The 1950s was a very exciting time for jewellery, after the Second World War, more and more choices were becoming available. Cinema was becoming popular, meaning there was more inspiration coming from the silver screen and the actors behind the lens.
This meant that more choices of engagement rings were also becoming available and more trends were emerging for us to follow! We’re going to look at the biggest trends from engagement rings in the 1950s to see how they compare to the typical trends of today!
A Diamond Is Forever
This may sound like we’re stating the obvious nowadays, but one of the biggest trends for engagement rings in the 1950s was diamonds.
This was all down to an advertising campaign by De Beers' in 1947 who coined the term “A Diamond is forever”. Before this, it was fairly uncommon to propose to your loved one with a diamond ring. They marketed diamonds as an unbreakable symbol of love; this pushed the popularity of diamonds through the roof for the remainder of the century.
This slogan is still used today on every one of De Beer’s engagement ring campaigns, and I’m sure you will agree that nearly every engagement ring today will involve a diamond of some sorts. This really proves how clever advertising can affect our buying habits. Even 60 years later!
However, although diamonds are easily the most popular choice for engagement rings, today more and more people are opting for more colourful gemstones, so maybe De Beers slogan is finally wearing off.
As is often the case nowadays, trends in the 1950s often came from celebrities, much like the rise in popularity of sapphire cluster rings after Prince William proposed the Kate Middleton. One of the biggest engagement/wedding band trends of the ‘50s were stackable rings; which all started with the Hollywood Starlet, Audrey Hepburn.
In 1954, Mel Ferrer proposed to and married Hepburn, he presented her with 3 rings in total: a baguette cut white gold eternity band, and two wedding bands - one yellow gold and one rose gold. The idea behind the three rings was that he thought she could mix and match them to suit her mood and outfit (how thoughtful!).
Neither of them was shy when it came to buying jewellery though, rather than just accept his proposal, Hepburn sent Ferrer a platinum watch engraved with the words “mad about the boy” (from the Noel Coward Song).
There is no denying that this stackable trend is still going strong today, if not growing stronger!
Rings made from white metals were also the most popular choice for this time, especially platinum. This is most likely again to do with the war. Platinum was scarce during the war and was very difficult to get hold of.
By the 1950s, the world had started to recover from the trauma the war caused to lots of different economies, including the jewellery trade, meaning that more platinum was available again.
There is also the fact that diamonds reflect much better in white metal than yellow, which can make them look a lower colour grade than they really are. Which is often why yellow gold jewellery is set with a white metal; either platinum, white gold or silver depending on the era.
Not Just Round Cut
If you have ever looked at famous engagement rings from this era then one trend we’re sure you will have noticed is that Round cut stones were out and Asscher cuts, Emerald Cuts and Marquise cuts were definitely in!
From Grace Kelly’s 10.15 carat Cartier Emerald Cut Solitaire to Marilyn Monroe’s Baguette cut eternity ring. Every star in Hollywood was following the trend to have different cut rings. One particular stand out ring from the era was the 29.4 carat emerald cut Cartier engagement ring that Elizabeth Taylor received from Mike Todd.
The cut of a stone can, of course, have an effect on the price. Cuts such as Asscher are much more difficult to achieve than a Modern Brilliant Round cut diamond, therefore, it does make them more expensive. One particular trend from the era which was popular, as it helps to achieve the look of a square stone, was using a fishtail setting. This is a setting made for round stones that help to give the effect that it is square. This was a great solution to keeping the price down and still achieving the brilliance you get with a brilliant cut diamond rather than a princess cut stone.
It seems this trend isn’t as popular as it once was, of course there is still a demand for uniquely cut gems but engagement rings these days appear to be less focused on the shape of the feature stone and more focused on the style of the ring over all.
Solitaire With Accented Shoulders
Even though there are always different engagement ring trends, it still seems to be the diamond solitaire that reigns supreme, and this was also true in the 1950s. However, many solitaire rings from the 1950s had the added effect of accent diamonds or decoration on the shoulders to accentuate the centre stone.
As previously mentioned, Round shaped stones were less popular during this time, even as accent stones; many of them would have been baguette cut diamonds on the shoulders much like our 1950s ring you can see below.
This is still a very popular style of ring today, especially if you are more of a traditionalist but would like something that is slightly more decorative than a solitaire with a plain band.
It’s clear to see that many of the engagement ring trends we see today were also popular back in the 1950s, with some of them barely changing, whilst others have progressed to help shape the styles we tend to choose today. We wonder what the most popular engagement rings will be in another 65 years or so!
Thank you to AC Silver for providing this Blog . To see more of their stock on LoveAntiques.com, click here
Image Credit: -
Image 1 - Solitaire Diamond and Platinum Ring from Adazia Estate Jewels
Image 2 - Full Diamond Eternity Ring from Vaughan Antiques
Image 3 - Vintage 1.20ct Diamond & Platinum Dress Ring from AC Silver
Image 4 - 1940's 5.75 ct Aquamarine & Diamond 18ct White Gold Ring from Silversalvo
Image 5 - Vintage 1.12ct Diamond & Platinum Solitaire Ring from AC Silver