Being someone from a non-English speaking background, I am always extra curious about the origins of words and what they mean. As such I was determined to find out where the cocktail ring got its name and what set it apart from other rings.
Does the cocktail ring have any connection to cocktails?
Why yes, yes it does. It's actually intrinsically connected to the invention of the cocktail. You see, it all started during 1920s prohibition era in the US when alcoholic beverages were banned which resulted in people holding illegal drinking parties where they would serve cocktails.
During this time, only strong-tasting and low-quality alcohol was readily available which led to people mixing spirits with non-alcoholic beverages to render them more palatable. This is essentially how and why cocktails were invented, in fact some of the cocktails born in this era include the Gin Rickey, the Tom Collins, the Whiskey Sour and the Sidecar.
How does this relate to the cocktail ring?
Young women would often attend these clandestine cocktail parties dressed in their most glamorous outfits and dripping in jewels. Interestingly, the single women of this era who were enjoying some of their new found independence i.e. they had just entered the workforce and were earning their own money - started wearing oversized gemstone rings as a status symbol.
Worn on the right hand, the cocktail ring sent the message to the world that the wearer had purchased this incredible ring with her own money. It also meant that you didn’t have to be engaged, married or have a man buy you a ring because historically, gemstone rings for women were only ever associated with engagements or weddings.
What makes a cocktail ring different to other rings?
Historically, cocktail rings were dramatic rings that had large centre stones and were accented with diamonds. However, nowadays any "statement" or larger gemstone ring is generally classified as a cocktail ring.
These large rings are usually worn on any finger except for the left ring finger, which is still reserved for engagement or wedding rings.
So is a cocktail ring a fun accessory or feminist statement?
We like to think that it's a little bit of both. While some jewellery lovers may consider the cocktail ring as a little ostentatious or just for special occasions, others enjoy this as that's the whole point of cocktail rings. In fact, the bigger and bolder, the better. You know what they say - more is more and less is a bore.
Plus the need or desire to make the original social statement does still exist today. Some of us are still singing the iconic Destiny’s Child lyrics - “the rock I’m rocking, I bought it."
Regardless of your motivations, there has never been such a wide variety of cocktail rings available, encompassing gemstones of all the colours of the rainbow. For example our Zart Chicago ring comes in eight different gemstones and the choice of Silver or Gold Plated silver and have you seen the stunning Olympia ring?
For jewellery fans who like to make bold statements, a cocktail ring is a wonderful addition to any collection!