Hand-Me-Down Engagement Rings for their Fiancee?
It is a Free Diamond!
While this is actually a Wonderful Gesture and Keepsake, there are some Important Issues (10 of them) that you should Consider First:
Let’s take a look…
1) Is the Diamond Real?
Believe it or not, a lot of times your Grandmother’s Diamond is NOT real! It’s a Fake Stone.
Many people are Shocked to hear this, but you have to Consider the times they went through and the Great Depression. Many couples had to Sell their Diamond in order to put Food on the table.
Many people Replaced their Stone with a Synthetic Look-A-Like… For now. They believed one day they would Repurchase another Stone, but for some, that day never came.
Plus, many other things could have happened to the Diamond. They could have been Swindled when they Bought the Stone thinking it was Real. It could have been Switched out by a Shady Jeweler at one time or another. You never know.
The Bottom Line is, things happen. So before you get Excited about your Grandmother’s Diamond, Make Sure it’s a Real Diamond. Get it Tested to Prove its Authenticity.
P.S. Many Gemstones like Sapphire or Ruby are Fake or Imitations as well.
2) It Doesn’t have a Modern Cut
Old Diamonds (at the turn of the 1900’s) were Cut with an Older Cutting Style, usually called Old European Cut or Old Mine Cut. These were Popular Cuts back then (often Cut by Hand). These Diamonds have a Different Look when Compared to a Modern Cut (Brilliant Cut) Diamond.
This difference can sometimes be Pretty Visible. Old Diamonds tend to look Thick and Lumpy with Small Tables and High Crowns.
Plus, many of these Old Stones Lack Sparkle and Brilliance.
Some people have these Older Cuts of Diamond Recut into Modern Cuts. This is Fine, but it gets Expensive and Depending on the Size of the Stone, it may not be Worth it.
The Diamond as a Solitaire (Single Diamond in a Ring) is not a Big Issue. But, when you place it up against Modern Cuts, like in the Mounting as Side Stones or the Wedding Band, the difference gets Noticeable.
3) The Diamonds are Chipped
One thing you should know about Older Cuts of Diamond… they often Show Signs of Wear and Tear. Many Diamonds will have Chips or Small Nicks around the Outside of the Stone, and often many will have what they call a Bearded Girdle (Small Fractures around the Girdle).
This is Common and can happen to any Diamond. Do note that it does make a Diamond more Difficult to Repair or Reset if it has Chips. Sometimes it can’t be Done. Be Cautious!
Not only do Chips or Nicks affect the Beauty of the Stone, but they Affect the Value of the Stone as well.
4) The Diamond is Small
Let’s Face it, back then Times were Tough. People didn’t have a Lot of Money to Spend on a Large Diamond. The Result was Buying a Small Stone!
Many Grandmother’s Rings had Very Small Diamonds in them, some under .20 Carat and even down to 10 Points each. Quite Small by Today’s Standards.
Your Bride may be Expecting a Larger Diamond.
5) The Quality is Poor
Quality was not a Huge Issue back then like it is Today. Back then Diamond Grading Standards were Vague and often Misrepresented and Misused.
People would take the Word of the Jeweler as far as the Quality was concerned. Often those Diamonds were Cloudy, Foggy, and Full of Inclusions. Not to Mention many had a Yellow or Brown Hue to them.
Is this the Clarity or Color you want?
6) The Style is Old
Mountings of Yester-Year are often out Dated and old looking. Fishtail Rings (see picture above) with Illusion Heads and Prong Set Diamonds aren’t as Attractive to the Younger Generation (More Modern Styles are the Halo, Pave, and Royal Halo like Shown Here!)
When you look at most older styles, it says one thing loud and clear “I’m Old“.
A Young Bride to be may want something Younger Looking.
Plus, many old Engagement Rings won’t have the Modern Wedding Bands to Match. Mixing the Old Style and New Style may look Odd. It could be Difficult to find something that Fits Properly or sits Flush up against it.
You may have to get something Custom Designed. And that’s NOT Cheap!
7) The Rings are Frail
Just like the Diamonds, Mountings will Wear Down over time. Many Rings will be Worn and Fragile with Prongs that are Flat as a Pancake. Many Shanks have Thinned out and will Snap in a Heart Beat.
Many times these Antique or Vintage Pieces are so Delicate that they can’t even be Fixed, Resized, Retipped or Reshaped.
Have the Jeweler inspect the item well before having any work done to them.
A Simple Sizing could Spell Disaster.
8) The Gold is NOT Gold
Today’s Gold may be up to Standards, but the Gold in your Grandmother’s Rings may not be.
Back then, Rings were more than likely made with Scrap Gold laying around and Mixed with an Assortment of Alloys. This Content is Questionable.
If you put an Older Ring up against a Modern Ring you’ll probably notice a Difference in Color.
Plus, many of the Older Rings aren’t even Stamped, so an exact Karat is not known.
You’ll find a lot of the Content is 10kish… and some people may be Allergic to the 10k Gold and the Nickel Alloys that were used.
9) Hand Me Downs Disappoint!
All to often, when a Bride gets an Engagement Ring, she wants it to be HERS… Not Someone Elses!
Hand Me Downs can be a Little Disappointing. You have to Understand one thing: That Ring may be Sentimental to YOU (it is your Family), but to her, it’s like Wearing a Stranger’s Ring.
I’ve seen plenty of Women Frown at this and think it’s Cheap and Tacky and an Easy way out.
Women Dream of their Beautiful Engagement Ring all their Lives, they want the Perfect Ring Unique to them.
So when they get an Old Lady’s Ring… You can Read their Disappointment!
10) No Warranties
What you see is what you get.
Grandma’s Diamond will have no Diamond Warranties, Service Plans or Guarantees with it. Plus, it probably doesn’t have any Appraisals or Certifications either. So if something Bad were to Happen, (Lost, Stolen, Burnt), you’d be out of Luck!
So what Should you do?
There are a Couple of Pointers that I can give to Help you out…
A) Get the Ring and Diamond Appraised!
Take the Ring to a Local Jeweler and Pay to have it Professionally Appraised.
The Jewelry Store will Write out all the Important Details of the Ring and Diamond like Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat Weight. You’ll also find out if the Diamond is Valuable, Chipped, Worth Resetting or even Recutting.
Getting it Appraised is the First Step to making a Sound Decision on what to do with the Ring.
If by Chance her Diamond is already Appraised, I would Recommend having it Reappraised.
Many things have Changed in the last 50 years and having the info Double Checked is Worth Every Penny. Prices have Changed Considerably.
B) Look at Modern Mountings
One of the Best Things you can do with an Old Diamond is to Revamp it. Have it Reset into a Modern Mounting, like the Tiffany Style Engagement Ring.
Having it Reset brings the Stone up to Par. It gets new Prongs, a Durable Mounting, a Modern look… It does Wonders to the Diamond. Plus, it Helps Hide its Age!
C) Re-Appraise and Insure the Ring
If you have the Diamond Reset into a New Mounting or Engagement Ring, have the Ring Re-Appraised once again!
The Diamond Value in a New Setting will Change. You want to get the Current Retail Value for Insurance Purposes. Which also means…
Get the Ring Insured!
Just in Case!
That way if something were to Happen to the Diamond… Grandma won’t be Disappointed.
(Where ever she may be!) :)
14k Wheat Chains
Top Diamond Vendors:
James Allen is a leader in diamonds. Their real time interactive diamond inspection is the best in the industry. View and rotate any diamond under 20x magnification. Their prices, selection, lifetime warranty, 24/7 customer support and hassle free returns are unbeatable. Visit James Allen today.
Blue Nile is the largest and most well known respected diamond dealer online. They are highly trusted, have a huge inventory, and low low prices (compare anywhere and see for yourself). If you want to save money, or build your own ring, this is the place to shop. Visit Blue Nile today.