Vintage Engagement Rings: A Style Guide

No matter the type, the gem, or the setting, an engagement ring tells a love story. However, vintage engagement rings might have a story with more chapters than others, as they are imbued with the history of those who lived before us.

Engagement rings have gone through many different stages of fashion over the decades. Each of these vintage styles were influenced by the times and have their own distinct features that make them unique. Let’s take a look at some of the most common vintage engagement rings.

Victorian Engagement Rings
Victorian engagement rings are among the most popular in the world, but few, perhaps, know just how popular! The ubiquitous solitaire diamond ring first debuted during this period, in the late nineteenth century.

As Queen Victoria’s reign overlapped with the Industrial Revolution, it was during this period that engagement and wedding bands were first mass-produced. This created the era of making luxurious, ornate rings available for all engaged couples, not only those able to commission a hand-wrought piece.

Another trend that is rooted in the Victorian age and has recently become fashionable is rose gold. The beautiful pink color was the shade to have. It was molded into the solitaire band, but also into more ornate rings with sculpted birds, flowers, Gothic letters, and even snakes!

Art Deco Engagement Rings
Authentic Art Deco engagement rings are among the most highly-prized vintage engagement rings in modernity. However, the geometric designs and colorful settings of the Art Deco movement were favorites of many people long before the 1920s. In fact, it’s thought that the discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 and the treasures therein helped launch the main themes of the Art Deco movement.

The metals of choice were all minimalist white-gold or platinum to show off the designs and the jewels as much as possible. New cuts of gems, such as baguettes, triangles, and diamonds really came in vogue to enhance the modern, geometric feel of the Art Deco movement.

The channel setting, in particular, was the most popular of the time, as were diamonds and mother-of-pearl; however, all gemstones were beloved by ring-bearers of the day. Many Art Deco rings feature emerald, jade, sapphires, and even black onyx and rubies.

Retro Engagement Rings
After the troubled times of World War II had passed, America was newly able to devote time, resources, and money to jewelry — and they did so with aplomb. The whole country was ready for fun, new life, and a re-injection of energy into society. Most of the fun, colorful, and (in some cases) avant-garde rings to come out of this era speak to this need.

With the glitz and glamor of the 1940’s Hollywood era in the back of everyone’s mind, costume jewelry and cocktail jewelry first came on the scene which emphasized bling and luxury even for those who didn’t have the capital to spend on real gemstones.

The engagement rings made during this period take inspiration from the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Deco, and Art Nouveau eras that preceded it, often combining hard geometry with softer movement in their sculpted styles. Ribbons with blocks, ovals with rectangles, circles with squares: symmetry meeting symmetry was the defining theme of the designs of the time!

The most popular metal was platinum, and fascinatingly, the motifs most often seen in rings made in this time are scrolls, flags, flowers, and stars. This was perhaps emblematic of post-war patriotism and a wish to look forward to the growth of the future. 

Regardless of the type of ring you choose, it’s sure to be a perfect match for your unique love story. However, now that you know a little more about the history behind these rings, you’ll be able to choose a beautiful, historic engagement ring with confidence.

This article is provided by Clean Origin.