Whether you’re a jewelry enthusiast or simply curious about this iconic accessory, this post will provide you with all the information you need to know about cocktail rings.
In this article, we discuss the following:
- What is a cocktail ring?
- How to wear a cocktail ring?
- Cocktail ring history
What Are Cocktail Rings?
What is a cocktail ring? The statement ring, known as the cocktail ring to previous generations, is a piece of jewelry that celebrates 100 years of fascinating history. What makes this jewelry stand out is its typically enormous center gemstone mounted in a high setting, often accented by smaller stones, creating a dramatic halo effect. The result is a piece of jewelry that is hard not to notice.
Many cocktail rings were made with rubies, emeralds, and sapphires, but today’s eye-catching designs can feature any number of colored gems, cabochons, or pearls. With the abundance of semi-precious and lab-created gemstones today, it’s also possible to create show-stopping rings without breaking the bank. The options for how to wear these rings are virtually endless.
How To Wear A Cocktail Ring?
British Vogue recently encouraged readers to wear one on each finger, which Beyonce took to heart. She wore seven statement cocktail rings by New York-based jeweler Lorraine Schwartz and a little ruby stunner on her pinky finger. Beyonce liked her red carpet look so much that she paid 12 million dollars for the whole lot. Also, actress Zendaya recently rocked the Oscars red carpet with an 8-carat yellow diamond cocktail ring from Bulgari that she loved so much she decided to treat herself. Of course, Zendaya is Bulgari’s brand ambassador and received an employee discount.
While these are modern examples, the tradition of wearing statement rings dates back centuries. For example, a 17th-century painting, the wedding portrait of Isaac Masa and Beatrix van der Laan by Franz Halls, features a joyful bride wearing a ring prominently on her right index finger. At the time, it was believed that a vein led directly from the index finger to the heart.
Cocktail Ring History
So how did cocktail rings get their name? These flashy and flamboyant rings are linked to the prohibition era of the 1920s when alcohol was banned in the U.S., and speakeasies became dens for socializing and illicit drinking. The era was also a time of tremendous change for women, who had just won the right to vote and were increasingly working outside the home.
Clothing styles changed from restrictive corsets and long dresses to shorter hemlines and trousers. This new breed of woman in the U.S. and Europe also cut their hair into a bob, wore makeup, smoked, drank, and danced with abandon to jazz. Full-on rebels, women at these speakeasies were often known as flappers and enjoyed flaunting their new independence.
When they went underground to socialize, women would sport these oversized rings to draw attention to the fact that they were sipping illegal libations. Clearly not a wedding band and often bought with the women’s own money, the cocktail ring emerged.
Cocktail rings were often set in gold or platinum, and white gold was a less expensive alternative. Plus, the art deco and art nouveau periods added their flair to the already extravagant designs. The bigger, the better, and the more colorful, the more noticeable – the definition of statement jewelry.
While the 1920s marked the beginning of the cocktail ring, it gained widespread popularity in the 1950s and 60s as a standard dress-up accessory for women heading to a party, restaurant, or an evening at the theater. As middle-class wealth grew, a wave of home entertaining took hold, and the cocktail party was born.
During the 1950s and 1960s, cocktail rings enjoyed widespread popularity as a standard dress-up accessory for women heading to parties, restaurants, or evenings at the theater. The rise of middle-class wealth led to a wave of home entertaining and with it, the birth of the cocktail party.
Although the 1970s saw this jewelry staple briefly go out of fashion, the 1980s brought about big hair, big shoulder pads, and of course, big jewelry. It’s no surprise that cocktail rings made a comeback, this time being worn both day and night.
Since then, cocktail rings have become a staple jewelry item that will remain stylish for years to come. This is because they look great regardless of fashion trends, whether paired with jeans, a white shirt, a little black dress, or an evening gown. Ultimately, it all comes down to attitude, which cocktail rings exude effortlessly.
Conclusion On What Is A Cocktail Ring
Whether you’re searching for a fun vintage ring in your grandmother’s old jewelry box or treating yourself to a new one, perhaps even one for every finger, raise a glass to the 1920s flappers who gifted us with this glamorous jewelry box staple. Hope you enjoy this post on what is a cocktail ring.