A Century of Sparkle: Exploring Engagement Ring Trends from the 1920s to Today

DOR Engagement Ring Trends by Decade 1920.jpg
Diamonds On Richmond are a diamond jewellery store, based in Ponsonby, Auckland who specialise in diamond engagement rings
Engagement rings have long stood as beautiful symbols of love and commitment, sparkling on the hands of those ready to embark on a lifelong journey together. But have you ever wondered how these stunning pieces of jewellery have changed over the years? In this article, we're driving down memory lane to explore how the designs and styles of these diamond rings have evolved, reflecting the ever-changing tides of fashion, culture, and society. 
From the bold and lavish designs of the Roaring Twenties to the personalised and ethically conscious choices of today, each era has left its unique mark on these symbols of love. So, let's take a look through history to uncover the story behind each decade's favourite engagement ring styles, and see how these precious tokens of affection have captured the essence of their time. 

DOR Ardmore Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring with Tiffany Setting 1080.jpg

The Ardmore - Round Brilliant solitaire engagement ring with tulip-style setting. The round brilliant solitaire is a timeless design which has remained a classic throughout the decades. 

The Roaring 20s: Art Deco and Elegance

The 1920s, often fondly remembered as the “Roaring Twenties”, was a time of great joy and economic prosperity, which greatly influenced the fashion of the era, especially in engagement rings. This was the golden age of the Art Deco movement, known for its love of geometric shapes and bold, symmetric designs. Engagement rings from this dazzling decade often featured platinum, a metal that perfectly complemented the era's love for all things shiny and new. The use of platinum allowed for more intricate and detailed designs, making the rings not just jewellery, but pieces of art. 

One of the standout features of 1920s engagement rings was the introduction of the baguette diamond cut – a style that showcased diamonds in a more linear and streamlined fashion. This cut added to the overall elegance and sophistication that were hallmarks of the time. The lavish and ornate designs of these rings were a reflection of the era's prosperity and an ever-growing love for luxury and glamour. In the Roaring Twenties, engagement rings were not just a symbol of love; they were a statement of style and elegance.

DOR Emerald cut Diamond Engagement Ring 1080.jpg

DOR’s Ardmore - Emerald Cut is a solitaire engagement ring reminiscent of the art-deco era. 

The 1930s-1940s: Simplicity Amidst Hardship

During the 1930s and 1940s, the world faced some of its toughest times with the Great Depression and World War II. These challenging years left a significant mark on many aspects of life, including the style of engagement rings. The lavishness of the Roaring Twenties made way for more modest and simplistic designs. As resources became scarce, the luxurious platinum used in the previous decade became less common, and jewellers turned more towards gold. This shift wasn't just about availability; it also reflected the mood of the era, where extravagance gave way to a more understated elegance.

Diamonds, while still a cherished choice for engagement rings, were often smaller and less flashy. The trend leaned towards designs that were practical yet beautiful, mirroring the resilience and hope of the people during these hard times. The engagement rings of the 1930s and 1940s symbolised love that could withstand adversity, focusing on the enduring nature of the bond rather than the size of the diamond. These rings, with their simpler designs, told a story of love prevailing through tough times, a reminder that sometimes, less can indeed be more.

DOR MADEIRA Diamond solitaire engagement rings 1080.jpg

Madeira - Round Brilliant is a classic solitaire design featuring a round brilliant main diamond with an elegant tapered band - seen here in white gold with round claws (left); or yellow gold band with white gold setting and teardrop claws (right). 

The 1950s: Hollywood Glamour and Bigger Diamonds

In the 1950s, the world of engagement rings took a glamorous turn, heavily influenced by the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. This was a decade where bigger definitely meant better, especially when it came to diamonds. The post-war economic boom brought with it a sense of optimism and prosperity, and this was reflected in the choice of larger, more striking diamonds for engagement rings. Hollywood stars, always at the forefront of fashion, flaunted rings with significantly larger centre stones, inspiring a similar trend among the public.

The settings of these rings were just as important as the diamonds themselves. They were elaborate and intricate, designed not just to hold the diamond, but to showcase it in all its sparkling glory. This was a time when engagement rings were about making a statement – a symbol of not just love, but also of success and status. The 1950s rings were bold and beautiful, echoing the confidence and exuberance of the era. They were a celebration of love, yes, but also a nod to the newfound prosperity and the desire to dazzle.

DOR JESSEL Oval Halo diamond engagement ring 1080.jpg

The Jessel - Oval Cut is an opulent oval diamond engagement ring with a halo of scallop-set round brilliant diamonds. 

The 1960s-1970s: Non-traditional and Free-spirited

The 1960s and 1970s were a time of great change and self-expression, and this was clearly reflected in the engagement ring trends of the era. Moving away from the traditional styles of previous decades, these years embraced a more free-spirited and innovative approach to design. While diamonds remained a popular choice, the way they were used in rings became more diverse and unconventional. The era saw an increase in the use of unique diamond cuts and settings, breaking away from the classic round and simple designs. 

This period was all about personalisation and creativity. Rings often featured unusual arrangements and combinations of diamonds, reflecting the individuality and personality of the wearer. The influence of the era's vibrant culture was evident in the bold and artistic designs of the engagement rings. They were not just symbols of love but also statements of style and uniqueness. The engagement rings of the 60s and 70s celebrated the idea that love, like art, comes in many different forms and should be expressed in a way that's as unique as the couple themselves. 

DOR Barrington three stone diamond engagement ring 1080.jpg

Barrington - Round Brilliant is a classic three-stone featuring a round brilliant centre diamond, accented by a pair of princess-cut side stones. 

The 1980s-1990s: Return of Opulence and the Princess Cut

In the 1980s and 1990s, the world of engagement rings saw a dazzling return to opulence. This era was marked by a love for grandeur and extravagance, heavily influenced by the flamboyant celebrity culture of the time. It was all about making a statement, and what better way to do so than with a stunning engagement ring? One of the most significant trends of this period was the emergence of the princess-cut diamond. Known for its sharp, angular lines and brilliant sparkle, the princess cut quickly became a favourite for those seeking a modern yet luxurious look. 

Engagement rings during these decades were not just about the size of the diamond, but also about the intricacy of the design. Rings often featured elaborate settings with additional diamonds, enhancing the overall impact. This was a time when engagement rings were bold and unapologetically glamorous, reflecting the era's ethos of living life to the fullest. The 80s and 90s engagement rings were a testament to the fact that in the world of love and jewellery, sometimes more is more. 

DOR Princess Cut Diamond Engagement ring Diamond + Wedding Ring 1080.jpg

Our Victoria - Princess Cut is a classic solitaire engagement ring featuring a princess cut diamond set in platinum with a yellow gold band.  

A simple engagement ring works well when paired with a diamond set wedding band, such as this Vienna grain set band (available in single or double claw). 

The 2000s to Today: Personalization and Ethical Choices

In the 2000s and continuing today, the trend in engagement rings has shifted towards personalization and ethical considerations. The one-size-fits-all approach has given way to custom-designed rings that reflect the unique story and personality of each couple. It's not just about the ring anymore; it's about the meaning behind it. This era has seen a growing awareness of the origins of diamonds, leading to an increased demand for ethically sourced materials. Couples are now more conscious than ever about choosing rings that align with their values, often opting for lab-grown diamonds as a sustainable and ethical alternative to mined diamonds. 

Alongside this ethical shift, there's been a resurgence of classic styles, blending traditional elegance with modern sensibilities. Unique diamond cuts have also gained popularity, allowing for more individual expression through jewellery. From the timeless beauty of the emerald cut to the contemporary charm of the cushion cut, there's a renewed appreciation for diamonds that stand out from the crowd. The engagement rings of the 2000s to today are a beautiful blend of the past and the present, symbolising not just a commitment to each other, but also to the world we live in.

DOR Round Brilliant Cut diamond engagement rings 1080.jpg

Round brilliant diamonds are a truly timeless, available (from left to right) as our Jessel Round Brilliant with halo; Angelsea - Round Brilliant with halo and shoulder stones; or our most popular Ardmore - Round Brilliant solitaire, to name just a few. 

A Timeless Token of Love 

As we've journeyed through a century of sparkle, it's clear that engagement ring trends are much more than fleeting fashions. They are a reflection of our society's continuous evolution, mirroring the changes in our collective values and individual tastes. From the opulent Art Deco designs of the 1920s to today's personalized and ethically conscious choices, each era's style tells a unique story of the people and the times. These rings have adapted to the world's changing rhythms, yet their core symbolism remains unaltered.

Despite the varying trends in size, shape, and design, the essence of what an engagement ring represents has stood the test of time. These rings are enduring symbols of love and commitment, a constant reminder of the unbreakable bond between two people. As we look to the future, engagement ring styles will certainly continue to evolve, but their significance as a timeless token of love and devotion will forever remain the same. In the end, no matter the decade, the sparkle of an engagement ring will always symbolise the bright and enduring flame of love.

White gold  Solitaire diamond engagement rings 1080.jpg

The DOR Collection

Our Collection of engagement rings is crafted with timeless design elements, ensuring they remain classic through the years. Designed for durability, these rings are also built to withstand a lifetime of wear. If you're after a diamond ring that will continue to delight you for decades, without a moment of regret, our expert Client Managers are here to help. 

Reach out to us, and we'll guide you to the perfect ring that you'll cherish forever. 


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque ac mauris at sapien placerat elementum.


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Pellentesque ac mauris at sapien placerat elementum.

Mined Or Lab Grown Diamonds

The choice is yours! At DOR we offer both lab-grown and mined diamonds. Lab diamonds are...

learn more
The Dor Proposal Ring

Want a surprise proposal but don't know what design to choose? Get down on one knee ...

learn more
Custom Rings

Feeling creative? With hundreds of designs and thousands of variations, creating the dre...

learn more


We Got You