So you love Art Deco engagement rings? Me too! If you start a fan club I will definitely join. The thing about Art Deco engagement rings is their lines. They’re geometric greatness just loaded into these tiny, lovely pieces of art for your ring finger. Now, let’s both go put on the flapper dresses we both know we have lurking in our bottom drawer, pour some contraband gin, and let Z: The Beginning of Everything play softly in the background while we chat about Art Deco engagement rings.
Art Deco engagement rings are a) engagement rings b) from the Art Deco jewelry era. This span of jewelry history happened roughly from 1915-1935. After the Art Nouveau period, with its scandalous nude female forms, slowly emerged from the Victorian & Edwardian eras, the jewelry world was due for a shake up. Unfortunately, the entire world was turned upside down by World War I in 1914. Jewelry faded in importance and prominence as women jumped feet first into vacuum in industrial jobs left by men off at war. This different form of labor quickly rendered long, flowing hair and tight, restrictive corsets obsolete. Platinum was used for war materials, and life became utilitarian.
Once the war was over, people we ready. to. celebrate (to put it mildly.) Enter the roaring 20’s. But unlike the nature-derived and somewhat overlapping eras of Victorian, Edwardian and Art Nouveau, Art Deco was a sharp departure representative of an entirely new era in history, not just art and jewelry.
The term Art Deco comes from the Exposition International des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925. Like the very best art and jewelry shows, there was an enormous emphasis on jewelry. And because jewelry is wearable art, it was influenced heavily by the geometry and clean lines of the hottest new trends in art: cubism and fauvism. Art Deco jewelry favored bold shapes, lots of diamonds, and Egyptian-influenced elements (King Tut’s tomb was discovered in 1922, and he was all the rage.)
By the time WWII broke out, the style began to fade into the then-new retro era. It enjoyed a revival in the 1970’s, and I’d venture to say jewelry historians will identify a mini-revival in 2013. This was the year Baz Lurhmann’s The Great Gatsby and Tiffany’s eponymous line debuted. It was also the year we started making these bad boys and sold a huge portion of our antique Art Deco engagement ring collection. And now, four years later, the clamor for this trend has calmed a bit, but brides still feel drawn to the bold geometry that speaks to an Art Deco influence.
Authentic Art Deco engagement rings are easy to find at reputable estate jewelers, and many styles can even be set with a modern diamond (more bling, I get the appeal, but may I gently suggest you just look at some Old European cuts before you give the go ahead for ring surgery? They’re divine.) However Art Deco inspired rings are readily available and surprisingly affordable, even from the biggest names in engagement ring designers.
Happy shopping, and if you’re not sure if a ring you love qualifies as Art Deco, just ask yourself “What would Zelda do?”