Wednesday, August 15, 2012

On the Radar -- The Ring's the Thing

Marlene Dietrich and her cocktail ring
I have to say that my favorite piece of jewelry is a ring.  I absolutely cannot leave the house if I don't have one on.  And usually, the bigger it is, the better!  Which is good for me this season, because you're going to continue to see big, bold cocktail rings everywhere. 

My ring of choice is a large, rough cut sapphire ring in sterling my mom gave me a few years ago.  It's so big, most people ask me if it's a weapon.  But, you know, it gets people's attention -- and it makes me feel like I have something special on, something extraordinary.  Something as simple as a statement ring can change your day from ho-hum to humdinger!

Versace Crystal Cocktail Ring

The history of the cocktail ring is rooted in the idea of booze and parties.  Flash and fun, daring and dangerous.  During Prohibition in the 1920s, flappers started the statement ring craze, matching huge rings with their fun, flirty ensembles.  They made themselves stand out to others while holding their glass of illegal gin. Want to be the baddest girl in the speakeasy?  Wear the biggest ring! The bigger the ring, the bolder you were.

After Prohibition lifted, starlets of the 1930s and 40s adopted the large baubles, making them the highest of glamorous accessories.  Whether real or faux, cocktail rings were the must have accessory.  Want to show how successful you are in Hollywood?  Have the studio take your picture in full-on glamor mode, ring firmly in place on your hand, visible to all of your adoring fans. 

Later, in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s, cocktail rings became a symbol of post-war comfort and women's rights.  In the 50s, the cocktail hour became de rigueur, and no cocktail dress or ensemble was complete without a ring.  As time went by, cocktail rings became a item purchased by women for themselves -- to make the statement that "I make my own money, therefore I can buy my own jewelry."

Today, celebrities still make a statement with statement rings.  And since we've been seeing more and more popping up everywhere, you can bet this trend will be sticking around.  But remember, it's not just for the super glamorous.  Etsy's a great place to search for handmade new rings, or great vintage pieces.  Go to an antique store and check out the glass showcases, you never know what you might find.  If you want a ring on a budget, you can find interesting rings at Target or Claires.  It doesn't matter if it's real or not, what matters is if you like it, and if it makes you feel good.  Whether you go vintage or buy something new, give a cocktail ring a try.  Trust me, it'll get you noticed!

Vintage Cocktail Ring from hawaiibeads2 on Etsy

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