Art Deco engagement rings recall an era of glamour and sophistication: elegant and timeless, this ring style is trending! Find out how to pick the right diamond shape, metal and more to create this style for your own engagement ring.
Art Deco was a prominent style for jewelry in the 1920s and 1930s, characterized by geometric patterns and abstract designs using diamonds and gems in contrasting colors. The fact that it was a hit was no surprise: flappers and suffragettes of the Roaring 20s had little interest in wearing tiaras, diadems, cameos and other staples of the grandes dames of Victorian England (1837-1901). Rather, they wanted rings, long necklaces, long earrings and bracelets that complemented their short skirts, shorter hair, plunging necklines – and new sense of self.
The beauty of Art Deco jewelry still captivates us: engagement rings from the Art Deco era continue to speak to the hearts and sensibilities of modern-day brides who favor simple, geometric lines. But rather than seek out a vintage ring from that period, it may be more practical to design your own engagement ring, using Art Deco jewelry design motifs as a rich source of inspiration. Here are some of the most important design elements to consider.
Art Deco Engagement Rings: Geometric Shapes
The use of geometric shapes in Art Deco designs is one of the defining characteristics of this period. Jewelry designers used shapes like triangles, squares, rectangles and circles in their creations. These stylistic choices were meant to capture the streamlined, modern spirit of the time.
Art Deco jewelry designers carried the geometric motif into their choices of gemstone and diamond shapes, incorporating a number of unusual shapes in their designs. These included rectangular shapes such as emerald cuts and baguettes, triangles, shields, pear and marquise shapes.
Art Deco Engagement Rings: Bold Contrasting Colors
Bold color contrasts were a signature style of the Art Deco era. Jewelry designers achieved dramatic results using diamonds with rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. They also relied on coral, jade, lapis lazuli, and turquoise to make colorful color contrasts.
If you’re looking to add color to your Art Deco style engagement ring, you have many gemstones to choose from. Here are just a few examples of the varieties of green gemstones, blue gemstones and pink gemstones you might consider.
Art Deco Engagement Rings: Black and White
There’s no bolder contrast than stark black and white and this combination is a telltale sign of the Art Deco style. Jewelry designers often achieved the look by combining diamonds or crystals with black onyx and/or black enameling. This color combination was a dramatic departure from the pastel colors of the Art Nouveau era.
Art Deco Engagement Rings: Diamonds and Platinum
Diamonds were the gemstone of choice during the Art Deco period. These were often set in platinum, a metal jewelry designers favored for its strength and resistance to tarnishing. Platinum’s malleability also allowed jewelers to create the precise and intricate shapes and outlines typical of Art Deco jewelry. A popular and visually striking combination of the era: a large, colorless diamond, set in platinum often in a solitaire setting and flanked by symmetrical diamond side stones.
Small diamonds as accent stones were popular, too, and were often seen in pavé settings, a setting technique that evolved during this period.
If you’re looking for a more affordable alternative to platinum and still retain the Art Deco style, you’ll be happy to know that white gold and yellow gold were also often used, particularly during the Depression years of the 1930s.
Art Deco Engagement Rings: Diamond Cuts
We mentioned popular Art Deco era diamond shapes above, but here we’d like to call out two diamond cuts of the period, which you can replicate in an Art Deco style engagement ring.
An emerald cut diamond, with its simple, clean and symmetrical outline evokes the understated elegance we often associate with the era. It was a popular choice in its day and is making a comeback – thanks in part to celebrities like George Clooney and Brad Pitt who gave their spouses emerald cut engagement rings. Clarity and color are two important quality characteristics for this style of cut. Learn what to look for in an emerald cut diamond.
Another popular diamond cut of the Art Deco era was the faceted round brilliant, a precursor to today’s modern round brilliant cut diamond. Sometimes referred to as old European cuts or “transitional cuts”, the round brilliants of this period generally have a slightly different diamond anatomy than their modern-day counterparts. These diamonds tend to have smaller table facets and larger culets, star facets and lower half facets. If you rock or tilt one of these older-style diamonds, you’ll see a different face-up pattern of light and dark than you would with a contemporary brilliant cut diamond.
Although you can still find these older round brilliant diamonds, you can get a similar look with the modern round brilliant cut diamond. Here’s what to look for in a modern round brilliant cut diamond.
Either way, it’s important is to view the diamond in person to determine which diamond is right for you.
Old European Cut
Diamond on platinum… geometric shapes… bold colors… black and white – these were some of the most important elements of Art Deco engagement rings! If the style appeals to you, you can either find an antique for the love of your life or custom design a ring of your very own. If you opt for the latter, our Guide to Custom Made Engagement Rings will show you how!