To many, the chilly starts and shorter evenings of late mark the impending arrival of winter and the run up to Christmas, however the crisp, falling leaves of autumn also herald the beginning of the engagement season. With an ever-expanding inventory of over two thousand ancient, antique and vintage rings, at Berganza we specialise in the rare and unusual – appealing to consumers who are in search of something truly individual and one-of-a-kind. Spanning across vast swathes of time and incorporating various stylistic influences, antique jewellery provides infinite options to those who are in search of something truly different. With this in mind, we have delved in to the realms of history and celebrity, to bring to you our favourite alternatives to the classic engagement ring.
It is often said that in Hollywood, bigger is almost always better – and if Mariah Carey’s thirty-five carat solitaire diamond engagement ring from Australian billionaire James Packer is anything to go by, one would be forgiven for thinking that this is true. However, in a move away from this trend, increasingly Hollywood starlets are looking to antique and vintage styles as a way of reflecting their own individuality. Take for instance Olivia Wilde, who was presented with a French-made Art Deco emerald and diamond target ring upon her engagement to Jason Sudeikis in 2013 – the rich green of the emeralds adding a welcome pop of colour to the ensemble, whilst also complimenting Wilde’s vivid green eyes. Screen siren, Scarlett Johansson also sports an Art Deco engagement ring which she first debuted on the red carpet at the Venice International Film Festival in 2013. The statement ring is a geometric cluster, vertically set with three round old cut diamonds and surrounded by smaller grain set diamonds. Ukrainian-born actress, Milla Jovovich also wears an antique diamond cluster as her engagement ring – set with fancy coloured diamonds, this flamboyant piece dates to the Belle Époque period. Always at the forefront of fashion, actress-turned-designer, Mary Kate Olsen looked to the more recent past when choosing her engagement ring – an elaborate 1950’s diamond and sapphire cocktail ring by Cartier.
Icons of style from the glamorous 1950s and 60s, continue to inspire those in search of unique engagement rings. The legendary beauty, Marilyn Monroe broke from tradition with her engagement ring choice – a baguette-set diamond eternity band that was presented to her by Joe DiMaggio in the early 1950s. In 1954 on the banks of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, Mel Ferrer proposed to Audrey Hepburn with a trio of rings, to include a baguette set diamond eternity ring and two wedding bands in yellow and rose gold, so that she could mix and match according to her mood or to coordinate with different outfits.
For the romantically inclined, further inspiration can be found when exploring the engagement rings of centuries past, such as the diamond and sapphire ‘toi et moi’ ring presented by a young Napoleon Bonaparte to Josephine de Beauharnais in 1776. On the occasion of her engagement in 1839, Queen Victoria was gifted an emerald-set snake ring from her beloved Albert. Although it may seem a peculiar choice to the modern consumer, the coiled snake is a hugely romantic symbol, representing never-ending love.
From sentimental historic designs to striking retro pieces, start the search for your perfect engagement ring by browsing our extensive online inventory of over two-thousand rings – all of which can be purchased online or in store.