Etiquette for Inherited Wedding Rings

Engagement rings from the past are unique. Vintage rings are frequently literally one of a kind because of their distinctive appearance and extensive history. And it might be even more special if the ring has been passed down through the generations in your family. Many people cherish the custom of passing down wedding or engagement rings to carry on their family’s history.

Some people use engagement to honor a few cherished family traditions, such as passing down antiques that have been handed down through the ages like wedding and engagement rings. To make the beginning of their lives together memorable, many couples are turning to the sentimental and personal significance inherent in heirloom engagement and wedding rings. Nothing is more special and significant for the proposal than an heirloom ring since it has a certain enchantment about it.

Why Are Wedding Rings Passed Down?

Heirloom ring

While every couple has their motivations for adhering to the custom of passing down a wedding ring, the majority do so to preserve a significant element of their family’s past. It strengthens the sense that the new family you’re forming is a part of that history and heritage when you pass down a wedding ring that has been in your family for many generations. It’s a way to respect your ancestors and establish a relationship with them, connecting them to your future family. In addition, a family ring that has been passed down through the generations is undoubtedly more affordable than buying a new one. Wedding rings were among the only important possessions many families had throughout history; thus, they were retained in the family.

What Are the Examples of Inherited Rings?

Handing down vintage ring

An inherited ring can be any ring. Rings are typically given directly from parents to their children; however, this isn’t always the case. It doesn’t always have to be an immediate family member, and it can come from any side of the family. A family wedding ring might be handed down from an aunt, a grandparent, or a cousin. Additionally, it doesn’t need to be a typical wedding ring. Wedding bands are frequently passed down as heirlooms of many kinds, including vintage promise rings, Claddagh rings, and birthstone rings.

What Is the Etiquette for Inherited Wedding Rings?

Resetting an inherited ring

When it comes to handing down wedding bands, there are a few things to think about. To fully comprehend everyone’s expectations, be sure to have conversations with your future spouse’s family as well as your own. Here is everything you need to know about how to properly wear an heirloom ring, from talking to your significant other to contacting your family for approval to maybe resetting the stone.

What Is the Etiquette for Inherited Rings?

Discuss heirlooms with both sides of the family

1. Know your future fiancée’s thoughts on heirloom rings

Finding out how your future spouse feels about antique rings is always a smart idea. If the ring is a family heirloom, perhaps display a photo of your granny wearing it, identify the ring, and observe her reaction. Make sure your partner wants to wear the family ring if you intend to propose to them wearing one. It is also advised that you proceed cautiously with the conversation. Ask them if they would wear the specific ring you plan to give them. Even though she might adore the ring and be overjoyed, what if she has her heart set on creating a unique tradition? Allow your future spouse to be open and honest about their sentiments, and if necessary, politely decline the ring. Be ready for an honest response and accept the result whether it is good or bad.

2. Discuss heirlooms with both sides of the family

Customized heirloom wedding rings

Sometimes, when they anticipate an engagement, your family (or your partner’s family) will present you with the ring. You might need to ask on your own in other situations. Make a face-to-face discussion on giving down wedding bands when the time comes. Never enter a situation thinking they’ll give you the ring. It’s a big choice, and even if it’s been discussed in theory, the reality will be very different when it’s time to give the ring away. You are not instantly the owner of the heirloom just because you wish to propose with it. To pass the ring along, you must get consent. If you haven’t already, schedule a time to meet the family member and get to know them. This catch-up will help you ask for the ring more intimately and show your significant other how important the ring is to you both.

The ring doesn’t have to be a standard wedding band and might be from either your side or your partner’s. If there are several rings available, select one based on family tradition or history, such as if the ring has been passed down from one generation to the next or if it belonged to a relative who holds a special place in your partner’s heart. And if there isn’t a ring at all, another piece of jewelry, such as diamonds from an antique necklace, may be available to be reset into a ring.

3. Learn about the history of the ring

Before you start requesting permission to use the ring, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with its past. Your proposal will be much more special if you know who the ring originally belonged to or how it was acquired by the family. Additionally, it is simple to determine whether a component of the ring—the band or the diamond—is most precious to the family, which is useful in resetting. If you’re unsure of how to start the conversation about passing the ring down, learning more about the ring’s history can serve as a segue. Take it all in and keep the ring’s history alive. Whoever is giving it to you will likely be delighted to tell you all about the unique jewelry.

4. Do not force the relatives to hand over the ring

The last thing you want to do is force the family member to give the ring over when it comes to heirloom engagement ring etiquette. Keep in mind that passing this ring over may take some time because it has likely been in the family for a while. Allow the family member to consider it for a few days or longer and do your best to avoid pressuring them. Instead of making them feel coerced, you want them to be excited about handing the loom down.

5. Have the ring cleaned and examined for damages

You should take the ring to a reputable jeweler after getting the go-ahead to keep it. There, the ring can be thoroughly cleaned and checked for any loose or missing stones. A jeweler can check that the diamond is positioned properly in the setting and repair any flaws or damage, making the ring appear to be practically brand new. A ring appraisal may also be a good option to determine the ring’s value. Old stones may have cracks or chips that are not visible to the human eye. These should be quickly corrected and fixing them is typically simple. Even though the cut, clarity, carat, and color of certain rings have already been decided upon, it is still advisable to keep these factors in mind as you proceed with the design of your antique engagement ring.

6. Always inquire as to whether the ring can be customized

Once they receive an heirloom ring, many people will wish to have it reset or adjusted, which can completely change the appearance. Ask the family member first because making changes to an heirloom ring might be a sensitive matter for the previous owner. By discussing with the previous owner regarding resetting the ring, you may simply prevent any negative emotions. Just be honest about the things you want to tweak or adjust, such as the diamond’s cut or the band, so they can provide you with some input.

7. Be ready to express gratitude

Receiving an engagement diamond that is a family treasure is a remarkable gesture. As a result, you ought to express your gratitude to the family for passing the ring down to you. As a means of saying thank you for making your proposal more personal and special, it is advised to send the previous owner a thank-you card or give them a gift.


Knowing the proper etiquette for an antique ring for your wedding is a great way to start planning out a future with your spouse. However, while the ring plays a significant role in the engagement process, it is not the most essential. The greatest part of asking for her hand in marriage is realizing that you are about to begin a new chapter in your life with the woman of your dreams. You will know you made the right choice when you can put a ring on her finger that symbolizes not only your love but also the love of earlier generations. A lifetime of love is one of the most wonderful things in the entire universe.