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There’s something indisputably romantic about proposing with a family heirloom ring. You start your future with a friendly nod to the past, and you’ll please your family by carrying on time-tested traditions. Even the royals have a preference for using heirloom wedding rings; Princes William and Harry both used jewels from their mother’s collection when proposing.


Not everyone is fortunate enough to have an heirloom ring in their family. If you are, your process may look different than someone who goes the usual route of purchasing a brand new ring from a jewellery store. So before you brush off Great-Aunt Betty’s heirloom ring, consider these six essential questions.


Can you picture her wearing it?

Your grandmother may be thrilled that you want to propose with her mother’s ring, but does your girlfriend feels the same way? Some women have their hearts set on a new modern style they’ve seen on Pinterest, or they may be less excited about a vintage piece.


If your significant other has a sense of history and loves vintage items, however, your heirloom ring might be the perfect ring for her. Get to know her taste in jewellery. You might go as far as showing her the ring and watching her reaction to it. If she gasps and reaches for it, you’re gold.


How does your family feel?

You may have known about the family heirloom ring for years. But until your grandfather pulls it out of storage and hands it to you, don’t count on proposing with it. It may have been promised to your sister or aunt, or your brother might be planning on proposing with it himself. You won’t know until you ask.


Receive explicit permission before you make any plans. If the ring has already been designated for someone else’s use, ask about other options. There might be other heirloom rings or jewellery in the family that you could use for your proposal.


Is it the right size?

In many cases, family heirloom rings are too small for modern fingers. The chances are good that Great-grandmother Elizabeth’s ring won’t fit your fiance. Avoid an embarrassing situation by having the ring sized before your proposal.


If you’re not sure your girlfriend’s size, use one of these tips or try our ring sizer. Your future bride will want to show off her engagement ring right away, so take care of the trip to the jeweller ahead of time.


Is it clean?

If your heirloom ring has been in storage or mom’s closet for some time, it’s probably dusty and maybe even a bit tarnished. Restore it to its natural beauty by taking it to a professional jeweller for a thorough cleaning. While your ring is with the jeweller for resizing, ask the jeweller to give it some extra polishing to bring out its sparkle.


While it’s with the jeweller, have it checked for wear and tear. If the setting has any loose prongs or knicks, take care of the repairs now. Damaged settings can lead to the loss of that precious stone.


How will you propose?

If you want to capitalise on the romance of your family heirloom ring, incorporate its story into your proposal. Weave in some of its history, the romances it has marked and the people who have worn it.


If you’re not sure about the ring’s stories, ask your mother or grandmother or whoever last owned it. Treasure your family’s history by carrying it forward into the future.


Is it insured?

Clearly, an heirloom ring carries significant value beyond the price of its metal and gemstones. If something should happen to it, can you repair or replace it? 


With Q Report jewellery insurance, your family heirloom ring will be fully covered, even when you’re travelling internationally. If the unexpected happens, you’ll be able to return to your family jeweller for restoration.


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Helpful resources

Diamond Setting Fact Sheet

The Complete Guide to Buying an Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring Shopping Checklist

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