Last month, in Part 1, we went over some major factors that affect the cost of the ring…now it is time for the fun part…styles, fashions and trends of rings. We are going back in time to discuss all the decades’ most popular engagement ring trends and much more!
Before we begin, we must go over the history of engagement rings dating back to the ancient Egyptians. They have been found buried with metal wire around their third finger on their left hands. It is believed that this finger is directly connected to the heart by a vein.
The first use of a diamond ring to signify an engagement, most historians believe, was in 1477 when Archduke Maximillian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a gold ring with tiny diamonds in the shape of an "M.”
By the 1600s and 1700s engagement and wedding ring references were made in Shakespeare’s plays. Silver rings would be given to mark the engagement, and then a gold ring would replace it upon the wedding.
Before we can get into the twentieth century, and all its decades of fashions. There is one last era to discuss, the Victorian. Rare as it may have been at the time, Queen Victoria was very much in love with her husband Albert. The era was a very romantic time because of her love. The engagement rings of that time were referred to as the Victorian style, often featuring whimsical and romantic motifs, like hearts, bows, flowers and even snakes (at the time were seen as a symbol of eternity).
After a large deposit of diamonds were discovered in South Africa towards the end of the Victorian Era, the diamond engagement rings became more common.
During the Edwardian Era (1900-1910), fine jewelry was within reach of more people than ever before due to the Industrial Revolution bringing about an increase of prosperity and a growing middle class in Europe and America. The Edwardian style often featured diamonds in lacy and ornate platinum designs.
Now, onto the trends of the decades…beginning with the roaring 20’s and into the 30’s! The styles at this time reflected the geometric Art Deco aesthetic and the era’s love of all things modern. Often, they were accented with colorful precious gems such as sapphires and rubies. The settings that were most popular at the time were platinum and white gold.
In the 40’s the trend shifted back towards a more feminine style, featuring motifs such as ribbons, bows and flowers. Engagement rings were often big and bold despite the hardships of WWII. Gold was the choice of metal at the time since platinum was used for the war effort and scarce. Some budget-conscious couples turned to synthetic sapphires and rubies due to the prices of real diamonds.
We have Audrey Hepburn’s husband to thank for having kicked off the stackable ring trends in the 50s that are still going strong today. The reasoning for these rings? So that Audrey could switch them out to match her outfit (white gold, yellow gold and rose gold colors).
Post war, during the 60’s, platinum increased in popularity again. First lady Jacqueline Kennedy’s emerald cut diamond ring made this cut diamond an in-demand gemstone for many brides-to-be. Back during this era, Richard Burton gave Elizabeth Taylor a ring featuring a 33-carat asscher-cut diamond, which makes Kim and Kayne’s 15-carat ring look small.
During the 70’s the era did away with many things from the past, and introduced new shapes like the very popular square princess and radiant cuts.
The wedding of the decade (and maybe even longer than that to some) was that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. Her oval sapphire engagement ring set some major trends for decades to follow.
The one style that has been sought after since the beginning of the twenty-first century is the solitaire. Even with the internet playing a huge role in providing more information to couples, and styles rise and fall year by year, this simplistic style will always remain a popular one.
Coming into the 2010 decade, the halo style has made a name for itself. While the style is nothing "new,” the increased popularity and must have for this style has definitely been top of the selling charts. A halo of diamonds around the center stone is not only appealing to the eyes, but easier on the wallet. It allows for a larger look without spending more than you want.
While trends come and go just like the decades, the love that each engagement ring represents will last a lifetime. Allow us to be a part of your journey together, and we will find the perfect ring for you! We offer special financing to give you affordable monthly payments, custom ring designs, and much more!