The History of the Cocktail Ring

November 30, 2018

The History of the Cocktail Ring

Cocktail Ring. It's not a term that we use much anymore...nowadays we call them statement rings. And who doesn't love an incredible statement ring?

Today, statement rings come in a variety of shapes with a wide assortment of stones and pretty much any metal you can think of. But back in the day, when statement rings were known as cocktail rings, these rings had a certain look about them.

Originally, cocktail rings had large center stones and usually were accented with pavé diamonds. Big and bold was the name of the fact, the bigger the better!

Really any large statement-style ring could qualify as a cocktail ring now. And we love STATEMENT rings! They are a lot of fun and a super fashion statement as they can be worn on any finger except usually the left ring finger, which we all know is the special spot for engagement and wedding rings. But hey, if you want to wear one on that finger, we say, "Why not?" Everyone has their own unqiue style!

So, come with us for a few minutes and let's take a walk down memory lane together and learn where this fascinating term came from and why they are called "cocktail" rings. We bet you might have a few guesses where the term actually comes from...

The History of the Cocktail Ring

The history of the cocktail ring goes all the way back to the early 20th century during the time of Prohibition. Due to the banning of alcoholic drinks during this era, many people decided to get sneaky and hold illegal parties which featured, of all things, drinking!

Additionally, the early 20th century was a time of great change and freedom for women. Their freedoms increased on all fronts—from voting to fashion and everything in between. Stiff and formal dresses gave way to sensational and sometime scandalous flapper fashions including short hairstyles.

And the uber-stylized Art Deco style rose to prominence as well, creating some of the most beautiful and memorable jewelry ever. And one of the greatest freedoms, the right to vote, was put into effect by August 18, 1920, thereby changing women's lives and society forever.

As women's freedoms grew, so did their taste for smoking, spending, and drinking. But since drinking was illegal, it posed a challenge for those who wanted to do so. Many industrious and less scrupulous individuals—think Al Capone and his gangsters—decided to fill the void and create a robust and profitable business to meet the need of the demanding public: bootlegging!

Before the Roaring Twenties, women did not usually attend public bars—these places were reserved for men. But during the Roaring Twenties, this changed dramatically as women both went to and even managed these drinking places. These places became known as speakeasies. They were called this because it was known that if you were to speak of such a place, it should be done so quietly as to not arouse suspicion.

So, if you wanted some alcohol, you headed down to the local speakeasy and have yourself a mixed drink or cocktail. Having a cocktail was  a way of letting the world know you were a big player! Holding a fancy drink in your hands was a status symbol. But you also wanted to make sure everyone noticed your illegal beverage. Women decided to matters into their own hands (as well as illegal drinks!) and sported large rings to draw attention to their glass of illicit fun.  Hence the term "cocktail" ring was born!

The most valuable cocktail rings of the time sported large diamonds or other precious gemstones such as emeralds and sapphires set in platinum or gold and encircled by pave diamonds , but it wasn't limited to this. Other designs included abstract shapes and less expensive but equally colorful gemstones such as opal.

Today, due to the decreasing availability of large gemstones, cocktail or statement ring designers stretch their creativity with the use of other gems such as quartz, tourmaline, blue topaz or citrine.

On the other hand, technology has created greater possibilities in design styles and variations. Precious metals can pretty much be turned into any shape and form and set with micropavé colored gems. These small closely set stones have, in a sense, replaced that large singular stone but can still be equally as dramatic! Designers can also employ enameling techniques with these smaller set stones to create intricate designs of flowers or animals.

If you are a cocktail or statement ring lover, there has never been a better time to live...O.K. that might be a bit hyperbolic, but we believe it's true. Technology has created some incredible masterpieces out there. While some individuals may think the cocktail ring is over-the-top, this is the very thing that draws some individuals to these large rings.

If you are a cocktail ring lover, we picked out some very special sure to look through our site as we have a wide variety of all kinds of rings

A Few of Our Favorite Cocktail Rings

The History of the Cocktail Ring

The History of the Cocktail Ring



 The History of the Cocktail Ring

A History of the Cocktail Ring

The History of the Cocktail Ring

The History of the Cocktail Ring

We're honored that Mullen Bros. Jewelers ranks #1 in overall customer ratings among all jewelry stores in Southeastern Massachusetts and we will continue to take care of our neighbors and friends, one jewel at a time.

The History of the Cocktail Ring

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