Engagement shoppers are saying ‘I do’ to antique and vintage, says dealer Julie Walton Garland.
Have you noticed any new trends in antique and vintage engagement rings this year?
The most noticeable trend we have seen with our clients and their search for an antique engagement ring has been an increase in their budget. For the longest time, the most popular price range to be in was $5,000 to $10,000. Now, we find that the range has increased to $10,000 to $20,000 on average. The styles that are most popular have largely remained the same — fabulous Art Deco-era diamond engagement rings with classic diamond and filigree details — but a larger center stone has become more sought-after.
Which gems, cuts, sizes and eras are most popular?
For engagement rings, Art Deco — our top seller — will always be the fan favorite, in my opinion. The styles are classic and timeless and can range greatly in size and price, which can accommodate a variety of budgets and aesthetics. We have seen a large increase in interest for colored gemstones this year overall, many of which end up being right-hand rings; however, we have seen more people gravitate toward sapphires and rubies for engagement rings. For the Art Deco pieces, the desire for accent colored gemstones is always popular. Rubies, sapphires and emeralds can often be seen as a little extra detail in Art Deco engagement rings.
Which ring styles and designs are easiest to wear with contemporary jewelry?
That’s the beauty of antique jewelry; it complements many different contemporary styles and is often stunning when mixed and matched. We see many clients pairing their yellow gold statement pieces with heavy yellow gold Victorian-era pieces, as well as with more delicate Art Deco platinum pieces. The juxtaposition of the eras can be truly striking.
Who is buying the vintage rings?
Everyone. We see many young couples falling in love with antique and vintage rings, as well as couples celebrating anniversaries and wanting an upgrade, or those who are getting married later in life. The common denominator is that they want something unique to them and their style.
Are customers concerned about sustainability, or are they mainly drawn to the design?
Our clients are typically first drawn to specific designs, knowing that the majority of our inventory is antique and estate, which is a positive factor in terms of sustainability. The two tend to go hand in hand.
How interested are buyers in upcycling or amending their rings?
We treasure history and family heirlooms — one of the reasons why we love antique jewelry. I am also a sentimental person, so we love being able to upcycle a family piece so the current client can enjoy their inherited pieces while adding a personal touch. This is typically seen most in jewelry that clients inherit from the second half of the 20th century — think 1970s, ’80s, ’90s styles. It’s quite rare that a client will want to make changes to a true antique piece, as those styles are quite in vogue today. Which is great; making changes to anything antique is truly painful to me and is something that I like to avoid.
Who is Julie Walton Garland?
Julie Walton Garland is a third-generation owner of Walton’s Antique & Estate Jewelry in Franklin, Tennessee, which opened nearly 50 years ago. She is a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graduate gemologist and has established the business’s strong online presence. She also recently had the showroom remodeled to create a beautiful, enjoyable space for clients.
Image: Walton’s Antique & Estate Jewelry