The Art Deco style is named for the Exposition Internationale des Arts D' coratifs et Industriels Modernes which took place in Paris in 1925, the heyday of the style. Art Deco grew out of the Industrial Revolution and was the modern answer to Art Nouveau, which embraced detailed design and organic forms. Art Deco in contrast created a visual graphic language of geometric shapes, clean lines, man-made materials, repeated forms, and high contrast. Art movements that became prevalent at this time include primitivism, cubism, and futurism.
The geometric, streamlined forms of Art Deco design and architecture were reflected in Art Deco jewelry as well, considered to be symbolic of the sleek sophistication of the modern age. A big part of Art Deco optimism was a hope for the future born of a new age in modern technology. This same spirit of looking to the future can translate into your hopes for your new life together.
Art Deco style in jewelry is a confluence of exotic themes borrowed from other cultures such as African, Oriental, native American, Persian, and Egyptian. Costume jewelry became completely outrageous and bright, manmade materials such as bakelite and cellulite became very popular. These bright colors gave way in the mid-to-late 1930s to a white-on-white theme.
Art Deco rings from this period typically feature white gold or platinum and a three-dimensional step-pattern that was popular at that time (think of the Chrysler building). Platinum - called the "new luxury metal" - was extremely popular as it was considered a thoroughly modern material and is both lightweight and strong, and is the "whitest" metal, nicely showcasing the stones in the ring. Platinum is also a difficult metal to work with as it sets very fast, so a platinum ring is itself a symbol of expert craftsmanship.
Diamonds used in Art Deco engagement rings were usually brilliant-cut or the Old European cut (less sparkly), round stones in raised square settings. They were also often set with contrasting gemstones to lend color. A wide variety of stones were used for this purpose, the most popular including sapphires, peridot, rubies and onyx. The general diamond size on these rings ranges from 0.5 to 1.5 carats.
Art Deco ring design emphasized the setting as much as (or even more than) the stone. This had as much to do with the period's heavy emphasis on graphic design as it did with economics; with the onset of the great depression, aesthetic value was placed out of necessity over monetary value. As a result of this, we have elaborate and beautifully detailed ring settings with metalwork designs ranging from flowers to stars to lace. This sort of fine craftsmanship in the setting makes any stone seem twice as beautiful.
Many jewelers make Art Deco ring reproductions, which are less expensive and can be tailored specifically to your tastes. Reproductions are generally very accurate and are sold with or without a center stone. For a look that at once portrays delicate romance and cool sophistication, an Art Deco engagement ring may be just the right choice for you.