Diamond Ring Trends Through History

As we all know, diamonds are forever. It’s not just a slogan. Diamonds truly are extraordinarily durable and will therefore remain in tact for a very, very long time. Furthermore, these remarkable stones have remained fashionable for centuries. The one thing that has been known to change is the setting styles. Jewelry settings, particularly diamond ring settings, have been modified greatly over the years from the type of metal used to the style that is utilized. Let us take a look at the various diamond ring settings that we have seen throughout history, how they have changed, and what has remained the same.

 

Earliest Diamond Jewelry

The first diamond (reported that we all know about) was discovered in India 3,000 years ago, but it wasn’t until the 11th century when diamonds were first used to adorn objects. Diamonds were first used as “jewels” when they were placed on a Hungarian queen’s crown as decorations. It wasn’t until 1477 that diamond rings were used as engagement rings. Mary of Burgundy supposedly received the first engagement ring from the Archduke Maximilian of Austria, which is what started the tradition of proposing marriage with a diamond ring.

 

Diamond Rings During Medieval Times

During Medieval Europe, the jewelry that people wore signified their status. Aristocrats wore precious metals and stones whereas common people wore copper and pewter. Back then, gems were polished and not cut. All gemstones were imported, and rubies and emeralds were preferred to diamonds. Gemstones were often engraved.

 

Renaissance Diamond Rings

Up until the Renaissance period, diamonds were not used too often to adorn jewelry because their colorlessness was looked down upon. Through the Renaissance years, diamonds became more popular, especially with the introduction of faceted diamonds.

 

The Evolution of Modern Diamond Rings

The biggest change in diamond jewelry was seen during the 20th century when diamond rings became more abundant and thus more common. Trends were greatly influenced by the political situation, which directly affected the trade of various commodities.

  • 1910s – In the second decade of the 20th century, it was common to see diamond rings sporting a simple yellow gold band and a solitaire diamond.
    Fancy Intense Yellow Heart Diamond Solitaire Ring (1.39Ct)
    Fancy Intense Yellow Heart Diamond Solitaire Ring (1.39Ct)

  • 1920s – The 20s brought some Edwardian flare with intrinsic lace-style infused in the metal setting.
    Fancy Intense Yellow Cushion Diamond Vintage Style Ring (0.95Ct TW)
    Fancy Intense Yellow Cushion Diamond Vintage Style Ring (0.95Ct TW)

  • 1930s - The 30s was all about the art deco theme that was seen in architecture as much as it was in jewelry.
    Argyle Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond Ring (0.68Ct TW)
    Argyle Fancy Intense Purplish Pink Diamond Ring (0.68Ct TW)

  • 1940s – The 40s saw the introduction of white gold, which in itself was a massive trend. It was also paired with the vintage Edwardian style.
    Argyle Vivid Pink and Diamond Antique Style Extraordinary Ring (0.84Ct TW)
    Argyle Vivid Pink and Diamond Antique Style Extraordinary Ring (0.84Ct TW)

  • 1950s – The 50s were all about the abundance of choices, postwar. There was white gold, yellow gold, and platinum along with diamonds of many shapes.
    Fancy Deep Yellow Asscher Cut Diamond Ring (3.75Ct TW)
    Fancy Deep Yellow Asscher Cut Diamond Ring (3.75Ct TW)

  • 1960s – Platinum became extremely popular during the 60s due to the postwar boom.
    Argyle Fancy Orangy Pink & Fancy Blue Diamond Ring (0.64Ct TW)
    Argyle Fancy Orangy Pink & Fancy Blue Diamond Ring (0.64Ct TW)

  • 1970s – The 70s featured rings boasting clusters of stones.
    Extraordinary Ruby Emerald & Diamond Ring (4.16Ct TW)
    Extraordinary Ruby Emerald & Diamond Ring (4.16Ct TW)

  • 1980s – Known for being frilly and somewhat ostentatious, the exaggerated styles of the 80s leaked into the diamond jewelry trends as well with the busy baguette look on chunky gold settings.
    No Oil Zambian Emerald and Fancy Intense Yellow Extraordinary Ring (9.82Ct TW)
    No Oil Zambian Emerald and Fancy Intense Yellow Extraordinary Ring (9.82Ct TW)

  • 1990s – Radiant-cut diamonds were all the rage in the 90s.
    Natural unheated Fancy Black Diamond Engagement Ring (6.34Ct TW)
    Natural unheated Fancy Black Diamond Engagement Ring (6.34Ct TW)

  • 21st Century – The 21st century thus far can be summed up with variety. There are many styles that go from retro to solitaire to halo. All metals are seen including all gold colors and platinum. Round diamonds are still the most popular, but diamonds are purchased in all sorts of shapes.
    Argyle Fancy Light Orangy Pink Cushion Diamond Ring (0.51Ct TW)
    Argyle Fancy Light Orangy Pink Cushion Diamond Ring (0.51Ct TW)

Following the trends of being unique, colored diamonds and gemstones are growing in popularity. Yellow and pink diamonds more than the other colors, and sapphires are the most commonly used gemstone.

Like history in general, the history of the diamond ring shows much repetition. There have been changes due to new discoveries such as modern cutting techniques and new sources for diamonds. At the same time, much has stayed the same in terms of metals, which have come and gone in and out of style as well as specific designs that can be traced back decades or even centuries.

Take a look at our collection of diamond and gemstone rings and see the latest styles available today.

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