Romanticism marked the beginning of the Victorian era. Romantic jewellery included rings which spelled out the words Regard or Dearest in coloured stones such as ruby, emerald, garnet, amethyst, diamond and topaz. Antique reproduction romantic rings are still popular today as love tokens.
The opening up of the diamond mines in South Africa in the 1870s meant that diamonds were suddenly more plentiful and affordable. Victorian half hoop rings containing diamonds became fashionable. In order to display the beauty of the diamonds and coloured stones, the rings were made with open backs and small setting edges. Half hoop rings were often given as engagement rings. The Victorian half hoop rings were so popular that they were still being made as antique reproduction rings well into the late 20th century.
Diamond rings were the preserve of the upper classes at the beginning of the reign of Queen Victoria. The scarcity of diamonds meant that prices were high. Early Victorian diamond rings used old cut diamonds with rose cut diamond points.
The snake or serpent symbol, representing eternity, has been used in jewellery since Roman times. The snake ring, set with diamonds, rubies or sapphires, became very popular in the 19th century.