Vintage Vows: A History Of Vintage Engagement Rings Over The Years

Author Sam Hussey
Date Feb 15, 2021

Your love is one-of-a-kind, shouldn't your engagement ring be too? This year, it's all about vintage vows! From the romantic designs of the Victorian Era to the flashy diamond intensive style of Modern engagement rings, vintage engagement rings are all the rage on the Red Carpet and throughout Hollywood.

Whether you're a history lover or not, there is something to be said about the tradition and significance of giving/receiving a vintage engagement ring. Antique rings combine the romance of an era's past with details you can't find on more modern rings, like filigree and hand craftmanship.

You'll be amazed to see how engagement rings have transformed over the years. Pick your favorite era, and see a few of our favorite examples from the Long's estate collection for each:

1) Victorian Era (1835-1900)

A History Of Diamond Vintage Engagement Rings Victorian Era

Featuring: Vintage 14K White Gold Diamond Ring

Romantic, bold, and feminine. The intricate designs of this era were a reflection of the famous Queen Victoria, and the unconditional love she had for her husband. You don't have to be a history lover to appreciate the exquisite craftsmanship in Victorian diamond engagement rings.

Evolving from the Gregorian Era, Victorian jewelry is known for its nature-inspired designs. Diamond engagement rings of this era can be distinguished by the exquisite foliage and floral patterns that mark both gold and silver settings.

The bezel set beauty, featured above, is truly a one-of-a-kind Victorian engagement ring. The beautiful floral engravings adorning both sides of the stone as well as the unbelievably detailed design of the rest of the white gold setting is notably Victorian. Exude the royal tastes of Queen Victoria with Victorian style engagement rings.

2) The Edwardian Era (1900-1915)

A History Of Diamond Vintage Engagement Rings Edwardian Era

Featuring: Vintage 14K White Gold Diamond Ring

Named after Queen Victoria’s son, Edward, the Edwardian era was characterized by a unique style all its own. Influenced by the architectural styles of the time, Edwardian jewelry highlights a return to refined elegance.

Engagement rings were transformed with sophisticated lace-like designs centered around the most popular stones of the era: diamonds, sapphires, and pearls. These rings are light and airy and have greater levels of intricacy with their staple filigree designs.

The antique treasure featured above is unlike any you'll find adorning the hands of your peers. As was typical of diamond engagement rings at this time, the ring has two side stones that are woven into the white gold setting with the beautiful, hand crafted filigree.

3) Art Deco (1915-1935)

A History Of Diamond Vintage Engagement Rings Art Deco

Featuring: Vintage Platinum Diamond Ring (left), Art Deco Platinum Diamond Ring (right)

The roaring 20’s - A time where women defied society's standards gaining more power and confidence than ever before. The 'rules' were changing for what women could wear, say, do... so naturally engagement ring styles came to reflect this new-found image.

Evolving from the delicately designed engagement rings of previous eras, Art Deco rings feature more geometric and angular patterns emphasizing symmetry in the jewelry.

Thankfully, advances in technology and production allowed these creative styles to flourish. Stones during this time were cut in strict linear shapes, which is why rings from this era will most likely feature elongated baguettes, Old European cuts, or single cut gems. This Art Deco look inspires a variety of engagement ring and fine jewelry styles today!

4) Retro (1935-1950)

A History Of Diamond Vintage Engagement Rings Retro

Featuring: Chaumet Paris 18K Yellow Gold Diamond Band (left),18K Yellow Gold Sapphire and Diamond Ring (right)

Define jewelry in the Retro time period with three words? Easy. Polished. Yellow Gold.

Inspired by Hollywood glam, both yellow gold and rose gold took the stage as the preferred metal choices for engagement rings during this time. The desire for diamond ring to to embody wealth, class, and beauty spread across the jewelry industry, setting a new gold standard.

While diamonds remained the number one choice for engagement rings, Retro engagement rings also increasingly used other precious gemstones as center stones, choosing to accent them with diamonds (see above). If you appreciate history and you're looking for a bold ring that radiates the glamour and opulence of high-end jewelry in the 50's, a Retro engagement ring is the perfect choice.

5) Classic (1940-Present)

A History Of Diamond Vintage Engagement Rings Classic

Featuring: Long's Vintage Platinum 3 Stone Diamond Ring

Classic, timeless, and elegant. Traditional engagement ring designs took on a lighter, more refined look compared to the polished gold Retro rings. Classic style engagement rings still remain extremely popular today. These are the diamond rings that are passed down from generation to generation and never seem to go out of style.

Do you want a ring you can love for a lifetime? One that is characterized not only by its simple delicate style, but by its history? A classic ring, like the vintage one featured above, is a ring style you will never get tired of.

6) Modern (1950-Present)

A History Of Diamond Vintage Engagement Rings Modern

Featuring: 18K White Gold Sapphire and Diamond Ring (left), Platinum Diamond Solitaire Engagement Ring (right)

Modern engagement ring designs = diamonds, diamonds, and more diamonds! These engagement ring settings are made to display the diamond in a way that makes the most of its sparkle and shine. Where Classic engagement rings are simple, Modern sparklers take on a flashy, bold, and distinct look.

It was during this time that platinum once again became the metal of choice for diamond rings, often featuring engraved finishes or braided rope patterns. As you can see from the rings featured above, there was/is no such thing as too many diamonds for Modern engagement rings.

Are you looking for a unique vintage ring with a contemporary twist? The two rings featured above are our favorite Modern finds from our estate collection.

Fall in love with any of these gorgeous rings? Contact us now to make them yours or browse our extensive online estate collection now for even more stunning diamond vintage engagement rings!

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