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  • Writer's pictureValerieBound

Halo Rings: Now & Then

This month, we're focusing on rings. YAY! And today's topic is halo rings. Some of you may wonder what halo rings are. Basically, the ring has a big center gemstone surrounded by smaller stones, encircling it like a halo. A lot of times, the stones making up the halo are diamonds, but that’s not always the case.

Assortment of modern halo rings
An assortment of modern halo rings

Halo rings have been super popular for a while now, but like a lot of jewelry, they go in and out of fashion. Halos right now are especially popular as engagement rings. There are several celebrities who have some pretty amazing rocks!

Celebrity halo rings

Lady Gaga, recently engaged to Christian Carino, has an absolutely stunning pink sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Never heard of this guy before, but I like him already if he picked out that ring!

Lady Gaga’s halo engagement ring
Lady Gaga’s halo engagement ring

A lot of times, halo rings are engagement rings. It’s pretty common to have a center diamond surrounded by little diamonds. It has the added bonus of creating an optical illusion, making your center stone look bigger. What could be wrong with that?!

The most famous engagement ring of all is probably Duchess Kate’s. And it’s a halo. As I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, the ring was originally Princess Diana’s. It’s a 12-carat oval sapphire, with 14 diamonds surrounding it, and set in 18-karat white gold. I guess at the time, it was somewhat controversial – not because it was a sapphire, but because anyone could buy it out of the company’s catalog (from Garrard, the crown jeweler at the time). You know royalty! They like their things to be custom-made, otherwise any commoner could buy what they have! And then what’s really separating them from regular folks?

Kate with her exquisite ring in 2015 (image courtesy of Max Mumby, Getty Images)
Kate with her exquisite ring

Besides Kate and Lady Gaga, there are some other awesome halos out there! Penelope Cruz sports one with a center sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Olivia Wilde has a unique one. Her center stone is a diamond, but the halo is made up of (I’m guessing) emeralds. Carrie Underwood has a stunning canary yellow diamond. And then we have Princess Eugenie. She has a beautiful sapphire too, but that pinky-orange color makes it a padparadscha, one of the rarest colors in the world. Ah, to be royal…..

Fabulous celebrity halo rings – from top to bottom: Penelope Cruz, Olivia Wilde, Carrie Underwood, and Princess Eugenie
Fabulous celebrity halo rings – from top to bottom: Penelope Cruz, Olivia Wilde, Carrie Underwood, and Princess Eugenie

Historical halos

Halo rings have been around since at least the 1700’s. The main difference between those rings and the ones today were that the stones making up the halo were as large as the center stone.

Halo rings
On the left, an antique halo ring from the Victorian Era. On the right, modern interpretations by Sofia Kaman

The early 1900’s are referred to as the Edwardian era (from the English King, Edward VII). The halo rings of this era are some of my favorite. Beautiful and simple, with a variety of center stones.

Halo rings from the Edwardian era
Examples of halo rings from the Edwardian era (all images courtesy of Lang Antiques)

The Art Deco period was one where the halo design became most like what we see today. The 1920’s was all about diamonds, platinum, and geometric designs. Here was where the diamond center with diamond halo became incredibly popular. You also had some cool design elements, like milgrain, accent stones, and filigree.

Art Deco halo rings
Art Deco halo rings

Trendy halos

Halos, like most jewelry, went underground during the Great Depression. During the 1930’s and ’40s, jewelry was all about Hollywood glamour, and halo rings, large and luxurious, came into fashion once again. They stuck around through the 60’s, but weren’t really around in the 1970’s, 80’s, and ‘90’s.

Whenever people crave vintage or antique items, halos come around again. My opinion is that this motif is a classic style.

What about you? Are you a fan of the halo ring? Do you have any in your collection? Tell me!

This post has been edited and updated since it was originally published on October 18, 2018.


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