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What makes a ring a "cocktail ring"?

Updated on July 21, 2010
Chic Pink Topaz Cocktail Ring
Chic Pink Topaz Cocktail Ring

What is the difference in a cocktail ring and any other ring?

Before answering this question, let’s take a look at what exactly, a cocktail ring is. A cocktail ring is an overly large ring that is mainly worn at cocktail parties. It became especially popular back in the nineteen forties and nineteen fifties. During this time, cocktail parties were illegal and a ring such as a cocktail ring suggested that not only was one drinking illegally, but she was doing it in style! Although, cocktail parties are less popular now, large cocktail rings are still very popular for dressy or formal occasions such as film premieres, Broadway productions, and award shows.

Victoria Beckham Inspired Cocktail Ring
Victoria Beckham Inspired Cocktail Ring

So, what makes a ring a "cocktail ring"?

Back in the nineteen forties and fifties, the trend was to use expensive stones in the rings such as diamonds. Today, most cocktail rings boast faux stones. It is far too difficult and expensive to obtain such large, precious stones, which is why costume jewelry is the way to go. A good costume ring is acceptable for most any occasion. One of the many reasons that faux stones are replacing the real ones in these popular rings is because it is less likely to be stolen. A ring with a fake stone that has been lost or stolen will not break the bank. Some reproductions of these precious stones are done so well, that an untrained eye would not be able to tell the difference in real and fake. The more expensive the ring, the more real it appears. Some of the more expensive costume cocktail rings will range from about two hundred dollars to five hundred dollars. These rings will often be made with real gold. Cocktail rings with real stones will range anywhere from ten thousand dollars to one hundred thousand dollars. These rings that are worn by the stars to red carpet events will cost millions of dollars.

Faux Emerald Cocktail Ring
Faux Emerald Cocktail Ring

The general rule of a cocktail ring is, the bigger the better

Even though real stones were used back in the forties and fifties, the center, larger stone was usually something less expensive like amethysts, garnets, peridot, and blue topaz. This method has been adopted today as well. Since the center stone on a cocktail ring needs to be about three carats, finding a less expensive stone will allow you to have a bigger ring. The general rule of a cocktail ring is, the bigger the better. It is supposed to catch someone’s eye and dazzle. It is also supposed to be overdone. This is where a cocktail ring and any other ring will differ. Rings such as a birthstone, engagement ring, wedding band, or just a decorative accessory do not always have to be big and dazzle everyone.

Black, Chunky, & Bejeweled!
Black, Chunky, & Bejeweled!

Wear It Right!

Another difference between cocktail rings and other rings is that the cocktail ring should not be worn on the ring finger on the left hand. This is untrue for engagement and wedding rings. The right hand, ring finger is often where one would wear a cocktail ring.

Cheap Or Expensive?

Which "type" of cocktail ring do your prefer?

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Cocktail Rings Come In All Shapes & Sizes.  Even As Dragons!
Cocktail Rings Come In All Shapes & Sizes. Even As Dragons!


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    • profile image


      3 years ago

      Cocktail parties were illegal between 1920 to 1933, not the for 40's and 50's.

    • profile image


      6 years ago


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