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The complete style guide to art deco engagement rings

Not for the faint of heart, Art Deco engagement rings are the hottest trend of 2020. Read about the trend and shop Art Deco inspired diamond rings.

By Stephanie Dore

Bold women. Artistic rebellion. Over-the-top parties. It’s no wonder we keep revisiting the Art Deco trend. I mean, who doesn’t want to glam it up like The Great Gatsby himself? Especially when the world at large seems a little lackluster. We here at Frank Darling officially declare 2020 as the year of the Art Deco engagement ring, and we should know, we’ve been making gobs of them. But what exactly does that mean when it comes down to a jewelry style? And should you cave to the trend?

Rebel Rebel

A style-driven response to Art Nouveau’s flowing lines and soft colors, Art Deco-inspired jewelry is all about clean lines, geometric shapes, and bright, bright, bright. The style came about during the post-WWI era, otherwise known as the Roaring 20s, when youth were rebelling against traditions and cultural norms, marrying for—get this—actual love (gasp!), and flaunting their tail feathers. And well. Here we are, a century later. They say everything comes back around, and they’re not wrong.

The Bolder The Better

This era of cultural and aesthetic change included a deep love for bright, exotic gemstones like lapis, emerald, ruby, and coral, and a fascination with Asian decorative motifs—everything from Japanese fans and florals to King Tut (whose tomb was excavated in 1922)! Jewelry of the time was anything but subtle, and centered around sharp geometric shapes, bold lines, representational imagery, and platinum everything. 

Goodbye Golden Years

The bold designs of Art Deco jewelry were most suited to the bright white of platinum—therefore yellow gold had to hit the road. But, as we know, platinum is super rare and super expensive, so white gold was introduced to combat the rising prices of platinum while meeting the demand for a bright, white metal. While platinum is still more expensive than white gold, each metal has its benefits, and it’s really your call what fits your lifestyle.

Step And Repeat

What shape diamonds do the deco dirty work? While the Asscher cut was invented twenty years earlier, in 1902 (the round brilliant wasn’t perfected until 1919), this flashy square diamond shape didn’t really bask in the spotlight until the twenties fascination with all things geometric. Along with the elongated emerald cut, these unique step-cut diamonds are all about the flash, with a windmill-like pattern of facets. Also popular was the cushion, let’s call it the softer side of a square, perhaps. And Baguettes do an Art Deco body good.

Ring Around The Rosie

Along with the popularity of bold, straight lines came the cheers for a good bezel setting. Previously abandoned for the higher-set, lighter-metal prong style, bezels made their Art Deco comeback, often framing a step-cut diamond with a thin line of brilliance. Today’s modern bezel settings might harken back to the look, only much, much lighter.

Deco, As In Decorative, My Dears

Don’t go getting the idea that this design period was bland or boring, as that’s definitely not the case. In fact, ornate hand-engraved millgrain and filigree patterns could often be seen offering engagement rings a more decorative look while maintaining their sharper, geometric pedigree. Halo styles also became popular, creating multi-layered brilliance that was anything but plain Jane.

Celebs Rocking Art Deco Engagement Rings

Some of our favorite stars have rocked Art Deco inspired engagement rings! 

What’s In A Trend?

Anything trendy—if you want the original—is going to cost you a pretty penny. Real, vintage Art Deco engagement rings are also quite hard to come by. Congrats if you’ve managed to score one. We’re officially jealous. But if you’re cool with a look that’s “inspired by”, that’s where we come in. We’d love to help you design a deco-inspired ring set with your choice of lab grown or natural diamond.