How have engagement ring styles, sizes, and designs changed over the years?
Is a decade a long enough period for engagement ring trends to change, and most importantly, which are some of the most significant changes in engagement rings across the years?
Engagement ring trends
Did you know that the most popular engagement ring style in the last 100 years has been the simple, round solitaire-cut diamond made of at least 1-carat weight of diamonds and set on a high-quality gold yellow gold band; this is, according to Andrew Brown, WP Diamonds’ president.
Brown further notes that while there will always be a great deal of innovations in the diamond industry, changing trends don’t really show much change, and in most cases, trends just revert back to the classic.
As a result, the ideal standard design for engagement rings is in the form of round diamonds. This engagement ring style will remain the popular shape, even as the cushion and oval cuts keep rising.
So, while the ring trends aren’t changing as much, there isn’t much change that you can expect.
Note that if you love colored gemstones, you shouldn’t expect it to be much trendier for longer, given the declining supply of colored diamonds.
However, oval-cut diamonds are trendy today, and they remain the rage. These diamond rings feature thin bands, which make the large oval diamonds stand out.
The oval stones are often set vertically, although there are instances where the stones are set horizontally. And with the oval diamonds, you’ll get to choose different styles of engagement rings.
But how have engagement ring styles changed in the last century?
Below, we’re sharing details of the design changes in engagement rings over each decade.
Keep in mind that from the 1920s, the emerald-cut diamonds and other forms of gemstones have primarily been in and out of fashion with the Asscher-cut diamonds, the ones boasting a step-cut shape in a square shape becoming increasingly popular.
From the 1920s to date, round-cut stones have been a staple, especially where wedding and engagement rings are concerned.
1920s engagement ring styles
Engagement rings first became very popular in the 1920s when the DeBeers diamond company created and marketed the first diamond engagement rings.
The first of these engagement rings featured halo-style diamonds. These diamonds can be described as geometric-shaped diamonds. The diamonds featured sharp lines, and their features coincided with the height of the popular Art Deco period.
The engagement ring styles of the 1920s were largely Asscher and Emerald-cut, but for individuals who wanted more extravagant ring styles, these diamonds would be accentuated with diamonds into a stunning halo design.
When you think of the 20s, you may want to believe in the direction of the Great Gatsby, with most of the rings giving off that Art Deco flair of extravagance and uniqueness, not to mention the mix of stone cuts and sizes.
1930s engagement ring styles
The next decade features a large variety of ribbon-shaped engagement rings. Essentially, the engagement rings of the 1930s were designed to show the evolving times, specifically, an evolution from the Art Deco period to the more modern era of the 1930s.
Most of the engagement rings featured single diamonds that were the centerpieces, and these single stones were set on bow or ribbon-shaped bands made of gold, sterling silver, platinum, and other metals.
1940s engagement ring styles
In the 1940s, the round-cut diamonds were back in style, essentially the rage for the entire 1940s.
This ring style was popularized largely by the De Beers diamond company, which contracted the services of a US advertising agency to create a marketing strategy and campaign that would increase the company’s diamond ring sales.
The lower diamond sales merited this by the end of the 1930s, and after research for a number of years, they created the now infamous Diamond is Forever commercial of 1947.
The diamond remained the rage through the 40s. Besides the round-cut stones, the most popular engagement rings of the time were made of yellow gold and rose gold.
These colorful gold bands grew quite popular because the period coincided with World War II, when there was much-limited access to metals like platinum. This led to the unprecedented popularity of the yellow gold and rose gold bands that remain a preferred style to date.
1950s engagement ring styles
The 1950s saw several couples choosing pear-shaped engagement rings, most of which were double-banded. These rings were the rage throughout the 1950s, with Audrey Hepburn’s most iconic engagement ring with a trio band in three gold colors.
This stackable engagement ring style became the rage of the decade. This decade also saw an increased demand for engagement rings made with bigger diamonds, and the stackable designs of the rings became even more popular.
While some wore rings with plain bands, many other stackable pear-cut diamond engagement rings featured very thin bands set with multiple smaller diamonds in a pave setting style.
Since this was After the Great Depression, engagement rings from the 50s are essentially pieces of the Retro Era.
While they mainly featured simple ring designs, they also had some of the largest diamond center stones. Solitaire, baguette side stones, and pear and three-stone ring styles were also very popular in the 1950s.
1960s engagement rings
Throughout the 1960s and with changing styles and jewelry style preferences, the rage of the decade was engagement rings featuring Asscher-cut diamonds.
In other words, the 1960s saw a return and rise of the Art Deco jewelry style featuring multiple clean lines and geometric shapes.
So, the most notable styles of engagement rings preferred by couples in the 1960s featured the emerald-cut and Asscher-cut stones, which were very extravagant.
One of the most notable engagement rings of the period was the engagement ring worn by Jackie Kennedy.
She received the ring from President John F. Kennedy, which featured diamonds and emeralds, setting the stage for couples’ diamond and colored gemstone engagement rings. In other words, this was the time when engagement rings made of colored stones grew more popular.
1970s engagement ring styles
Then in the 70s, couples started wearing engagement rings designed in a style that was a slight evolution from the geometric shapes of the 1960s.
One of the diamond styles that stood out in the 1970s was the emerald-cut diamond, which pretty much persisted throughout the decade.
The emerald-cut diamonds were popular throughout this decade, and this was also the time that most brides started matching their engagement and wedding rings. Most of the rings were set on rose gold and yellow gold bands.
Notably, the emerald-cut engagement ring styles that are popular to date were brought to life in the 1970s.
Recently, one of the celebrities that wore these engagement ring styles included Jennifer Lopez, who wore the ring as she announced her engagement in 2019 to Alex Rodriquez.
It’s worth noting that Lopez’s ring was set with an emerald-cut diamond estimated to weigh anything between 15-20 carats and was estimated to be worth between $1 million and $ 4.5millon, thanks to the very rare D-Flawless diamond. Princess-cut diamond engagement rings were also popular in the 70s.
1980s engagement ring styles
The 1980s featured the most significant changes in fashion and style, featuring puffy sleeves and shoulder pads, and the jewelry world wasn’t spared.
The era also saw one of the biggest surges in couples wearing the biggest and brightest engagement rings. Colorful diamond engagement rings and several other rings made of the brightest gemstones were quite popular in the 1980s.
Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds were the rage in the 1980s, and most of these, as well as the colored diamonds, all boasted a round-cut style, all set on yellow gold bands.
But this was not the only thing that stood out from the era, and things were about to change – the big change happened when Princess Diana was given the sapphire engagement ring by Prince Charles, now King Charles III.
This royal ring was essentially the rage of the 1980s. Because it was very popular and something everyone wanted a piece of, several replicas of the sapphire engagement ring were made.
1990s engagement ring styles
Since jewelry styles don’t change in the grand scheme, the pear-shaped diamond engagement rings of the 50s were somewhat back in style. But because of the huge influence of the rise of grunge, engagement ring styles featured bolder and much sharper ring styles.
So, the pear-shaped ring was modified, and most of the engagement rings from the 90s were made of marquise-cut diamonds set on platinum and white gold rather than in 14k and 18k yellow gold, as had been the standard since the 1940s.
2000s engagement ring styles
the 2000s was a huge era, and some of the biggest changes in fashion took place in this era, the most notable difference being a rise in the number of couples that settled on princess-cut diamonds.
These diamonds dominated the early 2000s and became a huge part of the decade. The early 2000s boasted an array of large princess-cut diamonds and other stones, colored or otherwise.
But this wasn’t a new style for engagement rings; it was essentially a style that was inspired by the 60s princess-cut engagement ring styles. Three stone designs and halo rings were also popular in this decade.
2010s engagement ring styles
The early 2010s also saw a great shift in the styles of engagement rings that were preferred by couples. For the most part, couples wore cushion-cut engagement rings made of diamonds and other forms of gemstones.
The classic cushion-cut engagement ring style was a huge part of the 2010s. Emerald-cut engagement rings were also popular in the last decade, with J-Lo’s engagement ring from 2019 making a huge statement.
2020s engagement ring styles
And now, in the 2020s, oval diamonds are the rage. Everyone seems to be looking for an oval-shaped diamond engagement ring today.
This style is not new, though, as it was also popular in the last decade, especially in 2015 when Julianne Hough’s oval engagement ring popularized it.
The other celebrities that have been seen wearing the oval engagement rings include Hailey Baldwin. These rings have a rather thin band, and the stones are set vertically or horizontally.
Engagement ring trends over the years
The last century has seen significant changes in people’s preferences and style choices, and each century seems worth a certain bling style.
Huge changes have occurred, starting from the bold pieces from the Art Deco period of the 1920s to the more timeless and minimal engagement ring styles of the 90s.
To be specific, the 1920s featured Art Deco-inspired engagement rings, which were very bold, and more muted designs followed the style in the 1930s as the world entered the Great Depression, before rings featuring more intricate settings became the norm in the 1940s as more yellow and rose gold pieces were worn.
The 50s saw more eternity bands and round-cut diamonds, which was also when the De Beers’ campaign under the A Diamond is Forever tagline was born.
The engagement rings of the 60s were more fragile in 3-stone setting styles, the abstract art and more asymmetric designs ruled the 70s.
Halos and colored stones were huge in the 80s but not in the 90s because people preferred more minimalist rings. The 2000s had princess cuts, halo settings, and pave bands. Colored stones were back in the 2010s.
What are the latest trends in engagement rings?
Vintage styles seem to be the rage today, with more cushion and classic cuts being the most preferred style of engagement rings today.
Other popular styles today include the Toi Et Moi made with dual or trio gemstones, gender-neutral engagement rings, colored gemstone rings, contoured stacks, vintage nostalgia ring styles, and most notably, the oval-shaped diamond engagement rings.
Over the years, engagement ring styles have changed, but this is not to say that anything new has been created.
Well, the current decade has some interesting entrants, but for the most part, the classic ring styles have been in and out of style.
However, innovative styles have risen, and there is more to choose from now.
Stephanie is a jewelry lover when she was a teenager. Her major was fashion design when she was in college. She is a jewelry designer at SOQ Jewelry and other design companies. Now she is also a writer for our website. She writes a lot of designs&brands posts with very actionable tips.