Collecting Vintage Cocktail Rings Part II

Hi there! I know most of us are still in the throes of Christmas preparation and all the hoopla that entails, but how about a little break to consider a fun collectible that’s perfectly timed for New Year’s Eve? That would be the ever-fashionable trend of wearing and collecting vintage cocktail rings.

These little darlings, often unmarked and frequently equipped with fully adjustable bands (just right for my every-growing ring size–is it just me???), make my heart sing whenever I come across them at sales–especially when priced at my preferred $1-2.

I really do love them and enjoy wearing them out for dinner and other special events (like New Years). Because I can rarely bring myself to sell them, I’m not completely sure of the market. Feel free to chime in in the comment section below.

Don’t miss Collecting Cocktail Rings Part I for a gander at another selection of these fashion forward favorites of mine.

Collecting Vintage Cockail Rings Part II adirondackgirlatheart.com

Part II became necessary because I [obviously] can’t seem to stop buying them, LOL. When I began looking into the cultural history surrounding these gaudy little beauties, I became fascinated with the story.

In the 1920’s, when cocktail rings first became popular, women’s roles were in the process of changing dramatically: they’d been given the right to vote, skirt lengths shortened providing a new sense of freedom, and illegal bars and parties became fashionable not just for men, but women as well.

Sipping illegal drinks in illegal establishments, and wearing ankle-revealing dresses called for some glamorous rings that one could show-off while sipping on cocktails of the era–Gin Rickeys, Tom Collins’, and Whiskey Sours among others.

The 1960’s saw a revival in cocktail rings that resulted in large quantities of costume versions being produced for the middle class, who enjoyed throwing dinner parties and holiday events that required a bit of ostentation. Most of the rings in today’s post date to that era and are worth $8-20 each.

Collecting Vintage cocktail rings This batch includes both vintage and newer rings. The second ring from the left, a pretty one with a cluster of faux sapphires and the amber-colored ring are both vintage.

Vintage Purple Faceted Glass Cocktail RingThis large, dark purple ring, faceted and made of glass, is likely a newer piece.

Vintage Elongated Topaz Cocktail RingsThe amber ring is a favorite.

Sterling Cubic Zirconia Cocktail RingThis newer cubic zirconia is set in a gold-washed sterling silver setting.

Collecting Vintage Cocktail RingsAll of these rings, with the exception of the one on the far right, which is marked Sterling, are vintage with adjustable bands.

Vintage Gold Butterfly Cocktail RingThe pretty gold-toned butterfly ring is for the little girl in all of us.

Vintage Gold & Sapphire cocktail ringI completely taken with the huge variety of cocktail ring designs developed over the course of one decade. It’s seemingly endless. The curvy gold “cushion” holding the blue stones on this ring has resulted in a pretty design.

Collecting vintage cocktail rings The parrot ring, another newer example, has a modern, stretchy band. I’ve not yet figured out how to wear it well, but I’m hoping to because it’s just too awesome not to wear, right?!!

Vintage MCM Copper Floral Cocktail RingThis Mid-century Modern copper-toned ring is one of my most recent finds and is a new favorite. I can get away with wearing it during the day since it’s not so extravagent or outlandish as some of the others.

Collecting Vintage Cocktail RingsThis handful holds a couple more of my favorites, including the second from the left–a cluster of pretty gold flowers and the pearl cluster on the far right.

Vintage Pearl Cluster Cocktail RingAnd the cluster of faux pearsls–LOVE!

Collecting Vintage Cocktail RingsLast four. The second from the left is marked “Emmons,” an early version of Sarah Coventry.

Antique Snake Ring I inherited this brass and cabachon “snake” ring from my beloved grandmother some years ago. It’s too small for me, but I love it nonetheless.

Vintage Lucite Cocktail RingAs the years go by, I find myself becoming more and more enamored with MCM furniture, jewelry, household goods, and well, everything.

This giant, geometric Lucite ring is no exception, though I’m not sure that I’d ever wear it in public. I think I’m waiting to be invited to some kind of MCM costume party so I can wear it unselfconsciously, LOL. (SOLD on Etsy March 2020 for $32.99)

Pink Crystal Intaglio Sterling Ring
Final Fabulous Cocktail Ring: I picked up this newer sterling silver ring with pink crystal intaglio stone at a garage sale for $3 and sold it last year for $16.97 on eBay [after wearing it around for a couple of months and NOT falling in love with it].

How about you and cocktail rings–love ’em or hate ’em?

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Diana

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Collecting Vintage Cocktail Rings Part II adirondackgirlatheart.com
Check out Part I here:
Collecting Vintage Cockail Rings Part 1 adirondackgirlatheart.com

 

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12 Comments

  1. I love vintage jewelry and have a big collection of brooches, rings and some bracelets. Like you, I love them, but don’t often wear them and some are just too ostentatious to carry off in my small rural town. I’d love to learn more about vintage jewelry. Thanks for your post!

  2. How fun! That parrot is the bomb! In the one grand estate of 3 generations of women my sisters & I cleaned out, there were so many cocktail rings among the jewelry! I kept just one really a couple funky pearl cocktail rings, dating from the 60s. I can remember my next door neighbor crocheting the beaded cocktail rings in the 60s, lol. I don’t wear them, but I had to keep the pearls. Coco would approve. 😉

  3. A thought about your comment ‘I can get away with wearing it during the day since it’s not so extravagent or outlandish as some of the others.” The older you get, the less the rules apply. At my vintage age, rules like what to wear and when are just too trivial to observe. Yes, that’s me in the snow drift wearing white, sporting a cocktail ring and sipping a martini at 11:00 in the morning. Life is short. Who cares what people say? And just who are these judgy people that I should give them a second thought? Sniff (in that ever so dismissive way). Barkeep! I said two olives!

  4. A thought about your comment ‘I can get away with wearing it during the day since it’s not so extravagent or outlandish as some of the others.” The older you get, the less the rules apply. At my vintage age, rules like what to wear and when are just too trivial to observe. Yes, that’s me in the snow drift wearing white, sporting a cocktail ring and sipping a martini at 11:00 in the morning. Life is short. Who cares what people say? And just who are these judgy people that I should give them a second thought? Sniff (in that ever so dismissive way). Barkeep! I said two olives!

    1. Agreed! At 74 I figure wearing a cocktail ring is the least of my concerns, not people looking funny at it or me! Come over and we’ll wear them together.. They fascinate me and the workmanship is amazing!

      1. Hmmmm… how do you feel about wearing a rhinestone tiara while grocery shopping? You and I are on the verge of being the Versaces of our fine generation!

        1. Great! Let’s do it Ruth! Where I live I am known to do such things to get a smile or a chuckle and shake things up, so no one would be surprised, ;). On Sunday a few years back I started wearing hats because I like them and why not?! People think I have dozens, but I just reinvent them; .my favorite cost 25¢…. Versace here we come–ready or not! God bless.

  5. Oh, isn’t Ruth fun !! My first thought when I saw the title was cocktail Napkin rings. Not the kind for our fingers. ha! But I do love them. I just don’t wear them. I feel my hands are too small for big in-your-face rings. In fact, when my husband surprised me with a big diamond ring for our 10th anniversary (many years ago) I wanted to return it because it just looked too big to me. I didn’t. But cocktail rings are always a big seller at our church rummage sale and it’s fun to see them go to new homes.

  6. This post is so fun. I have always loved rings but lately they seemed like too much trouble, like putting on makeup! I think my favorites are the pink intaglio ring, the mid mod copper toned and the amber ring. I’m ready to go hang out with Ruth and Karen, I’ll find me a hat and some cocktail rings and for sure we will need rhinestone and sequin vests. A lot of my 70’s jewelry has already been passed down to my 17 year old granddaughter, I love that this upcoming generation is doing a revival of the 70’s! When I worked part time at an antique mall many, many years ago I was able to pass up a lot of the cool stuff in there, but I couldn’t pass up the vintage rings, if priced well. But I’m going to have to start looking closer at jewelry at estate sales and thrift stores, could find some treasures!

  7. I agree, this is a fun post! I’m not much of a ring-wearer, or jewelry in general, but I do like to look. Since your first post on this topic, I’ve bought a couple of rings, but they’re missing stones, so what do you do when that’s the case? You’re probably going to say you don’t buy them, but these were too pretty to pass on. just wondering who you would suggest to replace some stones?

    1. Hi Florence! You made me laugh with your comments 🙂

      I’ve only ever bought rings with missing stones by accident. I put them immediately in my pile of stuff to bring to the thrift store because I have absolutely no idea how to upcycle them. I do keep a little dish filled with loose rhinestones, and I’ll check there first to see if I might have one that’ll fit. So far though, no luck 🙁

      I’m sure a jeweler could replace the stones for you but the cost would probably be pretty high. Can’t hurt to check though, right?

      Another possibility might be an antique dealer who specializes in jewelry. They usually have a stash of loose stones and the wherewithall to glue them in properly.

      Good luck!

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