What to Consider Before Accepting an Heirloom Engagement Ring

Is there a family ring in the picture? We'll help you decide if you should wear it as your engagement ring or get a new one.
ivy jacobson the knot wedding planning and bridal fashion expert
Ivy Jacobson
ivy jacobson the knot wedding planning and bridal fashion expert
Ivy Jacobson
Wedding Planning and Bridal Fashion Expert
  • Ivy Jacobson Ford is an Executive Editor for ThePioneerWoman.com.
  • Ivy is an editorial strategist with over 10 years of experience creating lifestyle and commerce content.
  • Ivy worked for The Knot from 2014 to 2019.
Updated Jan 09, 2019

Inheriting jewelry from family members is incredibly special—particularly when it includes an engagement ring. If you and your partner have had "the talk" about being ready to get engaged, and you have an heirloom engagement ring in your family you've had your eye on, now's the perfect time to bring it up. Definitely speak up if you want a special family piece of jewelry on your finger—after all, there's really no way for your partner to know unless you (or someone in your family) tells them.

However, if your partner has an heirloom ring in their family, this is where things can get tricky. If you think there's even a small possibility they'll propose with their family's ring, and you're on the fence about whether it's the right ring for you, weigh your options thoughtfully and talk it out with your partner.

You'll love an heirloom ring if...

You want to pass down family history and tradition.

If you or your partner's heirloom ring is steeped in special family stories and history, you may love the idea of passing on the tradition of the ring by wearing it yourself—maybe you dream of gifting it to your children or grandchildren eventually.

You want the money that would've gone toward a new ring for something else.

We totally get that not all to-be-weds are obsessed with the idea of having a big, new rock on their finger—some people don't even want to wear a ring at all. And if you and your partner have your sights set on a new car, buying a home or a big vacation, you may be looking to scale back financially in any area that isn't a top priority, including your ring.

You love vintage jewelry.

If you've always been an antique jewelry lover, an heirloom ring will likely be right up your alley in terms of your taste. And bonus: Vintage rings—think colorful gems, marquise and oval cuts, and millegrain details—are always in style, so it's a win-win.

Consider wearing a new ring if...

You feel like you're being forced into wearing an heirloom ring.

The idea of continuing on a family tradition—or even just accepting a soon-to-be family member's ring—is a really nice thought, in theory. But if you're feeling pressure from your future mother-in-law to accept her ring or her beloved grandmother's ring and it's not the one you want, it's completely okay to gently turn down their offer. Whatever the reason, it's your choice—you'll be the one wearing it every day. Talk to your partner and let them know you'd rather buy a new ring, and they can let their family know.

You've always wanted your own, brand-new ring.

If you've always been excited to wear a brand-new ring that's the exact style you love (whether you and your partner choose it together or you dropped some heavy hints), then that's what you should have. You don't want to get swept up into the excitement of having an heirloom ring and then realize you're disappointed because it's not 100 percent yours. Stick to what your gut is telling you.

You'll want to transform the heirloom ring into a different ring.

If you're looking at the heirloom ring and thinking, "I do like the center stone, but I can't stand the setting or the side stones," you may think that taking it to a jeweler and having them change it will be a quick fix. In many cases, this can work out perfectly, but not always. Don't be surprised if the changes cost more than buying a new ring would, or if it doesn't look exactly the way you expected, or if your partner's grandma is upset her ring is now unrecognizable. Unless you actually love it from the start and just want a small tweak, or you've given family members a heads-up, you're better off just buying a new ring and skipping any potential drama.

Whether an engagement ring or a gift from a loved one, your natural diamond is full of sentiment, no doubt. But did you know that it also holds meaning to more than 10 million people around the world? To learn more visit NaturalDiamonds.com.

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