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5-Minute Crafts

How Engagement Rings Changed Over the Years

Presenting a diamond ring as a symbol of engagement is a practice that was first introduced by Archduke Maximilian of Austria when he proposed to Mary of Burgundy during the Renaissance period. Although this sign of marriage seems to be quite old, many couples still consider engagement rings an important landmark in their relationship, even after experiencing several changes as the years have gone by.

5-Minute Crafts has prepared this guide to teach you how engagement rings have evolved through the centuries and recent decades.

1400s through 1800s

During these centuries, the gimmel ring was a popular option. It was characterized by having 2 or 3 loops joined together to make a complete piece of jewelry. This allowed the engaged couple to wear one part each.

Posey rings with love poems inscribed on the inside were another popular choice for engagement rings throughout this period.

The nineteenth century

This period was characterized by being part of the Victorian era, from 1837 to 1901. Here, one of the most remarkable jewelry pieces was Queen Victoria’s engagement ring, which consisted of a serpent-shaped ring decorated with rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. This ring is thought to have inspired many women during this century. However, diamonds could only be afforded by the aristocracy and very wealthy families.

Despite this, Victorian rings were rather popular. They often included different designs, like hearts, flowers, and birds. Moreover, gemstones, including opals, pearls, and rubies, were also very popular among the jewelry.

The twentieth century

1900 — 1920

This period is characterized by being part of the Edwardian Era and the high popularity of platinum jewelry due to innovations in technology.

At the same time, the old European cut became the trend in diamonds, while the old mine cut continued to be among the favorite ones as it evolved into having more precise symmetry and faceting.

1920 — 1940

These years are marked by the beginning of the Art Deco period. Here, engagement rings featured clean lines, subtle details, and sharp geometric shapes, while platinum and white metals continued to be the most popular materials in jewelry through the 1920s.

Although Art Deco designs were still trendy in the 1930s, people also favored more organic curves and round center stones throughout this period. Moreover, diamond rings increased in popularity during this decade.

1960s

In the 1960s, classic styles were refreshed by colorful center stones, such as emeralds, which became particularly fashionable after the appearance of Jackie Kennedy’s emerald and diamond engagement ring.

This was not the only piece of jewelry that marked a trend though, as large diamond rings were also in the spotlight during the decade. At that time, people were inspired by Elizabeth Taylor’s 33-carat diamond engagement ring.

1970s

During this period, engagement ring styles became quite bold and innovative. For instance, rectangular shapes and new diamond cuts, such as princess and emerald, increased in popularity.

Bold halos and diamond clusters were also among the most fashionable styles throughout these disco times since people looked for vibrant designs with the most shine.

1980s

Sapphires became very popular after Prince Charles and Princess Diana got engaged in 1981. This happened because the princess chose a 12-carat Ceylon sapphire from a collection of royal jewelry, which set the trend through the decade and encouraged jewelers to create replicas of this piece.

At the same time, yellow gold was also favored during this period, and pear-shaped diamonds were incredibly trendy as couples preferred elegant shapes rather than traditional round diamonds.

1990s

During the 1990s, many people opted for purchasing engagement rings online. Therefore, the influence of trends regarding engagement rings decreased.

Despite this, there still were some styles that stood out. For instance, white metals, such as platinum and white gold, became popular, while marquise diamonds were also highly favored throughout this decade.

The twenty-first century

2000s

Throughout this decade, the princess cut diamond ring became highly popular. After that, other square shapes stepped into the spotlight.

While the princess cut diamond was very fashionable during the early part of the 2000s, emerald cut diamonds were the trend toward the late years of the decade.

2010s

Hallo settings were highly popular during this period. However, the continuous advance in technology resulted in a wide variety of engagement rings as it allowed for customized pieces of jewelry.

In general, white gold remained trendy until the mid-2010s. After that, yellow gold and rose gold started to dominate the engagement ring market. At the same time, cushion-cut halos continued to be among the most favorable styles.

2021 to the present

During this period, many people have been inspired by engagement rings worn by celebrities, such as Hailey Bieber and Megan Markle, and as a consequence, they have opted for bands with oval-shaped stones and emerald cuts.

At the same time, the popularity of lab-grown or manmade diamonds has increased among young millennials and zoomers.

5-Minute Crafts/Life/How Engagement Rings Changed Over the Years
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