The gothic style has been around for a long time, in fashion, architecture and jewelry. For those brides who want an off-beat totally non-traditional style, a gothic engagement ring can be the perfect choice. Dark, romantic, mysterious and stylish, these rings are a perfect blend of unique elements. Let’s take a look at why a seemingly dark and morbid style continues to inspire fashion today and how to find the perfect gothic engagement ring for the edgy bride.
- What Exactly Is a Gothic Style?
- What Is a Gothic Engagement Ring?
- Pros and Cons of Gothic Engagement Rings
- Gothic Engagement Ring Designs to Inspire You
- Gothic Engagement Ring Meaning and Symbolism
- Different Types of Gothic Fashion
- How the Gothic Style Emerged in History
- Are Gothic Engagement Rings in Style Today?
- Where to Find Gothic Engagement Rings
What Exactly Is a Gothic Style?
A gothic style is all about black, macabre motifs and a mysterious vibe. Often described as dark and antiquated, it reminds us of vampires, of Victorian mourning motifs, and of fashion sense inspired by early horror novels and films. Many of the style icons for goths are members of popular rock bands.
However, the gothic style is deeply rooted in a tradition of artistic expressions. It was originally expressed through arts and architecture, followed by literature and fashion. Gothic music and film are just the 20th and 21st century additions. However, there are different types of gothic styles, especially in fashion, which have been shaped by different influences from centuries ago.
What Is a Gothic Engagement Ring?
Perfect for an offbeat bride, a gothic engagement ring is deeply symbolic, featuring a mix of elegant, mysterious and macabre motifs. While there are many different ways to define gothic jewelry, all of them have a touch of dark romance. Here are the main elements of a gothic ring.
Victoria Black Diamond Ring by Iz and Co. Check price here.
Black is the foundation of the gothic style, making it the gem color of choice in engagement rings. Black diamond creates the look of mystery and darkness, but you can also opt for other black gemstones like onyx, spinel, tourmaline and obsidian. In some cultures, it’s the color of mourning, death, sadness, mystery and darkness, but it can also represent elegance and strength.
Some black gemstones are believed to have protective powers. To express your love and passion, you may go for red stones like rubies and garnets. Since red is the color of blood, it’s appealing for brides-to-be who want to add some vampire flair to their style. Some also favor blue sapphires, green emeralds and purple amethysts.
Coffin Cut Gemstones
Eternal Love Black Diamond Ring by Iz and Co. Check price here.
While choosing gemstone cuts is a personal preference, an unusual coffin shaped diamond is a bold choice. The coffin cut is quite uncommon, gaining its name from the unusual coffin-shaped step cut. From a perspective of a goth bride, it simply says, “Till death do us part.” For a less severe look, consider an emerald cut or even a cabochon cut stone.
Silver and White Gold Metal
The Margo Ring by Penelli Belle. Check price here.
Gothic jewelry revolves around so-called white metals, including silver, white gold and platinum. White metals are adored since they contrast with the traditional black clothing, and also bring out the intensity of colored gemstones, reminding us of stained-glass windows of the Gothic churches. More than that, it’s said that silver represents the moon, which is of great significance to those who have a vampire goth style.
Lotus Engagement Ring by Vidar Boutique. Check price here.
In modern gothic engagement rings, black metals are gaining popularity. Black gold, a gold alloy plated with black rhodium, is a luxurious option. It’s a little high maintenance, but it can be re-plated easily. Titanium, tungsten carbide and zirconium are great options too.
Victorian Repoussé Ring by Jewel Conscious. Check price here.
One of the most popular metalworking techniques of the Victorian era is the repoussé, which is done by hammering the metal on the reverse side to create designs. For a more romantic take on gothic style, you can also think of rings with intricate wirework designs known as cannetille. It’s actually a close relative of filigree work, which has a lacy, lightweight and delicate pattern.
Skull Flower Ring by Grace Alchemy. Check price here.
Some of the most popular motifs in gothic engagement rings are skulls and bones, but you might want to go for designs that don’t look costume-y. It’s an engagement ring, so make sure the elements will set it apart from a Halloween piece. Subtle decorations on the setting or on the band will let you express your style in a more elegant way.
Some gothic motifs are influenced by Victorian-era jewelry, such as serpents that were popular during the Romantic period. However, figural details like bats, dragons, swords, claws, cobwebs and flames get most of their inspiration from gothic vampire novels. Some ring designs also incorporate some of the motifs rooted in medieval legends.
Other Gothic Elements
Modern Gothic Ring by Black Box Jewelry Lab. Check price here.
If you want something more romantic, resort to floral and natural motifs. Lotus flowers and roses were popular during the Victorian era, but you can also think of crosses. Traditional gothic style rings feature spikes in the design, which reminds us of the punk scene of the ’70s and ’80s. Also, wizard-like elements are common like pentagrams, hieroglyphs, Celtic patterns, celestial designs, runes, as well as magical and esoteric symbols.
Pros and Cons of Gothic Engagement Rings
If you’re thinking about purchasing a gothic engagement ring, here are some of its pros and cons:
- A gothic engagement ring is full of symbolism. While it usually features macabre motifs, it also reflects one’s edgy, alternative outlook in life.
- There are countless gothic ring designs that suit your personal style, whether you’re into the romantic and elegant styles of Victorian goth, or the vampy appeal of vampire goth. There are also engagement rings that feature the playful, steampunk and futuristic side of the style.
- Gothic engagement rings make a bold statement with its edgy and non-traditional motifs. In fact, they’re perfect for those looking for something different.
- Gothic engagement rings aren’t traditionally carried by many jewelers, so you might need to look for jewelry stores that specialize in gothic pieces. Your options will be limited.
- Customized gothic rings aren’t common, and it can only be limited to stones and metal of choice, as gothic motifs are detailed and intricate.
- While gothic rings can be romantic, they also appear macabre and intimidating. A lot of people outside the goth culture wouldn’t likely understand the dark vibe and mystical symbolisms on the jewelry piece.
- Most gothic motifs are elaborate or even bulky, so you might want to consider how the engagement ring will look when worn with the wedding band.
Gothic Engagement Ring Designs to Inspire You
A gothic style is extremely diverse, but it’s a bold way to express someone’s intimate and personal story. We rounded up the most stunning gothic engagement ring designs you and your bride-to-be will love.
Solitaire Coffin Ring
Coffin Ring by Jewellery 4 Less. See it here.
Ideal for the bride who dreams of true love and romance, this six-sided engagement ring can symbolize your lifelong commitment. Edgy and vintage-likey, it features black spinel and is available in white gold, yellow gold and rose gold.
Skull Engagement Ring
Gold Skull Ring by Kipkalinka. See it here.
A skull motif is an unusual yet expressive way to symbolize your eternal love. This gothic engagement ring is comprised of red garnet and black diamonds, which signify that your love will last a lifetime. The skull designs have been carved by hand. Choose between 14k or 18k black gold.
Gothic Floral Ring
Lileve Ring by Sapphire Design Studio. See it here.
Sweet and playful, the design features roses, vines and entwined leaves, reminding us of the dark romance of a gothic novel. You can choose your stone from a range of gemstones – including black onyx , red garnet, white topaz and purple amethyst. It’s crafted from black sterling silver and decorated with natural white diamonds.
Elegant Sapphire Ring
Black Sapphire Ring by Tor Treasures. See it here.
Are you looking for a classic engagement ring style with a gothic twist? Edgy yet elegant, this gold ring features a black sapphire surrounded by diamonds, making it a great heirloom piece of jewelry.
Modern Coffin Style Ring
Coffin Cut Bridal Set by Sapphire Design Studio. See it here.
Who says gothic engagement rings hardly match a wedding band? Crafted from 10k gold, this bridal set combines the traditional with the unique. Apart from the coffin shaped black onyx, there are also alexandrite, moonstone, emerald and rose quartz options.
Celestial Goth Engagement Ring
Temple of the Harvest Moon by Swank Fine Jewelry. See it here.
Do you want to prove that your match was made in heaven? Set in 14k gold, this gothic engagement ring features rose cut garnet and black diamonds. The Triple Goddess design will remind both of you to trust in the power of love.
Bat-Themed Engagement Ring
Luxury Goth Ring by Cerrious Design. See it here.
Live a fantasy of beauty and adventure with this gothic engagement ring. Bats are a symbol of transition and the start of a new beginning. Crafted from gold, this ring will guide you throughout life’s many changes.
Futuristic Gothic Ring
Baguette Cut Diamond Ring by Art Masters. See it here.
Are you looking for something architectural, avant-garde and fashion-forward? Crafted from black and rose gold, this gothic ring is a work of art, evoking glamor and elegance.
Gothic Engagement Ring Meaning and Symbolism
There are many connotations of gothic, from darkness to mystery and death, but other themes like love and passion are also important. A gothic engagement ring is an unusual way to symbolize a couple’s eternal love and commitment.
For instance, the macabre motifs of skulls, bones and coffins are symbols of eternal love, as well as a unique way to say, “Till death do us part.” For some, it’s also a symbol of mortality, reminding them to live life to the fullest and stay faithful to their lifetime partner.
Black has many cultural associations, but a gothic engagement ring with black diamonds and ones made of black metal can also symbolize elegance and strength. Many of the gothic symbols are derived from various traditions, medieval legends, art and literature, so they’re unique and personal to the wearer.
Different Types of Gothic Fashion
If you’re choosing a gothic engagement ring, you would want to know which of the numerous styles under the Gothic umbrella suit your taste and personality.
Inspired by Victorian-era mourning clothes, this gothic style evokes both femininity and melancholy. After the death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria set the standard of wearing black head to toe. Think of long lace gowns and black crepe dresses that showed one’s state of grief. It started as a dress code suitable for mourning, but eventually became part of mainstream fashion.
Many associate this style with the so-called vampire fashion, as fictional character Morticia Addams of The Addams Family is the classic inspiration of the style. However, its theme revolves more around somber elegance than vampy motifs. Victorian-inspired rings are common, along with locket pendants, cameos and filigree elements. Sometimes, memento mori jewelry is worn with corsets and velvet ensembles.
This gothic style is similar to Victorian Goth, but it has a more expressive take on mimicking vampire-esque creatures. In fact, it takes inspiration from horror fiction, reminding us of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Some prefer the traditional Dracula chic, or even a mix of Victorian vampire and a modern clubgoer theme.
While a vampire ﬂair is evident in this gothic style, some mix the look with dark fairies and wizard-like elements. Jewelry designs commonly include macabre motifs like skulls, bones, crosses, coffins, magical symbolisms, as well as other attributes of vampire existence. The inspiration for this style of gothic fashion is often attributed to the wildly popular movie starring Johnny Depp – Edward Scissorhands.
Founded in Japan, this style blends dark goth, baby doll fashion and Victorian-inspired clothing. Within Japanese culture, the Lolita style itself is all about cuteness and elegance, making Alice in Wonderland one of the inspirations for the style. Think of poufy black dresses with white lace trim, as well as girly accents like bows and lace.
However, the playful and sweet style is juxtaposed with decorative elements and accessories inspired by horror and dark ﬁction. Sometimes, many associate it with the pastel goth, which is characterized by the use of pastel colors infused with macabre elements in jewelry like skeletons, bats, crosses, coffins, spikes and chains.
This gothic style borrows from the punk and rock scene of the ’70s and ’80s. English singer Siouxsie Sioux and English rock band The Cure are the common inspirations. Jewelry designs feature spikes and chains, which complement black leather clothing, fishnet stockings and Doc Marten boots.
A blend of gothic style and futuristic elements, the cybergoth fashion developed in Europe when DJs began mixing electronica and goth rock music styles. The typical gothic attire is blended with neon accents, faux military gear, industrial goggles, and industrial motifs in jewelry like chains, spikes and biohazard symbols.
This gothic style has been inspired by the steampunk, a retrofuturistic sci-fi theme of many historical fiction of the time with stories taking place in early 19th century America or even in Victorian England. Cyberpunk can also be a source of inspiration—think of William Gibson’s Neuromancer.
How the Gothic Style Emerged in History
The term gothic was derived from the name of a Germanic tribe known as the Goths, who invaded a portion of the Roman Empire around 238 A.D. These ancient barbarians left their mark across Europe, and the term became a reference to mourning, loss and destruction caused by these conquerors.
In the beginning of the Dark Ages, the Roman culture declined, and new art styles became popular, described by Italian painter Giorgio Vasari as Gothic. This style is focused on religious symbolism, darkness and superstitions.
Even if the term was first used as a derogatory reference to the perceived barbarians who destroyed the remnants of the Romanesque period, gothic soon came to describe a style of architecture that uses pointed arches, ornate structures and large windows, which are evident in cathedrals in Europe.
Eventually, the goth style made its way into various literary works. There were gothic novels such as The Castle of Oranto in 1764—that revolves around the themes of gloom and terror, mystery and suspense. Count Dracula was another popular gothic work of the time.
By 1861, the gothic style influenced the fashion scene too. The Victorian Cult of Mourning brought funerary attire into modern European fashion. The fashions worn by the characters in gothic novels were adopted by many young people, along with their gloomy, mystical outlook in life.
By the 1980s, several music bands were described as gothic rock with their melodramatic rock music. Eventually, the gothic theme became popular in runway shows, embraced my many designers and fashion labels including Christian Dior, Comme des Garçons, Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Marc Jacobs.
Nowadays, a gothic style borrows inspirations from a variety of sources, including some historical and modern elements. In fact, its influences remain strong, and is evident in music, fashion and jewelry designs.
Are Gothic Engagement Rings in Style Today?
Gothic styles go in and out of fashion—but it’s more than just a trend. Dark, enchanting and symbolic, gothic engagement rings are made for those who are less interested in traditional designs and want to express their love and personality in an unconventional way.
Many jewelry designers get inspirations from the Victorian era, gothic novels, fictional characters, and fashion trends to create stunning engagement rings. With their vast symbolism and creative designs, gothic engagement rings will never fail to amaze brides-to-be who like to stand out from the crowd.
Where to Find Gothic Engagement Rings
The gothic ring style isn’t for everyone and especially not for those who want a subtle, traditional look from their engagement ring. So, finding a gothic ring can be hard as your options are somewhat limited. If you’re having the ring custom made, you can always ask the designers to incorporate gothic elements into your ring.
If you’re buying a ready-made ring, we recommend searching on Etsy for a range of high-quality artisan designs. Amazon also carries a range of gothic rings, but as always, do your due diligence to make sure that what you’re buying fits your expectations.