Brides-to-be are showing their individuality and are selecting antique engagement rings as a symbol of their love. They are looking to the future by selecting engagement rings from the past and are choosing antique engagement rings with diamonds and gemstones. Whether you're traditional or non-traditional, classic or chic, find a unique, one-of-a-kind ring from Topazery's antique engagement rings collection.
A History of Antique Engagement Rings in Pop Culture
Ever since a fascination with the rich and famous entered the human psyche, engagement rings -- most of which would now be classified as antique engagement rings by virtue of their age -- have played starring roles in all the many facets of pop culture. What are some of the most prominent antique engagement rings to grace the world of TV, movies, art and Hollywood celebrities?
Tune into TV any night of the week and chances are you'll find a resurgence of antique jewelry peppering the airwaves. Period dramas like "Downtown Abbey" and "Mad Men" are making everything old in the jewelry realm new again. But when it comes to antique engagement rings, this trend is nothing new. Going back decades in time, almost to the dawn of the television era in fact, marriage proposals and engagement rings have figured prominently in many of the most popular TV shows.
"Friends" - When Monica and Chandler finally sealed their couple hood in her candlelit apartment, the engagement ring Courtney Cox sported featured a square cut diamond with triangular blue sapphires flanking it. These color enhancements gave the engagement ring a decidedly antique Art Deco flavor.
"Frasier" - Although his proposal, like all things, was entirely over analytical, Niles popped the question to Daphne with a three-carat oval-cut diamond engagement ring. The diamond was set in antique platinum.
"The Flintstones" - Antique engagement rings can't even escape from the cartoon world. Set in the Stone Age, "The Flintstones" is about as antique as they come. When Fred hides a long-overdue engagement ring for his buddy Barney, Wilma finds it and assumes it's a present for her. But Barney's not willing to let things go that easily for his beloved Betty. The antique engagement ring that sets up the farce is a massive multifaceted diamond solitaire in a gold band.
"Green Acres" - What's a broke young man to do when he wants to marry his sweetheart? Propose with a bowling trophy pin, of course. Enter the glamorous Eva Gabor, who offers up her own antique engagement ring as a way to save the day … and the romance.
Antique Engagement Rings in Classic Hollywood
Eva Gabor isn't the only classic Hollywood starlet to flaunt an antique engagement ring-both on the screen and in real life. The oft-married Liz Taylor is also known for the engagement rings she wore. And it is this particular actress, in her Mrs. Burton incarnation, who holds the record for largest engagement ring.
A pear-shaped jaw-dropper, the ring was purchased by Richard Burton in 1969. The whopping 69.42-carat gemstone was sold to Burton by Cartier for a then record of $1.1 million. By the time the couple divorced in 1978, Taylor was able to sell it for $5 million, a sum which she donated to charity.
The engagement ring was so massive in fact that Taylor wore it only for a short time before having it fashioned into a necklace. Before that happened, however, the engagement ring made an appearance on the Lucille Ball television series "Here's Lucy" in an episode titled "Lucy Meets the Burtons," guest-starring none other than Taylor and Burton themselves. In her usual flighty and hilarious style, Lucy got the engagement ring stuck on her finger.
Of course, no discussion of iconic Hollywood vixens would be complete without mentioning Marilyn Monroe. The ring Joe DiMaggio slipped on the blonde bombshell's finger when they said "I do" in 1954 doubled as a wedding band and engagement ring. An eternity band channel set all the way around with rectangular diamonds, this ring radiated shine befitting the effervescent star.
Another classic Hollywood starlet went on to become a genuine princess in real life. When Prince Ranier asked Grace Kelly to marry him, he presented her with an antique platinum and diamond engagement ring. That ring purportedly made an appearance on the big screen in 1955 when Kelly wore it during filming of the movie "High Society."
Antique Engagement Rings on the Big Screen
Grace Kelly may have lit up the screen with her real life antique engagement ring, but many acted-out engagements have thrilled audiences as well with their magnificent engagement rings. Arguably one of the greatest love stories ever to transform the big screen, "Gone with the Wind's" finally accepted proposal ended with Rhett Butler asking Scarlett O'Hara what kind of ring she wanted and him promising, "You shall have the biggest and most vulgar ring in Atlanta."
According to the book that inspired the film, "The ring Rhett brought back from England was large indeed, so large it embarrassed Scarlett to wear it. She loved gaudy and expensive jewelry but she had an uneasy feeling that everyone was saying, with perfect truth, that this ring was vulgar. The central stone was a four-carat diamond and, surrounding it, were a number of emeralds. It reached to the knuckle of her finger and gave her hand the appearance of being weighted down."
Size aside, these characteristics would have made the antique engagement ring a nice example of the Grand Victorian period during which the novel and movie were set. In this historical era, Empress Eugenie's passion for emeralds caused a sensation in France, elevating the gemstones to near diamond level in desirability.
More recently, in the third installment in the "Twilight" series, "Eclipse," Edward presents Bella with a family heirloom as an engagement ring. Its antique Victorian design features a narrow band highlighted with an elongated oval setting embedded with rows of round gemstones.
A family heirloom engagement ring also stirred up trouble in the first installment of "The Hangover" series when it ended up on the finger of a stripper. In a drunker stupor, Ed Helms' character weds Heather Graham with his grandmother's antique pearl and diamond Holocaust ring.
In the 1991 remake of "Father of the Bride" starring Steve Martin, the antique engagement ring the main character Annie wears is a 100-year-old find unearthed by her and her fiancé at, of all places, a Rome flea market.
Antique Engagement Rings in the World of Art
Although antique rings in general are fairly common in famous paintings, engagement rings are not all that common. There is one major exception, however. The 1962 pop art rendering by artist Roy Lichtenstein is a comic-book-esque drawing showcasing a closeup portrayal of a man slipping a diamond solitaire engagement ring on the red-fingernailed hand of his betrothed.
Antique Engagement Rings on the Fingers of Modern Celebrities
The true testament to any jewelry trend, of course, is its longevity, and the current crop of Hollywood starlets wearing antique engagement rings prove that they are not a "here today, gone tomorrow" fad. Who are some of the celebs who have helped to make antique engagement rings as popular as ever?
Catherine Zeta Jones - The ten-carat antique engagement ring Michael Douglas gave the actress is center pieced with a marquise cut diamond. Dating back to the 1920s, it is estimated to have cost Douglas $2 million.
Mila Jovich - When her producer husband proposed, Mila Jovich was presented with a 19th century antique engagement ring. The yellow gold band has three gemstones as its focal point: a yellow, a pink and a white diamond.
Miley Cyrus - Although their engagement has since gone kaput, Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus sealed their love with another 19th century antique engagement ring stunner.
Floral motifs and a hand-cut 3.5-carat diamond added to the ring's romantic antique flair.
Penelope Cruz - This actress's sexy Spanish lover, Javier Bardem, gave her a three-carat blue sapphire antique engagement ring when he proposed. The style is redolent of that worn by another modern-day icon, Princess Diana.