As with cocktail dresses, cocktail rings first appeared in the USA in the 20s of the 20th century at the time of the ‘Prohibition’ when sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages were banned, but under-the-counter relaxed parties where the prohibited drinks were sold, bought, and drunk in the company of regular customers were thriving.
The main aim of the cocktail dress was quite prosaic. It became popular not because of its flirty sexiness, but because it was much simpler to run away from illegal places in case of a police raid, rather than in long evening dresses.
To make themselves look more impressive ladies started to choose bigger and much catchier jewellery to the eye. That is how it became fashionable to wear golden rings with big shiny precious or semiprecious stones. Sapphires, emeralds, rubies, amethysts, and topazes made the outfits seem richer, added style and class. Cocktail rings also sent a message about their wearers; they attracted attention and basically screamed about the status of the owner and her belonging to the rebellious circles.
Nowadays cocktail rings are even more varied than in the last century. They can be golden or silver, or made out of not so precious metals. The place of the precious stone can be easily taken by a faceted piece of glass. The most important characteristics of an ideal cocktail ring are shininess, originality (the quirkier, the better), large size (the pieces cover half of the finger, if not more), and the quality of the jeweller’s work. Pieces that are somewhat vintage have very popular and still classic looks. Eastern themes are very welcome, and rings in the shapes of flowers, insects, birds, and animals look very good too. Cocktail rings made from precious metals need not be so large, but their unusual design distinguishes them from ordinary rings.
How to wear cocktail rings and with what
✦ Cocktail rings are usually worn on the right hand, traditionally on the ring finger. It’s strongly recommended not to wear such dramatic pieces with other rings.
✦ It’s easy to overaccessorise if you have already put on a cocktail ring. Earrings and bracelet (not on the same hand as the ring) in this ensemble should look as simple as possible. It’s best to stay away from a large pendant or a gaudy necklace. Do not use brooches.
✦ Simplicity must be in the manicure too. The best choice are nude tones and mid to short length of nails in a natural shape. The classic French manicure is acceptable, however the use of crystals or even pale lace prints on the nails will be a tasteless move.
✦ Cocktail rings are festive and formal, usually worn for night outings. However, if you are an adventurous person who likes to be the centre of attention, then it’s suitable to use them in everyday life.
✦ A cocktail ring must be the main accent of an outfit. It will go not only with a dress or a fancy skirt (on a side note, it’s also very good to choose a contrasting combination of the colour of your clothing and the main colour of the ring), but also with a stylish trouser suit or a romper.
✦ Taboo - tees and jeans. With them a cocktail ring will look like you stole it from your grandmother’s jewellery box. Cocktail dresses are worn with everyday outfits in boho style, though this makes them look very simple, especially if a lot of accessories and jewellery is used.
✦ A foolproof choice - a bright cocktail ring and black clothing. It’s best to avoid prints and complicated flower patterns, and be extremely careful with sparkly pieces in such outfits.
✦ A cocktail ring brings a very positive celebratory vibe. It’s a symbol of a beautiful life and enjoyment. The most important thing that must go with it is you. Don’t neglect makeup and hair style. A smile and shining eyes are a must.