Post # 1
My SO learned yesterday that his mom has been holding on to two family rings and would like me to look at them for my engagement ring. I love the idea of an heirloom ring but I want to make sure that they are structurally ok for everyday wear (no internal cracks/chips/etc).
Can I find out this information without having them appraised? I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a full appraisal only to find out that the stone can’t be worn safely.
Do you have any other tips for looking at heirloom rings?
Feel free to post photos of your family ring/stone!
Post # 3
I would take it to a local jeweler for cleaning and say that you’ve inherited the rings and would like to wear them every day and ask if they look good or if any repairs need to be made etc.
You only need an appraisal if you want to find out its material worth for insurance purposes (and an appraisal is only like 80 bucks).
Post # 4
Last time I had a ring appraised, I think it was only $75 so you may want to call around and get some pricing before you decide against it. You may also want to have this done so you can insure the ring.
I don’t think it’s likely that an internal defect in the stone would suddenly fracture. I do think you should make sure the stone (or stones) are secure in the setting. I inherited an old ring and I did have the prongs re-tipped. My Aunt, who I inherited the ring from, was very hard on her jewlery, so some of the stones weren’t very secure. This may not be the case for your rings.
I would love to see pics!
Post # 4
I agree with the PP. Have them looked at by a good jeweler! They will be able to recommend any work that needs to be done and can also inspect the stones for you! My jeweler looked at my ring and cleaned it for like $15.
Post # 5
Take it to a jeweler that has a goldsmith on site if you can. They are much more likely to have real knowledge that a jewelry store that just wants to sell you something and you won’t have to send it offsite for inspection. I have an heirloom ring that needed quite a bit of work before I could wear it, and I can tell you horror stories about what some jewelers tried to sell me… Remember – most people who work in jewelry stores are not jewelers and have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to repair and structural integrity.
Post # 6
@septcabride: “Remember – most people who work in jewelry stores are not jewelers and have no idea what they are talking about when it comes to repair and structural integrity.”
I agree. My wedding ring is a family heirloom, and I wasn’t about to take to any old jewelry shop to be looked at/sized/cleaned up – I did my homework and found a trustworthy place to bring it to. Your best bet is to find a reputable jeweler that specializes in antique/vintage jewelry.
Post # 7
Every time I go in to have my ring cleaned they check and make sure that everything is where its supposed to be. I have never once been charged to have my ring cleaned or inspected. A jewler should be able to tell you if there is something wrong. I would suggest maybe going to a small jewler your odds ( IMO) are better of getting the owner that will actually care because they want your business.
Post # 8
I agree with PPs…just to take it to a locally-owned jeweler to get cleaned/inspected. The center stone in my e-ring is an heirloom diamond and has a couple of chips in it, but none of that information is even included on the appraisal. The jeweler told me it was chipped when we first brought it in to have it put in the setting, but said they could set the stone so the chips are under the prongs to help protect them. I haven’t had any issues.
Post # 9
Ring appraisals aren’t too expensive. I have an heirloom diamond as well that I still need to have appraised, and the local jeweler I plan on using is only charging us $85.
Post # 10
I second pic requests! I hope the stones are okay, but I’m sure they will be 🙂
Post # 11
@Black-Eyed-Susan: Try calling some appraisers to see if they will do a consult instead of a full appraisal. My Fiance and I deicded to have my ring looked at by an independent appraiser after we had some work done on it. We didn’t need a full insurance appraisal so he only charged us $25 for a consult instead of his full $80. That way if the appraiser says the ring is fine you can go through with the full appraisal and if not you can stop with the consult.
Post # 12
My heirloom ring was looked by a local jeweler. His grandfather had it cleaned as well. The jeweler was very impressed. It’s in amazing condition with a perfect diamond (platinum as well). It was bought on the Atlantic City boardwalk for $100. Here’s a picture:
Post # 13
I have rings! (Sorry it’s so big!)
We’ve decided to go with the bottom one. The diamond on the top set looks to be a lower quality and the wedding band is soldered on crooked (I’m too OCD for that to not bother me!)
Thank you for all of your help, ladies! My SO is taking the ring to be cleaned and have the prongs checked before he proposes 🙂 I can’t wait to get it on my finger!!