The Fascinating History Behind Art Deco Engagement RIngs

May 04, 2018

white gold emerald cut art deco halo ring


The history of engagement rings starts back in antiquity. The ancient Egyptians believed circles were symbols of eternity and so wedded couples exchanged rings made out of braided reeds. 

Centuries later, Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy with a diamond engagement ring in 1477, which was the first recorded mention of an engagement ring that had a diamond. Prior to that engagement rings had a wide variety of stones; rubies, sapphires & emeralds.

Art Deco Engagement Rings were an important part of this history and so we thought it would be a good idea to dedicate this article to that era.


Art Deco Sapphire Engagement Ring

Custom Art Deco Engagement Ring

An Introduction to Art Deco 

Art Deco is a movement in the visual arts and architecture which lasted from the early 1920's until the late 1930's.

This era takes its name from a world fair held in Paris in 1925 called Exposition Internationale des Art Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes (the International Exposition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts).

Art Deco-inspired engagement rings are prized by modern brides-to-be today as well because of their striking beauty and elegant timeless appeal.

Here is some key information about how jewelry designers approached engagement rings in that era.

Art Deco White Gold Great Gatsby RingAurora Art Deco Engagement Ring

The History of Art Deco Engagement Rings

Art Nouveau preceded the Art Deco period and it was characterized by curved lines, feminine design and flower designs. 

After the World War I, women enjoyed a period of liberation, which meant they were able to get more creative with their hair and clothes. A fresh-looking jewelry design was exactly what was missing.

The Art Deco engagement rings from this era are best characterized as bold, geometric and with a large stone in the center, bordered by multiple smaller diamonds or gemstones. 

Let's take a closer look at the main characteristics of these engagement rings and what influenced their designs.

  • Platinum or white gold. Platinum was definitely the primary metal used in Art Deco jewelry because the advancement in technology allowed platinum to be easily worked. It also had the advantage that it could be manipulated to create fine, durable settings which would not tarnish.
  • White diamonds and colored gemstones. Using both diamonds and brightly colored gemstones in combination with each other in a single engagement ring was pretty much the standard in Art Deco jewelry design. Blue sapphires, emeralds, jade, lapis lazuli, coral, rubies, turquoise and other bright gemstones became quite popular, as well.
  • Bold geometric lines. One of the biggest events which had an influence on Art Deco engagement rings is the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922. The rings were inspired by Tut's burial chamber, which was characterized by inlay lapis and geometric lines.
  • Superior cutting techniques. In the early 1920's, the advent of technology influenced the designs because it allowed for the diamond cutting to be improved. That way, jewelers were able to achieve unique geometric cuts. The engagement rings were defined by clean lines, simple shapes and were even juxtaposed to create beautiful designs. The new gem-cutting techniques also allowed for jewelry designers to add milgrain accents to the rings, which made them look extremely feminine.
  • Strict quality control. During the Art Deco period, craftsmanship was a top priority for jewelry designers. All the engagement rings were handcrafted to the highest standards and the gemstones used had the finest quality and the best clarity and color. Today, a genuine Art Deco engagement ring would be as durable as newly crafted ones.

What Does Your Perfect Art Deco Engagement Ring Look Like?

The rings from the Art Deco era are some of the most recognizable and sought after nearly 100 years after they were created.

If you love the design of these type of rings and you want to aim for a timeless, elegant and vintage look, then you can count us. We can help you design the engagement ring of your dreams.

We would love to hear from you so contact us today to discuss your custom bespoke engagement ring.

Heather Charlick
Heather Charlick

Hello There! I'm Heather-a jewelry artist living with my beloved husband & horses in the rolling hills of Tennessee. I make vintage inspired engagement rings for the romantic bride. I would love to help you custom design your dream ring, so feel free to contact me anytime.

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