While some brides-to-be prefer a classic solitaire engagement ring, others long for something with a bit more charm and character. Hence the recent revival of magnificent Art Deco engagement rings. The Art Deco era is popularly referred to as the Roaring 20’s, a decade known for its artistic and cultural vigor, and the jewelry is no exception. Art Deco engagement rings are truly one-of-a-kind, offering distinct designs that you just don’t see every day. If an antique or vintage engagement ring is something that piques your interest, continue reading to learn more about one of history’s most beloved eras.
The Art Deco Period
The Art Deco era spanned from about 1915 to 1935, and marked a period of progress, exploration, and exuberance. The name “Art Deco” is derived from the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts that took place in Paris, France in 1925. This World’s Fair ran for 7 months, and featured nearly 15,000 exhibits that highlighted the new style moderne of architecture, furniture, decorative art, and of course—jewelry.
Art Deco Influences
The Art Deco period drew influence from a few different art styles of the 20th century. Besides borrowing inspiration from Aztec and Egyptian art, Art Deco designs embodied the geometric shapes of Cubism, the mechanical forms of Constructivism and Futurism, and the vibrant colors of Parisian Fauvism. Following the first World War, the economy was flourishing, jazz music was booming, and Prohibition was in full swing. The country appeared to be moving in a more modern direction, and the Art Deco style perfectly captured the spirit and enthusiasm of the era.
Art Deco Engagement Ring Elements
When shopping for an Art Deco engagement ring, there are some key characteristics to look out for. Identifying these unique design elements will help you determine which jewelry did in fact originate from the era. The following are just a few defining hallmarks of Art Deco engagement rings to help you narrow your search!
One of the defining characteristics of Art Deco engagement rings is the use of geometric shapes. Hexagons, triangles, squares, and other linear shapes were used to create symmetrical styles that are simply striking on the hand.
Filigree & Milgrain Details
Art Deco engagement rings are often incredibly detailed, with intricate design elements like filigree and milgraining. Filigree is the delicate metal work characteristic of most vintage designs. Thanks to advancements in technology, filigree during the Art Deco era was exceptionally complex and precise. Such elaborate metal work is difficult to replicate, even with today’s techniques. Filigree is often paired with milgraining, which is tiny metal beading used as a border for various types of jewelry. Boasting such quality and attention to detail, Art Deco engagement rings are true masterpieces to cherish and preserve.
Bold Contrasting Colors
Contrary to the delicate, flowing style of the Edwardian era, Art Deco jewelry emphasized vibrant, contrasting colors that really catch the eye. Art Deco engagement ring designs commonly pair diamonds with vivid, colorful gemstones like emerald, sapphire, and ruby. This era of jewelry also saw the use of other, less common gems like coral, jade, and onyx. These precious stones were arranged in exotic shapes and patterns to create magnificent pieces of art.
Platinum & Diamonds
While colorful gemstones were certainly popular, diamonds were still the preferred centerpiece of Art Deco engagement rings. Diamonds were most often set in platinum, the metal of choice for the period. Jewelry makers favored platinum for its strength and durability, and because it was malleable enough to create the elaborate designs that were in such high-demand. White gold was also used as an affordable alternative to platinum, while yellow and rose gold were rarely used and considered to be out of style.
- Old Mine Cut- Old mine cut diamonds were an early variation of the round brilliant cut. This diamond cut has a high crown, small table, and large culet, and most closely resembles a modern cushion cut.
- Old European Cut- Thanks to new technology, diamond cutters started crafting rounder diamonds, resulting in the old European cut. This particular shape shares more in common with the round brilliant cut, and even had the same number of facets.
- Emerald Cut- Emerald cut diamonds are a type of step-cut diamond that’s rectangular in shape with beveled corners. This type of diamond cut creates the illusion of a staircase, or hall of mirrors, for a look that’s truly mesmerizing.
- Asscher Cut- Asscher cut diamonds are another variation of step-cut stones, only with a square shape and large step facets. This diamond’s high crown produces incredible brilliance, and a kaleidoscopic effect similar to that of an emerald cut.
How to Buy an Art Deco Engagement Ring
Before buying an Art Deco engagement ring, there are some things to keep in mind. Because engagement rings from this era have intricate design elements, they can sometimes be tricky to resize. If you have your eye on an engagement ring, and are uncertain about its size, be sure to ask your jeweler before finalizing any purchase. Additionally, antique engagement rings don’t generally come with a diamond grading report, as this is a relatively new practice. Don’t immediately be deterred if your jeweler can’t provide a certification for the ring in question. The most important piece of advice for finding the perfect Art Deco engagement ring is to shop with a reputable jeweler. Not all jewelers offer the same quality and selection of antique and vintage engagement rings, which is why you should only shop with someone you trust.
Shop the Best Selection of Antique & Vintage Engagement Rings
There’s only one place in San Diego where you can find astonishing Art Deco engagement rings, and that’s Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Rings Store! Our selection of antique and vintage engagement rings is unrivaled, and spans every decade imaginable. Discover the ideal engagement ring to complement your extraordinary style without having to spend a fortune. At Leo Hamel’s, you can be confident that every item we carry is of the utmost quality, whether it’s 10 years old or a hundred. Don’t waste another minute shopping online or at a big-box jewelry store, and visit Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Rings Store instead!