Have you recently inherited or purchased a ring and want to know its value? Mearto provides quick and affordable online appraisals of rings. All you have to do is click on the “Start Appraisal” button above and follow the steps to send us information about and images of your ring. One of our qualified and experienced specialists will review and get back to you with a fair market and insurance value, typically within 48 hours. Have questions about the valuation provided, or would you like some advice about selling your ring? We are here to help! Our platform allows you to chat back and forth with a specialist to ensure that all of your questions are answered.
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Humans have been making and wearing rings on their fingers for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians wore rings adorned with scarab designs 4 millenia ago. Etrusacans wore gold rings in the 5th century BC. Later, Romans made thick metal rings set with carved oval gems. In medieval Europe, rings were engraved with devotional or romantic messages.
We often ascribe meaning to our rings, whether it is because of the event they commemorate, the person who gave them to use, or the material they are made of. Gemstones, for example, are infused with symbolic meaning and value, depending on the culture and time period. In modern times, we associate diamonds with marriage, for example. In ancient Egypt, lapis lazuli, a vibrant blue stone, was highly treasured as being symbolic of the sky. In Chinese culture, jade has historically been the most highly valued stone, symbolizing stature and, long ago, celestial communication.
Rings may be categorized a few different ways:
There have been many astronomically priced rings sold at auction. Usually their price is based on gemstones that are rare for their size and quality.
The most expensive ring ever sold is the Pink Star. Named after its 59.6 carat diamond, it went for $71.2 million in 2017 at Sotheby’s.
The most expensive blue diamond ring ever sold at auction was the Oppenheimer Blue, a 14.62 carat diamond ring. It sold for $58 million at Christie’s in 2016.
Gemstones are valued according to different factors. One important measure is the weight of the stone, which correlates to its size. The weight of gemstones is measured in carats. When you think of a standard engagement ring, you might have in mind a stone between .5 and 1.5 carats. Compare that with the Pink Star diamond’s 59.6 carats!
The type of gemstone used in a ring also affects the value of the piece. Diamonds are currently the most expensive stone, based on rarity and their reputation as the hardest stone. They are often used in engagement rings because they are indestructible. They are usually colorless, but can come in a rainbow of hues. Clarity and size are important factors in determining the value of a diamond. With all gemstones, be aware that there are many artificial imitations. So, be sure to check with an expert to find out the true value of your piece.
Rings can also be valued according to the value of their metal. The most expensive metals used in jewelry are platinum, gold and silver. Jewelers usually put tiny stamps on the inside of rings so you can know what kind of metal they are made of and its purity. For platinum, you may see “PLAT,” “PT,” or “Platinum” followed by “900,” “950” or “999” (the latter number representing the highest purity).
Gold rings will usually be stamped with a number followed by “K”. “K” represents karats, the percentage of gold that is used in the alloy, or metal mixture. Metals that are used to form gold alloys include silver, copper, nickel and palladium. “24K” indicates that the gold is 100% pure. A smaller number, like “18K,” indicates that the metal is 18/24 gold. You may also see a different number stamped into a gold ring, instead of the karat amount. These numbers mean the same thing but instead of indicating gold amount as parts of a total of 24, they measure by parts per 1000. So, 24K is written as “999”, and 18K is written as 750, or 75% gold.
Silver is often marked “925,” indicating that it is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or another metal. Gold and silver are usually alloyed with other metals because, although shiny and beautiful, they are too soft on their own and scratch easily with wear.
These are only the most common marks used today. There are many more marks used in different countries and time periods. Be sure to get an expert appraisal of your ring to check its metal content.
Leah Illingworth is a content specialist here at Mearto. She loves learning and writing about art and antiques each day in addition to exploring the history and stories behind art movements and objects.