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The Great Gatsby and Art Deco Style



In honor of the upcoming The Great Gatsby movie premiere, we are shining the spotlight on the stunning jewelry of the Roaring Twenties. This exciting decade was a whirlwind of fashion, social change, and economic prosperity. Prohibition in the twenties only heightened the urge to cast aside Victorian restraints and embrace daring, luxurious styles! During this time women gained the right to vote, talking movies were released, and jazz music blossomed. Despite its abrupt end with the stock market crash of 1929, the culture of the 1920s still burns bright in our imaginations (and now on the big screen)!

Art Deco Engagement Rings

Art Deco Style

Art Deco is a design style that became very popular in the twenties when luxury and modernism were en vogue. Whereas the previous era of Art Nouveau style featured curving lines and soft colors, Art Deco engagement rings were bold, bright, and extravagant. Patricia Bayer, author of Art Deco Architecture, described the movement as, “an architecture of ornament, geometry, energy, retrospection, optimism, color, texture, light, and at times even symbolism.”  The unique style of this era can be seen in its architecture, interior design, art, cars, fashion, and more, much of which will be brought to life in The Great Gatsby!
Art Deco Jewelry

Bold, Geometric Shapes

Art Deco engagement rings often showcase prominent geometric shapes. Individual circles, squares, rectangles, triangles, and a range of other shapes interact to form beautiful, elaborate designs. Round diamonds within square milgrain frames were especially beloved, and you will often notice beautiful patterns and symmetry within Art Deco rings.

Art Deco Engagement Rings       Art Deco Engagement Rings

Larger Than Life

As you can see in The Great Gatsby, the twenties were all about luxury and grandiose style. Even the sky-high, dramatic Empire State Building is an example of 1920s Art Deco architecture, and jewelry design went the same route! Today we continue to be stunned by these grand, sparkling works of art. Whether they feature glittering rubies encrusted with gems or a jaw-dropping solitaire, these rings are sure to turn heads. In 1919, innovative diamond cutters discovered the round brilliant cut, maximizing the brilliance of the diamond. This cut remains extremely popular today.

Art Deco Engagement Rings       Art Deco Engagement Rings

Streamlined Style

The stunning geometric elements of Art Deco engagement rings make them appear bolder than its predecessors. Jewelry crafters abandoned the delicate, lacy details of the Edwardian era and the curving, pastel elements of Art Nouveau. Art Deco stood out as a daring style that employed sharp edges and bold structural elements. You will occasionally see rings from the 1920s that are decorated with filigree, but it is usually applied in wide, straight strands, adding to the linear style.

Art Deco Engagement Rings       Art Deco Engagement Rings

Bright Colors

Women began expressing themselves through fashion in the Roaring Twenties. The iconic flappers were known for their scandalous (i.e. knee length) sheath dresses and their chic bob haircuts. Women also began wearing makeup, primarily adding color to their cheeks and lips. This infusion of color made its way into sparkling evening gowns, headpieces, and, of course, jewelry. Art Deco engagement rings feature  brilliant rubies, emeralds, sapphires, coral, aquamarines, and more.  These colorful rings tend to be big, bright, and intricate. For those of you who have been following the previews for The Great Gatsby, you’ll notice that Gatsby’s lavish parties are full of life and bright colors.

Art Deco Engagement Rings       Art Deco Engagement Rings

Final Thoughts

The Great Gatsby is sure to dazzle you with the sights and sounds of the Roaring Twenties. Soak in the onscreen Art Deco wonders, and know that you can own your very own piece of history! Brilliant Earth offer stunning antique jewelry from a range of decades, including the 1920s. Take a look at our antique Art Deco engagement rings collection to find your dream Gatsby style!


Karen M Bares Says:
May 29th, 2013 at 8:13 am

I have an antique ring that belonged to my great aunt. I wish that I could find out the history on this ring. It is an european cut diamond in a square filegree design with four smaller diamonds on each corner. My father had it appraised in 1978 and the value was at 3500.00. Is there any way to find out more information on the ring? Thank you in advance.

B. Earth Says:
May 29th, 2013 at 10:18 am

Hi Karen, a jeweler specializing in antique jewelry should be able to provide an appraisal for your antique ring that includes not just a price evaluation, but also its estimated time period, precious metal, and gemstone characteristics, such as carat weight, color, and clarity. Our jewelry specialists would be happy to help with additional questions at 800.691.0952.

Amanda B. Says:
August 12th, 2013 at 9:37 am

That right (the second row, left) is so lovely. I just love how the shapes play together. They’re all great, but this one really grabs me.

Amanda B. Says:
August 12th, 2013 at 9:37 am

That ring, I mean!

Sam Streubel Says:
October 9th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

I would love to have the emerald and diamond ring reproduced as a surprise for my wife (who showed it to me). Alas, it just isn’t in the budget. Maybe the Bradford Exchange will come out with a $49.95 TV version.

Vicki Glaze Says:
November 11th, 2013 at 11:15 am

I have a diamond ring that was part of a jewelers liquidation. It has many diamonds in a platinum band. Wanting to know what it is worth.

Cam Says:
December 30th, 2013 at 1:35 pm

I really enjoyed this article because I’m preparing to pass on some of my antique jewelry. Although not from the roaring 20’s, mine is quite old and from the 40’s & 50’s. I gave a niece a broach that I bought when I was in high school and now my great-nieces will be getting other pieces, some of which belonged to my mother. I hope that even the not so precious, pricey pieces get passed on. I included a note with the history of each piece which hopefully will give more meaning to the recipients.

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