If you’re planning on getting engaged, you know how stressful it can be to pick out a ring and make sure that it’s the perfect one. It isn’t only because you want the ring to be special and unique, but also because you have so many to choose from.
The way we buy rings has changed in the last few decades.
Nowadays, you don’t even have to go to the jeweler if you don’t want to. Engagement rings are being custom-made by silversmiths and jewelry designers like https://jewelrylab.co/collections/cute-rings online and in brick and mortar shops worldwide. Couples have never had more choices than they do now.
Marriage is an institution that dates back to the early days of humanity. As human beings, we long for companionship and partnership, and marriage allows for a relationship to thrive into a lifelong commitment that can help one’s personal and interpersonal development if they put in the work to do so. Preparing for marriage should be more about the love and fun that accompany the lives of a young couple.
There are so many happy images we associate with marriage and engagement. That’s a significant reason why the wedding industry is almost always thriving. This includes wedding photography, wedding dresses and bridesmaids’ dresses, venues, catering, and all the niche details that accompany an event like a wedding.
There’s no shortage of details attended to and money spent to achieve perfection. Families are banking on the fact that weddings are to be one of the best days in their child’s life, and they want it to be remembered (and photographed) as such.
There are so many celebrations to be held even before the wedding to account for. On these occasions, one will no doubt be showing off their engagement ring. For these reasons, the engagement ring is a beautiful symbol of what’s to come and is a piece of jewelry that will both be fawned over and scrutinized.
Because the engagement ring is the prelude to a design that a couple will be wearing for years to come, it becomes an essential part of the act of becoming engaged and the celebration of the period before the wedding. The engagement ring, after all, is one determining factor for the person one is proposing to say yes.
In the modern age, some couples prefer to pick out a ring together so that all parties are happy about the design, and that seems completely fair if both parties are ultimately satisfied with the decision. But then, it wasn’t always that way. Trends have changed in the past one hundred years, especially in terms of style and design, and engagements were somewhat more by the book.
There’s also a trend that remains from decades back – using a family ring to propose. This indicates that the person being proposed to is really being welcomed into the family with jewelry that was worn by family members before them. This represented the acceptance of a new family member with approval from mainly the matriarch of it. This is a trend that still happens regardless of how relaxed we might be about what we may see as “old-school” now.
However, it isn’t just trends with regards to proposals that have changed in the past one hundred years. We’ve seen the design of engagement rings change drastically with the times as well. Just as we have trends in the designs of engagement rings now, so did each decade.
If you’re interested in the history of engagement ring design, then you’ll be happy to know that we’ve done our research.
1920s – The Roaring Twenties Made Elegance Affordable for Almost Everyone
Most of us know the trends that culminated in what we call the “roaring twenties.” This is the era when the flapper reigned supreme, when prohibition preached temperance while speakeasies were serving champagne in troves, and when there was a sort of liberation of society that continued to snowball to where we are today.
In engagement rings, angular designs were favored to mirror the more opulent tastes of the times. Depending on how wealthy the buyer was, diamond halos were also a trend seen in more elegant rings. Emphasis on detail and geometric shapes were highlights of this period.
1940s – Post-War, Designs Are More Traditional
With the effects of WWII felt worldwide, trends changed from the opulence of the 1920s (and the subsequent depression of the 1930s) to a more traditional design palette in the 1940s. The uniqueness that was seen in the 1920s, with more detail, gems, and colors being used in engagement rings, was subdued by the end of the war and for years afterward.
Trends that were seen in the 1940s implemented rings with gold bands (because of rationing, quite a few precious gems weren’t available) and a simple gem placed in the center. Usually rounded, these rings symbolized the simplicity of the time and the move toward traditionality.
1950s and 1960s – Pear-Shaped Diamonds and Asscher Cut
The 1950s stood to be just a bit flashier than the 1940s, with the introduction of pear-shaped diamonds, multiple bands, and simply a little more sparkle, though gold and silver color palettes were still keeping with tradition.
The 1960s ushered in more lavishness with the reintroduction of the Asscher cut diamond, which was initially used in the 1920s. The 1960s saw even more similar design moves to the 1920s with interest in unique diamonds and arrangements. The 1960s saw couples choosing colored diamonds for their engagement rings, which was made popular by American icon Jackie Kennedy.
1970s – Emerald-Cut and Beautifully Colored
The 1970s kept the flashier trends going with an emphasis on emerald-cut diamonds, as well as the continuation of colored stones being used within the ring’s design. With rings fighting against tradition, brides also took the chance to wear dresses in shades other than the standard white.
1980s – Sapphires Set the Trend
By far, one of the most iconic engagement rings in history was given to Princess Diana in the 1980s, which was set with a large sapphire stone surrounded by a ring of diamonds. We saw this ring make its re-entry into culture when it was given to Kate Middleton upon her engagement with Prince William twenty years later. From when Diana was proposed to on, every potential bride wanted to look like Diana, so her ring was what many brides clamored for.
This ring set the tone for the rest of the decade, which saw trends of large and colored stones that varied in cuts. As different types of engagement rings became popular, couples were spoilt for choice.
1990s – Grunge Means Do Whatever You Want
Grunge was a huge part of the culture in the 1990s, with bands like Nirvana becoming one of the most popular bands of all time, and fashionistas preferring flannel and torn up sweaters and t-shirts to shoulder pads and big hair. Grunge introduced more angular designs in the engagement ring, with many couples opting for a particular cut that rallied against tradition. This meant that gold bands were less favored in competition with silver and platinum. The 90s ushered in the common trend that still made room for individualism.
2000s – Princess-Cut and the Rise of Celebrity
It was in the early 2000s that celebrity culture became even more of a phenomenon than it was in the 1960s onward. Much of this had to do with the worldwide web and Internet culture as a whole. With the Internet becoming a focal point of our lives, and eventually a necessity, all of a sudden, we knew more about our favorite (and least favorite) celebrities than ever before.
Along with all of this knowledge about celebrities’ lives came information about their engagements and nuptials. Celebrity engagement rings were scrutinized and adored by the public. The cost of them was analyzed, and the style of them influenced the masses.
A trend that was seen during this time was the princess-cut diamond. This was a nod back to the trends of the 1960s, albeit done with larger and larger diamonds. Although these diamonds were huge, there wasn’t as much flashy design being implemented. The diamond spoke for itself.
2010s – Cushion-Cut
The 2010s weren’t straying away from the luxury of the decade before it. Cushion-cut diamonds, larger, and in some ways, less subtle than the princess-cut, became the ring of the moment. In fact, it’s still a popular choice currently (though now, there are so many options to choose from). There was also a move toward oval-shaped rings and simple matching bands (with or without diamonds).
2020 – Make It Custom
With all the resources at our disposal in the current decade, many ring designers and couples are taking their rings into their own hands by designing them themselves. Nothing says “I love you and only you” like a custom ring. The custom ring is sure to please the person receiving it, as it was made just for them in mind.