Diamond Engagement Rings

The custom of giving a diamond ring as a promise of marriage is said to have started in 1477, when Archduke Maximillian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with a diamond ring. This sparked a craze for diamond engagement rings amongst the wealthy and, in particular, royalty, which continues to this day.

Mary-Of-Burgundy-Engagement-Ring

This engagement ring was commissioned in 1477 by Archduke Maximilian of Austria for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. It is believed that he sent her a letter proposing marriage along with the ring.

 

The smallest diamond engagement ring on record was given to Princess Mary, daughter of Henry VIII, when she was two years old and betrothed to the infant Dauphin of France, son of King Francis I, in 1518.

mary

A pointed oval diamond cluster ring known as a ‘navette ring’ became a popular engagement ring during the time of Louis XVI (1754-1793) and continued in popularity for decades afterwards.

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Antique Diamond Navette Ring. Langs Antiques.

In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte presented Joséphine with a diamond and sapphire engagement ring as a symbol of their love. The simple gold band is set with two pear-shaped stones, a diamond and a blue sapphire of one carat each, that sit side by side in opposite directions.

Napoleon-and-Joséphines-engagement-ring

Napoleon and Josephine’s engagement ring.

The diamond promise ring was only embraced by the general public after 1870 with the discovery of diamond mines in South Africa.

The Tiffany, or solitaire, setting was introduced in the late nineteenth century.

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The ‘princess ring,’ a type of English engagement ring designed with three to five diamonds in a row became popular in the United States in the early twentieth century.

 

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A THREE-STONE DIAMOND RING AND WEDDING BAND

Comprising: a diamond ring set with three cushion-shaped diamonds of graduated size, size J, stamped ’18’, British hallmarks and date inscription to inner band, estimated total diamond weight approximately 0.90ct; and a wedding band of engraved design, size K, stamped ’18’, British hallmarks and maker’s mark (2)   Undated. SOURCE: Bonhams

 

 

In the early part of the twentieth century, platinum was used for diamond engagement rings because of its strength and durability. However, it was declared a strategic metal during World War II, and its usage was restricted to military purposes. This led to the rise of both yellow and white gold diamond engagement rings.

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A DIAMOND AND PLATINUM WEDDING SET
circa 1924
center old European cut diamond approximately: 0.80ct; size: 6 3/4
Undated.    Source: Bonhams

 

 

The Great Depression and World War II caused the demand for diamonds to plummet. In 1948, the De Beers diamond mogul Sir Ernest Oppenheimer connected his son, Harry, to the New York advertising agency N.W Ayer.  The result was a campaign —  famous for its slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ — which helped turn the United States into the biggest market for the world’s supply of gem standard diamonds. The campaign established many of today’s standards for diamond engagement rings, including the ‘two months’ salary’ guideline which says that a prospective groom should plan to spend two months’ salary on an engagement ring for his bride-to-be. The De Beer’s campaign has to this day solidified the diamond’s status as the engagement ring stone of choice in America and, subsequently, much of the rest of the world.

 

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1948 De Beers Campaign.


 

© Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder and Bloom LLC, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder and Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

 

Natural Materials

Natural Materials

The wide variety and beauty of the natural materials used in vintage and antique jewellery is staggering. It seems jewellery designers never cease in their inventiveness. Here is a list which I believe is comprehensive or almost comprehensive (there is bound to be something I have left out).

I have excluded metal as that seems to deserve it’s own separate list.

 

Amber

Animal parts (ie Rabbit Foot)

Bog Oak

Bone

Butterflies and insects

Cinnabar

Coral

Flower and Plants

Gems & Gemstones

Hair

Horn

Ivory

Jade

Jet

Marcasite

Pearl

Sea Shell

Stone (Mosaics)

Tortoise Shell

Tooth

Tusk

Wood

 

Copyright © 2017 by Pippa Gaubert Bear and Elder & Bloom. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pippa Bear and Elder & Bloom with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Diamond cuts and major diamond inventions from 1330 to now

Here I am going to list the history of diamonds cuts and major inventions from 1330 to present.  This is relevant to the understanding of antique and period jewelry and helpful for giving more clues to evaluating the age of a piece.

1330 – The earliest evidence of diamond cutting, Venice.

The point cut.

pointcut

1450 – The table cut for diamonds is first introduced

tablecut

1471 – The first French cut diamonds are introduced

frenchcut

1500 – The first Rose cuts begin

rosecut

1700 – The Peruzzi cut (early version of 58 square brilliant)

peruzzi

1840 – Steam power first used for diamond cutting (Amsterdam).

1878 – Patent for platinum-tipped prongs for setting diamonds.

1886 – Tiffany solitaire diamond setting

1891 – Power driven machine for cutting diamonds patented.

1900 – The diamond saw invented.

1902 – The Asscher Cut

Asschercut

1912 – The Baguette Cut from Cartier

baguette

1919 – The American Cut or ‘Ideal Cut’ introduced

peruzzi

1933 – The invisible setting (or serti invisible) is patented by Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels.  It is introduced in USA in 1936

1952 – Strontium Titanite simulant diamond is introduced 

1960 – First synthetic diamond patented by General Electric, (introduced to market for jewelry 1970)

1960s – Princess Cut introduced

Princess_cut_thumb copy

1985 – synthetic diamond production begun by major companies, Sumimoto and De Beers

Sources / further reading:

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/A_History_Of_Diamond_Cutting

http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Brilliant_Cut

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_cut