Opals make a less expected focal point for an engagement ring, but we’ve seen a steady rise in couples seeking vintage opal rings. We suspect these couples love that opal rings are a distinctive choice, while still possessing a timeless beauty.
Because of the unique way they feature multiple colors within a single gemstone, opals are mesmerizing to behold. The word opal was likely derived from the Greek word “opallios,” which means “to be a change” and could refer to the way opals appear different from different angles.
Opals have been prized since ancient times, when Greeks believed they gave their owners powers of prophecy and protection from illness. Ancient Romans considered opal to be the most precious gem, and Bedouins believed that opals contained lightning that fell to earth.
Opals became especially fashionable in Victorian England in the 1870s, after many were discovered in Australia. Jewelry lover Queen Victoria developed a passion for opals and gave them to her friends’ daughters as gifts. For that reason you’ll often see opals in vintage Victorian rings. Opals were also popular during the Art Nouveau era, when artistic jewelry designers were drawn to these gems’ mysterious and romantic beauty.
If you love opals, check out these stunning vintage opal engagement rings from a range of vintage design eras:
The Evonne Ring
The 1950’s retro era Evonne Ring exudes mystery and glamour with its unique black opal. A storm of blues and greens plays in the opal cabochon, which is flanked by shoulders of round and baguette cut diamonds.
The Ryann Ring
Retro luxury and Victorian romance mingle in the Ryann Ring, a Victorian-inspired 1950’s opal ring. Three oval shaped cabochon opals are set delicately in elaborately engraved yellow gold with four brilliant diamond accents.
The Lakisha Ring
Designed during the glamorous Retro era, the Lakisha Ring showcases an oval-shaped opal cabochon. A distinctive pointed halo of twelve single cut diamond accents bathes the opal in eye-catching sparkle.
The Wynell Ring
The breathtaking Wynell Ring exudes Art Deco style. It features an oval-shaped opal cabochon surrounded by forty-six old European cut diamond accents and eight princess cut natural sapphires with a lovely violet hue. Exquisite piercing and milgrain detail add to the unmistakably antique look.
The Cherish Ring
The floral-inspired Cherish Ring blooms with a horizontal set oval opal encircled by six seed pearl accents and two round natural sapphires. This ring dates to the 1880s and conveys the romance of the Victorian era.
The Elizabet Ring
The captivating colors of the opal cabochon in the Edwardian-era Elizabet Ring appear different from every angle and in every light. The piece is set low to the hand with a tapering band and delicately embellished with pierced designs in the white gold.
The Season Ring
The Season Ring features an exquisite milky opal set in a gently tapered band. Three round accent diamonds on each shoulder add sparkle and brilliance to this retro era ring.
The Oliva Ring
The elegantly asymmetrical Oliva Ring features two oval opals in a graceful bypass setting, with a curving row of eight round brilliant diamonds shimmering between them.
The Contessa Ring
The Contessa Ring showcases a colorful opal cabochon in a bezel setting. Six diamond accents in intricately detailed white gold frames add to the glamour of this 1930’s ring.
The Polly Ring
The exuberantly glamorous Polly Ring reflects the optimism of the 1950s with its colorful design. An enchanting marquise-shaped opal cabochon is surrounded by a halo of natural ruby and diamond accents. The yellow gold split-shank design adds to the eye-catching effect of this mid-century piece.
The Bela Ring
Dating to the 1880s, when opals became very fashionable in Victorian England, the Bela Ring features three luminous round opals and four sparkling single cut diamonds. A delicately crafted gallery adds to the romantic look of this antique piece.
The Ollie Ring
With the sleek design aesthetic of the 1960s, the Ollie Ring showcases a remarkable oval-shaped opal cabochon in a curving yellow gold setting. Two round brilliant diamonds add a touch of shimmer alongside the center gem.