Looking for vintage diamond cocktail rings? Learn about diamond cuts, metals used, and our favorite Etsy picks in this guide.
Cocktail rings are a fun addition to your ensemble. They make for a great conversation starter and can be used to reflect the wearer’s personality. First emerging during the Prohibition era of the 1920s, they became status symbols, as well as symbols of women’s independence. Over time, their use evolved, becoming fashion statements and then costume jewelry.
What is a Diamond Cocktail Ring?
Also known as statement rings or dinner rings, cocktail rings are big, bold, and beautiful. They typically feature a large precious stone in the center and may or may not be surrounded by smaller precious stones. Often showcasing ornate designs, colorful gemstones, and metalwork, cocktail rings are eye-catching and are worn to, well, make a statement.
A diamond cocktail ring, as its name suggests, has a large diamond centerpiece. Given their flamboyant nature, diamond cocktail rings—or cocktail rings, in general—have raised their profile, which makes them pop out. And while they’re used to express the wearer’s personality, they’re not always the most practical choice for daily wear, given their size and weight.
[Read: A Complete Guide to Cocktail Rings]
Types of Diamond Cuts used in Vintage Cocktail Rings
Vintage cocktail rings feature a variety of diamond cuts. Some of the vintage diamond cuts that are still popular today because of their timeless style include the point cut, rose cut, old mine cut, and old European cut.
Other diamond cuts commonly used in cocktail rings include the round cut—one of the most popular shapes—, the Asscher, emerald cut, princess cut, oval cut, and emerald cut.
[Read: Vintage and Antique Diamond Cuts : A Basic Guide]
Types of Metals used in Vintage Cocktail Rings
Earlier cocktail rings were made of copper or platinum. Nowadays, they’re made from a wide array of metals, including bronze, silver, and low-carat gold. If you’re looking to purchase vintage cocktail rings, I suggest you opt for ones made with platinum or 18ct gold. This is because both metals are incredibly durable and can withstand their fair share of bumps and knocks.
Vermeil or gold-plated rings can be good alternatives, but the plating will be likely to wear off over time. Cocktail rings made with titanium can also be a good, more contemporary option. Lastly, be mindful of vintage cocktail rings made of inexpensive materials, especially if you have nickel allergy. Always check with your jeweler before buying any piece of jewelry, regardless of if it’s a cocktail ring or a pair of earrings.
Best Vintage Cocktail Rings on Etsy
One of the best places to find vintage cocktail rings is Etsy. It’s home to a number of vintage jewelry shops that sell high-quality and authentic vintage pieces. But finding the best vintage pieces can be quite tricky, given Etsy’s extensive selection.
I’m sharing some of my top diamond cocktail ring picks to help you jumpstart your search. All of them are rare finds coming from Etsy Star Sellers:
This rare beauty dates back from the 1980s and redefines just what a vintage diamond cocktail ring could be. Its centerpiece is a stunning .50ct oval cut diamond that’s surrounded by a ring of full cut round diamonds, which is, in turn, surrounded by a bevy of tapered baguette cut diamonds. In total, this rare find contains around 2.17 total carats of natural diamonds. The diamonds are set on an 18ct yellow gold ring.
Talk about making a statement! This gorgeous vintage diamond cocktail ring boasts a distinct retro style, unique plume, and a total of 18 diamonds. The band is a stunning 14k white gold that complements the sheer beauty of this vintage ring, which is estimated to date back to the 1940s-1950s. Its total carat weight is estimated to be 0.54ct.
If you’re looking for something more minimalistic that doesn’t compromise style, this 10k gold diamond cocktail ring is a great option. The centerpiece is a row of channel-set baguette diamonds that are surrounded by 24 round cut diamonds, separated into four bands to create symmetry. The diamonds are set on a 10ct yellow gold band and are around .50cts in total.
For those of you looking for something a bit more whimsical, this one’s for you. This vintage floral diamond cocktail ring dates back from before the 2000s and features a .36ct natural brilliant cut diamond that’s haloed by 10 natural brilliant cut diamonds totaling 1.25 carats. Its black enamel accent makes the diamonds pop, further emphasizing their beauty. The diamonds are set in a 14ct yellow gold band.
How to Wear a Cocktail Ring
Traditionally reserved for special occasions or for evening wear—think cocktail parties and grand dinners—, diamond cocktail rings have transcended the limits of time. Nowadays, you and I can wear our cocktail rings whatever the time of day.
Additionally, cocktail rings, whether they were made of diamonds or other gemstones, were usually worn on the right hand to distinguish them from engagement or wedding rings. Now, you can wear them on any finger or on any hand.
If you’re planning to wear a diamond cocktail ring during the day, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Find a cocktail ring that’s versatile and goes well with your daytime outfits. If you’re wearing an ornate diamond cocktail ring, complement it by wearing pattern-free clothing. This way, your clothes will serve as a backdrop of sorts for your cocktail ring.
- Not a fan of diamonds? No problem. You can wear a cocktail ring that has neutral-toned precious stones.
- If you’re wearing other pieces of jewelry, try to find a cocktail ring that complements your other pieces to create balance. Also, avoid overcrowding your hands with too much jewelry. For example, if you’re wearing a diamond cocktail ring on your right hand, I suggest that you wear other pieces of jewelry, say a bracelet and a watch, on your left hand. Give your statement ring some room to breathe.
- Planning to wear a statement ring to the office? Make sure that you choose one that’s minimalistic.