How are One-of-a-Kind Engagement Rings Designed? July 29, 2016 – Posted in: Jewelry Blog

an artistic close-up shot of a one-of-a-kind engagement ringIn order to discover a truly singular piece of craftsmanship, one must be willing to explore the original creations of designers and jewelry houses whose work is renowned for excellence. One-of-a-kind engagement rings which captivate the heart and arrest the eye are labors of love, which begin with a vision and end in a piece of unique splendor.

A brilliant piece of jewelry’s unparalleled quality often appears seamless, as great design draws the attention to the entirety of the work. It remains true, however, that the technical acumen and visionary skill that goes into a one-of-a-kind engagement ring marks it as truly special.

Many jewelry houses, or maisons, of high regard have explored elaborate and bold periods of aesthetic invention, partnering with innovative designers to bring about a beautiful partnership. The resultant masterpieces have become markers of excellence, timeless artworks that are breathtaking in their singularity and prominent examples of the era they represent.

History, mastery, and rarity, each in concert with one another, give a piece of estate jewelry it’s great value. When found in harmony in the uncommon venue of a one-of-a-kind treasure, those characteristics become even more desirable.

close up shot of an old mine cushion cut diamond engagement ring Creating an Indelible Impression

Vision: It is the most prized of our senses, and the most desirable quality of an artist or innovator. True visionaries of gemology and design reach beyond the known and the accepted, playing with themes and beloved motifs even as they reinvent them. In past centuries, the diamond was often featured as but one gem amongst many, deployed by lapidaries to grace playful trinkets and one-of-a-kind engagement rings exchanged between lovers.

Sage gemologists whose passion and inventiveness was far beyond their time took global influences and made new advances in technology, and the precursors to modern diamond cuts were born. With these new cuts came new possibilities, along with emerging methods with which jewelers chose to showcase their stones.

Brilliance became the standard by which creative innovators judged their works.  The old mine cut, a hand-crafted predecessor to the modern brilliant cut, was designed to draw the eye to the sparkling facets of the higher cut crown. Especially suited to the era of the candlelit evening soirées of the Edwardian and Victorian eras, one-of-a-kind engagement rings, designed to showcase the old mine cut, played to the particular triangular facets that shone under any light.

Asymmetrical yet stunning, many old mine cut diamonds feature cushion cuts surrounded by smaller diamonds to showcase the center stone. The baroque futurism of the Art Deco style harkened back to the old mine cut by featuring this style in center stones and adorning stones shoulder-mounted on many pieces well into the 1920s.

Perspective and Shapea diamond Victorian-era engagement ring

For a master craftsperson, the choice of whether to embrace asymmetry or symmetry, to employ contemporary lines or motifs found in nature, or to create a single central stone as opposed to a cluster, is often a painstaking one. Much of the discovery and invention that comes about from designers playing on the prior works of eras past comes to fruition in one-of-a-kind engagement rings, and points to master gemologists who are conversant in their craft.

Floral designs could often be found in the stunning work of Victorian jewelry. Influenced by the garden and the vineyard, many Victorian era designers sought to capture the appreciation of nature as a setting of romance and inspiration. This was often achieved by employing delicate openwork filigrees that can only be attributed to the finest of skilled designers. Likewise, later designers, drawing on the evocative and organic influences of Art Nouveau, often chose to design pieces that had an overall feel of life and vibrancy.

close up of an art deco engagement ring For other artists, symmetry is synonymous with the bold and audacious spirit that embraced technological progress and they venture forth fearlessly into new frontiers of artistry and elegance. Movements such as the Art Deco era merged an ornate sense of occasion with a dedication to clean and balanced cuts. These rings showcase not only a far advanced technical prowess, but also highlight the brilliance of their stones by pairing them expertly with bold and unique galleries. Contemporary designs offer a minimalist approach, dressing eye-catching stones in striking settings to draw the eye deep into the faceted table of these one-of-a-kind engagement rings.

The Allure of an Exceptional Stone

Though the diamond has been heavily featured in engagement rings since its rise to prominence in the 19th century, many precious stones with illustrious origins are chosen by designers to showcase a more eclectic sensibility. Emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and even onyx are artfully used in unique and stunning engagement rings to break from the mold and build on a gem’s natural beauty.

an emerald engagement ring framed by a halo of diamonds.Allowing for a greater degree of contrast, and more importantly, allowing the wearer to bear a distinctive ring with a stone chosen specifically to reflect their own personality, many couples have embraced the “non-traditional” center stone. However, the method by which the stones are featured is deeply characteristic of estate jewelry.

Unlike modern, machine-cut and glass-blown stones which are artificially made to be prismatic by adding elements such as heat, one-of-a-kind engagement rings that are truly vintage feature hand-cut, naturally stunning stones. No-heat sapphires and Burmese rubies will mark such a ring as a truly singular, uniquely beautiful investment piece.

Many stones are also utilized to showcase the natural beauty of the center stone. Like a true artist, drawing the observer’s eye to the foreground by carefully curating the background, designers make use of accent stones (often with a pave cut or cushion-cut gems) in order to feature the beauty of the cut and clarity of their chosen diamond in its setting .

an art deco diamond engagement ring with emerald accents

From solitaire settings to styles far more ornate, the methodology of each artist shines through the crafting of authentic vintage one-of-a-kind engagement rings. Whether creating a whimsical look with a delicate filigree, highlighting the curvaceous elegance of their creation with pave stones, or crafting a regal piece with a stunning halo band, every artistic master who crafts a truly rare engagement ring does so with great passion and clarity.

Making the Perfect Cut

How do the different cuts influence the overall look of your vintage piece? It is a question that any true artist labors over before choosing the perfect cut. A cut must showcase a stone’s natural beauty, yet maintain its weight and exist in harmony with the final setting chosen by the jeweler.

Some popular cuts for one-of-a-kind engagement rings are the Asscher cut, baguette cut, and cushion cut.

The Cushion Cut:

This cut is derived from the old mine cut, and serves to maintain a large table and moderate depth. It also has rounded edges, but is more square than the modern oval cut. Lastly, the stone maintains the rectangular shape that features prominently in many vintage pieces.

The Asscher Cut:

The Asscher cut bears many similarities in shape to the modern emerald cut due to its high crown and a small table. This cut is usually created with higher step facets, which allow for a greater degree of brilliance.

close-up of a 1.15 ct diamond engagement ring The Baguette Cut:

Also a permutation on the emerald cut, this style contains step cuts (which resemble steps, not corners). The cut also has a bold, rectangular shape which results in a higher level of luster over brilliance.

Every cut is chosen in order to better reveal the brilliance and clarity of a stone, and a true master knows that a quality stone must precede any cut whatsoever. This means that for each and every one-of-a-kind engagement ring, a gemologist has taken on a great task in choosing the right stone and the very best cut for it.

The Influence of An Era

Creating a truly one-of-a-kind engagement ring has always been a challenge, even for expert craftsmen. While authentic, antique engagement rings were inspired by the fashions of their time, today’s vintage inspired rings, look to the past for ignite their passion. Many of the rings made by Estate Diamond Jewelry are inspired by the Victorian, Edwardian, and Art Deco eras.

The Victorian period, divided into three parts, was influenced in the main by Queen Victoria’s fashion. The first period, or the Romantic period, was a time of love and happiness as the Queen had just married her husband, Prince Albert. Floral motifs and snake designs accented by pearls, coral, and turquoise were everywhere. During the Grand period, Victoria lost her husband, and her 27 year mourning period was reflected in every piece. Dark stones, grieving cameos, and Renaissance style revivals were evident in much of the jewelry. After her grief had abated, Queen Victoria ushered her subjects into the Aesthetic period where a return to whimsical nature and colorful stones was a reminder of the love she shared with Prince Albert.

The Edwardian era is considered by many to have been the height of elegance in fashion and jewelry. Advances in metal fabrication allowed for the use of platinum in jewelry, and at this time mixed metal for one-of-a-kind engagement rings became extremely popular. While diamonds were the gemstone of choice for many young women because it represented the purity and innocence many sought at the time, there was also a steady use of green garnet, sapphires, and aquamarines. Delicate milgraining and filigree accentuated the boldness of bright gemstones.

In the Art Deco era, artists were inspired by the explosive growth of the industrial revolution. The symmetry of grand new structures, like the Empire State Building, and the colors of modern art, like the works of Picasso Pablo, featured heavily in many one-of-a-kind engagement rings. An attitude of opulence and excess permeated every aspect of life in the 1920s, including the creation of jewelry.

While these eras may not influence modern jewelry designers, at Estate Diamond Jewelry, we draw all of our inspiration from the lively designs of antique eras. We only collect and create jewelry from historic periods for a selection of one-of-a-kind engagement rings that showcases our passion.

From Expert Design to the Perfect Ring

close-up shot of a couple holding hands featuring an engagement ring.

It is an embarrassment of riches that so many great eras of artistry are preserved in the world of estate jewelry, but choosing the perfect setting becomes simpler once you recognize the offerings of the ornate Victorian, opulent Edwardian, or contemporary Art Deco styles. What’s more, many of those eras featured unique advances in metallurgy which allow for fantastic and original pieces in everything from rose gold to platinum settings.
For an expert eye and deft assessment of fine estate jewelry, and for help determining which style would be best suited to your personal aesthetic and tastes, contact the experienced team at Estate Diamond Jewelry. In both the curation of vintage pieces and the creation of custom one-of-a-kind engagement rings, our team has an unparalleled commitment to exquisite craftsmanship and customer service, evidenced by over three decades of leading the field in fine, rare, and stunning jewelry.