What are the Cocktail Rings?

Cocktail rings have a fascinating history that originated during the Prohibition era of the 1920s. Women wore these bold and statement rings to add glamour to their outfits and show off their wealth during a time when alcohol was illegal, and people found creative ways to party. Today, cocktail rings continue to be a popular accessory, adding sophistication and elegance to any outfit.

However, wearing a cocktail ring requires some knowledge of the appropriate occasions to wear them. While they are perfect for formal events, wearing them to a casual gathering may appear overdressed. On the other hand, not wearing one to a formal event may leave you underdressed. With the right styling and knowledge of the occasion, you can confidently wear a cocktail ring and make a statement. In the following section, we will provide some tips on how to style cocktail rings for different occasions.

What is a cocktail ring?

Cocktail rings are not your average accessory. Worn on the middle or fourth finger of the right hand, these jewelry pieces captivate attention with their bold and intricate design. These are often embellished with an oversized center stone or several smaller stones, making a striking statement with their burst of color and sparkle. While some cocktail rings are adorned with genuine gemstones, others feature imitations that offer an affordable yet equally stunning option. 

Due to their large size, unique shape, and striking colors, these daring and flamboyant rings are typically reserved for special occasions and cocktail hours, and are not generally considered practical for everyday wear.

What is the historical background of cocktail rings?

The history of cocktail rings can be traced back to the 1920s when they were first worn at cocktail parties, from which they derived their name. These rings have become increasingly popular over time and are now frequently worn to fancy events or to add a touch of glam to a casual outfit. 

What makes cocktail rings stand out is their origin as the original statement pieces from the prohibition era, often worn at secret, illegal parties held across the country where women were beginning to assert their roles in society. During the Prohibition era (1920-1933), drinking was illegal, but some bars still served alcohol in secret. Women created a covert way of ordering drinks by raising their right hand and showing off a large gemstone ring to the bartender. This led to the creation of the “cocktail ring,” and also established the tradition of wearing large gemstone rings on the right hand. These rings were typically big and bold, featuring a central stone surrounded by smaller ones, with no limitations on construction or design. 


While their popularity peaked in the 1940s and 1950s, they declined in the 1960s with shifting attitudes and fashion trends. However, they made a comeback in the 1980s when their statement designs complemented the spandex, big hair, and gender-neutral themes of the era. Since then, cocktail rings have remained a popular accessory known for their oversized stones and striking designs that make a statement.

How to best wear cocktail rings?

If you’re thinking about donning a cocktail ring, there are several recommendations to keep in mind to flaunt this daring accessory. 

1. When wearing a cocktail ring, it’s best to wear it on your right hand if you’re concerned about it clashing with your engagement ring. This will give your bold accessory space to shine and keep it separate from other pieces.

2. Matching your cocktail ring to your outfit is entirely up to you. You can coordinate colors or clash them for a daring look.


3. Cocktail rings are no longer just for formal events. You can also wear them during the day to add interest to your outfit.

What type of metal is suitable for a cocktail ring?

To ensure a wise purchase of a cocktail ring, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of different metals. The following factors should be considered:

1. Metal color can significantly narrow down your choices. Trying on silver, rose gold, and yellow gold rings can help determine which tone complements your skin color best. For some, it may be evident which metal doesn’t work well.

2. Platinum is the most durable metal in the silver-toned family and is ideal for diamond cocktail rings if budget allows.

3. While gold is durable, it’s best to avoid 24ct gold as it is too soft for jewelry. Opt for 18ct gold, which is the best carat weight for durable cocktail rings. 9ct gold is a less expensive option but can be more brittle and susceptible to scratches and knocks over time.

4. Silver is a soft metal that tends to tarnish and lose its luster if not regularly maintained, making it less desirable for cocktail rings.

5. Vermeil or gold-plated cocktail rings should only be worn infrequently as the plating wears off over time, leaving the base metal exposed. It’s advisable to stick to pure metals such as gold, platinum, brass, or bronze as they retain their color.


What are some considerations when buying a cocktail ring?

When purchasing a cocktail ring, it is important to consider a few things in addition to the type of metal.

1. When buying a cocktail ring, ensure that the stones are secure and that the ring is well-constructed. Avoid low-quality metals and alloys that may cause allergic reactions.

2. If you’re interested in vintage rings, purchase them from an expert and take extra care when wearing and cleaning them.

3. The type of stone used in the ring is an important consideration. A synthetic or simulated stone may have better clarity than a genuine stone with visible flaws.

4. When selecting a cocktail ring design, opt for something that is both statement-making yet subtle, with neutral-toned stones that can be worn with a variety of outfits.

5. Inspect the prongs holding the gemstones to ensure that they are secure without being too thin or bent out of place.


Cocktail rings are a great way to make a statement and add some personality to your outfit. These rings are meant to be bold and eye-catching, so don’t be afraid to choose a ring that stands out. It’s important to consider the occasion and dress code when selecting a cocktail ring. For formal events, a sophisticated and classic design may be more appropriate, while a more daring and colorful ring may work well for casual events. Mixing and matching cocktail rings with other jewelry pieces can create a unique and stylish look. Take care of your ring by avoiding activities that may damage it and regularly cleaning and storing it to maintain its shine and beauty. Remember to have fun with your cocktail ring and let it be a reflection of your personality and style.