Jewelry Blog

What Is an Art Deco Engagement Ring?

Art Deco Style Engagement Ring

The very mention of Art Deco evokes the idea of Great Gatsby-like sophistication and glamour. Indeed, this is an era that still shapes popular taste and design to this day.

And once you get to know the features distinctive of this style, you should be able to spot an Art Deco ring from a mile away. Furthermore, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the most attractive Art Deco pieces from the Estate Diamond Jewelry curated selection.

What is an Art Deco Engagement Ring?

Art Deco Cocktail Ring

An Art Deco Engagement Ring is a vintage estate ring that was handcrafted during the Art Deco Era, circa 1920 – 1935. Art Deco Engagement Rings are recognizable by their angular and symmetrical design.

It’s important to make a distinction between a genuine Art Deco piece and an Art Deco-style piece. The former is the rings designed and crafted during that period. These are genuine vintage engagement rings and there’s nothing contemporary about them. On the other hand, Art Deco-style rings are usually more modern. They were handcrafted at a much later date and bear all characteristics of the era, including a genuine antique diamond that was cut in the 1920s or 1930s.

Choosing a genuine or Art Deco-style piece is a matter of budget and personal preference. But this article deals with real Art Deco engagement rings, even though Estate Diamond Jewelry offers a great selection of both types of engagement rings.

Short History and Design of Art Deco Jewelry

Sapphire Halo Deco Era Ring

As indicated, the style was all the rave during the roaring 1920s and 1930s. The main characteristic of Art Deco was the abundant use of abstract designs and geometric patterns. Furthermore, Art Deco was the era that took the use of contrasting color gemstones to a whole new level.

So, it’s not uncommon to find bold designs that incorporate square-cut diamonds and rubies or sapphires, for example. And if you know a thing or two about the age, this is no surprise.

The suffragettes and flappers didn’t want to wear cameos, tiaras, and diadems. After all, these were the main staples of the Victorian age that offered an entirely different aesthetic.

Instead, the ladies of the Art Deco period coveted something that matched their short hair, even shorter skirts, and other bold jewelry.

When all is said and done, the Art Deco jewelry was there to showcase a novel sense of self. And this rebellious spirit and unique style captivate the hearts and minds of contemporary brides as well.

But if you’re to become a true self-made Art Deco expert, you should know more about each characteristic of the era.

Geometric Shapes

Art Deco Diamond Old European Cut Ring

Without a doubt, the most prominent feature of the style are the geometric shapes. And the really interesting thing is that there were no limitations when it comes to the actual design.

Circles, squares, triangles, or rectangles – you name it, and the shape has probably found its way into an Art Deco engagement ring. But what is the purpose and symbolism of the aesthetics?

The idea was to showcase the zeitgeist of the time and offer a bolder, more streamlined take on jewelry. This isn’t isolated to the ring design; the diamonds and gemstones took unusual shapes to match the era. The cuts you might stumble upon include:

  1. Baguette
  2. Emerald
  3. Shield
  4. Marquise
  5. Pear
  6. Triangle

What’s more, eye-catching combinations of different cuts are very common with Art Deco engagement rings.

Colors Galore

Diamond and Sapphire Halo Ring

A signature feature of this style, contrasting colors add a bit of drama to these period pieces. As said, it won’t be hard to find bold combos of sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, and rubies. In addition, Art Deco incorporates lapis lazuli, coral, turquoise, and jade.

Of course, not all Art Deco rings have two or three colors. But if that’s what you’re interested in, this era truly delivers. However, some of the most striking examples are actually black and white. The artisans of the time achieved this by matching diamonds with black enameling or black onyx.

Compared to Art Nouveau, which preceded Art Deco, this was a major departure from the style. And these pieces bear sophistication and elegance that has the power to transcend generations.

Precious Metals

Aquamarine Engagement Ring

Nine times out of ten, platinum was the material of choice for Art Deco rings. This precious material was favored by the artisans because of its strength, malleability, and resistance to wear and tear.

Platinum allowed the jewelry designers of the time to craft intricate embellishments and outlines without compromising the integrity of the ring.

For instance, the visually captivating combination representative of the era includes the following. A large center-stone (usually colorless), solitaire setting, and a flank of symmetrical side-stones, which may be colored.

The pave setting was also common and it evolved during the Art Deco. And it often featured smaller diamonds that were there to accent the beauty of the center stone.

But what if platinum doesn’t match your preferences or style?

No worries, Art Deco pieces that come from the Depression years often feature yellow or white gold. Some pieces are more affordable, but this doesn’t make them inferior to the earlier Art Deco rings.

Diamond Cuts

Pear Cut Diamond Ring

The previous sections have already touched upon different Art Deco cuts. But the emerald cut and the round brilliant cut stand out as the most popular options and deserve a closer examination.

Emerald Cut

Emerald Cut Diamond Ring

Symmetrical outlines and clean aesthetics are emblematic of the cut. And there is a distinct geometric quality to the shape that’s evocative of the entire era.

As of recently, the emerald cut has been making a major comeback. If for nothing else, then the choice of Brad Pitt and George Clooney certainly helped bring the style back under the spotlight.

If you opt for this cut, the two most important Cs are the color and cut. Sure, you should aim for as close to colorless as possible. And at best, the diamond should be with minimal to no inclusions.

Round and Cushion

Old European Cut Diamond Ring

To be exact, the Art Deco staple was the old mine cut. This cut is also known as an old European cut, and it’s the grandfather of contemporary round brilliants.

That said, the period-correct diamonds have somewhat different anatomy compared to contemporary counterparts. For all the hard-core diamond enthusiasts, these Art Deco brilliants have large culets and small table facets. And they feature low half facets and larger star facets.

But what how can you tell the difference? It’s all in the way the diamonds reflect and refract light.

Upon closer inspection, diamonds cut during the Art Deco period have different light and dark patterns. And you’d need to tilt them to spot the discrepancy. Of course, you’d also need to understand what the pattern looks like in contemporary rings.

Art Deco Rings to Impress Your Future Spouse

The following pieces are some of the best examples of the Estate Diamond Jewelry Art Deco Collection. The rings also feature everything you like about the style, and there’s a piece suitable for every budget.

Bernex Ring

The Bernex is for those who are into a more subtle take on Art Deco. The ring features three stones, and the center one is old European cut 1.33-carat diamond. It also has a GIA certificate and SI1 clarity and J color.

The diamonds that flank the center stone come at a combined weight of 0.38 cats. In keeping with the spirit of the era, this ring has fine milgrain on the bezels. And there are engravings along the shank.

This piece was handcrafted in 1925 and stands out because of the eye-catching setting, diamond combination, and intricate detail.

Irving Ring

If you want to get a great Art Deco piece without spending a small fortune, the Irving could be your top pick.

The center stone of this ring is a natural Colombian emerald. The stone weighs about 0.66 carats and it’s carre cut. But the two rows of diamonds that surround the emerald might be even more captivating.

The rows follow a square shape that defines the aesthetics of the ring. And the auxiliary gems do a great job of accenting the deep greens of the emerald.

This is a platinum piece that dates back to 1925. What’s more, you get a fine filigree in the under-gallery and there are additional gemstones on the ring’s shoulders.

Bayside Ring

Whichever way you look at it, the Bayside ring is a stunning piece. To start with the center diamond, it’s a 4.83-carat GIA-certified diamond. And by now you should be able to guess the cut- it’s old European.

A halo of smaller diamonds surrounds the center stone. However, the three baguette-cut diamonds on the side make this piece unique. The combined weight of the side stones amounts to a whopping 1.02 carats.

If you’re wondering about the certificates, GIA rated this piece at VS3 clarity and K color. There’s an elegant open-work filigree in the under-gallery, and it’s also present on the sides.

Finally, this ring can easily become a collector’s piece due to its weight, overall design, and value.

Final Thought

Art Deco Style Engagement Ring

When all is said and done, Art Deco is the style that’s here to stay. The geometric nature of the design and bold color choices will surely grab the attention of future generations. Plus, these rings have stood the test of time as good investment pieces.

Now, you have a good understanding of what to look out for in an Art Deco ring. The hard part is working out which model will warm the heart of your loved one.


About Afshin Shaddaie

Afshin moved to New York City in the 1980s, and a few years later, he began his career in the fine and rare jewelry scene. He teamed up with Michael Khordipour, and they've been curating vintage jewelry ever since. He also regularly contributes to Forbes, Rapaport, CNBC, The Knot, and Insider. Afshin constantly travels to international shows and private viewing events in the hope of finding rare vintage rings that will be important enough to make an impression. He is available for appointments at our New York showroom when he's not traveling. In 2019, Afshin authored his book called The Engagement Ring Guide for Men. He is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on vintage jewelry and antique diamonds. His favorite jewelry era is Art Nouveau, and he loves rare Italian jewelry from the 1950s - 1970s. The Natural Saltwater Pearl is his favorite precious jewel.