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Elle Decor Italia

Engagement rings with vintage design: a selection of timeless models

Get to know the Four C’s and all the jewellery masters who set the standards for the icon of eternal love


How to choose the perfect engagement ring? Well, we can’t give you a handbook or rigid pricing rules to stick to, although the Four C’s – clarity, colour, carat and cut – are definitely a universal reference. If personal taste is sacred, the fact that the emblem of eternal love shall feature the right mounting and diamond is still not a matter of dispute. The Four C’s may vary slightly, but are always to be observed. 

The easiest way to make the right choice is taking a look at the hands of royal fiancees and celebrities, without sacrificing a decent overview of all the latest collections by high-end jewellery maisons. When seven years ago now Prince William famously gave Kate Middleton his late mother Princess Diana’s sapphire engagement ring, boldly coloured stones got back in action as if it was the bombastic Eighties. Indeed, Kate’s ring consisting of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat gold started an actual trend!

The models by Garrard, the Jewellery House that works closely with the British Royal Family, were soon to be copied: the illustrious predecessor of Lady D’s engagement ring – meaning Queen Victoria’s, the most controversial icon of austerity in UK history – had fellow knockoffs with rubies, emerald and occasionally less precious stones. 

Not really a deal for all budgets, Van Cleef & Arpels’ engagement rings with solitarie emerald, ruby and zephyr come in three different cuts (pear, oval, cushion), strictly with platinum pavé setting. 

Real pioneers of the most hazardous chromatic configurations since the mid-20th century – see the timeless collection TuttiFrutti –, the jewellery masters at Cartier are extremely conservative when it comes to engagement rings: indeed, every single bridal ring has to feature at least one diamond, allowing only a little leeway in terms of choosing among yellow gold, pink gold, or platinum setting. Cartier has been releasing one-of-a-king models for illustrious women such as Wallis Simpson, who was given a huge 19,77-carat emerald by King Edward VIII.

Italian designer Roberto Coin has just unveiled a quite ironic ring collection for the most unconventional yet romantic declarations of love: a mix of emerald, rubies, blue topaz, amethyst and quartz. On the other side of the world, Ryan Reynolds took advice from fashion guru Lorraine Schwartz as for his love token for American actress Blake Lively: a pale pink 12-carat diamond with Art Deco oval cut which is worth the beauty of 2 million dollars.

Lastly, right on 727 Fifth Avenue in New York, you will find the most famous engagement ring of all times, designed by Charles Lewis Tiffany himself in 1886: the Tiffany Setting, featuring the classic platinum band with six prongs to secure and support the centre diamond. In one word, eternal. 

by Manuele Menconi / 22 December 2017


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