Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Early Victorian Engagement and Wedding Rings (Part 3)

Victorian Era Half Hoop Engagement Ring
(Sapphires & Diamonds)
Photo Source: Polyvore

by Angela Magnotti Andrews

To add a flare of color and up the ante on splendor, jewelers would imbed the most popular gemstones of the day into these naturally-inspired settings. Bright red rubies, deep blue sapphires, and shimmering green emeralds were most popular among the Royals and the upper crust Nobility. For those of more modest means, the pastel lavender and aqua hues of chalcedony were popular, as were the violet strains of amethyst, the deep reds of garnet, and the bright colors of topaz.

In 1849, access to Australian opals, which became one of Queen Victoria’s favorite gemstones, gave rise to an increased use of opals in keeper and betrothal rings during the Early Victorian Era. Pearls also enjoyed great favor for wedding rings throughout this time period.

Diamonds, however, would remain the gemstone of the elite for many more decades. Cut in the old mine style and clustered together as flowers or posies to enhance their impact, these white crystals would remain rare and small until the Kimberly diamond mine was discovered in South Africa in the 1860s.


1. “American Jewelry: An Historical Timeline.” Antique Jewelry University, accessed January 13, 2013.
2. “Antique and Vintage Designs.” Rings with Love, accessed January 13, 2013.
3. “Antique Engagement Ring Settings.” Engagement Ring Settings, accessed January 13, 2013.
4. Bradley, Tara. “Victorian Engagement Rings (1830s-1900s).” Destination Weddings & Honeymoons. Accessed January 13, 2013.
5. “Elegance of a Victorian Wedding, Part II, The.” Hudson Valley Weddings, accessed January 15, 2013.
6. Fragoso, Lilyanna. “Engagement Rings in the 18th and 19th Centuries.” eHow. Accessed January 13, 2013.
7. Harlow, George E. The Nature of DiamondsCambridgeCambridge University Press, 1998.
8. “History of Jewelry, The.” Brilliance Jewelry, accessed January 13, 2013.
9. “History of Wedding Rings, The.” Everything Wedding Rings, accessed January 13, 2013.
10. “Keeper Ring.” Antique Jewelry University, accessed January 13, 2013.
11. “Promise Ring Meaning.” Antique Jewelry Investor, accessed January 13, 2013.
12. Schoening, Lisa and Kurt Rothner. “Why a Vintage Engagement Ring?” Excalibur Jewelry, May 5, 2012. Accessed January 13, 2013.
13. “Victorian Wedding Ring and Victorian Engagement Rings, The.” Everything Wedding Rings, accessed January 13, 2013.


  1. Informative and nicely written. This is one of my favorite ring styles.

  2. Nice read! I like the suggestions.