Like fashion, jewelry styles have changed and evolved over time. When it comes to your engagement ring, brushing up on some of the most popular engagement ring styles in recent history might help give you or your partner some inspiration for your dream engagement ring.
Take a walk with us down “memory aisle” if you will, to learn about the most popular engagement ring styles from the past century.
Coming out of the Victorian era, engagement rings continued to feature intricate details into this next generation. The elegant lace-like filigree of hearts, hands, birds and other symbols of unity adorned the bands in what’s referred to as Edwardian engagement rings.
At the turn of the century, using platinum became more common practice in the jewelry industry and soon became the favoured metal for diamond rings. Yellow gold rings from this era are extremely rare.
Welcome to the roaring twenties! This entire period is known for its iconic Art Deco design style in everything from cars to architecture. Engagement rings were no exception.
When you think of a vintage engagement ring, you’re likely envisioning a style that originated in the 1920s.
This style is characterized by geometric designs and started to move away from the focus being on one large, centre diamond. Instead, engagements rings from this time were fashioned with multiple smaller diamonds embellishing the design.
Continuing into the 1930s, Art Deco still reigned supreme in engagement ring fashion featuring multi-stone rings with geometric shapes. However, when the Great Depression took hold, many people did not have the means for overly elaborate rings, so ring styles began to evolve.
Toward the end of the decade, there was a shift towards more simple rings that often featured one stone, typically a round cut stone. Platinum remained the top choice of metal for engagement rings during this time.
Similar to what we saw toward the end of the 1930s, the focus continued to shift to the solitaire round stone in the 1940s.
However, during this time another significant historical event took place: World War II. Platinum became sparse so yellow gold became more popular in all types of jewelry.
It also wasn’t until this time that diamonds became the most popular stone for engagement rings, thanks to a little company called DeBeers.
Their slogan “A Diamond is Forever” would forever put diamonds in the history books as the stone of choice for engagement rings. Diamonds symbolized strength, longevity, and majesty which further represented how serious a man was when he was proposing.
Rings in the 1950s were decorated with braid-like details or engravings in the setting, a style that didn’t last past the mid 20th century. With increased access to diamonds, there was also an increase in average ring carat weight.
This era also gave birth to a very iconic style of ring that featured a large centre diamond with baguettes on either side of it.
By this time, there was a general acceptance of what an engagement ring should look like based on the styles that emerged in the 1950s, but then we looked to the stars.
Thanks to celebrity icons like Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy, we started to see a shift in style again. People were keen to emulate Taylor’s opulent diamonds and Kennedy’s emerald engagement ring, so coloured gemstones came back into favour in this decade’s engagement ring style.
People began to experiment with different diamond shapes in the 1970s. Diamond cuts like emerald and princess cut became fashionable, in addition to setting styles that would complement wedding bands.
Wearing a wedding band in addition to the engagement ring was becoming more popular so coordinating these pieces to create a matching set was also quite trendy.
We’re not sure it would surprise anyone to know that yellow gold was all the rage during the 1980s. Fancy cut diamonds and pear-shaped diamonds were also popping up in fashion and jewelry magazines everywhere.
Another style icon, Princess Diana, also influenced this era’s engagement ring fashions with her large oval sapphire in a diamond halo. This brought back a surge of popularity to coloured stones, in addition to a number of replicas and versions of Princess Di’s ring.
After the 1980s, white gold and platinum engagement rings made a massive comeback in the ’90s. The marquis cut diamond became extremely popular with future brides.
Engagement rings in the 1990s became increasingly diverse in style and design, drawing inspiration from the 1980s. Oh, and a small thing called the internet really changed how couples shopped for rings because they suddenly had more options than just their local jewellery stores.
In the 2000s, platinum and white gold rings became the most popular again, with yellow gold mainly staying in the 1980s style.
One style that became all the rage during this time were three-stone engagement rings. Three-stone engagement ring featured a large centre stone with two slightly smaller or similar sized side stones on either side meant to represent a couple’s past, present and future together.
In the last decade, it’s been a no-contest victory for the halo-setting. A halo-setting is where the large centre stone (which could be oval, round, or square) is surrounded by little diamonds, meant to give the illusion of a larger diamond.
Another incredibly popular shape has been the cushion-cut (pictured below) by far. We’ve also seen a trend toward thinner bands with or without diamonds.
It’s hard to say which trends from the last decade or two will be lasting styles for engagement rings, but we have a few predictions for the next decade. We expect that rose gold is going to become more popular for engagement rings, as well as the use of non-diamond stones like Morganite or Moissanite.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again. An engagement ring is something that you are (hopefully) going to wear for the rest of your life, so regardless of what’s in style for this decade, go with what you love.
If you’ve learned anything from this blog, it’s that styles are constantly changing, so it really comes down to personal preference.
If you have any questions or just want to come try on some different styles of engagement rings to see what you like best, don’t hesitate to contact us, we’re happy to help pick out your happily ever after!