Frequently Asked Questions
Are your diamonds conflict free?
Yes! Conflict diamonds or “blood diamonds” are illegally traded stones that were mined sometime in the last 50 years. These diamonds originated in countries such as Angola, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) or The Republic of Congo, and were used to finance civil wars and deadly insurgencies. Because we only use antique and vintage diamonds that predate this period, our jewelry is completely conflict free. Initiatives such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme have been created in order to curb the dangerous blood diamond trade, however even this initiative is fraught with shortcomings. The only way to guarantee that a diamond is conflict free is to reuse vintage and antique diamonds that were mined prior to 1970...which is exactly what we do!
How can you tell how old your jewelry is?
We use our vast knowledge to date each piece based on the ring’s materials, construction techniques, hallmarks, signatures, and cultural context. Some people may even refer to our ability to identify the age of our jewelry as diamond whispering! After decades of experience, vintage and antique pieces just speak to us, and by using our knowledge, experience and network of resources, we can usually identify the age of each item. While we cannot guarantee the exact age of each piece, we can determine to the best of our ability when it was likely manufactured and during which era it was designed.
Can you make a custom ring?
We are not currently offering bespoke ring services. However, we are happy to recreate rings from our sold gallery. Please contact us directly with any inquires about recreations.
Where do you find your jewelry?
This is the most frequently asked question and a highly guarded trade secret. We scour the earth for the most high quality and exquisite pieces so you don’t have to!
What is the difference between a GIA certification and an EGL certification?
The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, is the jewelry industry’s most respected diamond laboratory. The GIA is the leading source of knowledge, standards, and education on all things jewelry! They use the most stringent diamond grading process, generally grading stones 1-2 shades darker than EGL USA, another well known diamond lab. That being said, clarity grades between the two labs are usually comparable
Why do some of your rings have GIA certificates and others have EGLs?
The GIA will only certify loose unmounted stones, while the EGL offers a grading service for diamonds that are mounted. If we feel that removing the diamond will compromise the integrity of the ring, we will use EGL USA. Otherwise, we send stones to the GIA.
Why do some rings lack certification forms?
We only certify diamonds that are .50 carats and above, with the exception of antique rose cuts. If the stone is below .50 carats, we will grade the diamond in-house.
Do you sell settings without center stones?
We only sell complete rings, center stone and all!
How often do you get new jewelry?
We are always on the hunt for new treasures! Currently, we are adding our new finds to our online shop once a month. To find out when we add new rings, subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Instagram, or check out our blog!
Do you buy jewelry?
Yes, we buy fine antique and vintage jewelry from all eras. We also purchase certain contemporary pieces. If you have jewelry that you are considering selling, whether it’s an entire estate collection or just one piece, please contact us.
Purchasing, Payments and the General Process
After I place an order, when can I expect to receive my item?
Items purchased from our vintage collection can be shipped out almost immediately. However, if the item requires sizing it may take a few additional days. If you are purchasing something from By Erstwhile, items will take approximately four weeks.
Do You Accept Layaway, Payment Plans or Financing?
We are partnered with Affirm to offer financing for up to $17,500. If you would like to finance a purchase over this amount, you may finance up to $17,500 and pay the remaining balance as a down payment. You can see your financing options and terms by selecting Affirm at checkout.
Affirm customer support: firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-423-3729 7am-7pm CST (7 days a week)
Will you hold an item?
Are your prices negotiable?
Nope. We price our items fairly based on the current market. If you can't resist haggling we won't not listen to your offer.
Do you accept deposits?
We only accept payments in full.
What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept all major credit cards, wire transfers, cashier’s or bank checks, personal checks (which will have to clear before the item is sent out) and Paypal. Please contact us directly for wire transfer instructions.
How Much Does Shipping Cost?
Shipping within the United States is free.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes, international shipping is $100. The customer is also responsible for all additional duties, taxes and/or tariffs that might be incurred during shipment.
Can I track my package?
Yes, we’ll email you your tracking information once we’ve generated a shipping label. An email will be delivered via Parcel Pro on our behalf. We use Parcel Pro to ensure that your package arrives to you safe and sound.
How do you ship?
We fully insure all shipments using UPS or FedEx. An adult signature is required to receive all packages
My purchase is a surprise. Is Erstwhile Jewelry written on the outside of the package?
Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us! Your item will arrive in a generic UPS or FedEx box without our name present on the package.
What is Your Return Policy?
All vintage and By Erstwhile items that have not been customized can be returned for a full refund within 14 days of receipt. If you are returning an item that was “recreated” or a By Erstwhile piece that has been customized (i.e. created with smaller or larger stones than the one in the sales photo) the same policy applies, less the 35% deposit. If you are unsure about your purchase, please contact us within 3 days of receipt to discuss the return or exchange. Customers must contact us prior to shipping returns so we can issue a free shipping label.
How long does sizing take?
Sizing can generally be done in a few days.
How Much Does Sizing Cost?
The first sizing is complimentary with the purchase of a ring. Each additional sizing is $80 for gold and $100 for platinum.
Can all of your rings be resized?
Yes, unless stated in the ring's description.
Can you remake anything from your sold collection?
Not all rings in our sold gallery can be remade. Please ask and we’ll let you know.
Do you perform jewelry repairs or sizing on items that were not bought through Erstwhile?
Nope, we only work on our own items.
Do vintage rings require different care?
Generally not. If you have a Victorian or Georgian ring that is close backed or foil backed, then you probably shouldn’t submerge it in water. Very few of our rings include this detail, but if you are concerned, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Do you offer appraisal services?
Yes we do offer appraisal upon checkout. It is done by a trusted third party. We do not offer appraisals on items not purchased from Erstwhile.
Do you offer a warranty?
We stand behind all of our jewelry and we offers a free lifetime warranty against any manufacturing defects.
Do you have a storefront?
We do not currently have a retail location. If you would like to see any of our pieces, you can make an appointment and visit us at our Midtown Manhattan showroom.