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Art Deco Features on Vintage Engagement Rings

Feb. 19 2014
The signature features of the Art Deco engagement ring still look stunning on today’s modern lady. But what exactly is Art Deco?

Bridget took me to an Art Deco exhibition in London last week that she had been talking about for some time. Although she was really exited and chatted the whole way there, I wasn’t sure that the French modern style would really float my boat.

Bridget could see that I was sceptical but she took this as a personal challenge to open my eyes. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised, and the works of Picasso, Tamara de Lempicka and Barque made quite an impression on me.

Art Deco Engagement Rings

I had heard of Art Deco engagement rings and knew that some people regarded the design as the ultimate stylistic statement, but I had always assumed that they were quite limited in design. I just imagined the stereotypical Macintosh roses, stark lines and simple shapes of the generic Art Deco design, so when I got home I spent some time researching the possibilities of incorporating more of the styles we had seen that day into a ring.

Art Deco Napier by Russell James Smith, Used under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

The stark lines and simple shapes of the Art Deco style can be an inspiration for a bespoke engagement ring

It didn’t take long for me to appreciate the scope that the Art Deco engagement ring would give us. Adorned with intricate designs, bright colours and bold settings, these vintage rings have obviously maintained their popularity through the years because of the unique style.

It wasn’t long before I learned that there are several title characteristics of an Art Deco engagement ring that can be featured alone or all together, depending on the design.

Platinum Instead of Gold

Apparently women preferred platinum to the typical gold in the first half of the 20th century, because it looked modern and was a stunning partner for bright gemstones like ruby and sapphire that were very much in keeping with the Art Deco engagement ring style. If a diamond was used in an Art Deco ring, it was usually off-white with a slight yellowish tint, which I found particularly interesting.

Ring with Art Deco features by Amanda Mansell

Ring with Art Deco features by Amanda Mansell

Intricate, Detailed Filigree

The detailed filigree is another feature in Art Deco engagement rings, and this twisting of tiny beads and threads to produce intricately fine metalworking is testament to the skill of the designers of the period.

The filigree, or carving, on the band of the ring was used to enhance its beauty and these delicate touches often contrasted the bold designs to balance the effect as a whole.

Old European Cuts

I had no idea that there was so much to the Art Deco style and reading on I discovered that Art Deco engagement rings often featured round diamonds in Old European cuts, but Baguettes and Emerald cut diamonds were also used. These two cuts fitted seamlessly with the fashionable geometric designs that perfectly suited the Art Deco ideal.

A Whole New World

My trip to London with Bridget did open my eyes to Art Deco and I left feeling a real affinity with the period. It appeared to exude personality, and I imagined how the people of the time were aspiring to leave the drab designs of the Edwardian period behind and embrace a more glamorous and luxurious step into the 20th century.

The hand-engraved inscriptions, often used to add a final touch of love, inspired me.

Art Deco engagement rings had never struck me before, but after my visit to the gallery with Bridget I was enthused by their individuality and their unique link to a period in history that symbolised positive change and empowerment of ladies throughout Europe.

I am sure F would be interested to see what I had discovered too, as his love for art extends thorough all of the genres.


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