Engagement Ring Shopping Part 2: Styles, Fashions & Trends

Engagement Ring Shopping Part 2: Styles, Fashions & Trends

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!

How to Preserve & Keep Your Jewelry

How to Preserve & Keep Your Jewelry

Our fine jewelry, and even our fashion jewelry, are often some of our most prized possessions. Passed down through generations or given to us by our spouse, preserving and caring for your jewelry is an important part of actually owning it.

So maybe you just got engaged, and are wondering "how am I going to keep the shine and sparkle in this beautiful ring?" Or maybe you are doing a little spring cleaning and have come across an old heirloom spoon ring your mother gave you 15+ years ago, telling yourself "I wish I would have taken better care of this." Either way, we are here to help guide you take some simple, and very beneficial steps to caring for your jewelry!

Most of us are not aware of how to take care of fine jewelry, nor do we realize what all is harmful to our jewelry. Having the appropriate jewelry box and cases are very important to preserving jewelry (high quality or fashion). Below we have listed out, with detail, the appropriate steps to taking care of your jewelry. We hope you enjoy!

1 –Choose a jewelry box with a soft lining and one that can keep pieces separate

Start by selecting a jewelry box that provides the best protection for your jewelry, like a storage option with a solid exterior, as it provides added protection. Don't forget the purpose of all those dividers are to prevent scratches on settings, kinks in chains, tarnishing of silver and damaged gemstones. A place to hang necklaces is ideal for storing and can prevent a jumbled mess. If at any point your jewelry begins to touch each other, opt for a bigger box or a free-standing jewelry armoire. Another added benefit to proper jewelry storage is prevention of stolen jewelry by thieves.

2 – Store jewelry types separately

All jewelry is unique and deserves special attention - after all, they are wearable works of art, aren't they? With fine jewelry, like diamonds, pearls and colored gemstones, each has its own specifications when it comes to storage. As do gold, platinum and sterling silver metals. Diamonds by nature are the hardest gemstone. For this very reason it is best to keep diamond jewelry stored separately in soft cloth pouches. Pearls are fragile and soft. Meaning they must have an extra soft interior space for storing. As a general rule of thumb, colored gemstones should be cleaned with a damp cloth after wearing and before storing away. This helps with the preservation of the stones. Gold jewelry can be easily damaged by scratches from hard gemstones (i.e. diamonds). Keep gold jewelry stored separately in soft cloth bags or in their original boxes. Though platinum jewelry is exceptionally strong, this does not mean they do not receive special attention when it comes to storing. Platinum can still be scratched, so these items should also be stored separately. Silver jewelry has a tendency to oxidize over time. Therefore, silver jewelry should always be kept completely dry, inside tarnish-proof cloths and away from any exposure to air.

3 – Provide the best environment

Avoid extreme temperatures and humidity, and direct sunlight. It is best to store jewelry in cool, clean and dry places. Excessive heat and direct sunlight, overtime, can cause some metals and gemstones to change colors. Humidity can also have adverse effects on jewelry. It can cause clasp weakening and can harm certain gemstones. Avoiding hair sprays, makeup, lotions, powders, soaps, etc. are necessary precautions to take with providing the best environment possible for jewelry.

4 – Keep jewelry stored away while cleaning inside with chemicals, outside in the yard and while swimming

The chemicals in household products, such as bleach, and the chemicals in pools/hot tubs, such as chlorine, can have harmful effects on metals and gemstones. It is best to not ware any jewelry at all while coming into contact with such chemicals. Keeping your jewelry stored safely inside is also a best practice while doing yard work. Too many times people have lost a gemstone or diamond because of loose prongs. Which brings us into our next suggestion...

5 – Have jewelry checked regularly and cleaned regularly by your local jeweler

On top of storing jewelry correctly and safely, this has to be one of the most important preventable actions you could take. Each time you bring your jewelry into W. P. Shelton Jewelers, we check for any loose gemstones, diamonds and prongs, while also giving it a good cleaning. We suggest setting up an appointment once a year to have the rhodium plating recoated on your white gold rings. This makes it look as if your jewelry is new again. If it has been a while since you brought your jewelry in...now is the time for some "spring cleaning!"

Our store is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays, from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Be sure to check the times on our website, as they change during some seasons of the year.