Buying vintage clothes and indulging in old-timey styles is currently the height of luxury. Young people enjoy emulating their favorite icons while putting fresh spins on antique and vintage styles. Engagement rings are no different.
Here, we’re going to talk about vintage diamond rings and the styles that you can choose from before proposing. Read on for some custom ring ideas that you’re sure to love.
What Are Vintage Diamond Rings?
“Vintage” is technically a term that describes anything 20+ years old. Many people mix this up with “antique” items, which are 100+ years old.
This means that as of 2022, a vintage engagement ring would be any piece created prior to 2002. However, when we colloquially talk about vintage pieces, we usually are referring to styles that were popular between the 1920s and 1980s.
In fact, most people use “vintage” to describe a style of engagement ring rather than its actual age. Most vintage-ring buyers are looking for a custom piece made today rather than something you’d find at an antique store. Modern vintage-style rings are the norm.
The Victorian Era began in 1837 and concluded in early 1901.
This era saw a huge variety of designs and materials that people liked to choose from. In fact, most jewelry enthusiasts divide this era into three styles: the early, middle, and late-period designs. Regardless of what part of the era you’re looking to emulate, there were some design staples throughout the era.
Diamond Cuts and Patterns
Most Victorian rings were solitaire pieces, meaning that they featured a single main diamond within the center of the band. However, unlike many of today’s solitaire rings, the diamonds were usually small and subtle. They were usually cut with Old European cuts, old mine cuts, and rose cuts.
While set with a single main diamond, though, Victorian antique rings usually had more complex designs surrounding the band. A vintage diamond cluster ring with densely-consolidated diamonds across the band would have been a popular choice. Rows and halos also made for more complex and luxurious designs.
Motifs and Colors
Most Victorian rings included motifs like bows, hearts, and birds. Other shapes were also popular including marquise styles. These mirror-looking designs are pointed at both ends with equally curved sides to contour the center stone.
Speaking of motifs, playing with color was also popular during the Victorian era. Blue was Queen Victoria’s favorite color, and she was regarded as a fashion icon as well as a monarch. She was also responsible for coming up with the idea of white weddings!
In any case, people would use a lot of blue enamel on antique rings as well as turquoise. Common band metals were yellow and rose gold.
Art Deco Styles
Rings from the Edwardian Era (1901-1910) are also considered antique. They’re very similar to Victorian rings but have more intricate band designs and ornate detail. These styles continued to persist and evolve until the beginning of the Art Deco design era in 1920.
These rings- a blend of the vintage and the antique- took a complete 180 from Victorian and Edwardian designs. They relied heavily on boldness and showcased larger stones, geometric shapes, and repeating patterns within each piece.
Art Deco rings are usually considered vintage rather than antique despite the time period they’re from. In fact, these styles are some of the most popular among modern vintage enthusiasts.
Stone Cuts and Colors
Interestingly, the Art Deco era didn’t see a lot of diamond rings. While wealthy people still used diamonds to profess their love, they weren’t affordable to many consumers during the Great Depression.
Affordable- and colorful– stones like garnet and amethyst began to replace them. Colored glass was also an attractive option for many buyers. This means that an Art Deco-style ring is a great choice for those whose partners love to spruce up their outfits with a pop of color!
Cut-wise, step-cuts became popular because of their geometric shapes. These styles included emerald cuts and Asscher cuts.
Band Designs and Motifs
Art Deco rings were all about heavy and sharp-edged designs. Gone were the curved marquise edges and soft stone cuts of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Main stones were often set in hexagonal or pentagonal frames.
The diamond vintage ring bands also generally had impressive metalwork. There would be intricate repeated angles that studded the surface of the band with texture. They would then be set with tiny beads called “milgrain” for additional complexity.
Retro Era Rings
Retro Era rings are just as popular today as their Art Deco alternatives are. The retro era of jewelry took place between 1940 and 1960. World War II had a huge impact on their designs and styles.
Simpler designs were necessary because of World War II budgets and rationing. Solitaire rings became popular again as they were in the Victorian era. However, they also retained some of the geometric features of Art Deco pieces.
Stone Cuts and Band Materials
Though World War II brought simpler ring styles back, there was more economic prosperity for common consumers than there had been during the Great Depression. Diamonds became popular again. The size of central stones also grew once people found their financial footing again.
This is the era when modern round diamond cuts became popular. These simple cuts would often be framed by baguette side stones in a geometric frame. However, some people did opt for softer styles that lacked geometric looks.
Bands were usually made from yellow, rose, and white gold. Two-toned pieces that featured multiple gold types were also popular.
Most ring bands during this era were simple because of rationing restrictions. Because of this, thin and plain bands were popularized. The stones would be set into the band with prongs and securely fastened.
Get Custom Fine Pieces Made Today
Vintage diamond rings are a classic for a reason: they never go out of style. Now that you know some of the diamond cuts and band designs that you can use when creating your perfect engagement ring, it’s time to begin the process of making something that your partner will love.
Finer Custom Jewelry is committed to helping you design, visualize, and ultimately craft the engagement band of your dreams. Our experts understand vintage styles and have the knowledge and tools needed for an authentic look. Schedule an appointment to speak with us, show us a rough sketch of your piece, and learn how we can bring your vision to life.