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Can I get down on one knee with a vintage ring from auction?

Hannah Widdop

When it comes to deciding to pop the question, choosing the perfect engagement ring for your partner is just as – if not maybe even more – important as the proposal itself. Not only does your choice in ring embody your promise of forever, but it also shows that you really know your significant other and understand their style.

While new modern wedding rings available from a jeweller have their own appeal, there’s a charm in choosing a vintage engagement ring that carries with it a story all of its own. At Potteries Auctions, buyers have the opportunity uncover unique treasures that capture the essence of their love in an exciting environment, and often for a more affordable price than buying brand new. So to answer the question, “Can I get down on one knee with a vintage ring from auction?”, of course we say the answer is yes!

We’re specialist sellers of jewellery at auction, so let’s explore some of the benefits of choosing to buy a vintage engagement ring at auction to make your proposal the best and happiest day it can possibly be.

A regard ring is a Victorian-style romantic ring that spells out the word “REGARD” acrostically in gemstones (Ruby, Emerald, Garnet, Amethyst, Ruby, Diamond). This set of two rings, including an antique regard ring together with an 18ct hallmarked gold and diamond set cluster ring, sold for £620 at our March 2024 auction.

When buying an engagement ring at auction, or even just shopping for the perfect engagement ring in general, here’s some key factors to consider:

  • Budget – Know what your boundaries are financially and be clear on how much you’d like to spend. Take any auction buying fees into account of your final budget so that you don’t get caught off guard. Sometimes we sell lots that include both an engagement and wedding ring together, which might also save you some money.
  • Style and gemstone size – Consider the person you’re buying for. Are there certain styles your significant other likes and dislikes? Would they like the ring? Does it suit their style? Will the style or size of the gemstone(s) be practical for their lifestyle?
  • Ring size – It might seem obvious, but make sure you know your partner’s ring size before you start shopping. Some rings can be changed, but bear in mind that also some designs can’t be altered. Check the ring size of any item you’re interested in before you bid, or make sure that it can be potentially be altered if necessary, to ensure a comfortable fit for your betrothed to be.

One of the most enticing aspects of buying a vintage engagement ring at auction is the element of uniqueness, blending craftsmanship from past eras with a range of interesting styles and aesthetics that you probably won’t find in your modern day high street jewellers. From statement pieces from the 70s and 80s, to the Art Deco glamour of the 1920s, to the romantic designs of the Victorian era and beyond, each ring represents a distinct style and sentiment.

However, don’t think that vintage rings can’t also be synonymous with more simplistic, classic styles too. We’ve had plenty of lovely, more minimalistic vintage pieces pass through our doors that we can only imagine are equally filled with memories and stories.

Beyond their visual appeal, vintage rings carry with them an untold history and heritage. Each individual ring has its own story to tell, reflecting the trends of its time and the style of its previous owner. From family heirlooms passed down through generations, to discoveries unearthed in forgotten attics, these rings are imbued with a sense of nostalgia and romance befitting the occasion. Plus, not only is your item potentially unique or rare, in some cases it may even be a one of a kind, making for a truly special proposal!

Bidding on your ideal engagement ring at auction adds an extra exciting dimension to the process of preparing for your big proposal. We see some fantastic lots in our auctions, and diamond engagement rings and gold and silver wedding bands are no exception. Check out just a selection of excellent examples we’ve had pass through our saleroom in recent years to give you a taste of the rings we’ve sold to suit every taste, from classic solitaire rings to more unique vintage pieces.

This size N 18ct gold diamond solitaire ring sold for £380 at our Silverdale auction last month. A great choice if you’re looking for an engagement ring but are on a tighter budget.

Another excellent choice for a tighter budget, lot 761 in our April 2024 auction was this 22ct gold wedding ring that sold for £280.

From our big three-day March 2024 auction, this large 2.3carat natural diamond solitaire ring set in 18ct white gold sold for £3,500. A steal for such a quality solitaire ring!

This 18ct white gold ring set with diamonds and rubies from our July 2023 auction found a hammer price of £210.

Lot 694 in our March 2023 auction was this charming antique 18ct ruby and diamond ring. It found a new home for just £200!

A gorgeous choice for a more unique style, this large emerald and 14 diamond oblong cluster ring set in 18ct hallmarked yellow gold came to us in an excellent, very lightly used condition, selling for £880. Isn’t the heart-shaped ring box adorable too?

Another great example of something different, this 18ct gold hallmarked black opal and diamond cluster ring sold for £1,700 at our July 2022 three-day auction.

How to buy a vintage engagement ring at auction

At Potteries Auctions, we want your ring-buying experience to be easy and hassle-free. Navigating buying an engagement or wedding ring can be daunting as it is, and even more so if you’re new to the world of auctions.

Fortunately, our experts are on hand to offer guidance and advice every step of the way. From identifying authentic pieces to understanding the nuances of different styles and periods, the expertise of the Potteries Auctions team will ensure that you make an informed decision that’s as timeless as the ring itself.

Check out our upcoming auctions and scroll through the online catalogues we have available to see if something catches your eye.

If you have any questions whatsoever, or maybe you have an idea of the ring you’re seeking and would like help looking for lots that fit the criteria, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our friendly, knowledgeable team who are more than happy to help. Email us on, or call us on +44 (0)1782 638100 Monday to Friday, 9am to 4pm.