Gilded Splendor: 1890s French Antique Engagement Ring of the Week


belle epoque engagement ringOur Engagement Ring of the Week is a shooting star of sparkling, golden loveliness! Dating to 1895 and with French import hallmarks, the antique engagement ring features an elongated Old Mine cut diamond set in a 18k gold frame of smaller Old Mine and rose cut diamonds. It’s hard to capture in photos, but these diamonds shimmer and dance in even the slightest bit of light. Each one was skillfully cut by hand and has a unique character all its own.

gold diamond engagement ringIt’s certainly striking by itself, but this ring also pairs surprisingly well with a number of wedding band styles. Try a patterned gold band, like our Fleur design from the Heirloom Collection, to play off the rich patina of the setting. You could even add another layer of sparkle with an eternity band that resembles a tiny ribbon of diamonds. If you prefer a simpler look, try the wedding band on your other hand, perhaps a Victorian style vintage buckle ring. This one even has a hidden compartment for a secret love note from your betrothed.

antique engagement ring bandsantique diamond engagement rings and bandsThis antique engagement ring highlights our celebration of the Gilded Age, which we explored in our last post. One of the best ways to get a feel for this opulent period and its key players is to immerse yourself the novels of Edith Wharton, including one of my favorites, Pulitzer Prize winning The Age of Innocence. Published in 1920, the book captures the feel of New York City during Wharton’s privileged youth in the 1870s. She paints a detailed picture of New York’s Gilded Age upper class while revealing the scheming machinations that run behind the scenes. Scorcese’s 1993 film version of The Age of Innocence brings this world even more to life, showing us the sheen of their satin gowns, the sumptuous candlelit interiors, every lustrous pearl and sparkling diamond. Each scene is like a beautiful painting come to life, including the moment below when May Welland (Winona Ryder) shows off her engagement ring.

age of innocence engagementWe also introduced the Gilded New York exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York in our last post. I couldn’t resist including one more grand Charles Worth creation from the show, the aptly named Electric Light gown, which was worn in 1883 by Alice Claypool Gwynn to a fancy dress ball thrown by Alva Vanderbilt. Gold and sparkling and dramatic, it’s like our ring in dress form! I can imagine a fashionable Gilded Age debutante, making her first pilgrimage to Paris for the latest couture, selecting our ring as the perfect pick-me-up after a whirlwind of dress fittings and portrait sittings.

What jewels would you pair with our golden diamond beauty?

charles worth gown and antique jewelry

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