Cocktail Rings - A Fashion Revival

Bold, dramatic and certainly eye-catching, cocktail rings are seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Everything Old Is New Again

As a child, you may have taken a peek into Mom’s jewelry box and ooohed and aaahed over some big fancy rings set with glistening gemstones. These weren’t Mom’s everyday wedding rings – these were styles she took out for those special occasions – parties, galas, and the important holidays. Mom referred to these as her ‘cocktail rings” – and they are back, bigger and better than ever.

A Rebellious Background

The cocktail ring came into vogue during the Prohibition Era in the 1920s. It was also during this time that American women gained more freedom – including the right to vote. They entered the workforce and began to hold positions of some power. Most importantly, they were finally able to earn their own money. Women embraced this freedom and began to make changes to their outward appearance – cutting their hair, wearing shorter dresses, and making jewelry purchases for themselves. A ring with a large, eye-catching stone became de rigueur for the single, working woman. These rings made the bold statement that they didn’t need to rely on a man for their happiness or success. They were worn on the right hand as a symbol of rebellion, and eventually, these rings became status symbols.

Of course, during Prohibition, drinking was banned. There was no meeting up with the ladies for a glass of wine. However, local speakeasies and underground clubs became the place to be and be seen. These clubs may have been run by the shadier types in society, but people from all walks of life came to drink, dance and have a good time. Women dared to enter these clubs alone, flaunting their independence, drinking cocktails and wearing their newly self-acquired finery. They usually donned their best and most glamorous garments and jewelry, including oversized gemstone rings, which were considered the ultimate accessory in this excessive time.

During this period, the most valuable cocktail rings features large, sparkling diamonds or oversized gemstones, including rubies, emeralds and sapphires. They were commonly set in platinum and accented with smaller diamonds or other gemstones. Uniquely-shaped gemstones, including oval- and emerald-cut stones, came into fashion, hailing the Art-Deco period.

From Then To Now

Since their introduction in the 1920s, cocktail rings have gone in and out of popularity. They experienced a resurgence in the 50s and then again in the late 70s and early 80s, when big, bold accessories were all the rage.

Now days, cocktail rings are seen practically everywhere – from the red carpet and fashion runways to the business office. Women everywhere are embracing the trend once again, purchasing an extravagant look for themselves. There’s never NOT a good time to wear a cocktail ring!

Know What To Look For Before Buying

When it comes to cocktail rings, the bigger and more eye-catching it is, the better!  Here are a few things to think about before you buy:

  • Make sure you purchase your ring from a reputable jeweler. A cocktail ring can be considered an investment piece. Choose a ring with high quality diamonds and gemstones that will last for generations.
  • Purchase a ring made with a precious metal. Whether you choose basic sterling silver, colorful gold or prestigious platinum, the better the metal, the better the ring will wear – not to mention, a precious metal ring will hold its value better.
  • Look for secure stones. Typically, a cocktail ring has multiple stones. Look for secure prongs, including corner prongs on square-cut stones. Bezel settings should completely surround the stone, and any channel-set stones should not move. You shouldn’t hear any shaking or feel any looseness when you wear the ring.
  • Remember to have your cocktail ring inspected and cleaned at least semi-annually, or as instructed in your warranty documents.

A cocktail ring displays your remarkable and unique personality. Wear yours with pride and show off your smile!  You can find a great variety of cocktail rings online at or by visiting your local Zales Jewelers retail store.

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