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The Evolution of Engagement Rings

For centuries rings have been used to symbolize romantic and marital commitment. However, engagement rings have come a long way to become the dazzling, extravagant pieces we know today. Our team at Rogers Jewelry Co. has put together a guide to the evolution of the engagement ring, and how we arrived at the pieces you can find in jewelry stores everywhere.

Symbols of Commitment (1400-1800)

Back in Ancient Rome, rings were given to women made of materials like flint, ivory, copper, iron, and even bone to symbolize a contract or promise to wed. The first diamond ring was commissioned in 1477. The Archduke Maximilian of Austria requested that the diamonds be arranged in an “M” for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. From this time on, engagement rings were given as a sort of assurance that, even if the man didn’t keep his word and marry her, at least the woman would have something of value for her troubles.

Engagement Ring Artistry (1900-1940)

The start of the 1900s and the Edwardian era ushered in a new take on engagement rings in which they began to be crafted with delicate, elaborate details and stunning center stones. Old European and Asscher cuts were immensely popular. The Art Deco era saw frilly and feminine metalwork exchanged for bold, geometric designs and vibrant gemstones. Platinum was a popular setting for rings until World War II when metal was needed exclusively for the war effort. The Great Depression also influenced engagement ring styles as center stones became smaller and more conservative.

The Rise of the Diamond (1940-1990)

Motifs like flowers, leaves, and vines were used to add detail to rings created between 1940 and 1990 to make up for the smaller size of the stones. With the unavailability of platinum came the rise in the use of bright yellow gold. In 1948, DeBeers launched their “Diamonds Are Forever” campaign, which successfully solidified diamonds as the most popular gems for engagement rings. Minimalistic silhouettes marked the designs of the 1960s, while more extravagant and expressive rings characterized the 1970s and 1980s.

Vintage Resurgence (1990-Present)

Nostalgia for the engagement ring styles of old has influenced bridal jewelry designers by and large from the 1990s to the present day. At the beginning of the 90s, minimalism was again popular with cool-toned metals like platinum and white gold. Large stones and glittering halos rose in the 2000s, hearkening back to the Edwardian and Victorian eras. Today, such a vast array of engagement rings exist that one can find pieces influenced by almost any time of bridal jewelry history.

Shop Engagement Rings at Rogers Jewelry Co.

Find an engagement ring that suits your unique personality and aesthetic preferences with the help of our team at Rogers Jewelry Co. Each of our Nevada and California jewelry stores is stocked with a plethora of designer engagement rings to please even the most discerning of tastes. Feel free to contact us today for more information on our products and services.