What is a Cocktail Ring? Meaning and How to Wear

In 2023, style trends are big and bold, with big arm cuffs, statement earrings, and chunky cocktail rings. We are all in on these jewelry trends and love that cocktail rings are on the list. But what is a cocktail ring, and how do you style it in a modern and chic way? We’ll highlight what you need to know about cocktail rings and how to wear them.

What is a Cocktail Ring?

A cocktail ring is a bold and eye-catching ring, typically featuring a large and vibrant gemstone as the centerpiece. This ring style originated during the Prohibition era in the 1920s when cocktail parties were in vogue. 

The purpose of a cocktail ring is to make a bold statement and add some bling to an ensemble. Cocktail rings often have intricate designs, extravagant settings, and an array of colorful gemstones. Mainly worn on special occasions, cocktail rings are a great conversation starter and a symbol of elegance, confidence, and individuality.

Why Do People Wear Cocktail Rings?

People wear cocktail rings for various reasons, including:

  • Statement Piece: Cocktail rings are bold and attract attention, serving as a statement ring that draws people in.
  • Style Trends: Cocktail rings are full of glam, giving your look elegance and individuality. This year, we are seeing cocktail rings all over the runway
  • Special Occasions: Cocktail rings are often worn during special occasions so you can amp up your overall look and make a sophisticated statement.
  • Confidence and Empowerment: Because cocktail rings are bigger and bold, wearing a cocktail ring can boost confidence and convey a sense of sophistication, luxury, and self-assurance.
  • Sentimental Value: Cocktail rings are often sentimental, passed down through generations, or gifted to commemorate special milestones. Cocktail rings are often cherished heirlooms and symbols of love or accomplishment.

Looking for statement jewelry that reflects your personality? Shop our trendy new arrivals of statement jewelry.



20s cocktail party


History of the Cocktail Ring

The history of the cocktail ring dates back to the 1920s, known as the Roaring Twenties. It was an era of prohibition when the consumption of alcoholic beverages was banned but covertly enjoyed at glamorous secret cocktail parties.

As women began asserting their independence and breaking societal norms in the 20s, they wanted to wear jewelry that stood out in dimly lit rooms at cocktail parties. Thus, the cocktail ring was born. They represented women’s newfound freedom and self-expression during the post-war period. 

The ring got its name because women often wore them while sipping cocktails at these parties. These rings were designed to be attention-grabbing, with large gemstones, vibrant colors, and intricate settings. 

The iconic Art Deco style heavily influenced cocktail ring designs, featuring geometric patterns, filigree work, and the use of precious materials like diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.

Cocktail rings symbolize wealth, sophistication, and rebellion against traditional norms. 

The popularity of cocktail rings continued into the 1950s when Hollywood celebrities and socialites embraced the trend. Designers like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Tiffany & Co. created exquisite cocktail ring designs, cementing their status as sophisticated fashion accessories.

Today, cocktail rings remain an iconic statement ring that’s always in fashion. While they have evolved with changing trends, their essence as statement pieces have endured. Modern cocktail rings often feature different gemstones, unique shapes, and innovative designs.

Key Characteristics of a Modern Cocktail Ring

Modern cocktail rings exhibit several key characteristics that set them apart from other ring styles. Here are some notable features of modern cocktail rings:

  • Bold and Eye-Catching Design: Modern cocktail rings are known for large and striking gemstones or unique arrangements of smaller stones. The overall design of the ring is meant to create a focal point on the hand.
  • Unconventional Shapes and Structures: Modern cocktail rings often explore unconventional shapes and structures, deviating from traditional round or oval designs. Geometric shapes, asymmetry, and abstract forms are common.
  • Mixed Metals: Contemporary cocktail rings frequently incorporate mixed metals, combining different tones such as rose gold, white gold, or platinum. Additionally, they may incorporate alternative materials like ceramic, titanium, or carbon fiber.
  • Colorful Gemstones: While diamonds are a favorite in cocktail rings, modern designs often showcase a wide array of colorful gemstones, from vibrant sapphires and rubies to unusual choices like tourmalines or tanzanites.
  • Minimalist or Avant-Garde Aesthetics: Modern cocktail rings can be created in various styles, from minimalist designs with clean lines and simplicity to avant-garde creations with elaborate details. 
  • Versatility: Unlike their historic roots of being primarily worn at cocktail parties, modern cocktail rings are designed for everyday wear. They are crafted with durability in mind and can seamlessly transition from casual to formal occasions.

Love following jewelry trends? Shop our best-selling rings to stack altogether or wear separately.


Styling Rules: How to Wear a Cocktail Ring

When it comes to styling a cocktail ring, there are no hard and fast rules. Personal style and preference play a big part. However, we recommend following these general guidelines when wearing a cocktail ring:

  • Since cocktail rings are meant to make a statement, allow the ring to be the focal point of your hand and outfit. Avoid wearing multiple bold rings on the same hand to avoid overwhelming the look.
  • Traditionally, the ring or index finger is the preferred choice for wearing a cocktail ring. However, feel free to experiment and wear it on any finger that feels comfortable and looks aesthetically pleasing.
  • Keep in mind the cocktail ring’s size and shape in relation to your hand size and finger length. If you have small hands, you may want a slightly smaller ring to maintain balance. Conversely, you can go for a more substantial ring if you have larger hands.
  • Consider the occasion and the overall outfit when selecting a cocktail ring. For formal events, choose a more elegant and sophisticated design that complements your attire. For casual or everyday wear, you can opt for a versatile and playful style.
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment and mix your cocktail ring with other rings or jewelry pieces. Stacking delicate rings or wearing complementary statement pieces on other fingers can create an interesting focal point.
  • When wearing a bold cocktail ring, keep other accessories, such as bracelets or earrings, to a minimum. Keep other jewelry delicate, or choose pieces that complement and enhance the overall look rather than overpowering it.
  • Cocktail rings will draw attention to your hands, so pay attention to your nail care. Clean and well-manicured nails are a must when wearing a statement ring.

Which Metal is Best for Cocktail Rings?

When it comes to picking a jewelry metal for cocktail rings, this is a personal preference and depends on the desired aesthetic you are looking to achieve. Cocktail rings come in almost every metal.  

Platinum and white gold are popular choices because they enhance the brilliance of gemstones and scream luxury. Yellow gold offers a classic and warm appeal, while rose gold evokes romance and modernity.

You can also find silver and stainless steel cocktail rings, which are more budget-friendly options. You’ll want to consider durability, skin tone compatibility, and the desired overall look to determine the best metal for your cocktail ring.

Looking for what’s trending in jewelry? Shop our new arrivals of the latest in women’s jewelry.


Buyer’s Guide Tips: How to Shop for a Cocktail Ring

When shopping for a cocktail ring, you’ll want to consider the following to ensure you find the perfect ring:

  • Budget: Determine your budget range before you start shopping. This will help you narrow down your ring options.
  • Gemstone: Decide on a gemstone. Popular choices include diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Consider color, clarity, cut, and carat weight to find the gemstone that appeals to you.
  • Metal: Determine the metal type you prefer for the ring band, such as platinum, gold (yellow, white, or rose), silver, or alternative metals like titanium or stainless steel. 
  • Ring Style: Consider the style and design that suits your taste and occasion. Explore various options such as solitaire rings, cluster designs, vintage-inspired styles, or contemporary and abstract designs. 
  • Size and Comfort: Know your ring size to find a comfortable fit. If unsure, consult with a jeweler for accurate measurements. Be mindful; cocktail rings can be heavy because of their larger size. You’ll want to consider the ring’s weight and shape to ensure it feels comfortable when worn for extended periods.
  • Quality: Purchase from reputable jewelers or trusted sources to ensure you’re getting a high-quality and authentic cocktail ring. Look for certifications and quality marks for the gemstones and metals used.
  • Craftsmanship and Setting: Examine the craftsmanship and setting of the ring. Look for secure prongs or bezel settings that firmly hold the gemstones. 
  • Warranty and Return Policy: Review the warranty and return policy of the jeweler or retailer to ensure you have recourse if any issues arise with your purchase.

How to Update an Old Cocktail Ring

To update an old cocktail ring and give it a fresh look, consider the following steps:

  • Have the ring professionally cleaned and polished to restore its original shine. 
  • Consult with a jeweler to explore options for replacing or resetting the center stone with a more modern gemstone or diamond.
  • Add side stones or accents to enhance the overall design. 
  • Change the metal color or band style to update the ring’s appearance.
  • Incorporate contemporary design elements, such as geometric shapes or intricate filigree work, to give the ring a modern twist while preserving its sentimental value.

Want the latest jewelry that is new and now? Shop our new arrivals.


Caring and Maintenance for a Cocktail Ring

Proper care and maintenance are critical for ensuring your cocktail ring looks timeless. Here are our favorite tips for maintaining your cocktail ring:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean your cocktail ring regularly to remove dirt, oils, and debris. Use a soft brush, mild soap, and warm water to gently scrub the ring. Rinse the cocktail ring thoroughly and dry it with a lint-free cloth.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Remove your cocktail ring before using household cleaning products, harsh chemicals, or engaging in activities that involve exposure to chemicals. Chemicals can damage the metal and gemstones, causing discoloration or other forms of damage.
  • Be Mindful of Activities: While modern cocktail rings are often designed for everyday wear, not all activities are equal. Avoid wearing your cocktail ring during activities that may expose it to potential damage, such as gardening, exercising, or performing manual labor. Gemstones can scratch, or chip, and the ring’s setting may loosen from pressure.
  • Safe Storage: Store your ring in a soft fabric-lined jewelry box or a separate compartment to prevent scratches and tangling with other jewelry pieces. Keep your cocktail ring away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures.
  • Professional Cleaning and Inspection: Have your cocktail ring periodically cleaned and inspected by a professional jeweler. They can check for loose stones, worn prongs, or any other potential issues.
  • Avoid Impact and Rough Handling: Handle your cocktail ring with care, avoiding impact or rough handling that can cause damage. Be cautious when wearing it when it may come into contact with hard surfaces or get knocked against objects.


women at a formal party


Choose A Cocktail Ring That Expresses Your Personality

Cocktail rings are a fun and bold way to show your personality. Choose a ring in your favorite metal, setting, and gemstone. Style your ring to complement your look, whether it is a formal affair or heading to the office. 

Cocktail rings symbolize empowerment, so choose a ring that communicates this about you. LaCkore Couture designs chic, artisan jewelry that appeals to your inner fashionista. Shop our newest styles for the latest trends and style alerts.