More and more brides are now looking to the past for inspo for their bridal bling. We love vintage engagement rings for their distinctive elegance, personality, and history. Vintage engagement rings are more than just a standard center stone and diamond-dusted setting, they have a personalized intricacy and sophistication that can match your one-of-a-kind-style. Whether you prefer a Gatsby-inspired art deco engagement ring or if you love the flair of an Edwardian-style engagement ring, you can be sure to design a ring that is elegant and makes vintage look modern.
1. Victorian Engagement Rings
(The Courtney sapphire sunburst engagement ring)
The Victorian era, 1830s-1900, was a period embedded with romance and luxury, and it’s engagement rings are a testimony to that. Victorian-inspired rings are often crafted of gold and feature a halo setting of various brightly colored gemstones. Diamonds were first popularized during the Victorian era with the very first solitaire diamond engagement rings appearing. The Emily, pictured above, features a striking blue sapphire center stone surrounded by a romantic floral halo of diamond melee and a rose gold band for a bold finish. It is also common to see clusters of diamonds framed into a circular or squared shape, such as The Margaret, featured below.
(The Margaret sapphire filigree mandala ring)
2. Edwardian Engagement Rings
(The Robin repurposed heirloom diamond ring)
Light, airy, and feminine are all typical descriptions of an Edwardian engagement ring, like The Robin, featured above. The Edwardian era, 1900-1915, was the height of elegance and sophistication. Diamonds were often the gemstone of choice; however, bold aquamarine stones were also typical, like The Brooke. The period is best known for the introduction of filigree and milgraining techniques as decorative enhancements. Both are used to give an engagement ring a lacy, flowering aesthetic. Filigree rings use delicate threads of precious metals to create an ornate, sparkling band and setting, shown in The Angila. You can see the ethereal effects of milgraining on The Katya and The Jessica, pictured below. Both rings have diamonds surrounding the center stone to add a soft, graceful appeal.
(The Jessica pear morganite engagement ring)
3. Art Nouveau Engagement Rings
(The Megan ruby art nouveau engagement ring)
Overlapping the Victorian and Edwardian periods from 1895 to 1915 was the era of Art Nouveau. This period was in many ways a revolt against the industrial age and relied on the techniques of hand-craftsmanship and creative designs. Another way Art Nouveau jewelers decided to go against the grain was by using diamonds sparingly, and instead choosing moonstones, rubies, and opals as the center stone. The Megan, above, is a perfect example of the artistic and unique elements of the Art Nouveau period. It features a deep red ruby, accented by champagne-colored diamonds that forgoes tradition.
4. Art Deco Engagement Rings
(The Valerie split band ruby engagement ring)
The “Roaring 20s” ushered in a new appreciation and zeal for life, and the desire to live life to the fullest was reflected in the jewelry trends of the Art Deco period, 1915-1935. The designs expressed individual freedom, exploration, and enjoyment, like the eye-catching features of The Valerie, above. The easiest way to spot an Art Deco-inspired piece of jewelry is its use of vivid, geometric shapes. Art Deco rings also tend to use sharper lines and brighter colors, particularly emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. The Melissa (pictured below) features a bright green emerald halo that is sturdy, yet sophisticated. Platinum and gold were the metals of choice for engagement rings, but many were also made with white gold for an alternative, more affordable choice. The Art Deco period also saw the introduction of the brilliant cut, which is still popular today in many modern engagement rings. The brilliant cut adds a brilliance and fire to the center stone, as shown in The Margie. Art Deco-inspired jewelry is perfect for those bold, edgy brides.
(The Melissa emerald halo art deco engagement ring)
5. Retro Engagement Rings
(The Gina emerald cut emerald engagement ring)
During the Retro era, 1935 to 1950, the glitz and glamour of Hollywood became the major inspiration for jewelry trends. The use of big, three-dimensional shapes, as well as bright yellow and rose gold metals makes it identifiable. Think large emerald cut center stones and thick yellow gold bands. The Gina, pictured above, is a show-stopper with a stunning emerald-green emerald surrounded by a halo of diamond milgrain detail. Rings from the Retro period are not for the faint of heart.
Vintage inspired engagement rings are a modern testament to the beautiful, ingenious jewelry designs of the past 100 years. The styles of the Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Retro periods set the precedent for future engagement rings. Each is uniquely alluring and timeless.
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