By Tanya Dukes, INSTORE Guest Editor
Engagement rings and wedding bands reminiscent of the Roaring Twenties should be on your radar.
Art Deco style looks as fresh and wearable today as it did when it first emerged more than a century ago. And that enduring, timeless beauty makes it a particularly appealing choice for engagement rings and wedding bands, jewels that represent everlasting love.
The Art Deco movement reflected the optimism and innovation of the post-World War I world. It was the era of Jay Gatsby and the Harlem Renaissance. Industry boomed, flappers danced the Charleston in speakeasies and skyscrapers began to punctuate urban skylines; the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Plaza and Chrysler Building are all marvels from the period. The effervescent atmosphere inspired an aesthetic revolution, too. Jewelry was one of the disciplines that evolved according to the shifting currents in society.
Jewels of the period stripped away extreme embellishment and the curvaceous lines that were characteristic of the Art Nouveau pieces that came before. Instead, crisp, angular silhouettes ruled supreme. Their refinement and sophistication remains unsurpassed and continues to inspire contemporary design.
Today’s tastemakers are falling in love with Art Deco-inspired jewelry all over again. Its modern, unfussy shapes will never fall out of fashion. Stars like Ashlee Simpson and Kristen Bell wear engagement rings that fall into the category. And newlywed Princess Beatrice is a very recent case in point. Her engagement ring features many of the hallmarks of high 1920s glamour: the jewel is set in platinum, features a precise, linear silhouette and sleek, tapered baguettes flanking the central diamond.
To start your search for engagement rings and wedding bands with an Art Deco attitude, start looking for styles with a few of these features:
All the Right Angles
The signature characteristic of Art Deco style is elegant geometry that eliminates unnecessary details. Solitaire engagement rings, the ultimate expression of restrained simplicity, gained in popularity in the 1920s, though other silhouettes with clean, graphic shapes, including halos, are also prominent in the category. Diamonds cut into angular, symmetrical shapes, especially emerald and square cuts, are another sign of Art Deco-inspired style. To play up the purity of their shapes many engagement rings were crafted with a “white on white” palette, meaning white diamonds set in white metal, like white gold or platinum.
In the 1920s platinum had only recently become widely used in jewelry design. Technology had finally advanced enough to achieve the high temperatures necessary to melt and manipulate the metal. Naturally white and exceptionally strong, platinum is a beautiful and very secure material in which to set diamonds and it creates a sharp contrast with colored gemstones, especially sapphires, emeralds and rubies, which were extremely popular in the Art Deco period.
Stacking is a simple strategy to build an impressive look with a series of delicate rings. It’s a technique that women of the Art Deco era used liberally and applies easily to bridal style. A collection composed of several eternity bands can be built over time, with new pieces added along the way to celebrate milestones or important transitions. And while some will combine them with an engagement ring others may consider a combination of two or more bands as an alternative approach to wedding jewelry. Wearing multiple bands personalizes a jewelry wardrobe. No one else will have the exact same rings in the exact same order. With Art Deco-inspired baubles it’s easy to stack with abandon. Their streamlined contours means there’s no need to worry about looking overdone.