Deco-Inspired Rings for the Modern Bride
Updated: Jul 23
There are a lot of reasons beyond the return of the ‘20s to look at Art Deco designs for your engagement ring.
For many jewelry experts and historians, the Art Deco era was considered the “golden age” of jewelry-design, not because they loved the color gold… (actually, white gold and platinum were far more popular,) but because Art Deco designs were famously unique from anything that came before.
They were playful, striking, whimsical and assertive. And back then, they were extravagant.
But this isn’t 1920. It’s 2020, and so many things that once seemed opulent in jewelry design are now affordable, which means Art Deco inspired rings are not only perfectly modern; they’re also perfectly within reach for the modern couple.
Here are three of the best elements of roaring twenties engagement rings to embrace in your modern bridal set:
1. Unique Diamond Shapes.
Marquise, Ovals, Pears, Squares and even Trillium-cut diamonds all had a place in Art Deco Designs. Magnificent Rose-cuts, which have all but disappeared, were used with regularity! Not only does going with a uniquely-shaped center stone give your engagement ring an immediately attention-grabbing, one-of-a-kind look; it can also save you significant cash compared to traditional, round brilliant diamonds.
One reason for this is that many unique shapes, especially elongated shapes like marquise, ovals and pears, often appear large for their carat weight.
**Let’s make one thing abundantly clear: no matter what shape of diamond you choose, it’s always incredibly important to get one that is well-cut, with great proportions. In other words, some diamond cutters try to get sneaky and cut their stones way too shallow. Sure, from above, these diamonds might look huge for their weight. But when it comes to sparkle, these diamonds will be a huge lot of nothing, no matter how beautifully they’re mounted. The same is true for diamonds cut too deeply. Shallow and deep diamonds both leak light that they ought to be reflecting, and the result are diamonds that appear dull, lifeless, and even cloudy. That is not what we’re talking about when we say some shapes seem larger than others of the same weight.
What we are talking about is how a well-cut one-carat marquise will often seem bigger than a well-cut one-carat round diamond. They’ll both sparkly magnificently. One just happens to be a shape where more of the diamond is visible from above, so it seems larger. Because of this, you can often buy a slightly smaller stone without compromising any of the ring’s wow factor, and when it comes to a material as rare as diamonds, even a slight change in size can mean a big change in cost.
To save even more dough, opt for a lab grown diamond. Not only do they reduce the cost of your ring, but lab grown diamonds are often clearer and more colorless than Earth-formed diamonds, which makes lab-grown diamonds the perfect choices for some of these less-faceted cuts.
2. Fancy Filigree
Filigree is a style of metal work that is seen all over Art Deco rings. If you’ve ever seen a particularly detailed, antique mounting, the kind where metal seems to loop and twist, blooming into delicate, ivy-like flourishes, then what you’ve been admiring is filigree.
Filigree adds incredible, intricate design elements to a ring, without upping your ring’s cost. Like diamonds, precious metals are measured by weight, and rings with delicate-looking filigree designs often end up weighing less than solid bands of that same material. Like uniquely shaped center stones, filigree is a fabulous way to add a ton of personal style to your ring, without actually changing your ring budget. Filigree is one element of 1920’s design we really can’t get enough of.
3. Pave and Channel-Set Side Stones
Art Deco rings were all about pizzazz, and that meant using side stones frequently, and in really creative ways.
Pave is the French word for paved, and pave styles literally pave an area of the ring with small, round diamonds, offering unbelievable amounts of sparkle. Pave can be used around the sides of a band to give the entire ring a more crystalline look, or, even more commonly, pave is used to create halo effects around a center stone. Halo designs are extremely popular because they add sparkle to the top of the ring, which causes the center diamond to appear even larger.
Channel settings most often use baguette shaped diamonds to create bold, geometric lines of continuous sparkle. These baguette channels can create a crystalline frame around the center stone, or they can add visual interest, including a sunburst-like effect emanating from the center stone. No matter how they’re used, they always look both stately and fresh.
Perhaps more than any other era in jewelry design, the 1920's put a premium on individuality. This meant they had styles for every taste, from from demure and understated, to wild and assertive, and that is why a little trip down memory lane might be the perfect place to begin your engagement ring journey.