The Traditional Styles: Back in 1901 the Illustrated London News reported that 'it is actually the fashion in Paris and therefore becoming so here to wear a large ring on every finger, with two or three on some fingers.
As is still common with contemporary jewelry even back in the period of the early 1900's the styles of vintage jewelry was heavily influenced by designs of the antique jewelry of the 1800's. Just recently in contemporary jewelry styles the 'Halo' style ring has been the ring of choice for young couples getting engaged. However this is just a copy of earlier cluster rings popular in the antique and vintage periods as engagement rings. The original concept was to have one large central diamond or precious gemstone at the center of the vintage ring surrounded by smaller diamonds or gemstones going around the circumference.
1/ Edwardian Platinum on Gold Sapphire & Diamond Cluster Ring Circa 1910
When all diamonds were used in the vintage engagement ring, from a distance it gave the impression that the ring was set with a very large single diamond stone, and was popular with those who wanted to give the impression of wealth, but lacking in budget. Antique engagement ring jewelry designers also became creative with different designs in the mount, by using different settings for the diamonds they found, they could give the mount a 'flower' or 'daisy' settings. Or elongate the mount to give an oval cluster setting, for the lady who had more slender fingers, and wanted their antique engagement to go more along the finger.
2/ Art Deco Platinum, Sapphire & Diamond Double Cluster Ring Circa 1920
At Beverley R Jewelry in Chicago, we carry a large selection of original antique and vintage cluster engagement rings, catering to every taste. We have antique cluster engagement rings in both platinum and gold, or a combination of both the precious metals. We also have vintage cluster engagement rings set with a combination of gemstones, including centrally set, Sapphires, Rubies and Emeralds all with diamond surround.
3/ Art Deco Platinum and Gold, Emerald & Diamond Cluster Ring Circa 1935
Another vintage engagement ring style that is making a comeback in contemporary appeal is the 'Marquise' cut or lozenge shape. This is a fancy cut of diamond, which is best suited to young ladies with a more slender singer, as it goes along the finger as opposed to a band engagement ring which goes across the finger. Back in the Antique Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco periods, Lozenge shaped rings or marquise cut diamond rings, were not only popular as vintage engagement rings, but also as Cocktail rings or estate dress rings. Just to point out for any couple who are contemplating a vintage engagement ring with a Marquise cut diamond, they are not conducive to the wearing of a wedding band with it. The reason being that due to its shape most wedding bands are along the finger, and the only style of band that would work is a plain band that sits very flat and goes under the marquise cut ring. Many people however now just use a vintage engagement ring as a single, functioning both as the engagement ring and wedding ban.
4/ Edwardian Platinum & Gold Diamond Lozenge shape Ring. Circa 1910
In Chicago at Beverley R Jewelry, we have a selection of original marquise cut vintage engagement rings all set in hand made platinum mounts, and some combining the marquise cut in a cluster design; we also have for those looking for an antique cocktail ring in the marquise shape a large selection for that special occasion, when you want to stand out from the crowd, and have something different, something which no one else has.
5/ Victorian Gold & Diamond Cluster Ring Circa 1880
When we talk of traditional vintage engagement rings, the timeless design of course is the single stone center, which is usually either a round, emerald or square cut diamond with either round or baguette cut diamond shoulders.
Also popular in Vintage engagement rings were the band styles that went across the finger. They followed on from the Victorian period where the three and five stone 'Half Hoop' rings with the hand carved gallery mount, normally in a scroll work design, were very popular as engagement rings. The band style also made it very easy to wear a traditional wedding band, which some of the other styles and cuts were not able to accommodate. Also during the earlier Victorian period, it was a very superstitious time, and the gemstones all were symbolic, and so along with all diamond engagement rings, which symbolized purity and wisdom, also due to its hardness it symbolized durability, and the everlastingness of marriage. Back in the Victorian period, Emerald was also very popular stone used in Vintage Jewelry. It was also believed that it was popular in ancient jewelry, as it was one of Queen Cleopatra's favorite gemstones.
Emeralds were meant to symbolize, calmness and serenity, along with good health. Sapphires were also a popular gemstone in Antique engagement rings as they were associated with Venus the 'Goddess of Love' and so were a symbolism of passion along with fidelity. The last of the precious gemstones was Ruby, and when set in a Vintage engagement ring was very much associated with the wedding vows, along with trust devotion and vitality. At the Chicago Vintage Jewelry Store, Beverly R Jewelry, we have a large selection of Antique and Vintage Engagement rings of band design from the different era's set with both single types and combination gemstones, along with a large selection of original and authentic wedding bands.
6/ Platinum & Diamond Marquise Ring Circa 1925
Lastly one of the most timeless styles for both Vintage and Contemporary engagement rings is the main single stone, in either a round brilliant or emerald, square cut, with smaller diamonds in the shoulders. This style has been popular in virtually all time period, but particularly so in Art Deco engagement rings, and has again become popular in modern engagement rings. So why would I recommend a couple buy a traditional Vintage Engagement ring? For several reasons.
7/ Edwardian Platinum & Gold Diamond Band Ring Circa 1910
1. The Vintage Engagement rings were still mainly made by hand, it was a time period where a jeweler would collect the gemstones first and specifically make a mount for those specific stone, giving the ring a uniqueness. With many contemporary rings the mounts are all mass produced, and the gemstones are made to fit. This does not give the same durability or uniqueness of antique engagement rings.
2. With the antique engagement rings it was a period when one can guarantee that the diamonds mined, are not associated with many of the 'blood diamonds' which have been used to fund terrorist activities, and the financing of civil wars in many countries.
3. Although you don't by an engagement ring for investment purposes; one of the advantages of the traditional antique and vintage engagement rings is that they do hold their value in the short term, and appreciate over the longer period compared to a modern copy of the old styles.
8/ Traditional Art Deco Platinum & Diamond Ring with Diamond Shoulders Circa 1925
At Beverly R Jewelry in Chicago, we have a large collection of both Antique and Vintage Engagement rings set with the different gemstones in the different styles for the couple who wants high quality, individuality and a uniqueness that can only be found in the traditional pieces; along with professional staff who can explain the history of the ring, and sort out any sizing that is required to make that special ring fit perfectly.
9/ Art Deco Platinum Ruby & Diamond Cluster Ring Circa 1920
But Beverly R Jewelry is not here for just that one off sale of the engagement ring purchase; we also have a large selection of Antique, Vintage and Estate Jewelry for the times gifts are required, whether it be Anniversaries, Birthdays or the Holidays. Beverley R Jewelry can accommodate and take care of all the Jewelry needs among all generations.