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Vintage Engagement Ring Designs Throughout The Decades

Did you know that the history of women’s engagement rings can be traced back to Ancient Roman times?

Just like everything else, engagement ring styles and trends have changed and evolved over time. Here is a brief breakdown of the styles since 1900:

1900 to 1920

From 1900 to 1920, engagement and wedding rings were characterized by the Edwardian Style, after the rich and opulent style of the English King, Edward VII. Diamonds were the gemstone of choice for this era and settings were intricate and feminine set in bezels of silver, white gold, and platinum. Delicate, lace-like filigree designs and romantic details were incorporated in ring designs whenever possible.

1920 to 1940

During “The Roaring Twenties” engagement rings were all about the bold geometric patterns of Art Deco design matching the excitement of a booming economy and exciting social and political change. These engagement rings also often introduced vivid colored gemstones such as rubies, emeralds, and sapphires mixed in with the classic diamonds for a fun twist.

From August 1929 to March 1933, the Great Depression impacted even the engagement rings of the time. Jewelry became much more modest with smaller stones, thinner metals, and more detailing of the metal to add details to the scaled-back designs.

Gold became more popular during the time of World War II because raw platinum stores were used toward the war effort. Diamonds were hard to come by and this brought rise to the “illusion style” rings that became popular during this time. Illusion-style rings used unique styling and patterns of the surrounding metals to make the smaller diamonds used in engagement rings look larger.

1940 to 1960

While the beginning of the 1940s still marked the scaled-back simplicity of jewelry during a time of war, the styles in the years after the war offered another dramatic shift in style. Synthetic gemstones for jewelry were introduced, offering a much more affordable option for beautiful rings without the cost of naturally mined gemstones. Diamonds as a center stone also saw a huge increase in popularity, in large part due to one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history by popular jeweler, De Beers’. New diamond cuts were introduced and jewelers began experimenting with unique designs and elaborate details.

The 1950s brought the more “classic” engagement ring that you may think of today with a round, brilliant-cut diamond solitaire set in a simple gold band. Perfect minimalist style that stands the test of time.

1960 to 1980

Beginning in the 1960s, jewelry styles began to see a huge impact by popular and celebrity culture, and the engagement ring styles followed suit. Famous figures like Jackie Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor were perceived as style icons and Taylor’s gigantic 35-carat diamond engagement diamond from Richard Burton was the ring dreams were made of!

In the 1970s, the rise of large, geometric, and angular cuts reminiscent of disco culture designs took off in popularity. Square stones and tapered baguettes ruled the style.

1980 to 2000

Continuing the trend of popular culture’s impact on engagement rings, in 1982, Princess Diana picked a now-famous blue sapphire sunburst halo ring as her engagement ring, bringing back the popularity of gemstones in engagement rings. This era was all about unique stones and baguettes, reflecting the styles of the 1980s.

The most recent “vintage” decade is the 1990s where minimalist designs and marquise cut stones reigned supreme.

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