While the 90s might seem to have more in common with the present day than with the decades that came before it, these years were a unique time of change and possibility. Technology gave people new access to celebrities, designers, and countless other sources of inspiration, helping to determine which clothing and jewelry styles became trends. In contrast to the bright colors and flashiness of the 60s, 70s, and 80s, the 90s were known for grunge and minimalist styles. A brief economic recession early in the decade may have been reflected in minimalist clothing and jewelry styles, but it was designers like DKNY and Calvin Klein that truly brought the minimalist look into the spotlight. The 90s also became known as the era of grunge — this was part of a larger desire to rebel against society and the status quo. Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and Pearl Jam were a few of the names that really established grunge as its own category of alternative rock, and there’s no doubt that these bands’ distinctive style powerfully influenced 90s fashion.
Even engagement rings in this decade followed similar trends: in the same way that grunge was all about rejecting the status quo, 90s engagement rings tended to defy tradition. The rise of the internet in this decade made custom engagement rings, adding more diversity than ever before. People could now draw inspiration from a huge variety of sources and were excited to no longer be limited by the options available at a local jeweler. Here are some of our favorite engagement ring trends from this era of unconventional style.
White Gold and Platinum
After the popularity of yellow gold in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, white gold and platinum bands completely took over in the 90s. Yellow gold probably seemed too flashy to fit in with the decade’s minimalist and grunge styles, neither of which were centered around bright color. In a scene that perfectly captured the decade’s distaste for this long-popular metal, Carrie Bradshaw of Sex and the City famously vomited when she found out that her boyfriend planned to propose to her with a yellow gold engagement ring!
Marquise Cut Diamonds
Bold cuts and distinctive shapes were incredibly popular in the 90s, but marquise cut diamonds in particular were the most sought-after for engagement rings. Unlike princess cut or round cut stones, the unique eye-like shape of a marquise diamond makes the wearer’s fingers appear longer and more slender. It also tends to make the diamond appear larger than its carat weight, causing this cut of diamond to be slightly more affordable than other ones. Channel some of the decade’s creative spirit as you play around with the length to width ratio that makes each marquise diamond unique.
While engagement rings with large center stones were on the rise in the 80s, their popularity increased even more in the 90s. Big stones can be both minimalist and bold at the same time: though many rings in this decade featured large and striking diamonds, they tended to be relatively simple in design. If affordable man made diamonds had been widely available, we would have seen over the top huge stones in all sorts of crazy colored options. Choose a solitaire style and showcase a single gorgeous diamond, or go for a three stone engagement ring that features triple the glam. With either of these options, an unembellished band is the way to go for a true 90s-inspired look.