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What is a cocktail ring?

What Is a Cocktail Ring and How Do I Wear It with Other Rings?

Cocktail rings are notably larger than other rings. A colored gemstone often dominates and may or may not be surrounded by diamonds. It’s not unusual for a gemstone cocktail ring to have a complex design. Nonetheless, it is characteristically large and bold. We’ll explain more about this type of fashion ring, its origins, and how to wear a cocktail ring with other rings.

Why Is It Called a Cocktail Ring?

Engagement rings, wedding bands, and other statement rings aren’t the only options out there. Cocktail rings make a statement all on their own. Highly variable in design, they originated in the 1920s, when they became popular among women who attended speakeasy parties to rebel against Prohibition Law. At these cocktail parties, bootlegged drinks called cocktails were invented to disguise alcohol, which was illegal at the time.

Meanwhile, women were fighting more than ever for freedom and had recently gained the right to vote. They enjoyed increasing influence over the art, social, and fashion trends of the time. Many would attend parties wearing short cocktail dresses and extravagant jewelry. 

A secret code also developed among high-class women. While drinking was illegal, some bars continued to serve alcohol. Cocktail rings were worn on the right hand; when someone would raise their hand to a bartender and flash a large gemstone, it signaled they wanted an alcoholic cocktail. This is the origin of the name “cocktail ring” and why people traditionally wear large gemstone rings on the right hand.

Do I Have to Wear a Cocktail Ring on My Right Hand?

It’s traditional to do so, but you can wear cocktail rings on any hand or finger you want to. There aren’t any rules. But it’s still common to wear a cocktail ring on the right ring finger. Some choose to wear one on the left ring finger or index finger, especially if they typically wear other rings on other fingers. 


How to Wear a Cocktail Ring

How you wear the ring and the type you choose depends on the occasion. You can pick a large, glamorous ring to wear to a party. Or, you can select something that suits a more casual occasion. More minimalistic designs can be paired with casual outfits or even be worn in the workplace or other formal settings.

How to Wear a Cocktail Ring with Other Rings

Cocktail rings often have white gems like diamonds, pearls, or opal. They are also often adorned with red, green, yellow, blue, or purple gems. Therefore, you can wear multiple rings of the same color or different colors. 

You can mix and match metals, too. But be careful when pairing harder metals with softer ones (for rings on the same or adjacent fingers). For example, softer silver or gold can be easily damaged by titanium. The same goes for gemstones. A hard stone like a diamond, ruby, or sapphire can scratch a softer gem like opal, turquoise, or pearl.

Other ideas for wearing cocktail rings with other rings include:

  • Stack Your Rings: You can stack multiple statement rings on one finger. However, pay attention to how they fit together. A ring with one large center stone doesn’t usually pair well with smaller rings. Stackable rings don’t have elements that stick too far out; they’re designed to fit closely together, but you can stack rings of varying thicknesses or be bold and stack multiple cocktail rings.
  • Wear Your Rings on Different Fingers: Wearing your rings on different fingers still allows you to wear them together. It all depends on how they look and feel. You can balance it out by wearing two rings on one finger on one hand and two rings on the same finger on the opposite hand.
  • Vary the Size and Color of Rings: Unless you’re seeking a highly cohesive look, you can vary the size and color of the rings you wear to avoid a “copy and paste” effect. Regarding color, you can add a bright touch to a black-and-white outfit, match the ring with other jewelry, or choose something of personal significance, like a birthstone or anniversary gem.


  • Match Your Engagement Ring (Or Not): Your cocktail ring doesn’t have to match your engagement ring. The two can always be moved a few fingers apart if their designs and colors clash. However, both types of rings are usually chosen based on personal style, so they are likely to have similar characteristics.


  • Wear Your Engagement Ring as a Cocktail Ring: If you have a maximalist engagement ring (for example, one with a multi-stone setting), it can double as a cocktail ring. Halo-style rings and foliage-style motifs work well in this fashion.

Can You Wear a Cocktail Ring Every Day?

Cocktail rings are generally a bit extravagant for everyday wear. But with so many styles of fashion statement rings to choose from, there’s no reason you can’t find one to wear wherever or whenever you want. You can wear it to a wedding, with a particular outfit, or for a formal outing. There are no limits to wearing a cocktail ring every day if it’s your style. 

Shop at Jeweler’s Touch

At Jeweler’s Touch, we have hundreds of statement rings to choose from. Some work perfectly as cocktail rings, while others are more decorative and subtle. Choose from white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, or a combination of metals and rings with precious or semi-precious gemstones. We have items for special occasions or to wear every day. Feel free to browse our extensive fashion ring collection that represents many top brands, or contact us online or by calling (714) 579-1616 today.

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