The Guide for Vintage Halo Engagement Rings August 1, 2016 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

In age terms, the vintage halo engagement ring is a relatively modern creation.

Emerging during the Art Deco period in the 1920s, designers looked for ways to add depth and decoration to what had been fairly simple examples up to that point.

Here are some insights into halo diamond engagement rings with pavé settings.

What is a Vintage Halo Engagement Ring?

Halo Engagement Rings

A Vintage Halo Engagement Ring is a period-era engagement ring that features a circle of stones that surround the center stone. Usually, the center stone is a diamond, but this isn’t a sure rule.

As one might expect from the name, the halo itself is a border of other stones around the center diamond, a style usually referred to as pavé.

The word “pavé” literally means “pavement” in Old French, and it is the precision cutting and setting of the small stones that create the pavement of the halo in order to enhance to overall look of the ring. Traditionally, the halo would be of small cut diamonds, but high contrast stones are also popular, such as Sapphire, Emerald or Ruby.

Usually, in order to be called Art Deco, the number of stones in each half of the halo should match, and this would also apply to any further pavé that might be added to the outer faces of the shoulders and shank. Without this symmetry, the halo term still applies, but such rings wouldn’t usually be described as true Art Deco.

The use of contrast stones in this halo diamond engagement ring with a pavé setting, as well as exaggerating the carat size of the center diamond, can also be useful in hiding some of the yellow present in the diamond by allowing it to appear clearer and brighter next to the dark blues or reds of the halo.

Conversely, if a diamond would normally be considered to be too yellow to stand on its own, the addition of a halo comprising colorless diamonds can make the yellow even more prominent. Whilst perhaps still not desirable to some as a diamond center stone for an engagement ring, the effect can be very attractive nonetheless.

History of the Halo Ring

halo engagement ring

Halo engagement rings have been used since the early 20th century, originally as a way to hide flaws in the center stone or imperfect cutting techniques. While initially created solely from smaller and cheaper diamonds, the halo concept soon expanded into the use of other stones such as emeralds, sapphires, and rubies.

Halo rings have remained one of the most popular styles of vintage engagement rings for almost a hundred years. Diamond halos on diamond rings have certainly had their niche, and diamond and sapphire halo engagement rings have proven to be a particularly eye-catching combination over time.

Halo and Old European Cut

A slight curiosity of the halo engagement ring is the cut of the center stone. The classic old European or other round cuts are prominent in large-carat engagement rings, but the halo design can provide a lot more flexibility and choice for both designer and wearer. Some cuts have deliberately pointed facets and edges that can be brittle and are prone to damage if knocked against a hard surface. In such cases, the halo can provide protection to those cuts and allow for more creativity by using a pear and other shapes without the same risks as would normally be expected.

The point of a diamond engagement ring, of course, is to show the center stone to its maximum effect, so the more traditional cuts are still very much the norm but, with contrast halos, the emerald cut is becoming increasingly popular for brides to be. Occasionally, there will be no center stone in a halo diamond engagement ring with a pavé setting, but instead, more pavé stones will be set in its place. This sometimes allows a similar total carat weight but without the expense that a single large stone carries with it.

Examples of Vintage Halo Engagement Rings

Amongst the extensive range of diamond engagement rings we have here at Estate Diamond Jewelry, we have many halo rings that are quite spectacular. Here are some of our favorites.

  • 0.70ct Old European Cut Diamond Floral Cluster Engagement Ring 13753-TV-1000PX
    Yorkshire Ring
  • 1.32ct Old European Cut Cluster Engagement Ring Russellville Ring 13683_TV
    Russellville Ring. Circa 1915
  • Antique Cushion Cut Floral Halo Ring - Eastchester Ring
    Eastchester Ring
  • Art Nouveau Floral Diamond Cluster Ring - Medway Ring 13729 TV
    Medway Ring. Circa 1890
  • Antique Art Deco Diamond Ring Bridgeville Ring
    Bridgeville Ring. Circa 1930
  • Earling Ring Top View
    Earling Ring
  • 11960 Rovigo Diamond Ring TV
    Rovigo Ring. Circa 1920
  • Antique Barcelona Ring
    Barcelona Ring. Circa 1920
  • 3ct Antique Aquamarine Engagement Ring TV 11573
    Hanover Ring. Circa 1920
    On Layaway

The Floral Halo Engagement Ring

Floral Diamond & Sapphire Ring

We have mentioned halos within halos, and this stunning ring goes even further. At the center is a 1.66ct old European cut diamond, within a halo of 21 pavéed sapphires. Outside this is a further halo of cut diamonds atop the gallery. Between each halo is fine milgrain, to allow the different stones each to tell their own story.

A pristine example of the unique craftsmanship involved in antique-style halo engagement rings, the contrast of the sapphires might easily be lost among the diamonds, but the bold, rich blue hue makes the overall effect just spectacular.

Antique Sapphire and Diamond Halo Ring

Rare Antique Sapphire Ring

Sometimes, when we look at a really fine example of any type of jewelry, it’s difficult to know where to start. Not because there’s no obvious start point, but because there are so many, and this is one of those pieces!

In this halo diamond engagement ring with a pavé setting, a superb cushion cut sapphire is the crowning glory of the ring, bezel set with a halo of cut diamonds. The pavé continues around the top of the gallery, with further sapphires punctuating the seemingly endless parade of beauty. Slightly unusual in that the mount is platinum on gold, the further contrast between diamond, sapphire, and the band is almost overwhelming in its demand for attention.

Fancy Yellow Diamond Halo Ring

Fancy Yellow Diamond Ring

Simple in its design, but exquisite in its appearance, the rare 1.38ct yellow diamond is bezel set in platinum on gold and enhanced by the halo of antique diamonds. Two further diamonds on the shoulders and some very fine openwork in the gallery all make for a wonderful “less-is-more” effect.

The triple wire band adds a finishing touch that takes this rare beauty to the next level.

Click here to view our complete collection.

Pros and Cons of Vintage Halo Engagement Rings

Diamond Halo Engagement Ring

There are both pros and cons to the halo design for engagement rings. Many proclaim the purpose to be highlighting the center stone, in reality, if the stone is smaller than 3 carats, there is a possibility that the reverse effect can happen, where the center stone seems to disappear into the ring.

Most people however are of the opinion that the halo will further add to the size of the center diamond and give an illusion of a much larger stone. Having the right diamond cut also helps improve the visibility of the stone in this type of setting, especially in a sapphire halo engagement ring. A round or cushion cut diamond will benefit far more from a halo, as it will appear both larger and with more brilliance and sparkle.

Famous Vintage Halo Engagement Rings

Although, traditionally, most choices for engagement rings would be simply one or more diamonds – with a Solitaire ring being the most popular choice – there have been several notable halo examples that have caught the eye. With the celebrity fashion for bling showing no signs of abating, it’s probably not surprising that more and more engagement rings on the red carpets are non-traditional, including many halo diamond engagement ring with pavé settings.

Princess Diana and Kate Middleton Engagement Ring

Princess Diana Halo Ring

Prince Charles gave Lady Diana Spencer an engagement ring consisting of a deep blue sapphire with a diamond halo. When Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton, he did so using his mother’s ring.

The ring choice was a little unusual in that it was store-bought (albeit from a very high-end jeweler) rather than a custom design.

As beautiful as the ring is, the significance of its wearers has propelled it into super-stardom because everybody loves a princess wedding!

Choosing a Halo Engagement Ring

Like all fashion, the final determining factor in the value of an item is in the heart and mind of the one who wears it. Choosing a sapphire halo engagement ring or any other style of ring is a difficult and extremely personal decision. Let the experts at Estate Diamond Jewelry help guide you in finding the perfect piece to present to your beloved.