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Diamonds of the Century – 100 Years of Engagement Ring Styles


Fashion is always moving forward, and that is particularly true of jewellery. But as any fashion fan knows, the styles of the past inform the trends of the present, and so there’s always this interesting interplay between what came before, and what we’re into right now.

In terms of engagement ring styles, you might be surprised by just how much variety has been seen over the past century, so let’s look at examples of what was big in different decades and different parts of the world to get a better sense of where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

Image: Pexels

Timeless Elegance: Classic Engagement Rings from the 1920s

The Roaring Twenties was an era of glamour, grandeur and exquisite jewellery. During this time, classic engagement rings were all the rage.

These eye-catching pieces featured intricate details like milgrain beading and delicate filigree work that set them apart from modern designs. Many also had colourful gems inlaid into their settings to add a touch of vintage charm, making them perfect for any romantic proposal.

Not only did these iconic styles remain popular during the 20th century, but they continue to live on today. Many brides still choose timeless yet modern designs, such as the elegant engagement rings for women found at VRAI, which use lab-grown diamonds that are identical to mined gems used in bygone eras.

A Touch of Magic: Stylish Art Deco Diamond Engagement Rings From the 1930s

The glamour and sophistication of the 1920s gave way to a more modern aesthetic in jewellery during the 1930s.

Engagement rings of the art deco era were all about sleek lines, geometric shapes and contemporary designs that made them stand out from any other era. Many also featured sapphires or rubies set into their bands alongside diamonds, for a hint of extra sparkle.

While these bold pieces may have been popular more than 90 years ago, they still remain appealing in the 21st century. In fact many couples choose art deco diamond rings, harking back to the glorious past while also looking to the future.

Shining Brightly in the 1950s: Bold Solitaire & Vintage-Style Settings

After global conflict derailed the 1940s, the 1950s were a time of renewed optimism and boldness, reflected by the jewellery trends at that time.

Classic solitaire engagement rings with their single diamond centrepiece were all the rage, as well as classic-style settings that looked back at the decades that had come before. It’s an example of how we have always enjoyed mixing the old and the new, the retro and the modern, regardless of the era in question.

There’s a lot of sophistication attached to 1950s diamond engagement rings, without necessarily being too showy or elaborate. If you’re thinking of choosing a design from this decade, you’ll be spoilt for choice, particularly if you take inspiration from the Hollywood stars of the time who were particularly influential over fashion trends, as they still are now.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Romance: On-Trend Statement Setting Designs from 1960

The rebellious spirit of the 1960s gave rise to a new wave of engagement ring styles, including unapologetically head-turning statement settings that made waves throughout the fashion world.

These larger designs featured gems like sapphires set into intricate patterns for an in-your-face look, which was perfect for couples who wanted something special that broke away from the norms of the day.

It’s worth remembering that this was the era when youth culture really took off, and so while previous generations had aspired to be just like their parents, the kids of the 60s were more interested in striking out down their own path. This is a decision that modern audiences can no doubt appreciate as well, and we can still feel the ripples of the waves they made way back then.

Ring by VRAI

Sparkle and Shine: How Halo Sets Became Trendy Again in 2020

The halo setting is a tried and tested style that has become increasingly popular over the past decade. This modern take on an old classic features a single diamond surrounded by smaller gems for added glimmer, leaving you with the impression of a vast number of light rays reflecting and refracting brilliantly.

Not only do these rings feature breathtaking brilliance, but also have a vintage vibe and contemporary flair in equal measure. And of course because you can find lab-grown gems in halo set engagement rings today, as mentioned, this makes them more attainable for the average engaged couple, and represents a wider change in the jewellery industry.

Love is All Around Us: Unique Organic-Inspired Ring Styles For Modern Loves

Engagement ring designs inspired by the world around us are another cutting edge trend that is quite different from anything we’ve seen in the past century.

These up to the minute pieces feature intricate details like leaves, vines and flowers that give them an organic feel, creating a connection with nature and somehow evoking our history as a species, while still being thoroughly modern.

Once again the use of different colour gems is part and parcel of this trend, with blues and greens sitting alongside the bright whites of diamonds across a range of shapes and settings.

Dreaming About a Fairytale Wedding: Princess Cut Diamond Engagement Rings

Princess cut diamonds are the perfect choice for brides dreaming of the ultimate fairytale proposal. These square-cut gems feature pristine edges and dazzling brilliance, and were first introduced during the 1960s, and have endured over the years to take their place at the pinnacle of the market.

The royal name is definitely appropriate here, although that doesn’t mean they need to be prohibitively expensive. It’s an example of how modern shoppers can always look good on a budget. Choose the right princess cut diamond engagement ring, and it will mark the start of your own fairy story.

Final Thoughts

We’ve seen so many changes over the last 100 years, not only in terms of jewellery and fashion but wider pop culture, technology and everything else besides. Modern engagement ring buyers can benefit from all of these trends and evolutions, picking a piece that is personal to them, and totally aligned with their tastes.

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