the ultimate guide to cocktail rings

When you want a bold, eye-catching piece that’s certain to turn heads for all of the right reasons, you can’t go wrong with a cocktail ring. Also known as statement rings, they are larger than typical fashion rings and usually feature an oversized diamond or another gemstone. These rings are also sometimes referred to as cluster or dinner rings, and they are typically worn on the right hand. Their audacious designs make them less-than-ideal for all-day, everyday wear, but they’re perfect for special occasions from cocktail hour and beyond. 

Women’s cocktail rings come in several bold and beautiful designs. Here at Frost NYC, we have statement pieces to dress up any outfit, and we’re here to help you choose ones that suit your style. Read on to learn more about cocktail rings, including what they are, how to style them and more! 

What Are Cocktail Rings? 

Cocktail rings are large, striking jewelry pieces most often worn on the middle or ring finger of the right hand. Unlike a traditional wedding band and other pieces intended for daily wear that have low profiles and sit close to the skin, statement rings sit raised off the finger for a bolder, more attention-grabbing look. Historically, they consisted of a large central stone surrounded by smaller gems. While this look is still popular, any ring featuring a vivacious, blingy design works well as a cocktail ring. 

The history of the cocktail ring dates all the way back to the jazz era of the 1920s. This time period birthed feminism as well as the Prohibition Law that, for a time, made the manufacture, sale and consumption of alcohol illegal in the United States. Of course, that doesn’t mean people didn’t drink alcohol. They just attended illicit parties and speakeasies to get their fill of their favorite beverages. 

Shop Frost NYC for Stunning Women’s Cocktail Rings

With the rise of feminism, women started challenging their roles in society and their homes. No longer content to live their lives according to prescribed gender roles, women became more rebellious and independent than ever before. The classic 1920s flapper was a party girl who drank alcohol, smoked in public and danced at jazz clubs. And, of course, they wore the then-scandalous short dresses that shocked their parents — who still abided by the Victorian-era standards of morality.

the cocktail rings origins

To keep their drinks flowing, these lovely ladies needed a way to signal bartenders. A large ring worn on the right hand served as a secret signal for ordering illegal drinks when flashed at the bar. Thus, the cocktail ring was born. It quickly became a symbol of female independence and the must-have accessory for speakeasies and secret parties across the nation. 

The cocktail ring remained popular among the elite throughout the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s. Their popularity declined in the 1960s as styles changed. However, statement rings came back “in” again in the 1980s, and they haven’t gone anywhere since. Today, they are a popular nighttime accessory for women and men alike, and they come in a plethora of styles to suit any aesthetic. 

How to Wear a Cocktail Ring

While the middle and fourth fingers of the right hand are the most popular place to wear a statement ring, you can wear one anywhere. If you are wearing an engagement or wedding ring on your left hand and don’t want your cocktail ring to clash, you might want to stick to wearing it on your right hand. Likewise, if you don’t want anyone to confuse a gemmy statement ring for an engagement ring, you should probably avoid wearing it on the fourth finger of your left hand. Aside from that, the rules for wearing these fashionable accessories are pretty flexible. 

earn you the type of attention you want

We recommend not wearing too many bold jewelry pieces close together. One blingy ring on your hand looks amazing. Adding a second (or a third, or fourth…) can muddle up your look and lead to a hot mess. Instead of wearing multiple cocktail rings, consider pairing one with a large women’s Rolex watch. Wearing these two items together creates a bold, drippy look that will earn you the type of attention you want. 

When choosing a necklace to wear with a statement ring, you have a few options. If you want your ring to be the absolute star of the show, go with a simpler women’s gold chain that complements your ring without overpowering it. But for those nights when you want to be blinged out and have your entire look shine, go with a big 14k gold chain and an eye-catching pendant. Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer here. It’s all about mixing and matching your accessories to create a look that’s totally you!  

Should You Match Your Ring to Your Outfit? 

Since cocktail rings come in a wide variety of colors, you may wonder whether you need to coordinate your jewelry to your outfit. In short, it’s up to you! If you feel more comfortable wearing gems that coordinate with your clothing colors, go for it. A statement ring featuring a big blue stone would look amazing with a blue dress or even some tailored blue jeans. On the other hand, if you prefer contrasting colors, try wearing a green ring with a red dress. This option is ideal if you want your jewelry to really stand out instead of blending in. 

If you are shopping for a new statement ring and want something that will work with all of your outfits, choose one that’s more neutral in color. White and black diamonds go with everything, and nothing turns heads more than iced-out statement jewelry. You can never go wrong with diamonds! 

Are you having a hard time choosing a gem? Go with your birthstone or your favorite color. Ruby and garnet are great options if you love red; emerald and peridot are perfect for green lovers; and sapphire, aquamarine and blue topaz are lovely choices if you like blue. If you like purple, go with tanzanite or amethyst. A citrine statement ring is perfect if you like yellow. 

gold silver or even platinum

What About Metal?

When it comes to choosing metal for your setting, personal choice is the main factor. Whether you prefer gold, silver or even platinum, there are cocktail rings to suit your style preferences. However, there are a few other things to consider — especially when shopping for a piece of jewelry that will require a substantial financial investment. 

Most folks don’t wear their cocktail jewelry on a daily basis. But, if you plan on wearing your new statement ring frequently, you’ll want one that’s made from a durable metal. 14K gold and platinum are excellent options that will withstand the rigors of regular wear. Softer metals like 24K gold are nice, too, but they are better suited to pieces you’ll wear less frequently and for jewelry worn somewhere other than the hands. 

We Have Women’s Gold Chains for Any Outfit

If you don’t already have a preferred metal color, you might not be sure whether you should buy silver or gold jewelry. To determine which color looks best on you, we recommend trying on rings featuring different color metals. There are also a few guidelines to help you determine which metal color best suits your skin tone. 

Take a look at the veins on the underside of your arm. If they look blue, you have cool skin tones. If, however, they have a green tint, you have warm skin tones. People who tan easily (rather than burning) also tend to have warm skin tones. Those with cool skin tones tend to look best in silver, white color and platinum jewelry. Yellow gold generally works better on individuals with warm skin tones. If your skin has pink or reddish tones, you may want to stay away from rose gold jewelry as it can make redness more prominent. 

Still not sure what metal to choose? Consider buying a cocktail ring made from both white and yellow gold. The mixed metal look is hot right now, and it’s the perfect solution when you want a statement piece that will go with every outfit in your wardrobe. Plus, you can easily mix and match rings made from multiple metals with the rest of your jewelry collection. Talk about a win-win!

a woman wearing a cocktail

Additional Considerations

There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for a cocktail ring. First, remember that you are buying for yourself and yourself alone. Some bold statement pieces work better on certain people than others. If a ring looks great on your friend but not on you, that doesn’t mean cocktail rings aren’t for you. It just means you haven’t found the right one for your hand yet. 

Your budget is an important consideration, too. Unfortunately, a cocktail ring isn’t something that you can skimp on in terms of price. Think of it as an investment rather than just something new to add to your jewelry box, and determine how much you can afford to spend. In this case, quality should always take precedence over quantity. It’s better to spend your entire budget on one quality piece than to blow it on four lesser-quality rings. 

Keep durability in mind when deciding on a gemstone (or stones), too. If you plan on wearing your cocktail ring regularly, you want a durable stone that won’t break or scratch easily. There is no point in spending money on a nice ring if it won’t live up to your needs! Diamonds are the best choice when you want something that is just as durable as it is beautiful.

Think about scale, too. A cocktail ring should be a stunning statement piece — not an obnoxious or gaudy chunk of metal and stones. If you have smaller hands, a gigantic statement ring could dwarf your fingers. However, big rings — even ones that span multiple fingers — are great for people with larger hands.  

Caring for Your Cocktail Ring

Once you’ve found the perfect cocktail ring, you’re going to want to keep it in pristine condition. Giving it a bit of TLC will keep your new jewelry looking new so you can enjoy it for many years to come. First, we recommend putting your ring on after getting dressed. This minimizes the risk of snagging. Examine the prongs holding the stones in place regularly. If you notice any loose or damaged prongs, stop wearing the ring and have it repaired immediately.

cleaning your ring

Place your ring in a bowl of warm water with mild soap to clean. Gently scrub using a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove dirt and debris. Avoid firm toothbrushes and scrub brushes with stiff bristles as they could damage the metal or gemstone. 

Don’t wear your cocktail ring while bathing, showering or swimming. We recommend taking it off when you are working out, too. Remove your ring when washing dishes, using cleaning chemicals, etc. The more careful you are with your new bling, the longer it will remain in great shape. 

Final Thoughts

A nice cocktail ring is a must-have for any jewelry collection. These bold pieces are designed to turn heads, and the right one will complement any outfit. Once you have found the perfect cocktail ring, be sure to flaunt it! After all, these pieces are designed to capture people’s attention!

Here are Frost NYC, we have women’s cocktail rings to suit any aesthetic. Featuring gold and diamonds, our iced-out rings are perfect for a night on the town. Browse our complete collection today to find your next piece of statement jewelry. 

Image Credits


Keep Smiling Photography/

Ekaterina Jurkova/

April 11, 2022

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