Typically, a cross-over ring is composed of two juxtaposed central stones, flanked by gently curved, softly scrolling shoulders. Often the stones would be a diamond set next to a coloured stone, for example, a ruby, emerald or sapphire. Further diamonds could also be set to the shoulders, or around the main stones. A ring could have more than two central stones, but would usually have stylistic curving, or ‘crossover' shoulders.
This style of ring first became popular in the Edwardian and Belle Époque period. Jewellery at this time was typically extremely elegant. The introduction of platinum into jewellery at the turn of the century allowed craftsmen to work with more apparent delicacy and softness. Concurrently, the Art Nouveau movement promoted flowing lines and soft curves, taking inspiration from nature. The resulting designs made their way directly into the jewellery of the period.
The idea of two central stones is especially romantic for an engagement ring. Sometimes referred to as a ‘toi et moi' ring, this style combines the symbolism of both stones within one. For example, a diamond can signify strength, purity and beauty, alongside a ruby symbolising eternal romantic love. It also represents the joining of two - a romantic idea for an engagement piece. The popularity of this style continued throughout the century across the different jewellery periods. In 1910, the famed American jeweller Seaman Schepps gave his wife a crossover ring marking their engagement, of an opal and a diamond. In 1953, John F. Kennedy gave an emerald and diamond crossover ring by Van Cleef & Arpels to Jacqueline Onassis.