Today, people who go “retro” often get interested in retro engagement rings or reproductions from the 1930s. In spite of all the problems of this decade–or, maybe as a reaction to them–1930s engagement rings were very often elegant productions. Yet, there could also be a simplicity to them, because of course there were heavy financial concerns for the usual person back then. So people found ways to strike a balance between economy and beauty. Today, in the era of “bling bling”, this sense of elegant simplicity is appealing to many younger couples who want to get engaged.
One of the predominant styles of the 1930s engagement rings was Art Deco. This was actually a little flashier style for that time; this was a carry-over from the profitable, party-time era of the Roaring Twenties, the previous decade. Heavy use of geometric designs, big gemstones, and “louder” styles were common with Art Deco. In the 1930s, those who could afford these preferred them to remind them of the good times, while others bought mimic designs or had damaged 1920s rings restored.
There was a also a fondness in the 1930s for Victorian rings, rings that carried the designs of the 1800s, especially English designs and Northeastern U.S. designs of those times. These retro engagement rings tended to emphasize feminine ideals of beauty (or ideals about what female beauty is). Flowers, lace and filigree patterns, small gemstones, and rings made purely of metal were the hallmarks of this design.
The Victorian age was immediately followed by the Edwardian, and in a cultural sense this was still the era of the 1930s. They are similar in many ways to Victorian rings but somewhat more “masculine”, with bolder patterns and heavier, bulkier designs in both metal and gemstone use. There was also a fondness for high-set diamonds that were very fiery under room lighting, another carryover from the Victorians.
And, then of course, there were the simple 1930s engagement rings; these would have been made of thin metal and/or small gemstones.
Other predominant characteristics of 1930s rings included:
*Engravings in the metal, interior or exterior *A fondness for diamonds if they could be afforded *Scalloped or beveled edges *Textured shanks *The use of contrasting metals in one ring
If these types of features would appeal to you, you can save a lot of money by starting your search for retro engagement rings in pawn shops. You could also check out online auctions like eBay, listings for estate sales, and specialists who deal in antique/retro rings. You can also go to a jeweler and get a custom reproduction made but you’ll pay more for this. If you have grandparents who got engaged in the 1930s, maybe they would let you pass on their ring if they are still alive, or perhaps your parents have possession of it and would allow you to pass it on to your beloved.