Blog DYL4 Sapphire Cocktail Ring Artistic

What’s a cocktail ring?

Cocktail rings are one of the most sought-after types of jewelry for real jewelry lovers. They’re stylish, sometimes dramatic, great conversation starters, and packed with historical context. The question, of course, is what is a cocktail ring?

Read on to find out.

History of cocktail rings

Blog DYL4 sapphire cocktail ring ArtisticA beautiful sapphire cocktail ring from our collection. Find out more about this ring.

Cocktail rings are a little out of place in the jewelry world. Indeed they were the original bling. They originated during the prohibition era at the many secret (and illegal) parties that were held in cities across the country.

Women began to see changes in their own roles both in the household and in society, and so the cocktail ring became something of an “arrival” statement for many.

In general, the people who attended anti-prohibition parties were well connected and wealthier than most of the others. This meant that cocktail rings were large, bold, and brass-colored, with a huge stone in the center and other smaller stones with a halo. There was no regulations on construction, design or the colors used and basically everything went.

The popularity of cocktail rings peaked in the 40s and 50s (see our vintage cocktail rings) but declined sharply as attitudes and fashion changed dramatically in the 60s. Back in the 80s with all of their spandex, big hair and gender neutral motifs, cocktail rings came back in a big way, and they have has been very popular ever since.

Which hand wears a cocktail ring?

Aspen aquamarine cocktail ring on the fingerAn aquamarine cocktail ring with a sapphire and diamond wreath. Find out more about the aspen ring.

Cocktail rings were – and are – mostly worn on the right hand to create even more separation from engagement, wedding, eternity or other more personal rings. They are intended for special occasions where the elaborate and exuberant becomes normal for the evening and is by no means an everyday ring.

Another consideration when wearing a cocktail ring is accompanying clothing. Some people try to pair their cocktail rings with the earrings or clothes they wear.

An increasingly popular trend is wearing the cocktail ring on the index finger of the right hand.

There are some collectors who never wear their cocktail rings, but keep them in showcases and display them. As mentioned earlier, there are no real rules for cocktail rings.

What is a cocktail ring?

Emerald Gemstone Cocktail RingA stunning emerald cocktail ring from our collection. Find out more about this ring.

A cocktail ring is a gemstone ring traditionally worn at dinner parties and usually features a distinctive gemstone in the center.

Although cocktail rings have always included diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and more, the desire for less expensive cocktail rings has always been there for those not fortunate enough to spend thousands of dollars on a single, casual ring. For this reason there have been cocktail rings made of colored glass or other cheaper materials for decades.

Often seen on TV shows that someone appreciates an expensive ring only to find out that it is actually a “costume”. In this case, paste is actually a type of lead glass that is very dense. Because of its density, it has a high index of refraction that simulates the effect of a real gemstone.

Costume cocktail rings can still reach thousands of dollars. It’s not always something that can be bought for loose change.

Apart from that, fine cocktail rings are a feast for the eyes. Designers can exercise a little more freedom with the materials and styles used and thus ensure exciting color and shape combinations. The lack of formal requirements allows subtlety and understatement to be left to other occasions. That doesn’t mean the rings are gaudy or tasteless, on the contrary, it just means that they are a little harder to miss!

What is not a cocktail ring?

Vintage diamond engagement ring with an old European cut diamond in the centerA diamond ring from our collection of vintage engagement rings

As mentioned above, there are no real rules when it comes to cocktail rings. Hence, it is very difficult to list what is called a cocktail ring. It is much easier to list what is not a cocktail ring.

  • If the ring has no stones but is made of metal it is very unlikely to be called a cocktail ring. Of course, if the metal design is dramatic or large enough it can still be an option.
  • Solitaire rings that have only one diamond in the center are known as engagement rings and are not cocktail rings.
  • If the center stone (or combinations of smaller stones) doesn’t take up enough space on your finger, it’s usually not called a cocktail ring. This is not a final rule, just general terminology.

Before buying a cocktail ring

Close up of the rare Georgian cocktail ringRare Georgian cocktail ring from our collection. Find out more about this ring.

Buying a cocktail ring can be a big decision. Here are a few thoughts and cautions to be aware of before purchasing a cocktail ring:

  • Make sure you only go to a. to buy serious seller. There are many costume rings (with synthetic or man-made stones) that look very similar to their very expensive counterparts. Make sure you only buy a cocktail ring from someone who is honest and also an expert who knows the difference between the two.
  • Many gold cocktail rings have a very low gold content and a high nickel content and other alloys. Make sure you are not allergic to nickel before purchasing the low gold ring. (You don’t have to worry about that if the ring is made of platinum)
  • A suitable occasion. Although, as mentioned, there are no rules for cocktail rings, we encourage you to think of an event where you can imagine wearing every single cocktail ring.
  • Make sure everyone Stones are safe. Cocktail rings usually have a lot of stones. Make sure to shake the ring next to your ear and watch out for loose stones. Toasting is very common with cocktail rings because they are much larger and bulkier than engagement rings. If the stones are not safe, they will fall out.
  • When buying a vintage cocktail ring, make sure that your seller is an expert on vintage jewelry.

Buy cocktail rings

Here are some of the rare vintage cocktail rings from our collection. To view the entire collection, click here.

Last thought

Peridot cocktail ring with double halo Artistic 13147A beautiful peridot cocktail ring surrounded by a double halo. Find out more about this ring.

One unusual aspect of cocktail rings is that there is no limit to wearing just one. If your wallet and hand can take it, you could even have one on each finger.

Collecting vintage cocktail rings is a fantastic idea, but only for serious collectors and those who can properly care for them.

Mixing and matching colors, styles, and sizes is a lot of fun. Make sure to push the boundaries of your usual limits a little and indulge in these beauties of the jewelry world.

Contact us

Are you looking for a specific cocktail ring? Don’t hesitate to send us a message and one of our jewelry experts will get back to you as soon as possible.

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