Just like other fashion trends, engagement ring styles ebb and flow. While certain engagement rings are classics that are always in style, it’s fun to look back and see how engagement ring trends have changed (or stayed the same) over time. Read on to learn more about eight major engagement ring trends over time.
- Edwardian to Art Deco: From Filigree to Geometry — The early 1900s brought in the Edwardian era of art and jewelry. Also known as La Belle Epoque, meaning the “Beautiful Age,” engagement rings from this time period were normally flowery and ornate. Openwork filigree was quite popular at this time where jewelry was designed with carefully twisted and detailed metalwork. The Art Deco era followed after World War I ended. Diamonds became a girl’s best friend at this time, and jewelry was particularly clean and geometrical. Think angular just like the famous buildings that were designed by architects like Le Corbusier at this time. This was the era when emerald cut engagement rings boomed in popularity, thanks to the large table and open facets.
- Great Depression to 1950s: Modesty Meets Big Bling — After the stock market crash in 1929, the world changed — and so did the jewelry industry. While the previous decade was all about angular and jazzy styles, the 1930s swept in a certain whimsical flamboyance that directly contrasted the Depression. As many people began going to the movies and seeing what Hollywood stars were wearing on the big screens, sparkling clear gems and jewels became all the more popular. Once the war ended, the 1940s introduced bold, colorful gemstones and striking pieces. By the ’50s, we saw women going all out with the sets of matching jewelry pieces known as a parure, matching bracelets, necklaces, brooches, earrings and rings. The U.S. economy was flourishing, and so were the breathtaking big bling engagement rings.
- 1960s: Groovy Three Stone Rings — The three stone engagement ring represents your beloved memories of the past, your beautiful present and all of the shiny possibilities of the future. The 1960s brought about fancy shaped diamonds such as the marquise cut and pear cut diamonds that were paired together with baguette diamonds for a timeless three stone ring. Elizabeth Taylor’s extravagant Krupp diamond inspired engagement rings that were grandiose and over-the-top.
- 1970s: Chic and Abstract — Like other popular artists of this era, engagement rings of the ’70s were known for being quite abstract in design. During this decade, brides began matching their wedding bands with their engagement rings. It was less about the size of the diamond and more about the style, cut and design of the engagement ring itself. By 1975, it became more common for couples to have matching wedding rings.
- 1980s: Big Hair, Bigger Colored Stones — Hair wasn’t the only thing that was big and bold during the ’80s. This was a decade of excess, and engagement rings were no exception. Engagement rings with big colored stones were very popular during this decade. Part of this rise in colorful diamonds and gemstones was due to Princess Diana’s engagement since she wore a stunning sapphire gemstone. Other popular gemstones during this time included emeralds and rubies. Yellow gold bands were standard choices for wedding bands as well.
- 1990s: Minimalist Style with Maximalist Impact — The ’90s ushered in minimalist engagement ring designs. The overall design of rings during this decade was relatively clean cut, and marquise cut diamonds in the shape of a football became very popular. The other go-to cut during this decade was the round solitaire diamond. Yellow gold bands weren’t as popular. Instead, platinum bands and white gold bands and a gold alloy mixed with another white metal such as silver or palladium came into fashion.
- 2000s – 2010s: Pavé Bands and Princess Cuts — The early 2000s were a strange time for clothing, but thankfully the engagement rings from the aughts and 2010s weren’t so cringeworthy. Princess cuts with a geometric, sharp square shape, which first came into popularity in the ’60s, became trendy again in the early 2000s. The pavé band with the shank of the ring lined with diamonds became a beaded beauty throughout the 2010s. For a little extra bling, the pavé halo with small diamonds encircling a larger stone also came into fashion.
- Today: Vintage Throwbacks and Sustainability — If you feel pulled to any of the engagement ring styles of yesterday, you’re not alone. Engagement rings from the present are seeing pleasant vintage throwbacks. Although rose gold was first used in 19th century Russia and saw an emergence in popularity in the 1920s, it’s going through a vintage throwback surge in popularity again. Fun fact: According to the Gemological Institute of America, there is no such thing as naturally occurring rose gold. Instead, rose gold engagement rings are made with a strong alloy of gold and copper, more durable than gold alone. One notable difference between vintage engagement rings from decades ago versus now is that more and more discerning clientele are yearning for sustainable engagement rings.