As Jewelry Shopping Guide editors, we write about things that we love and we think you’ll like too. We often have affiliate partnerships, and may generate some revenue from these links at no cost to you.
Many modern brides want a unique engagement ring and going vintage is an excellent way to go. Vintage engagement rings have an old-world charm and are perfect if you want a bit of history with your ring.
With that said, the 1920s was an era of immense change, reflected in the stunning engagement ring designs. Intrigued?
Take a ride back in time with us to the Art Deco era and discover the 1920s engagement rings that fit your style.
While reading this article listen to this song from the 1920s in the background
1920s Art Deco: The Decadent Era
The Art Deco era spanned from 1920 to 1930 and was defined by artistic rebellion, flapper styles, and a very distinct look in jewelry design. After World War I, the Roaring Twenties became a time of change. People needed an escape from the aftermath of war, and women enjoyed a period of liberation through their lifestyles, clothing, and jewelry. A dramatic shift in fashion style required a rethinking of jewelry designs, along with engagement ring styles.
In the 1920s, the cocktail party became popular and so did the cocktail ring and engagement ring as a fashionable pieces of jewelry. Flappers of the Roaring Twenties became interested in wearing jewelry that complemented their styles. If you have watched the Great Gatsby, you’ve seen the very definition of Art Deco. It portrayed the modernist decorative style of the 1920s from interior decoration to architecture, fashion, and jewelry.
1920s Art Deco Engagement Rings
Engagement ring styles at the time were inspired by Cubism, Modernism, and Futurism. The theme of Art Deco was geometry, bold colors, and symmetry—but in jewelry, in particular, engagement rings reflected the era with a streamlined geometric look.
The engagement ring styles were also influenced by two design periods that preceded Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the Edwardian era.
- The early Art Deco engagement rings adopted some of the decorative and flowery accents of Art Nouveau in sleeker designs, like this art nouveau engagement ring, but later replaced them with harshly geometric and symmetrical motifs.
- The Edwardian style influenced Art Deco jewelry designers in the use of platinum and diamond on engagement rings, as this Edwardian diamond ring shows. In comparison with Edwardian rings, Art Deco engagement rings were less conservative and more geometric. In its structure, the 1920s engagement rings had straight lines and distinct geometric shapes, as opposed to Edwardian rings’ curved lines and nature-inspired motifs.
The 1920s was a revolutionary era in engagement ring design—it introduced geometric shapes, symmetrical patterns, faceted gemstone cuts, and bold color contrast. Although a great deal of Art Deco jewelry was mass-produced, the finest engagement rings of the era were handcrafted and designed by famous jewelers and fashion houses at the time.
The onset of the Great Depression and World War II gave an unexpected end to the Art Deco era, but there have been a number of revivals of the style, and its influences are still in vogue today. The 1920s engagement rings still recall an era of glamour and sophistication. Although the Art Deco era was a brief period in history, it made a lasting impact on jewelry design and engagement ring trends.
1920s Engagement Ring Trends
If you’re thinking about a 1920s engagement ring for yourself, here are the characteristics that defined them.
1. Platinum Rings
During the Art Deco era, platinum was favored for its malleability, luster, and strength, which allowed jewelers to create precise details and intricate shapes on engagement rings. Also, the advancement in technology and the discovery of the world’s largest platinum deposit in South Africa made platinum engagement rings popular throughout the era. However, at the end of the era, during the Great Depression, white gold and yellow gold became the more affordable alternatives.
2. Diamond Rings
Diamonds were the gemstone of choice on engagement rings during the Art Deco era. However, because 1920s diamond rings weren’t cut to precise proportions, they were less brilliant. Diamonds with yellow tints were also common and because these were usually worn in the evening, low lights masked the yellowish tint of the gemstone, making warmer diamonds acceptable for flappers.
White jewelry was a trend in the 1920s, so diamonds were often set in platinum engagement rings. “Old European” cut diamonds were popular because of the geometric influence of Art Deco in jewelry. However, it doesn’t have the sparkle of a modern round-cut diamond today.
3. Halo Ring Setting
The halo ring setting on engagement rings features a large center stone surrounded by smaller stones. The 1920s engagement ring design reflected the geometric influences of Art Deco and had a negative inner space around the halo to draw the focus on the center stone.
4. Geometric Shapes
Geometric shapes were very popular in the ring designs and captured the streamlined, angular, mathematical feel of the era’s jewelry. Gemstones were cut into geometric shapes and were set into geometric-shaped settings like octagons and hexagons. In fact, picking out a geometric shape for your engagement ring is one easy way to get a 1920s vibe.
5. Bold Color Contrasts
While a lot of jewelry from this era was black and white, the fruit salad motif was popular in the 1920s with engagement rings. Jewelers incorporated colored gemstones—sapphires, emeralds, rubies, lapis lazuli, black onyx—with diamonds. Some engagement rings had white diamonds framing bold-colored gemstones and vice versa. The bold color contrast on engagement rings marked an end to the pastel colors of the Art Nouveau era.
6. Filigree Design
During the Art Deco era, jewelers and artisans paid attention to detail. The malleability and strength of platinum allowed them to create intricate designs on engagement rings without compromising the security of gemstones. These filigree rings took the influences of Art Deco motifs, featuring small intricate cutouts and geometric lines.
Are 1920s Engagement Rings in Style Today?
Art Deco is one of the most enduring movements in jewelry design that inspired many trends in engagement rings. Most modern-day engagement rings took inspiration from the Art Deco era. Some couples prefer antique engagement rings, while others embraced modern styles with Art Deco influences.
We see this influence in modern engagement ring styles that feature a halo, double halo, filigree settings, unconventional gemstone shapes, and geometric lines.
Whether it’s an antique engagement ring from the 1920s or a modern revival of Art Deco, couples can find something unique that fits their style. The 1920s engagement rings from geometric-shaped gemstones to halo designs are proving irresistible to brides-to-be, and it’s safe to say that most Art Deco jewelry trends will continue for a long time into the future.
Where to Buy 1920s Engagement Rings
Before shopping for a 1920s engagement ring, decide if you want something antique, vintage, or Art Deco-inspired. These each has their pros and cons and which you choose depends on your preferences.
Antique 1920s engagement rings are those that were made during the period and are around 100 years old. When it comes to 1920s-inspired or Art Deco-inspired engagement rings, the designs are often created using the styles and techniques from the era using modern materials—or repurposed antique or vintage gemstones just to evoke a vintage feel.
We suggest taking your search online for the best prices and a wider range of designs. Based on our experience, we recommend the following stores:
For an antique or vintage ring, check out Etsy which has a great selection of 1920s engagement rings, reflecting the diverse style of the Art Deco era.
For 1920s-inspired engagement rings, check out James Allen’s impressive vintage engagement ring collection.
We also recommend searching through Blue Nile’s high-quality, competitively-priced vintage rings.
The era of Art Deco has proven to be a source of inspiration in jewelry design. Getting engaged is one of the most unforgettable moments in life – and a perfect 1920s engagement ring is the cherry on top!