The History of the Cocktail Ring
The origin of the cocktail or dress ring is described in the dictionary as an eye-catching oversized ring, that features a large centre gem.
These lovely statement pieces became popular in the 1920s when women became more independent. Fighting for change in the right to vote and more equal roles in the home and society, women were beginning to rebel. The restricting fashions of the Victorians were now being replaced with clothes considered scandalous at the time with shorter hemlines, adorned with fringes feathers and long beaded necklaces. Hairstyles became much shorter and less fussy cut to the nap of the neck, so these large exuberant rings fitted in well with the rebellious nature of the era.
Whilst they were often made for the upper classes with priceless gems Diamonds Sapphires Emeralds and the larger the better, a symbol of wealth and opulence. These rings would often have a large centre stone surrounded by a collection of smaller ones. This was also a time when the artists of the Art Deco movement were creating jewellery in fabulous designs using less expensive stones as well, like opals and citrine. This meant these often bold and extravagant-looking rings were also affordable for the middle class.
Cocktail rings were a perfect expression of Art Deco design, and they quickly became a must-have accessory for stylish women of the era.
In addition to being a fashion statement, cocktail rings also served a practical purpose. During the Prohibition era, when alcohol was illegal in the United States, cocktail rings were often used to signal to bartenders that a woman was drinking an alcoholic beverage. This was because cocktail rings were typically worn on the right hand, while wedding and engagement rings were worn on the left hand. Wearing a cocktail ring on her right hand, a woman could discreetly tell the bartender that she was not interested in non-alcoholic drinks.
Cocktail Rings Today
Today anything goes when it comes to cocktail rings, some still have the large stone in the middle but modern designers are looking for unique and contemporary styles that stand out from the crowd. Whilst still worn on the right hand some women choose to wear them on the index finger instead of the middle or fourth. Adding sophistication and fun at the same time, an expression of your personality of accessorizing, completing an outfit, or just because. Nothing has more meaning than a ring
Ultimately, the meaning of a ring is unique to the individual wearer. For some, a ring may have a very personal meaning, while for others it may simply be a piece of jewellery.