Engagement Ring Trends Across the Decades
Engagement rings are nothing new. As early as 1477, women were sporting beautiful diamond jewelry to indicate their romantic status. However, the engagement rings of the 15th century were much different from the engagement rings of today.
Here’s a quick look at the history of engagement ring trends, as well as the engagement ring trends from the last century.
The History of Engagement Rings
Engagement rings in some form or fashion were used as early as antiquity, with ancient Romans, ancient Greeks and ancient Egyptians all fashioning engagement rings from materials ranging from bone and flint to iron and ivory. In Rome, for example, the style was to wear a gold engagement ring in public, while wearing an iron engagement ring at home (kind of like having a set of formal and informal engagement rings, one to wear to parties and one to wear while you wash the dishes).
The first historical record of a more traditional, diamond engagement ring, though, details the 1477 ring fashioned by Archduke Maximillian of Austria, for his fiance, Mary of Burgundy. Only a few decades later, in the early 1500s, gimmel rings came into fashion; both men and women wore these rings as engagement rings, and then the woman would wear both her gimmel ring and her husband’s gimmel ring after the wedding ceremony.
Diamond engagement rings were around in the early 1900s, but really only grew in popularity among the masses after World War I, when diamond mining became more popular and the number of diamonds in circulation grew. Jewelers began marketing diamond rings as the perfect engagement ring, and, in 1947, consumers first heard the slogan “a diamond is forever.”
Today, engagement rings are much more varied, however, and while diamonds still prove popular, couples enjoy an array of gemstone and precious metal options when it comes to picking the perfect piece of jewelry to commemorate their love.
Engagement Rings in the 1900s and 1910s
In the Edwardian period, 1900–1910, engagement rings were on the ornate side. Jewelers went for elaborate, with lots of detail, small diamonds and filigree work. In the 1910s, the most popular pick was a European-cut diamond. The round cut made for a ring not dissimilar to the options you’ll see today.
Engagement Rings in the 1920s
Much like the architecture of the day, engagement rings in the 1920s boasted plenty of Art Deco flair. Sleek lines, geometric features and single stones were popular, but now women were combining those singular diamonds with other gemstones, such as rubies, emeralds and sapphires, for more color and variety. The 1920s also saw the invention of the Asscher cut, a patented cut that resembles an emerald cut, but with a wider set and larger step facets. Both this and traditional emerald cuts were popular, as were halo rings.
Engagement Rings in the 1930s
However, as the Great Depression wore on through the 1930s, couples found they could no longer afford some of the more extravagant rings of the Roaring Twenties, and so the ring styles grew a little more simple and the diamonds or gemstones used were smaller overall. Platinum settings were big.
Engagement Rings in the 1940s
But engagement rings didn’t go back to big and bold after the Depression was over, because the 1940s saw World War II, which meant more frugality and even a shortage of platinum, as the metal was needed for the war effort. So, jewelers did what they could to make engagement rings more stylish than they were in the 1930s, but without making them more expensive.
Gold took over as the favored band choice, replacing platinum, and cushion cuts were popular.
Engagement Rings in the 1950s
Thanks to jewelers’ marketing efforts and the end of World War II, the popularity of diamond rings increased exponentially in the 1950s. The favored ring style was a solitaire stone with diamond baguettes, though emerald cuts and pear-shaped diamonds were also preferred. Ring fashions were likewise more so influenced by celebrities by this time, with women watching the jewelry worn by their favorite movie stars and other fashionable public figures, such as First Lady Jaqueline Kennedy.
Engagement Rings in the 1960s
Engagement rings in the 1960s were a little more on the simple side, but in such a way that really showed off a diamond’s flair. Celebrities continued to influence ring trends, including tastemakers such as Aretha Franklin and Elizabeth Taylor. Asscher-cut diamonds came back into style as well.
Engagement Rings in the 1970s
Angular and geometric rings with a slightly Art Deco feel were back in the 1970s. The princess cut began growing in popularity at this time, too. Matching engagement and wedding ring sets also started to become popular, allowing couples to purchase a full set that included an engagement ring and wedding rings for both husband and wife.
Engagement Rings in the 1980s
Yellow gold continued to be popular in the 1980s and new celebrities and public figures, such as Princess Diana, received interest for their engagement ring choices. Thanks to Princess Diana’s sapphire diamond ring, colored gemstones became a little more in vogue and shoppers looked for rings that were on the extravagant side.
Engagement Rings in the 1990s
While the 1980s were about extravagance, the engagement rings of the 90s were more minimalistic. Couples preferred white gold and platinum settings, as well as round and marquise cuts.
Engagement Rings in the 2000s
Halo rings and radiant cuts became popular in the 2000s. Celebrities also began sporting colored diamonds in their engagement jewelry. Switching back to the extravagance of the 80s, the 2000s jewelry trends were once again all about lots of glitz and glamour.
Engagement Rings in the 2010s
In the last decade, gemstones have become popular options for engagement rings again, partially thanks, for the second time, to Princess Diana. Kate Middleton sported the same sapphire ring following Prince William’s proposal.
What’s Next for Engagement Rings?
Trends come and go, repeat and circle back in all areas of fashion and engagement rings are no exception. Will the engagement rings of the 2020s follow the pattern of glamor and excess that was seen in the 2000s and 1980s? If there’s one way to tell what the future holds, it’s by taking a gander at what recently engaged or married celebs are wearing. Just take a look at Kourtney Kardashian’s oval solitaire diamond from Travis Barker, with its pave band, or Megan Fox’s two-stone diamond and emerald engagement ring from Machine Gun Kelly.
Wherever the jewelry trends go, Yamron is here to help you purchase the perfect engagement ring. Give us a call at 239-592-7707 or send us an email at [email protected] to learn more about our available pieces or, stop by our Naples showroom to see what’s on offer in person.