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Diamond Solitaire History

What is a Diamond Solitaire Ring?

Diamond solitaire rings are one of the most popular ring designs, especially when it comes to engagement rings. The iconic design consists of a ring featuring a single diamond. Some solitaire rings feature further small diamonds on the ring shoulders, but typically this design only features one stone, and certainly only one feature gemstone. This style has long been associated with love and romance — one reason why it is generally considered to be the most popular engagement ring style. Other than the criteria of having one feature diamond, solitaire rings can vary in style and design. From yellow gold Victorian solitaire rings, with intricate ornamentation, to ultra-modern platinum solitaire rings featuring contemporary princess cut diamonds, solitaire designs vary greatly. Therefore, there really is something to suit every style within the solitaire category.

What is a diamond solitaire ring?
antique diamond yellow gold soliatire ring
diamond white gold soliatire vintage

Why Is It Named A ‘Solitaire’?

The word "solitaire” derives from the Latin word "solus”, meaning alone, sole, or by oneself with no others around. This makes perfect sense for the solitaire design — which features a standalone feature diamond.

The History Of The Solitaire

The creation of diamond solitaire rings and engagement rings, in general, can both be traced back to Ancient Rome . The Romans acquired diamonds and other precious gemstones from traders around the world and they were the first to set uncut gemstones into gold bands, creating the earliest version of the solitaire ring. This style evolved over the centuries, with diamond cuts being introduced by Indian and Islamic jewellers. Later, the style was built upon after an influx of diamonds became available from Brazil during the Georgian era.

Traditionally, the solitaire design has remained fairly simple. However, upon the dawn of the Victorian era, designs began to get more elaborate and fanciful. By this time, the art of goldsmithing had become more precise, and more intricate creations became possible for those who were looking for something extra special. New technology during this time allowed for more specialised diamond cutting techniques and more precise and delicate claw settings.

Although the Victorians were big fans of solitaire rings, this design really came into its own a bit later, with the popularity of the Art Deco style in the 1920s. Diamond solitaire rings lent themselves well to the sleek, geometric Art Deco design style and square cut diamonds were particularly perfect popular at this time.

Later still, in 1948, diamonds solitaire rings so another surge of popularity. It was in this year when DeBeers first used the ‘Diamond are forever’ slogan. This advertising success resulted in diamond solitaire rings becoming the go-to engagement ring. At this time, yellow gold was back in vogue again (in contrast to platinum which was the favoured metal during the Art Deco era) and you can still find many classic vintage yellow gold solitaire rings from this era.

Diamond Solitaire Cuts

Like all diamond rings, diamond solitaires come in many different cuts. For engagement rings, round cuts tend to be the most popular — especially if you’re looking for the classic solitaire look. Old European round and modern brilliant round cut diamonds both work wonderfully for a timeless look. For something slightly more unusual, but still dazzling, you can also find diamond solitaire rings crafted using pear cut diamonds, marquise cut diamonds and more. If it’s an ultra-modern and more angular aesthetic you’re searching for, a princess cut diamond or an Asscher cut diamond would be perfect.

Solitaire Rings
Diamond Engagement Rings
Solitaire Engagement Rings

Diamond Solitaire Settings

Traditionally, diamond solitaire rings are designed with claw (or ‘prong’) settings. This design elevates the diamond from the band of the ring, making it stand out and allowing for maximum sparkle. However, other setting options are also available, such as bezel (or ‘collet’) settings, which work particularly well if you opt for a diamond solitaire ring with a more elaborately decorated band such as this antique yellow gold diamond ring.

Diamond Engagement Rings
The History of Solitaire Rings
Solitaire History

Are Solitaires The Perfect Engagement Ring?

If in doubt, you simply cannot go wrong with a diamond solitaire engagement ring. This style has withstood the test of time for a reason, and its simple yet impossibly elegant charm make it the ultimate engagement ring choice. Trilogy rings, twist rings, and eternity rings are all also very popular engagement ring options, but there is something truly special about the beautiful diamond solitaire ring.

Andrew Campbell started trading in antiques during the 1970s. Initially, Andrew lived in the South of England, travelling the country, searching for items of silver to buy. Andrew sold these items at various London markets and antique fairs. Over time, and through selling at a range of venues, Andrew built up a large and diverse customer base from private buyers to national and international trade customers.
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