Have you ever admired your mother’s jewelry box? Gone shopping with a cool aunt?
One of the hallmarks of discovering the world of accessories is a fascination with the jewelry styles that came before us. From a staple broach of your grandmother’s or a sleek engagement ring from your mother, both shape your taste.
What if we told you that you could incorporate inspiration from the past into your modern wardrobe? We’re just as enamored with trends of the old millennium as you are. Whether you’ve inherited pieces from a relative or you’re ready to start your own unique collection, we’ve got you covered.
Enter: the bombe ring. This classy and classic ring is just as innovative as it is traditional. The curved design stands out from the bunch, creating a large ring. It has a rich history, hailing from the Art Deco and Edwardian phases.
Allow us to take you through the ins and outs of this special piece of jewelry. You may even find your newest contender for an engagement or favorite going-out ring.
What Does “Bombe” Mean?
The word “bombe” comes from the French word “Bombée,” translating directly to “domed.” As we continue to delve into the history of this style, you’ll find much of it is related to French trends. French fashion trends have always had a notable impact on the rest of the world.
What really separates bombe rings from the pack is that they push their shape forward rather than their contents. A bombe ring without gemstone included can be just as show-stopping as one with a large diamond. It is loud and bold, perfect for those of you who like to make an entrance.
Setting the Scene: Cocktail Rings
You’re probably familiar with costume jewelry, especially if you resonated with those memories of scouring a grandma’s wardrobe from earlier. But what about cocktail jewelry?
Cocktail rings were popularized in the 1920s as a response to Prohibition, making them a daring symbol of protest. As speakeasies were carved out across the United States, women finally began to find their place in this type of socializing. Cocktails were the “drinks of choice” given to female patrons, and therefore their jewelry borrowed the name.
Just like cocktails, cocktail rings were fun and vibrant. They mimicked colors seen in the drinks: bright reds and oranges. These were the antithesis of demure Victorian style. While women who frequented speakeasies often came from money, their trends started to spread internationally and to different social classes.
Common gems in cocktail rings were emeralds, diamonds, and sapphires. Pave diamonds were common in the rings, too.
A Brief History of Cocktail Rings
It is important to look at cocktail rings as more than simply statement jewelry. They were a way for women to show off and be seen in a scandalous way. They beckoned bartenders to service and caught the attention of men. They were also a subtle way for women to assert dominance in the boy’s clubs of speakeasies.
This era of art occurred right before prohibition in the United States and is associated with the rule of King Edward VII. Edwardian era jewelry was known for opulence, luxury,
Bombe rings from the very early 20th century used filigree alongside their Art Deco counterparts. They were typically made in platinum.
You can tell you have an Edwardian-era bombe ring on your hands if it’s more subtle in color. Art Deco and even U.S. cocktail rings tended to be more bright and fun.
Remember that French connection we mentioned earlier? Here’s where it comes in. The Art Deco movement was simultaneously born in the 1920s, formally beginning in 1925. When the World’s Fair occurred in Paris, a boom of geometric and easily replicated art swept the globe.
One of the best examples of this work is the architecture of the Empire State Building. Symmetry is another big principle in this style, and everything made in the Art Deco period is usually to be consumed visually. It is not complicated or confusing, and this is what made it so popular.
Art Deco jewelry plays up the principles of symmetry and geometry. It is very stylized by line-work and fills up its canvas.
Bombe rings that are from the Art Deco period will usually incorporate etchings. They can also have diamonds in Asscher cut, cushion cut, calibre cut, and transitional cut. If you see a round brilliant cut diamond in a bombe ring advertised as Art Deco, there is a chance that it’s a replica.
The 1980s and Beyond
As you can imagine, bombe rings had a bit of a comeback in the 1980s. A decade that was all about neon and brash patterns was the apex of what bombe rings symbolize. As women began to take control over their social lives as well as work lives, like in the 1920s, they upped their jewelry collections again.
What matches blue eyeliner better than an unapologetic cocktail ring?
When To Wear a Bombe Ring
Bombe rings can be worn today by anyone, anywhere. That is the beauty of time — what truly makes an impact transcends the “fad” label and lives on. Whether you’re going out on the town or looking to accessorize for a Zoom meeting, you’ll undoubtedly make waves.
The best thing about bombe rings is that they have an incredibly wide variety. More of a vintage fan? Art Deco and Edwardian era rings are styles in rotation, believe it or not. Just make sure to ask for an authenticity slip before dropping a lot of money.
If you’re into a more 2022 look, that’s perfectly fine too. Bringing in new, exotic gemstones is a great way to modernize a bombe ring. It helps that we specialize in just that!
At Mark Henry Jewelry, we’re gemstone enthusiasts. This means that we aim to add to traditional ideas of jewelry by giving them a unique edge. Even our engagement rings come in a plethora of rare and precious gems.
One of our favorite diamond alternatives is alexandrite. This color-changing stone hails from Russia, but we source ours from a family-owned mine in Brazil. It is one of the most valuable supplies in the world and offers ravishing reds to exquisite greens depending on the lighting.
Another perk is that alexandrite is that it has exceptional clarity. This can add that extra eye-catching impact to your bombe ring.
Don’t know where to start? We actually have our own line of chunky jewelry, inspired by the shapes and style of bombe rings. One of the best pieces we offer is our Chunky Indicolite Ring, with a 3.00ct indicolite tourmaline at its center. Accompanied by the finest 18kt gold, it is reminiscent of those classic Edwardian era rings.
Now that you know where bombe rings come from and what makes them unique, it's time to find your own. Regardless if it's from a vintage collection or has a new millennium twist, it’ll be the talk of every party. Wearing a piece of history, directly or indirectly, can give you a boost of confidence. Continue the legacy yourself today.