Times are extremely interesting around us now, there is an air of rebellion and palapable electric energy everywhere we go. The current times takes one back to 1920s American Prohibition era. It was during that time that the concept of a cocktail ring being something more than a piece of jewellery, was born. Women who were slowly stepping out of their homes for jobs and equal representation wore these rings. ‘Flappers’ as they came to be called, these women flaunted short hemlines and shorter hair, listened to jazz music, wore makeup, and flouted all social norms. This new breed of young women saw the rise of the speakeasy where eager cocktail-goers would flock, for a good time. The ban on alcohol did not deter them and, dressed in complete splendour, these women would be seen in multi-thread necklaces, bracelets, and earrings but none as ornamental as the ring on the hand that wielded the cocktail. The strong-tasting and low quality of the alcohol that was available during this time compelled them to concoct sweet cocktails for ease of consumption. These rings were thus used to draw attention to the illicit drink they were consuming so that the server knew whom to serve and thus the name-cocktail rings!
“It’s difficult to imagine a time when drinking a simple cocktail was not only frowned upon but also illegal. Women who wanted to show off their newfound independence and ability to buy things for themselves favoured cocktail rings,” says Vaibhav Saraf, director, Aisshpra Gems & Jewels. A cocktail ring continues to add personality to an ensemble and helps accentuate the appeal and attitude of a woman. When these rings first came into fashion, they were dramatic with large centre stones, embellished with lots of other stones set closely together. In the ’20s, the most valuable cocktail rings showcased large diamonds or other precious gemstones such as emeralds and sapphires set in platinum or gold and surrounded by pave diamonds. More interesting designs used colourful gemstones such as opal, or novel and abstract shapes. However, today, any statement ring has become synonymous with cocktail rings. “They are one of the most-loved accessories and work perfectly well to complete a simple brunch, dinner, or engagement party look! It has become a “must-have” dress-up accessory for women heading to a cocktail party, restaurant, or a night at the opera,” says Federica Imperiali, head of product development, Forevermark.
1 Dwarkadas Chandumal Jewellers; 2 Roberto Coin; 3 Aurelle By Leshna Shah; 4 Anmol Jewellers; 5 Doyen; 6 Sumita Shekhawat; 7 Minawala; 8 Aisshpra Gems and Jewels; 9 Renu Oberoi Luxury Jewellery.
The decreasing availability of large gemstones has limited the possibilities of cocktail rings, as they were known. However, with innovative techniques and design styles, these rings are now being redefined. From exquisite metal work to blending coloured gemstones with enamelling techniques, cocktail rings continue to be conversation starters till date. Now, the range of rings encompasses all the colours of the rainbow, in virtually every style imaginable. The popularity of the cocktail ring witnessed a decline in the 1960s but they were back in the ’80s with spandex, big hair, and gender-neutral motifs. This surge in popularity continues to remain till today. For a bride looking to make the right statement, be it understated or over-the-top, on the night of her cocktail or perhaps on the day of her sangeet or mehendi, one should not give this statement piece a miss.
COVER IMAGE: TESS FEULHADE
ALL IMAGES: COURTESY
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