Have you ever rummaged through a garage sale in search of the perfect jewelry piece? Sometimes newer doesn’t always mean better. Vintage jewelry can fill a special need in your wardrobe and brings inherent meaning and history along with it.
At Mark Henry Jewelry, we understand the appeal of older jewelry, particularly rings. It is important to honor the styles and trends that came before since we use them to shape our current fashion. There is always inspiration taken from the past in jewelry design, but each generation brings a little something new to the (design) table.
Domed rings are a perfect example of this phenomenon. They have withstood the test of time, altering to appeal to various generations but never trailing too far from their origins. With roots in the earlier half of the 20th century, you’re probably familiar with this style. They are staple pieces that work well for all genders and ages.
What’s the Appeal?
Delving into the world of domed rings opens up a door to vintage jewelry on the whole. Vintage shopping doesn’t have to be stressful, but it does require a bit of education and preparation. It is easy to be taken advantage of with counterfeit replicas, so make sure you know exactly what you’re searching for.
What Does a Dome Ring Look Like?
That leads us to the main event: domed rings. They look just like they sound, showcasing a classically rounded top. Traditionally this shape comes with a gemstone or two set into it. You can also opt to have a simple metal band made into a dome ring if that’s more your speed.
This shape's unique quality helps it stand out from the rest. Sure, you can have dozens of flashy rings, but a dome physically elevates itself off of your finger. You can’t help but be entranced.
The Edwardian Period’s Influence on Ring Style
To truly appreciate the value of a domed ring, you should probably know a bit more about its roots. This style was born out of the Edwardian era, which stretched throughout the early 1900s.
This period favored pattern-focused artwork but with more subdued color choices than those favored by the Art Deco Period (the 1920s to the 1930s).
Artistic Importance: Inspiration for the Future
From this initial dome ring fashion, the cocktail ring of the 1920s Prohibition Era was born. Here’s a quick refresher: During this time, the United States illegalized alcoholic refreshments and their sale. Speakeasies were born from these restrictions, making them gathering places for both men and women alike.
For some women, these were the first social circles where they were allowed to be trendsetters. The cocktail ring was born in these bars, worn as a symbol of emancipation from restrictive gender norms. Alcohol flowed, often in alluringly colorful concoctions that matched their rings.
Cocktail rings were made to be oversized, not only to get a bartender’s attention but to “take up space.” This continued into the Art Deco period in France. The trendsetters of 1925 popularized geometric and symmetrical designs. It transcended from fine art to architecture and even to jewelry.
The bombe ring was introduced during the Art Deco period. Its name was derived from “bombée,” which translates directly to “domed.” This style of dome ring included diamonds or other gemstones set amongst more engravings than in other periods. This French fashion was embraced across the world and quickly made its way into the homes of Americans, too.
The Cycle of Fashion
If you’ve lived through longer than a decade or two, you know that trends are cyclical. The most common way to understand this is by looking at clothing styles. Popular fashion in the 1990s became reintegrated into stores in the latter half of the 2010s. Now, the Y2K looks of the early ‘00s are on racks everywhere this year.
Jewelry designs work in similar ways. They cycle, but they also build upon each other. When shopping for rings, in particular, try to find what you like from the past first. Take a peek into the closet of your personal fashion heroes, or call to mind some of the looks you were obsessed with growing up.
Loved those chunky gold earrings from grandma in the 80s? Domed rings might be perfect for you! You can always adapt what you like in one area of jewelry (metals, gemstones, settings) for another.
To Collect or Not To Collect
When you enter the world of vintage jewelry, it can be hard to figure out where you fit in. Some people like to shop around for select pieces with incredible value. Others prefer costume jewelry and don’t mind if a piece isn’t authenticated or not.
At Mark Henry Jewelry, we’re lovers of fine gemstones and metals. We’ll always advocate for the best of the best, and we encourage you to do the same when scouring vintage jewelry.
Where To Start When Vintage Jewelry Shopping
Do a bit of research before you dive headfirst into vintage jewelry shopping. The atmosphere can be competitive, and you want to go in knowing what you want. There is a better chance of coming away with your dream ring if you’ve tracked down dome ring inspiration beforehand.
Try checking out jewelry archives online to familiarize yourself with different types of domed designs. Newer ones take tricks from various decades, both Art Deco and Edwardian. They can come in fun, vibrant colors, while others might simply use basic metals. Don’t stop your search until you’ve settled on what kind of design works best for you.
Where To Shop
If you’re going down the diamond domed ring route, make sure to check the 4Cs before a big purchase. These grading factors include quality of color, cut, clarity, and carat. Developed by the Gemological Institute of America, the rankings can help you determine if your piece is worth its price (regardless of its age).
Newer diamonds might hit the marks better than older ones, but they might be lab-created. This process wasn’t developed until years after domed rings were en vogue. When you shop at a reputable vintage dealer, they should be transparent about where your diamond came from or at least what its rating is.
The wonderful part about domed rings is that they have the opportunity to be used in so many ways. Other ring styles have specific purposes. You might not be able to wear them at every event or throughout your everyday life.
One of the best hallmarks of a truly multi-purpose ring is if it can be worn as a wedding band or engagement ring. That is because it means these rings can be worn in any situation, at any time — dome rings can actually function as both.
Domed rings can make excellent engagement rings. When shopping for the perfect piece to help pop the question, remember that this ring will be worn for decades to come. It is essential that you customize it to the liking of yourself and your partner.
With that being said, we’re huge advocates for plain diamond rings being swapped for a domed ring. They can also include diamonds, so you don’t have to give up on your entire plan yet! However, their unique and showstopping shape will really surprise your partner. They’ll never have to worry if someone else in the room has the same bling as them.
A great way to make a domed ring your own is to customize what gemstone you place in it.
You can also swap out typical gemstones for something a bit more unique. This fits with the theme of a domed ring, also. Try checking out a few of our exotic gemstone alternatives to diamonds at Mark Henry Jewelry. You might be surprised by what you find.
Alexandrite, a gem that magically transforms from green to red under incandescent light, is a wonderful option. It allows you to essentially purchase two rings for the price of one. You can even consider stones native to the U.S. like rare turquoise, admired for its rich coloring and equally rich history.
Male Wedding Bands
Wedding bands were typically only worn by women prior to the mid-20th century and weren’t exchanged by couples at weddings. Over time, traditions have changed.
This practice was flipped during WWII when men were drafted, usually ranging from the ages of 18 to 45. New husbands opted to wear wedding bands given to them at the ceremony along with their wives. Not only did it signify their love, but it was also a way to stay connected while overseas.
Since they were going into rough terrains and unpredictable situations, sleek designs were favored. This did not exclude domed rings, though! While they might have been a bit clunkier, they were a clear reminder of what was waiting back home.
Nowadays, domed wedding bands still carry weight. Their Art Deco geometric qualities can be seen as a more masculine alternative. Domed rings are an easy way to bring high fashion to traditional men’s wedding jewelry.
The purpose of cocktail rings is to garner attention. They break the mold and attract others to you. Domed rings are merely an extension of this principle. They work to start conversations and show off your boldness without you having to say a word.
At Mark Henry Jewelry, we’re all about staple pieces. We understand how important it is for you to feel confident in what you wear and to be able to access it with ease. This is why we pour so much of our time into accessing only the best gemstones and diamonds. We are equally as invested in staying on top of the cutting edge.
That is why we’re proposing the return of the domed ring. Sure, it never really went away, but it deserves a rightful place in the wardrobes of a younger generation. By sharing our knowledge on vintage finds, we’re one step closer to bringing its beauty to a wider audience.
The Bigger Picture
Domed rings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to vintage jewelry, particularly cocktail rings. The cocktail ring represents so much more than a piece of fashion. It is a key to the liberation of those formerly unseen. Its futuristic appearance offered hope in times of Art Deco and represented fun during the 1980s.
Jewelry lovers of the new millennium deserve to feel this same freedom and fascination. With so many ways to personalize domed rings, they have a chance at dominating the modern market.