What’s in a ring? An engagement ring, for being such a small piece of jewellery, can hold an awful lot of meaning! Today’s rings come in a wide range of styles, cuts, and settings, whether you prefer a classic solitaire or a vintage Art Deco style. Whether you’re planning a wedding or are just looking for some unique fashion ideas, these retro styles can be inspiring. The range of styles that you see today is the culmination of thousands of years of engagement ring history. To get an idea of just how far back this tradition goes, take a look at this handy infographic from jewellery retailers Vashi. Here are a few of the most romantic styles seen throughout the ages.
Roman Key Rings
There’s evidence that engagement rings were given in ancient Rome, dating back to the third century. The traditional engagement ring during this time often appeared as a key, composed out of materials like iron or brass. The key shape was meant to symbolize a woman unlocking a new life for herself, stepping forward into the future with her husband. Sometimes the keys corresponded to jewellery boxes with other hidden goodies inside.
If you read Shakespeare’s plays, you’ll note references to engagement and wedding rings during the 1600s and 1700s. One particularly romantic style from this time period was the posie ring, composed of silver or gold with a line of poetry or secret message engraved inside of the band.
One of the most romantic eras was the Victorian era in England, when Queen Victoria’s love for her husband Albert was notable. Fashions reflected this prominent romance story, and Victorian engagement rings were often whimsical, elaborate, and filled with symbolism. You’ll see flowers, hearts, bows, and other shapes that have come back into fashion now. Diamonds became increasingly popular during this time period as well.
In the 18th century, Irish lovers gave one another “Claddagh” rings featuring two hands holding a heart bearing a crown. The couple’s initials were traditionally engraved within the ring as well, for a rustic, sweet, and simple style.
Asscher Cut Diamonds
As diamonds became the standard thanks to companies like Tiffany, they were cut in an increasingly wide range of styles and shapes. Designed in 1902, the Asscher cut is a perfect example of the era’s elegant designs. This vintage style is still extremely popular today, with its high crown and deep pavilion. It’s a cool, geometric cut that really showcases the diamond nicely and can be set off with coloured gemstones.
Do you love a clean, modern style? Look no further than the Art Deco era from the 1920s and 30s for more geometric cuts and artistic variations on the wedding ring. Platinum and white gold were favoured during this time period, and many of these rings still look quite modern today.
These are just a few highlights from the evolution of engagement ring style over the years. Whether your personal style leans towards the flowery or the futuristic, there are romantic rings out there to suit every personality!