Victorian and Edwardian Luxury Engagement Rings

Feb. 19 2014
Victorian and Edwardian luxury vintage engagement rings offer elegant, old world beauty. This ring style is sure to suit the classic bride.

The other morning I had to take Lemon Tree to the vet. Apparently dogs should not eat chocolate and he had got his nose into L’s handbag and helped himself to more than one Malteeser, which had left him feeling a little green.

Our vet is a friend and we were chatting casually about our engagement ring search when she dragged me out into the reception to show me the beautiful vintage engagement ring that the receptionist was proudly wearing.

I couldn’t deny that it was stunning, elegantly set and as shiny as any modern ring despite its years. Apparently this ring was a Victorian vintage engagement ring, very different from those of the following Edwardian or Belle Époque period.

I had no idea that vintage engagement rings were categorised but I supposed it made sense.

There are several different popular periods into which vintage engagement rings are categorised and two of the most popular are Victorian (1835- 1910) and Edwardian or Belle Époque (1890-1910).

The Victorian Ring

During the Victorian era, there was a lot of exploration in Egypt, which revived an interest in the ancient worlds of Egypt, Rome and Asia Minor. This revival influenced the jewelry market because people were so fascinated by the origins of the designs and the intricate craftsmanship involved in their creation.

DGJ_4721 - Unified Egypt by Dennis Jarvis, Used under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode)

During the Victorian era there was a revival of interest in the ancient worlds of Egypt

Queen Victoria famously chose a design of a coiled gold snake, which is the ancient Roman symbol for eternal love, for her engagement ring. I found it very interesting to find out that Victorian engagement rings rarely featured a diamond, as they were famously hard to come across during this time. Any rings that did feature a diamond were usually fashioned into the popular Old Miner, Old European, Rose or Antique Cushion cuts.

The Edwardian Ring

At the turn of the century, Victorian designs were still popular, but a new style was also making its way into the engagement ring arena. Edwardian and Belle Époque rings were more often made of platinum instead of gold because of the modern developments in the manufacturing of the medium, and they were very delicate looking due to the feminine settings and detail.

Cluster platinum ring by Sophie Breitmeyer

Cluster platinum ring by Sophie Breitmeyer

Many vintage engagement rings from this period are in the shape of flowers and other exotic designs that embodied luxury and femininity, and I realised that this was the type of vintage engagement ring that we had been edging towards.

Diamonds were popular during this time, but sapphires were often incorporated with diamonds as a side stone to add a bit of sparkle. Popular diamond cuts during this period were Old European, Transitional, and Rose.

Rings With Appeal

The more I learn about the vintage engagement ring, the more appeal it holds for me. The fact that it tells a story, symbolises a point in our history, and was likely made by hand are all qualities that make a vintage engagement ring even more attractive.

Although I am not sure a coiled snake would be the symbol of choice for us, I left the vet wondering if we could get Lemon Tree incorporated into our ring instead.

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