What is the history of the cocktail ring?
Cocktail rings first came on to the jewellery scene in the 1920s during the prohibition era when cocktails were invented to disguise alcohol consumption. Illegal cocktail parties were associated with fun, glamour and socialising. At this time, women were also fighting for more freedoms such as the right to vote.
Hairstyles got shorter – the “bob” haircut became fashionable and women expressed their new found freedoms by wearing glamorous, decadent outfits and frequenting bars. At this time, they also showed off their lavish cocktail rings as a symbol of their independence – that they could buy these expensive rings with their own money.
In the 1950s, cocktail rings became the standard accessory for women heading to parties and restaurants. During this age of consumerism when people started buying washing machines, houses and cars, the cocktail rings were popular as a status symbol.
What is a cocktail ring?
In the 1920s, the cocktail rings were predominantly made from platinum and featured big emeralds, rubies, diamonds, sapphires and aquamarines.
These days, anything goes in a cocktail ring. They are supposed to be flashy and opulent, evoke a sense of fun and feature a large central gemstone adorned with diamonds.
The very high prices for precious gemstones has led to more cocktail rings being made from semi-precious stones such as Topaz, morganite, opal. Cluster rings are also popular now whereby lots of diamonds are grouped together to give the illusion of a larger stone.
How do I wear a cocktail ring?
Traditionally, a cocktail ring should be worn on the right hand with the left hand being for engagement and wedding rings although these days, you can wear a cocktail ring any way that you want and even on multiple fingers if you so wish!
Could a cocktail ring also be an engagement ring?
More and more people seem to be moving towards non-traditional engagement rings. Some may find a cocktail ring a bit too big as an everyday ring and it may be hard to wear some of them with a wedding ring if it is not “wed-set” – e.g designed to wear with a wedding band.
The most important thing is to understand from your jeweller whether the gemstone is durable enough for everyday wear. Diamonds are the hardest gemstone and this is the main reason why they are an excellent choice engagement rings. Some of the softer gemstones such as opals can be very easily chipped if worn everyday.
What types of cocktail rings are available at Gatwards?
We have a large selection of cocktail rings at Gatwards in all types of gemstones. One of our favourite styles is the "Satellite" ring by British Designer, Andrew Geoghegan. He has long had a fascination with cocktail rings and we love the unusual design whereby one smaller gemstone is a satellite of the larger gemstone. Both are surrounded by a halo of diamonds. The satellite ring can be worn as a cocktail ring or an engagement ring. Pictured here in sapphire & diamond, the ring can be made in any combination of gemstones.