The bigger and more flashy, the better when it comes to cocktail rings. This type of rings were originally bold dramatic jewels with large centre gemstones and pavé diamond accents. Today any “statement” ring is generally called a cocktail ring.
To love the concept of a cocktail ring, it is essential to understand its background.
The history of the cocktail ring goes back to the American prohibition era of the 1920s. It was time when alcoholic beverages were banned and this caused people to hold illegal cocktail parties.
The 1920s were a time of great social changes, especially for women who were fighting for freedom, the right to vote and equality. Women’s freedom was expressed in a new fashion which favoured short hair and shorter skirts, they enjoyed smoking and drinking. It’s not surprising that the glamorous Art Deco jewellery worn in that period reflected the new bold fashion as well.
“New Woman” of the Jazz Age would sip sumptuous cocktails at glamorous cocktail parties and exhibit their oversized gemstone rings which were signs of their wealth. Here is how these bold rings got their name.
In the 1920s, the most valuable cocktail rings featured bold designs with large diamonds and other precious gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and rubies set in gold or platinum and surrounded by pave diamonds. Usually, these large rings were worn on any finger except for the left ring finger which was reserved for engagement and wedding rings.
Nowadays, due to the decreasing availability and extremely high price of large gemstones, cocktail rings are limited in some ways. Instead of precious gemstones there are used other gems available in large sizes such as quartz, tourmaline, topaz, opal and other.
On the other hand, possibilities for cocktail rings have increased due to innovative techniques to create an endless variety of designs. This also means that large central gems are no longer necessary since small closely set gems (pavé setting) can create a bold and dramatic effect as well.
There has never been such a wide choice of cocktail rings as nowadays. Modern designs feature all the colours of rainbow and every style imaginable. It is a wonderful addition to a jewellery collection for those who like to make a bold statement.
Cover image credit: Ilene Joy