In Georgian times (1714 to 1837), wedding rings were usually made from 18-karat gold. These pieces were often intricately decorated, featuring design elements such as bows, scrolls, flowers, and hearts.
In the mid-1800s, legal standards changed to allow 9-karat to 15-karat gold, making gold rings much more affordable. The Victorian era in England adopted creative band designs in the shapes of snakes, as well as Celtic knots and patterns.
The opening of South African diamond mines in the late 1800s saw diamonds become increasingly popular. As such, it was more commonplace to have engagement rings set with diamonds and wedding rings followed suit.
The first platinum rings were introduced in the Edwardian era (1901 to 1910), coinciding with the art nouveau period. This time saw filigree work, more attention to detail, and goldsmiths striving for perfection in our industry. Designs reflected nature as well as symmetry.
Likewise, the art deco period (1920 to 1940) gave us more geometry and sharp-edged designs. Rings became much more decorative for women. In the 1930s, engagement and wedding rings were seen with the new ‘illusion’ style settings, which helped diamonds appear larger than their carat count.
Of course, WWII saw a stoppage in the use of platinum for jewellery due to war-related requirements and demands. White gold was introduced as a replacement, then rose gold made its popular return. After the war, ring designs became very bold, but there was still a place for plain bands—especially in men’s jewellery.
In the decades that followed, we saw wedding rings with rope designs, braided patterns, and floral accents (again). Platinum came back and rings were popular in two-tone or all yellow. The wedding ring fashion plates ran their cycles; today, a variety of metals and designs are accepted, with preference falling to the wearer.
Currently, in keeping with cyclical fashion trends, wedding sets with ‘vintage’ style and other similar designs are incredibly popular with couples. These romantic pieces circle back to the eras and sentimental times gone by—they are truly timeless!