Cocktail rings, as we have come to know them, are essentially a large, statement-making rings, usually bright in color and bold in design. Materials range from precious to practical and are often made with an attention grabbing center stone (or cluster of stones), supported by a smattering of smaller gems and ornate setting. They are immediately festive in nature and though are really worn year round (day and night) they seem to make the most sense now, as the swirl of social events and holiday parties really begins to rev up. And the party vibe conjured up by cocktail rings makes perfect sense when given the origins of both the style and name.
The accessory initially surfaced during prohibition, when alcohol was banned, bootlegging was rampant and speakeasies were the only place to secretly imbibe. Women were frequent patrons of these gatherings (voting, smoking, flapper fashion and relatively more freedom in general was also occurring for females at the time) and wore opulent Art Deco rings to literally accessorize their Gin Rickey, Tom Collins or Whiskey Sour.
So while the gatherings were clandestine, the jewels were quite conspicuous, drawing further attention to a woman’s access to alcohol and in some cases lifestyle of excess, simply through a piece of fabulous statement jewelry.
As the holiday parties kick off, slipping on a cocktail ring still captures the spirit of celebration and togetherness and the clinking of that ring against a martini glass or tumbler are as synonymous with the season as the sound of silver bells and Santa’s sleigh.