Bold, unconventional, complex, and elegant – all of these words are evoked with Art Deco style, which makes it no surprise that Art Deco engagement rings are so popular. Characterized by being at once timeless yet unique, Art Deco rings are continually one of the most sought after engagement ring styles. To achieve such a distinctive look with many features, we’re breaking down diamond shape, metals, settings, and more to help you design your perfect Art Deco engagement ring.
Art Deco Engagement Rings
What is the Art Deco Period?
The Art Deco period was a design and style movement occurring from about 1915-1935. This era was characterized by people exploring a new sense of self and a desire to move into a new century marked by innovation and modernism. This was the dawning of the machine age, helping to perfect filigree work through the use of die-cast machines. There was also increased travel and exposure to other cultures, inspiring the inclusion of symbols and patterns from Africa and Asia in art and design.
Colored gemstones became quite popular as a centerpiece stone and also as uniquely shaped or patterned accents to beautiful diamonds. Mixing more precious stones like sapphire, emerald and diamond with stones like onyx and coral established a new, open mindset about fine jewelry design. And stark white platinum or white gold were the essential metals of choice.
Features of Art Deco Engagement Rings
In the early part of the 20th century, engagement rings mainly featured gemstones in classic setting styles that seemed to smoothly flow together. Art Deco designs introduced much more angular looks with contrasting patterns, layered shapes, bright mixtures of colored stones, and the cool, light metals of white gold and platinum. In every sense of the term, Art Deco era jewelers paid very close attention to detail and loved to elevate special, distinct features.
Bold Geometric Shapes
One of the defining characteristics of Art Deco designs is the use of geometric shapes. Nowhere was this more appropriate to showcase than in the diamonds and gemstones highlighting each ring. Shapes like triangles, squares, rectangles and circles were chosen to capture the streamlined, modern spirit of the time.
Layering of shapes and creating geometric motifs was also very popular. The layering and incorporation of rectangular cuts like emerald cuts and baguettes, the square of an Asscher cut, and other geometric cuts like the round brilliant, triangles, shields, pear and marquise helped to create an intricate and complex look that was still perfectly balanced and symmetrical.
You can see this interplay of geometric shapes in a modern take on Art Deco design in our Amelia and Caldonia engagement rings. In Amelia, a beautiful round brilliant diamond is surrounded by smaller round diamonds and two baguette cut diamonds. In Caldonia, a round brilliant diamond is encircled by a shooting spray of baguette cuts and round cuts in absolute symmetry.
Diamonds and Platinum
Diamond remained the gemstone of choice during the Art Deco period, especially because it paired so beautifully with the metal of choice, platinum. Jewelers favored platinum for its strength, durability, and resistance to tarnishing. It was also quite malleable, allowing jewelers to create the intricate and precise settings typical of the era.
There is perhaps no more iconic Art Deco style engagement ring than the large, colorless diamond set in platinum and flanked by diamond side stones in a symmetrical pattern. Diamond accent stones were very popular during this era often appearing in clusters, as side stones, and in pavé settings – a technique that evolved during this period.
Our interpretation of this most timeless Art Deco style can be seen in Wandris – a classic solitaire engagement ring set with a stunning marquise diamond and flanked by two side baguettes. And in the epitome of Art Deco diamond cuts, our Angela pairs a gorgeous 3 carat Asscher cut diamond with two emerald cut side diamonds on a pavé-set band.
Favorite Diamond Cuts
While the Art Deco era highlighted many geometric shapes in its designs, jewelers of the era favored only a few diamond cuts above all others for the center stones. The love of sharp, clean lines vaulted the emerald cut and Asscher cut to the forefront of the Art Deco jewelry scene. Their unique step-cut faceting style was all about big flashes of light and an utterly clear appearance.
The other favorite diamond cut was the round brilliant, and to a lesser degree vintage cuts like the old mine cut and old European cut. The round brilliant of the era varied from the modern round brilliant in that the table facets tend to be smaller and the stones have larger culets. This provides a shifting pattern of light and dark in the face-up angle as the ring is moved.
The clean lines of the emerald cut were made for the Art Deco era, which we highlighted in the design for our Hydra engagement ring. Accentuating every vertical line is a 2 carat emerald cut diamond flanked on each side by two baguette cut diamonds. And we’ve set a beautiful round brilliant in another Art Deco style engagement ring, Gael, incorporating other features of the era like milgrain, filigree and contrasting blue sapphires.
The vibrant geometric designs and bright metals were the perfect backdrop for the incorporation of complex detailing techniques like filigree and milgrain. Filigree is characterized by tiny, intricate cut-outs in the metal. This technique is often used alongside milgrain, a process where small beads of metal are used to create edges and borders. While these processes have been a feature of eras prior to and since the Art Deco era, during this period, the patterns would tend to be elaborate to show off a perfectly balanced and symmetrical look.
Alongside these complex detailing techniques, the return of the sleek and simple bezel setting was the perfect accompaniment. Higher-set metal prongs were traded out for the strong, geometric lines of the bezel. This setting also came with the added benefit of contributing a thin line of brilliant metal to add to the shine.
Our Elani showcases the use of milgrain and filigree in a perfectly balanced ring. The center is a radiant shaped diamond flanked by two baguettes on either side and a pavé-set band with milgrain detailing throughout and filigree elements popping on the band’s underside. We took a similar approach with our Joanna, combining multiple Art Deco elements for a truly stunning ring. A bezel-set old European cut diamond is surrounded by a halo of sapphires and accentuated with milgrain and intricate filigree done by hand.
Art Deco engagement rings offer variety, stunning and unique design, and a strong look of individuality. Truly vintage Art Deco engagement rings will carry a heavy price tag and depending on what you want, can be hard to find. But an Art Deco inspired engagement ring can provide a boldly beautiful ring without the big budget. Vintage or custom made, Art Deco engagement rings never go out of style!