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How to Pair a Unique Estate Ring with a Wedding Band


When couples are selecting one of our unique, one-of-a-kind vintage engagement rings, one question they frequently ask is “How will I pair it with a wedding ring?” In many cases choosing a vintage engagement ring means that your wedding ring won’t match exactly. However, this opens up a world of gorgeous style possibilities.

Here, Brilliant Earth jewelry specialist Mary Newcomb tells her personal story of finding a wedding band to complement her antique engagement ring, and shares advice on how you can do the same:

Our collection of antique engagement rings, which is comprised of one-of-a-kind pieces dating from the late 1800’s through the late 1900’s, presents many incredible options for a stunning engagement ring. These rings were historically worn alone, so their shapes and designs are often quite whimsical and detailed. That beautifully distinctive quality can present a dilemma when choosing a wedding band because the rings may take up more space on the finger, feature gemstones in interesting patterns, have detailed engraving, or have other attributes that make them both uniquely beautiful and challenging to pair with a standard wedding band.

There are a few ways that you can pair a wedding band with an estate ring, each of which I personally had to explore when I fell in love with an Art Deco ring from the 1920’s. Once I tried on wedding bands, I felt a bit overwhelmed about what to do next. To my dismay, nothing looked like it “matched” my ring! I explored all of my options, and this is what I found.

Embrace the Gap

Many people are surprised to realize that the custom of pairing an engagement ring and a wedding band in a completely flush style is a relatively recent, modern one. Some of the world’s most famous engagement rings have showcased unique shapes; Queen Victoria’s snake ring, Jackie Kennedy’s split shank emerald ring, Princess Diana’s sapphire halo, and Audrey Hepburn’s stacked set of bezel rings are some of fashion’s best known engagement rings, and none of these would sit flush with a wedding band.

Having a slight gap between your engagement and wedding rings is actually more common than not–even many new rings have a slight a gap with a wedding band, so why fight it? Go with the flow. It shows the world that you have individual style, and certainly makes selecting a wedding band easier. For a unified look, you can choose a wedding ring that shares similar design elements with your engagement ring, such as diamonds of the same scale or special details like milgrain or engraving. Or you can choose to keep all of the focus on your stunning engagement ring, by selecting a timeless plain precious metal band as a wedding ring.

Choose an Antique Matched Set

Some vintage engagement rings are available with a matching wedding ring as part of a matched set. Matched sets are more common in designs from the Retro era, which is when the custom of wearing coordinating engagement and wedding rings started to take hold.

Customize a Wedding Band

One of the most rewarding challenges we face as designers is custom designing a wedding band to accompany a client’s unique vintage engagement ring. Brilliant Earth’s team of design experts can create a wedding band that is custom contoured to fit with your estate ring in such a way that the two look like a matched pair. For inspiration, view our gallery of recently designed custom wedding bands.

With your engagement ring in hand through the process, they will use either CAD imaging or hand carved wax techniques to ensure that your antique engagement ring and new wedding ring will sit perfectly flush. Our jewelers can add an incredible amount of vintage detail to your custom designed wedding ring, by using hand finishing and revisiting old world techniques, so you can keep adding to the history of your one-of-a-kind design!

Wear Your Rings on Different Hands

This is the route that I eventually chose, and is historically how an engagement and wedding band were worn, back when most antique engagement rings were created. For me, this choice allowed the most flexibility with my wedding band options and avoided the gap that would have existed with any non-custom ring. I wanted to still be able to wear the wedding band alone, something I did not feel I could do with a customized ring due to the contour, and found that wearing the rings on different hands solved all of my problems. It also allowed me to choose whatever look I liked, and didn’t take any of the spotlight away from my engagement ring.

Final Thoughts

No matter which route you choose, rest assured that an antique engagement ring and wedding ring can be worn together in harmony. Contact Brilliant Earth’s jewelry experts for more information on the gorgeous options available, and guidance to help you choose the right look for your fashion sense and lifestyle!

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Comments (12)

Brian Says:
March 30th, 2015 at 6:07 am

Great rundown– it’s a good idea to consider how rings and bands can play off each other.

Gayle Thawley Says:
February 6th, 2015 at 9:39 am

I had two eternity wedding rings from my grandmothers cut and crossed over in the back wit the sides attached TI the top and bottom of engagement ring stones replacing the normal band. There was no remaking/fitting and I love wearing my family jewels.

Hilary Says:
January 13th, 2015 at 5:58 am

My engagement ring is a reproduction of a 1920s Art Deco ring. It’s absolutely gorgeous and I love it. However, I really struggled with finding the perfect band. The ring has a lot going on….lots of diamonds, filigree, a unique shape, and other details. After deciding I was okay with rocking the gap versus having a custom-to-fit band, I tried on several rings that had similar features as my E ring and everything seemed to be way too much. They all were just too busy! I ended up going with a plain 2mm platinum band that I wear under my E ring and I LOVE it. The gap is beautiful and does not compete with the E ring. I get so many compliments on my rings! I just thought I would throw my wedding band style since I struggled for so long to find the perfect band. Another perk-my band is so small and unobtrusive that I hardly ever have to take it off!

Patti Says:
July 8th, 2014 at 8:29 am

I do not like the gap. I solved this little problem by getting a thick vintage floral band, adding the Old European cut diamonds to the top of the band, and stacking away with whatever I want. Looks great stacked.

My niece, however, got a modern curvy band made to fit to one side of her Victorian bulgy design and it fits together nicely but now the pretty vintage design is completely off-center and looks confused.

Diana Klingenberg Says:
May 11th, 2014 at 8:19 pm

I have a 6 prong platinum solitaire 3/4 diamond and a platinum ertainty ring. Both are our Grandmother’s rings. Would these look funny being worn as is without any resetting? I love all the settings the way they are, but my Husband wants to add baguettes to the sides of the solitaire.

Andrea Says:
May 7th, 2014 at 8:47 am

Some jewelry store do get estate pieces in. I have a Vintage 1930’s Art Deco ring and the jeweler had an estate piece come in that complimented it perfectly. They were both affordable.

Beth Says:
March 17th, 2014 at 1:33 pm

I ultimately decided that my engagement ring would simply also be my wedding ring. My biggest concern when I first decided to go that route was that people would think I was engaged, but not married. This turned out to be a complete non-issue. Anyone who knows me knows I’m married and strangers don’t seem to notice or care. I’ve actually started to see more women with vintage rings who’ve decided to forego the band altogether.

For the purposes of the wedding ceremony, I purchased a simple titanium band. I use the titanium ring when I don’t want to worry about losing or damaging my treasured vintage ring (such as international travel, camping, etc).

B. Earth Says:
January 28th, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Hi Stacie, great question! Wearing two bands next to each other where they are moving against each other can cause metal to erode on both rings and is certainly a consideration when selecting a band to wear with your antique ring. If you’re willing to “embrace the gap”, ensuring that you are having your rings regularly inspected for damage is important. Preventative maintenance and repairs in this case are always a safer option for your ring, and more economical, than restorative maintenance! If you have any more questions, our expert jewelry specialists would be happy to help! You can reach them at 1.800.691.0952.

Stacie Says:
January 25th, 2014 at 1:27 pm

I would love to “embrace the gap” with my art-deco style deep-set stone (and thusly curvy) ring, but I’m worried about the wedding band eventually wearing away my 14k white gold engagement band… Is that not really something to worry about?


Bethany Says:
January 6th, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Thanks for this, you know what… I’m going to embrace the gap! I wasn’t even thinking of that, but I love it. And now I’m really excited. (He picked out a 1920’s engagement ring that couldn’t be more perfect).

B. Earth Says:
October 7th, 2013 at 9:36 am

Hi Kelsey! We can absolutely design a custom wedding band to fit with your engagement ring. Our jewelry specialists would be happy to provide a quote and explain how the process works! You can reach them at 1.800.691.0952. Thanks for your inquiry!

Kelsey Says:
October 5th, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I’m looking for a wedding band to go with a 1930s antique engagement ring. I’ve been told it would either need to be custom made or at least shaped so it would fit snugly against my uniquely shaped engagement ring. Is that something you would do? And if so, could you give me a price range? Thank you so much!