This post is shared in partnership with Taylor & Hart. All opinions are our own!
Old is new–dare to design your own vintage engagement ring.
One of the greatest pleasures of designing your own vintage engagement ring is the ability to combine modern manufacturing techniques with historic design elements, allowing you to capture your story.
Not to be confused with antique rings, which are at least 150 years old and are historically significant, vintage engagement rings feature design elements from the most influential eras of jewelry design–Georgian, Victorian, Art Nouveau, Edwardian, Art Deco, Retro Hollywood. Today, we have the capacity to create a vintage-inspired ring using modern-day manufacturing technologies that ensure the ring’s durability.
Engagement Ring Styles to Inspire Your Custom Vintage Ring
Let’s take a look at the most notable periods of jewelry design and find inspiration to craft a vintage engagement ring of our own! If you're in love with vintage style for your wedding, you'll learn tons about the various styles associated with each era. Let's get started!
Georgian engagement rings
The Georgian era (1714-1830) was characterized by ornate metal work and complex gold detailing, like milgrain or filigree. You’ll often see organic themes in Georgian jewelry too, from leaves and flowers to wheatsheaf patterns and organic swirls.
Diamond cutting was also seeing a revolution during this time which increased the brilliance of a diamond. This is when fancy colored gemstones like sapphires, rubies, emeralds, agate, garnet, pearl, topaz, and black onyx started to gain popularity, too.
Victorian engagement rings
Queen Victoria was a great influence on all spheres of life throughout her reign, and jewelry was no exception. She harbored a true love for diamonds. With the opening of diamond mines in South Africa, diamond availability for the emerging middle class market also increased.
Victoria’s 64-year reign is subdivided into three stages. Each stage shares in common intricate jewelry shapes and colored gemstones.
In the Early Victorian era, the Queen was a true influencer of her time. Her marriage to Prince Albert inspired all kinds of floral motifs, serpent imagery (symbolic of eternal love) and other awe-inspiring animals, like doves and deer, being depicted on jewelry pieces. You can also recognize Early Victorian from the frequent use of mixed materials – ivory, coral and tortoise shell all saw an increased popularity in Early Victorian jewelry.
The Mid-Victorian period coincided with the death of Prince Albert in 1861, when the Queen started wearing mourning rings. The overall aesthetic grew darker and the embellishments had a more gothic finish, featuring gemstones like jet, black onyx and opal.
The Late Victorian stage saw a return to more feminine shapes and motifs–stars, crowns and ribbons. Due to the rapidly developing mass production industry, platinum was gaining popularity although gold alloys remained high in demand.
Art Nouveau engagement rings
Complex shapes morphing into free flowing lines defined the Art Nouveau era. These motifs were perhaps reflective of the coinciding growing prosperity and social expression amongst society at the time. Drawing inspiration from Japanese art with its symmetry and lacy swirls, Art Nouveau jewelry design felt like real creative expression.
Edwardian engagement rings
This design period reintroduced colored gemstones and made the most of intricate cutting techniques. If you’re a fan of baguette, tapered baguette, trapeze, shield and triangular cuts, you’ll find a lot of inspiration from the Edwardian era. With their unique gemstone shapes and intricate designs to showcase them, this is a style not to miss!
Art Deco engagement rings
The period between 1915 and 1935 marked a global evolution in technology, lifestyle and fashion. With society yearning to be ever more self-expressive and provocative, style reflected all that with boldness, exuberance and opulent materials. Asscher cut diamonds, the use of milgrain and geometric shapes were all defining motifs of this exciting stage of jewelry making.
Retro engagement rings
The turbulent time between 1935 and 1950 was expressed in jewelry design, which was equally loud, busy and brightly colored. Retro engagement rings boasted large colored gemstones and designs felt more fun and sculptural in style.
Would you dare to design your own vintage engagement ring?
There are infinite possibilities in crafting a unique vintage engagement ring. Whether you’re entirely inspired by an antique ring or you’re incorporating one or two vintage elements into a modern design.
In fact, taking inspiration from styles-gone-by will make you stand out from the crowd as someone who respects traditions, while looking for ways to make your story personal. Custom designing your ring allows you to be eco-minded and use modern materials, like lab-grown or ethically mined diamonds, to write your own story and treasure it for generations to come!
Editor's note: Due to the pandemic, some of the general wedding planning advice we share may not be applicable or possible due to restrictions on events. Please adhere to all current regulations and stay safe and healthy! Get more resources for planning a pandemic wedding here.