Find Your Engagement Ring Style
Before you choose an engagement ring, you must remember something very important: it's not like the earrings you may change every day depending on your mood or what you're wearing. Your engagement ring (and later, your wedding ring) is quite possibly the only piece of jewelry you'll wear every day for the rest of your life.
Whether you choose a classic diamond solitaire, or you go for a colored gemstone, like a sapphire engagement ring, it's not going to match your ensemble every day. What it should match is your personal style and taste.
Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but if you prefer colored gemstones, a Victorian engagement ring may be your BFF. The first diamond wasn't discovered in South Africa until 1867, and several mines opened in 1870, making diamonds more plentiful than they'd ever been. Prior to that, most engagement rings of the Victorian era were made with colored gemstones or even pearls.
In addition, Victorian rings often featured unusual settings and metal work. Between those features and the stones used, Victorian engagement rings are the perfect choice for a feminine, romantic style.
Art Nouveau Period
If you're the outdoorsy type who loves nature and animals, an Art Nouveau ring is probably the best match for your sensibilities. Art Nouveau rings are quite rare and hard to find.
Art Nouveau rings and jewelry incorporated numerous nature-related motifs such as flowers, butterflies, dragonflies, peacocks and other birds, as well as vines and leaves. Jewelers often used gold in more than one color to better emulate the hues found in nature, an example of which you can see in this Art Nouveau flower brooch.
Now that diamonds were more plentiful, the Edwardian era saw the advent of a "white on white" style. Edwardian engagement rings often consisted of diamonds set in platinum.
Edwardian style also moved away from nature, and more toward the frilly and lacy. You'll love an engagement ring from this era if your style leans toward sophistication and elegance.
Art Deco Period
If you're fun-loving with a bit of a rebellious streak, you definitely need to take a look at Art Deco engagement rings. The roaring twenties were the height of the Art Deco movement, a time when prohibition was in place, but not really doing much good as people found ways to indulge and enjoy themselves despite the law of the day.
Aside from the politics and the parties, the Art Deco movement was all about vivid colors and geometric shapes, both of which can be found in the architecture of buildings erected during that time, as well as the jewelry created then. Multi-faceted, colored gemstones set in angular designs were popular choices for Gatsby-esque brides. If you find this kind of glamour and sparkle appealing, this is the engagement ring for you.
Jewelry from this time period of the '30s and '40s truly speaks to American ingenuity. After the Great Depression and during WWII, materials were scarce, particularly metals. Most people couldn't afford jewelry with diamonds or other expensive gemstones, so they adapted.
Retro rings were most often made of yellow gold as platinum was reserved for the war effort. Because authentic gemstones were beyond the budget, brides often incorporated synthetic stones, and even glass beads into their engagement rings. This didn't make them any less beautiful, though. Choose a Retro engagement ring if you can appreciate this kind of patriotism and perseverance.