Fashion

Watch how engagement ring designs have changed in the last 100 years

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Sarah Biddlecombe
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We'll admit it: there are a lot of "100 years of..." videos that have taken YouTube by storm over the last year. 

From the "100 years of fitness fads" video to the minute-long clip showing "100 years of beauty looks", it's a fascinating way of seeing how fashion, beauty and wellness trends have evolved over the last century.

And now a new video shows 100 years of engagement rings, all in under three minutes.

A classic solitaire engagement ring, popular in the early twentieth century

A classic solitaire engagement ring, popular in the early twentieth century

Highlighting the never-ending popularity of diamonds, the video starts with a classic solitaire diamond mounted on a yellow gold band from the early twentieth century and ends with the current trend for coloured diamonds on a 'halo' mounting (where a circle of smaller diamonds encompass the larger, central diamond).

Kate Middleton's engagement ring, which was once Princess Diana's engagement ring and is arguably the most famous of all time, was made with white gold, a popular material in the late sixties. Unusually, the main stone on the ring is an oval sapphire, surrounded by 14 smaller diamonds. It cost £28,500 when it was originally purchased in 1981.

Kate Middleton's engagement ring

Kate Middleton's engagement ring

Created by the team at Mode, the engagement ring video has already racked up almost a quarter of a million views.

You can see a detailed description of each ring and watch the informative video below.

100 years of engagement rings explained:

  • 1890–1900: Classic solitaire diamond ring: Round old European-cut diamond set into a six prong mounting, 14k yellow gold.
  • 1900–1920s: Lacy white-on-white look, in the style of jewelry of the Edwardian period.
  • 1920–1930s: Art Deco-influenced rings: Round early modern brilliant-cut diamond set into a platinum mounting, highlighted by round diamonds in a pierced openwork mounting.
  • 1930–1940s: The introduction of white gold in the late 1920s; ”filigree” mounting, which heralds back to the Edwardian period, comes in trend.
  • 1940s: Yellow and rose gold used more.
  • 1945: “War Bride Ring,” the ring that every serviceman gave their fiancée due to the rationing of precious metals during the war years.
  • 1950–1960s: White gold and platinum becomes the preferred metal in postwar period. Addition of round side stones set into the shoulders of the ring.
  • 1960–1970s: Fancy-shaped diamonds—emerald-cut, pear, marquise, and heart shaped—become in. Platinum remains metal of choice.
  • 1970–1980s: ”Gold” set with round or fancy shaped diamonds with channel set mountings, accompanying wedding bands.
  • 1980–1990s: Solitaire diamond with baguettes on each side.
  • 1990–2000s: “Radiant-cut” becomes the preferred fancy-shaped diamond, typically set with triangular side stones.
  • 2000–2010s: ”Princess-cut” becomes the preferred fancy-shaped diamond.
  • 2010–2015: ”Halo” mounting becomes the preferred engagement mounting; increased demand for fancy-colored diamonds.
A "radiant-cut" diamond engagement ring, popular in the nineties

A "radiant-cut" diamond engagement ring, popular in the nineties

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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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