Engagement Ring Style: Art Deco and Vintage Styles


Modern trends for engagement rings are metals such as platinum, white gold, and yellow gold with the largest diamond solitaire the groom’s income can afford. Thanks in part to movies like the Twilight Saga, vintage styles from the beginning of last century are making a comeback. Women are looking for more sophistication in their engagement rings, with meaningful style decisions made by the groom. Men wishing to propose can impress their future fiance with an art deco engagement ring or other vintage ring styles.

What Characterizes an Art Deco Engagement Ring?

Art deco specifically refers to styles and fashions of the time period between 1910 and the late 1930s. The style is characterized by a dramatic shift away from the soft pastels and lines loved by the generation before. Art deco engagement rings include bold settings, such as colored stones set with diamonds. Metals include gold, platinum, and even silver, the later reflecting the rationing and tight living of the times.

These rings are from a time before precision stone cutting. Design was paramount to carat count. Many authentic vintage art deco rings include oddly-sized stones, such as a center diamond that is .56 carats instead of the modern round number, .50 carats. Art deco often includes filigree or other scroll work on the band, and ornate metalwork around the stone setting.

Deciding Between an Authentic Vintage Engagement Ring and a New Production

Estate sales and websites specializing in vintage jewelry are the only places to find authentic art deco or vintage rings. Unlike other antique items, vintage jewelry is slightly more affordable than a modern replica. This is because there is no labor costs associated with the ring and stones had different cutting styles back then that are not overly popular today. Purchasing a truly vintage ring for your intended brings back that romantic notion of a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation.

For a new engagement ring in the vintage art deco style, visit a jewelry store specializing in custom designs. Find some photographs of real art deco rings that you are inspired by and discuss how you can include symbols of your relationship with your designer. Although the ring will not be an authentic antique ring, a woman’s heart will melt at the thought of her fiance personally designing her engagement ring.

Caveats For Purchasing an Art Deco Engagement Ring

Although the art deco style had a flare for color, remember that clothing fashions of that time period were still relatively restricted in color. This was time when accessories really made the outfit, not the fabric pattern. Today’s clothing choices are much more varied, so you need to exercise care in choosing colored stones in your fiance’s engagement ring. She will wear this ring everyday for the rest of her life, make sure you know her preferred color choices for jewelry.

Purchasing an authentic art deco ring comes with a few challenges. Many original rings are sold at auctions or by company’s who routinely purchase estate jewelry. Ask for independent appraisal reports on any ring listed over $500. Once you purchase the ring, arrange for your own appraisal with another company before popping the question. During the early twentieth-century, poorer families imitated the styles of more expensive jewelry with paste stones or crystals. The quality of fake gemstones does not meet the quality of synthetic gemstones today. It would be disappointing to present a ring without authentic stones.

Styles and fashions are always changing and an engagement ring selection is a very personal choice. Many couples upgrade or refashion their wedding bands on significant anniversaries, so it’s acceptable to choose an engagement ring that fits with your fiance’s current tastes. Art deco and vintage engagement rings offer many choices for a bride-to-be’s left ring finger. Remember men, the more thought and personalization you put into the engagement ring, the better it will be received.