Accenting Colored Stones in Vintage Engagement Rings

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It might be a surprise to learn that engagement rings haven’t always been dominated by diamonds. Before mining giants De Beer got involved in the promotion of diamonds, any and all precious stones were used in the rings but, although colored stones are still reasonably common, they are usually in a supporting role to the diamond which will inevitably be given the starring role.

To show how incredible colored stones can be in engagement rings, we’ll take a look at how the accenting stones can add amazing highlights and interest, and lets the wearer to be just that bit different and to stand out from the crowd.


The Supporting Act
Inevitably, in most engagement rings, it is a diamond which takes center stage, and the accenting stones are added to show off the clarity and quality of the headliner to its fullest. One of the simplest methods is to add accents on the shoulders, or to include a simple gallery with contrast to the colorless property of the diamond.

Diamonds are usually set in platinum, in a way that promotes the lack of color that is so desirable when selecting the stone. This isn’t a rule, however, it’s more a fashion that has stuck around a while. Yellow gold also makes a fantastic band for any ring containing two or more colors, especially when a deep blue or red is used as the contrast.


Going A Step Further

Still on the subject of a supporting act, but taking it much further than just shoulder adornments, having a halo around the center diamond is another way to both show off the diamond and add some interest but without overwhelming either the ring or the viewer.

Sapphires are an excellent choice for any pavé-type settings, as their natural properties display several tones of blue through the various parts of the stones. When the halo is broken up, as in the picture above, by other corner or high shoulder additions, the ring becomes simply intoxicating.


Black Is The New Black
The contrast presented by colored stones is usually brought by emeralds, rubies, sapphires or even yellow diamonds but, to show that there really are no limits when it comes to jewelry design and construction, black is also a popular choice.

Far from being the domain of goths or other alternative cultures, black onyx has been used for centuries in fine jewelry and is becoming more and more popular amongst today’s buyers. The colorless diamond, when next to a true black onyx, can be breathtaking and will bring admiring looks from whoever sees it. Onyx in fine jewelry is usually used in whole pieces, and is polished to produce the desired shape. In our example above, a ring has been created to perfectly surround the diamond.

There is a word of warning here, however. Much of what today passes as black onyx is actually calcite, a carbonate material that is inferior to natural onyx but which has similar visual properties. If black is you, make sure what you’re getting really is onyx and not some cheap imitation.


Something Subtle
We’ve talked, so far about deep rich colors which perfectly fit any engagement ring and add visual interest to any diamond ring. Now, we’re going to just rein in the vibrancy a little, and show how less can very much be more.

A full carat of diamonds is always going to be impressive in its own right, but when used to frame a stunningly beautiful emerald-cut aquamarine, the resulting ring is just superb. Aquamarine isn’t just pale blue, it is a tone all of its own, and complements diamonds beautifully without necessarily standing up and shouting to be noticed.  An added bonus of aquamarine, is that you can get a lot of gemstone for your money if you shop wisely, and yet end up with an engagement ring which punches far above its carat weight.

The pictures of the Vintage Diamond Engagement Rings from this article were used with permission from Estate Diamond Jewelry.

Written and submitted to U.S. Antique Shows by Afshin Shaddaie with M. Khordipour

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