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Edwardian engagement rings come from an era that was short but influential, impacting the trends of engagement rings ever since. The rings from this era were opulent, stylish and glamorous, ideal for someone looking for a statement ring.
Whether you’re looking for a true Edwardian antique ring or an Edwardian inspired modern ring, we’ve got you covered with this guide on Edwardian ring designs and elements.
Let’s jump right in.
The Edwardian Era – Short but Sweet
The Edwardian era is named after England’s King Edward VII and refers to the short period of his reign between 1901 to 1910. During this period, the craft of jewelry flourished, with many new styles and materials entering the scene. Platinum became the favored metal, as it allowed for delicate filigree work without losing its strength and integrity, while diamonds, colorful gemstones and elegant metalwork became the norm.
Jewelry was worn to show rank and wealth, and the jewelry designs were meant to convey power and majesty with their elegance and delicacy. Although the period ended very quickly, effectively dying out with the First World War, it has had a lasting impact with elements of the era influencing vintage and modern designs alike today.
Edwardian Engagement Rings – Designs and Elements
Edwardian engagement rings are known for their attention getting, large and opulent styles. The jewelers in the Edwardian era wove diamonds and platinum into the most intricate designs of gorgeous filigree. The unmatched skill and excellent designs that crafted these rings give them the iconic appeal of antique Edwardian jewelry. In addition to platinum, gold was also used to provide rich accents. Two-toned rings like this gold and platinum hexagon diamond ring were popular and added depth and detail to a design.
The Edwardian ring styles mainly featured flowing, graceful lines, with key elements including bows, ribbons, florals, loops, garlands and other curved motifs. This is in stark contrast to the engagement rings from the Art Deco era which was to come after the Edwardian era and was defined by geometric shapes, straight lines and angular designs.
During the Edwardian era, fine millegrain borders and pierced patterns were fashionable accents, adding detail to rings and other jewelry. Large center stones in Edwardian engagement rings were either colored gemstones or diamonds, which paired well with platinum. When it came to diamonds, the most desirable shapes were oval, round, and marquise although a range of other shapes were also used.
Popular settings included the halo setting, featuring the center diamond or gemstone surrounded by smaller stones. Overall, glamor and sophistication seemed to be the norm for rings of this period, with statement making designs and opulence being key.
Elements of Edwardian Engagement Ring
Now that we’ve had a look at basic elements of the Edwardian era, here’s a closer look at the elements that made up the beauty of these ring styles.
1- Marquise Cut Diamonds
During the Edwardian era, marquise cut diamonds were extremely popular and were typically used in ring designs. This diamond cut is similar in shape to a boat (hence its other name ‘navette’ which means boat) with two pointed edges. Marquise diamonds are ideal at slimming and elongating fingers because of their long, elegant shape.
Note that sailing was one of the favorite hobbies of King Edward VII and some speculate that this was a reason the boat-shaped cut was a favorite diamond cut, although this connection might be stretching it a bit.
2- Monochromatic Styles
Edwardian jewelry designers were into the monochromatic look, often pairing pearls and diamonds with platinum for a royal white look. Diamonds and pearls set in platinum were a signature style of imperial pieces of jewelry and designers often preferred a monochromatic look because it suited well with dresses of any style and color.
3- Scroll Work
Scroll work, which was very popular during the Edwardian era, is based on rococo art, an ornate style from the early 18th century. The look of Edwardian rings featuring scroll work is soft, intricate, and curvy. It was used heavily by Edwardian jewelry designers and can still be seen in contemporary designs. Scroll work helps create a gorgeous vintage-style engagement ring.
4- Floral Motifs
Natural motifs were common during the Edwardian era, with flowers, leaves, vines, insects and celestial motifs often inspiring Edwardian ring elements. Of these, perhaps floral motifs were the most popular. Floral motifs lent an elegance and femininity to ring designs and are popular even today.
Edwardian Engagement Ring Settings
The above elements were frequently paired with the following ring settings to create a truly Edwardian look.
1- Pavé Setting
The pavé setting is inspired by the French word “to pave,” as in paved with diamonds. This setting features tiny prongs holding small diamonds close together, thereby forming continuous sparkle. Since the Edwardian style called for diamonds, pavé settings allowed Edwardian jewelers to incorporate multiple diamonds in their delicate designs.
2- Bezel Setting
The bezel is one of the oldest vintage jewelry settings, known for its ability to securely hold gemstones within a thin metal wall. It is excellent for those with an active lifestyle because of no prongs getting snagged or bumped. Edwardian bezel settings often featured the gemstone in an elaborate encasing, like this diamond hexagonal filigree ring.
3- Cluster Setting
The trendy cluster setting features a central gemstone or diamond, encircled by pearls or other gemstones to create a cluster. The cluster often ties back to the floral motif, as it can be crafted to look like a flower, as can be seen in this daisy cluster setting. This is an excellent way to have more diamonds at a lower cost, because smaller diamonds always cost less than a single large one.
- Three Stone Ring Settings
Known for their symbolism of Past, Present and Future, three stone rings were popular during the Edwardian era as they allowed for elaborate designs and much versatility. The ring above features several elements of Edwardian rings (bezel, diamond, two-toned metal, gemstones, prongs), showing how the three stone ring setting could be very versatile.
Are Edwardian Engagement Rings in Style Today?
Edwardian engagement rings are great for a vintage style if you like the look of glamor and sophistication for your engagement ring. It is excellent for brides looking for something different that no one else owns. Many modern jewelry designers take inspiration from Edwardian jewelry to create stunning engagement rings. In light of the industry’s trends, we can say that most Edwardian engagement ring trends will continue to fascinate people worldwide.
Where to Buy Edwardian Engagement Rings
There are many online and in-store locations where you can buy authentic antique Edwardian engagement rings as well as Edwardian-inspired modern replicas.
The value of antique Edwardian rings is largely affected by its condition. Missing or replaced gemstones or damaged prongs will lower its value. During the Edwardian era, handcrafted rings were quite rare, with machine-made rings becoming common. Edwardian rings made in Britain or the USA, should have stamps of the makers as well as hallmarks. Keep in mind that other European nations didn’t require hallmarking, so rings may or may not have stamps inside the band.
For vintage ring settings, we recommend checking out James Allen’s small yet stunning collection which feature a range of Edwardian rings as well as those from other eras. Click here to browse.