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Square Engagement Rings

5 Vintage Jewelry Styles that are Trendy Again

In the fashion world they say that trends get recycled every twenty years (witness today’s resurgence of 1990’s styles). While fine jewelry is less trend-driven than clothing, it’s certainly true that what’s old feels new again today, as a new generation of jewelry lovers discovers the beauty of vintage and vintage-inspired designs. Here are five styles of jewelry that were popular during past eras but suddenly feel as fresh today as they did decades ago:

Colored Gemstone Engagement Rings

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Engagement rings featuring prominent center diamonds weren’t the norm until the twentieth century. During the Victorian era and early Edwardian period engagement rings were more likely to feature colored gemstones like sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. It’s a trend we’re seeing again today, perhaps inspired by colorful celebrity engagement rings such as those worn by Princess Catherine, Penelope Cruz, and Jessica Simpson. If you love rings in vibrant hues, browse our collections of Sapphire Engagement Rings and Unique Colored Gemstones.

Cluster Rings

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Cluster rings feature four or more diamonds grouped together in a dazzling design. These styles first became prominent during the 1940s and 1950s, when jewelry design was influenced by Hollywood and big, bold styles ruled the day. Combining multiple small or medium-sized diamonds in one design results in a gorgeous display of shimmer, at a lower price than that of a single large diamond. You can find glamorous vintage cluster rings in our collection of vintage jewelry from the Retro era.

Statement Pendants

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These days almost no outfit feels complete without an eye-catching necklace, which echoes a trend in the late nineteenth century. The final years of the Victorian era saw the rise of elaborate pendants, as women’s clothing became less prim and proper and necklines dropped slightly. Jewelers responded to this fashion trend by creating intricate and distinctive pendants to adorn women’s collarbones. Discover these statement necklaces of the nineteenth century in our collection of vintage jewelry from the Victorian era.

Cocktail Rings

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A big, glamorous ring meant to be worn to evening parties was an essential part of a woman’s jewelry wardrobe during the mid-twentieth century.  Called cocktail rings (or, sometimes, “dinner rings”) these pieces usually featured large, semiprecious gemstones such as amethysts, topaz, garnets, and opals. Cocktail rings have seen a resurgence in popularity today, as a new generation embraces the idea of using glamorous, eye-catching rings to dress up their evening ensembles.

Artistic Detailing

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Vintage jewelry from the first half of the twentieth century usually features intricate, hand-crafted adornments such as engraving, filigree, and milgrain. Many jewelers from those decades saw the artistry of a ring setting to be every bit as important as the gemstones it contained. Then for many years that artistry became hard to find, and gemstones were often displayed in minimalistic settings that featured little or no embellishment. Today we see a renewed appreciation of artistic detail in engagement rings and other jewelry. The jewelry in our Belle Epoque and Pretty Little Things collections features unique and eye-catching touches inspired by vintage designs.

Final Thoughts

If you love vintage jewelry, browse our curated, frequently updated Vintage Collection.

Which vintage jewelry styles are your favorites?  Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or in the comments section!

COMMENTS

Jan Watt Says:
February 28th, 2015 at 7:22 pm

I’ve also noticed an increase in colored gold—–rose, green, etc. Plus the different metals.

Maggie Says:
March 5th, 2015 at 11:47 pm

I wear my grandmother’s engagement ring which is almost 100 years old. It it dainty and has beautiful hand cut filigree work leading up to the diamond. While it is not a style I would choose for myself a century later, it is a treasure that I dearly love and proudly wear….

V Says:
March 7th, 2015 at 3:32 pm

These things ever went out of style?

Stephanie @CopyKat.com Says:
March 8th, 2015 at 10:11 am

I love the dinner rings, they are so wonderfully dramatic!

Neil Says:
March 12th, 2015 at 8:42 pm

The great thing about vintage jewelry is that it has a timeless appeal that transcends fashion cycles. The workmanship of vintage pieces speaks for itself. Great post!

Marion Says:
April 6th, 2015 at 6:08 pm

As an antiques dealer for the past 40 years, I have been in love with vintage and victorian jewerlry and try to wear them everyday. Never tire of the pieces but will rotate them for sale, when I find a another great piece. Timeless!!!

Dan Gayle Says:
April 10th, 2015 at 12:14 pm

We bought a rose gold ring very similar to that Rosabel, with a leaf-type pattern edged with milgrain and 10 small diamonds accenting the main diamond. My fiancee gets stares of jealousy, since it is so gorgeous and unique.

Kristin Haskins Says:
April 15th, 2015 at 3:28 pm

“V Says: These things ever went out of style?”
Not in my opinion! Some things are eternal, ageless, and always stylish, for many!

Ann Knotts Says:
April 15th, 2015 at 6:45 pm

I have a 1.50 old mine cut diamond (over a hundred years old) I purchased from a New Orleans Estate. I had it reset in a fifties band of gold swirls with diamonds. I have had so many compliments on my ring. It is one of a kind, just like me!

Jeffrey Says:
April 16th, 2015 at 7:43 am

I’ve been in the biz for many years. The wish for “retro” styling hs always been wanted. Colored diamonds are way more impressive for center stones than semi precious like ruby and sapphires. Don’t be fooled by a dealer saying on they sell this o r that color of a diamond buy G.I.A CERTED diamonds and make sure you know if natural or color enhanced. Great article very NOW

Ember Says:
April 16th, 2015 at 2:34 pm

Are you seriously in the biz Jeffrey? I rather think not. Rubies are MUCH more valuable than diamonds! Semi-precious? Really? Diamonds are very common, found almost everywhere. Emeralds are also more rare and valuable. Diamonds are only ‘precious’ as they’ve had the best PR campaign thanks to Hollywood.

Joni Says:
April 16th, 2015 at 9:29 pm

I wear my mother’s class ring, dated 1938. I graduated in 1978, so it’s just one number off, plus I wear my parents’ wedding bands, Daddy’s on my middle finger and Mama’s on my pinky. Daddy’s has Ned & Grace engraved by my uncle inside. They were married for 71 years. I also wear a 2 carat diamond cluster that Daddy got Mama for their 50th anniversary, plus a wedding band that has “For Always” in French plus a promise ring since to me by a man I had loved since we met on a blind date on Christmas night in 1974. We kept in touch every Christmas for 38 years and he sent me that promise ring asking me to wait for him for just a few more months and I said of course and then he was murdered. I will wear that ring forever and when I die I will see him again. I waited 38 years for him. I dated and even married, but I never was happy because we weren’t together and now we will never be. I also have my grandmother’s engagement ring that I wear sometimes, but it is so dainty and thin that I seldom wear it. She was a very tiny woman and I’m almost 6′ tall and I’m scared I will break it, so I seldom wear it, but sometimes I do….just because. I love antique jewelry and anything unusual. I just love jewelry. I have my ears pierced 6 times in each ear which is not in style, but I don’t care. I wear what makes me happy.

Nene Says:
June 13th, 2015 at 2:49 am

I’ve been married 30 years and my wedding set has a Ruby as the main stone. I just prefer Rubies so I chose to have one placed in my ring as a solitaire on the engagement band. Then my wedding band has the diamonds that we were able to rescue from my husbands grandmothers ring. A couple were cracked, so we just used the good ones. They were placed in a row setting and it was bent like a comma shape to kind of wrap around the ruby from below. It is a beautiful ring and I am very happy with it.
My sister liked it so much that her ring was also made for her with a Safire as the main stone. It is her birthstone.

Ginny Says:
July 7th, 2015 at 10:07 am

Maggie – March 5, 2015 comment: Me too! I wear my grandmother’s engagement ring is 104-years old. It too is dainty – 10K gold – very small diamond, filagree on both sides. I love; and I like to think about her wearing it.

Mandy Says:
September 21st, 2015 at 8:54 am

Love the amethyst cocktail ring – it`s gorgeous 🙂

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