The ring of the term ‘vintage jewellery’ can certainly make a woman’s heart flutter, creating visions of gemstone beauty, designer flair and classic heirloom pieces to collect. Vintage engagement rings excite the senses and are a timeless treasure. What is your favourite design era?
1910s Engagement Rings
The Edwardian Experience
The Edwardian era of jewellery ran roughly from 1890-1915 and incorporated beautiful craftsmanship, when jewellers began working with platinum, which became a favourite for its hard qualities and enduring shine. Popular engagement rings of the time included floral designs, ribbons, loops and lots of curvaceous filigrees. Fine lacy patterns with lustrous centre stones including round, oval and marquise cut diamonds. A truly enduring type of jewellery design that is still coveted and collected today.
1920s to 1930s Engagement Rings
The Handcrafted Art Deco Beauty of Geometric Design
The elaborate Art Deco period was named for “The Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes”, The World’s Fair of 1925, highlighting modern arts in many genres. With post war wealth flowing freely, purchasing beautiful jewellery of modern design was considered a good investment. Art Deco embraced the bold shapes, angles and bright colours in their designs. The designers were influenced by African, Asian and South American arts culture. Art Deco engagement rings have strong patterns of octagons, grids, fanning coupled with strong lines, creating a very modern setting that is timeless. Emerald cut diamonds, bright gems such as sapphires, emeralds, onyx and rubies are all popular gemstones set in the centre of this decade of engagement rings. Bright and bold geometric shapes, these art deco rings are extremely popular to display today.
1930s-1940s Engagement Rings
The movie industry was in full swing and the ‘Hollywood celebrity movie star’ label was born, and all that came with it; money, power, real estate, and above all extravagant jewellery. Hollywood stars wore designer engagement rings and luxurious necklaces, brooches and earrings. Women draped in gemstones and diamonds were seen around town, on the red carpet and on the big screen.
With war looming and the financial difficulties recovering from the economic crash, many designers turned to gold as the preferred engagement ring metal. As the war ended, diamonds and precious metals were more readily available, and platinum and diamond engagement rings took on a rise that continues in popularity to this day. Dramatic and romantic, the diamond engagement ring, set in platinum or white gold emerged into the mainstream of every woman’s ring dreams.
1940s-1950 Engagement Rings
“A Diamond is Forever” Decade
With the 1940s end of war era, more soldiers came home to marry their sweethearts and with them came the desire for a new era of engagement ring. Rings had held smaller gemstones or simple and intricately designed gold bands, but that was about to change forever. In 1947, De Beers launched its famous tagline, “A Diamond is Forever.” This implied that diamonds symbolize a marriage that lasts forever. De Beers procured diamond mines and these precious stones became the symbol of the modern engagement ring for everyday women. The mass marketing campaign was global and the luxury of a diamond was a must-have that set the standard for engagement rings.
1950s Engagement Rings
Baguettes and Grandmother’s Diamonds
With so many diamonds available on the market, many people chose to enjoy a new/old engagement ring by repurposing treasured family heirlooms. Engagement rings were often set in engraved or braided band detail with the stones from their mothers and grandmothers vintage engagement rings. By far the most popular with ladies from the 1950s, was the classic large centre diamond with smaller and symmetrical baguettes on the sides set in platinum or white gold. This enduring vintage engagement ring is a popular choice going into the 21st century as well.
1960s Engagement Rings
Timeless Memories of Gemstones
The opulence and first-class jewellery couture of the 1960s was reflected in women like Elizabeth Taylor and her large, ‘dripping’ diamonds, along with First Lady Jackie Kennedy and her timeless engagement ring that was redesigned with more art deco diamond and emerald style. The decade of gemstones surrounded by diamonds became a lasting symbol of beauty, and a vintage engagement ring from this decade is a popular piece to complement any woman’s wardrobe.
There is a vintage or art deco style to suit just about everyone’s taste, and many enduring and beautiful examples are still available today for the woman who knows what she wants in an engagement ring.