Perhaps because they're not as common as brooches, necklaces, bangles, and earrings, vintage costume jewelry rings are often overlooked. But what they lack in ubiquity they make up for in distilled, concentrated detail—their diminutive size demands no less.

The most eye-catching examples of vintage costume jewelry rings were known as cocktail rings or knuckle-dusters. Deliberately oversized, these showy baubles were meant to draw the eye to the hand, where impossibly large fake diamonds and other surrogate stones reflected and refracted the light. In the 1940s, the Chicago costume jeweler Eisenberg was famous for its cocktail rings of sterling silver (base metals were rationed during World War II) with a single, enormous faceted glass crystal at the center.

Other types of rings grouped clusters of clear or colored rhinestones onto oval or round surfaces. Jomaz, for example, made a ribbed “goldtone” ring whose centerpiece was a thick cloud of pavé rhinestones.

Panetta took a different approach, using gilt metal, to resemble gold, as a base for black enamel and rhinestones. Sometimes the shapes were geometric, other times Panetta rings resembled snakes, with glowing, fake-emerald eyes. Still others were made of parallel bands of platinum-colored metal, within which were oval cups, each holding a trio of faux amethysts.

Trifari rings, like those made by Panetta, were usually sold as part of a set. One domed ring from the 1960s was covered with pink and green glass stones, as well as rhinestones set within tiny leaves—the ring went with a matching necklace, pair of earrings, bracelet, and pin. Also in the 1960s, Kenneth Jay Lane designed a gold-plated mesh acorn ring to go with a similarly styled bangle.

Metal was not the only material favored by costume jewelry designers. Bakelite rings included examples in which bars of red Bakelite were used as inlay within silver. Bands of Bakelite were frequently laminated into solid blocks and then fashioned into rings that appeared to be capped by oval cabochons or faceted jewels. Some Bakelite rings were deeply carved to resemble ornate Art Deco-like flowers or leaves, others were more like modernist jewelry, produced in laminated, blocky, geometric shapes.

Another popular laminate, especially in the 1950s and ’60s, was Lucite, which had the solidity of Bakelite and the sparkle of crystal. Lucite rings were usually clear, but bands of radioactive color interrupted many of these pieces, marking the planes where the layers of plastic had been sandwiched together.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Researching Costume Jewelry

Researching Costume Jewelry

Jewelry lovers, venture through this amazing database of vintage jewelry articles, catalogs, and brochures, as well… [read review or visit site]

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

Emerald City Vintage Costume Jewelry

It looks like we're not in Kansas anymore with Elizabeth Rowlands' site on vintage costume jewelry from the 1940s a… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Lot Of 32 Vintage Rings Rhinestone 18 K Hg Sterling Silver Stones Estate Jewelry124 Pcs Vtg Estate Costume Jewelry Rhinestone Brooch Bracelet Necklace Ring Lot1920s Art Deco Sterling Silver Ruby Sapphire & Diamante Paste Night & Day RingVintage Antique Unusual Gold Filled Raised Detailed Carved Coral Cameo RingGreat Lot 16 Rings Vintage Southwestern Artisan Sterling Slver Turquoise Coral +Huge Vintage & Style 100 Pc Lot Rings Rhinestone Cocktail Antique Gold Cameo +Vintage Lot Of 26 Costume Rings - Rhinestone Sarah Coventry Avon 10k Gold FilledVintage Ring Joseff Of Hollywood 1940s Sterling Silver Orchid Bridal JewelleryLot Of Vintage And Antique? Micro Mosaic Jewelry. Pins And RingSpecial Victorian Emerald Tourmaline Seed Pearl Ring 14ktSterling Silver Auran Kultaseppa Oy Finland Modernist Ring Designer Scandinavian12 Pc. Lot Vintage Bakelite Jewelry Bangle Bracelets, Earrings, Ring & PinHuge Lot 300+ Vintage Jewelry Earrings Rhinestones Rings Bracelets Some Signed Lot 74 Sterling Rings Jewelry Lot 440 Grams Gemstones Cz Ripka Vintage & ModernVintage Antique Ring Lot Signed 10k Gold Black Onyx And Sterling Marcasite Vintage 14k Gold 1/4 Carat Diamonds Wedding Rings Set 4.2 Grams Jewelry Lot #119Huge Antique-vintage Rhinestone Jewelry Lot Art Deco/nouveau Clip Brooch RingHuge Vintage & Style 50+pc Lot Rings Rhinestone Cocktail Signed Vogue Sarah C +500+pcs Vintage Costume Jewelry Lot Signed & Unsigned 10 Lbs*pins/earrings/ringsVintage Jewelry Lot Of 5 Rings ~ 10k - 14kLarge Antique Art Deco Estate Sterling Silver Carved Celadon Jade Flower Ring$3k Designer Sterling Silver 18k Gold Trillion Cut Pink Sapphire Estate Ring$3k Designer Mogul Estate Ring Sterling 18k Gold Amethyst White Sapphire RingEstate Lot Vintage Some Signed Rhinestone, Sterling, Sets, RingsJewelry Box Filled Vintage Now Rhinestone Pearl Lot Repair Junk Wearable RingsVintage 1939 Lady's High School Class Ring 10k Gold 3.8 Grams Jewelry Lot #108 Vintage 10k Gold Lady's Kentucky Cluster Ring Diamonds 2.5 Grams Lot # 109 Victorian Jewelry Lot Gold Filled Cameo Locket Watch Fob Pin Earring RingLot 48 Pieces Avon Necklace Rings Pins Charm Bracelet Earrings Unicorn Stick PinVintage 10k Gold Diamonds Swirl Cluster Ring 3.5 Grams Lady's Jewelry Lot #120 $3k Designer Moguls Estate Sterling Silver & 18k Gold Peridot Cushion Cut RingVintage Boucher 0219 Signed Cabochon Ring Dragon's Breath Jelly OpalVintage Ring Jewels By Trifari Interchangeable Assorted Color Cabochons63 Pc Vintage Costume Jewelry Cocktail Ring Lot Rhinestones Cabs Gf Some AdjVintage Antique Mens Jewelry Lot Wear & Parts Cufflinks, Tie Tacks, Rgp RingVintage 1928 Art Deco "e.l. Weed" Sapphire Blue Glass Sterling Filigree RingLot Of 8 Vintage Rhinestone Germany Signed And Sterling Finland Ring LotLot Of Vintage To Now Rings Over 100 PiecesVintage Ring Lot Sz 4-9 Acid Tested 925 Sterling Silver Lapis Lazuli Flower 2687Lot 10 Sterling Rings Jewelry Lot Turquoise Malachite American Southwest 90 GramVintage Costume Jewelry Huge Lot- Sterling Silver, 10k G.f., 14k G.f., Rings EtcScrap Or Wear/sterling 9 Ring Lot/gemstones In Some/missing Stones/+sterling PinVintage - Now Jewelry Lot Rings Locket Bracelets Kramer Napier Monet 3+lbsVtg Vendome Adjustable Square Shank Gold Tone Ring W Huge Faux Pearl7 Vintage Signed Sterling 925 Rings Resell LotVintage Costume Jewelry Ring Lot Espo 18k Hge Rhinestones Sarah Coventry 10pcVintage Art Deco Austrian 935 Silver Rock Crystal Ring - Size L - 5.3g!Sterling Silver Lot Collectible Jewelry Necklaces,bracelets,rings!Vintage-now Jewelry Lot Rings Lockets Bracelets Earrings Germany 925 4lbsVintage 10k Gold Raspberry Garnet Ring Band Size 7 2.8 GramsJunk Drawer Estate Sale Find Rings(haunted) New To Old Watches Necklaces PinsAntique Victorian 10k Solid Rose Gold Shell Cameo Ring Size 7 1/2Vintage Lucite Confetti Clamper Bypass Bracelet - Bonus Ring! -032402Vintage Estate Costume Modern Ring Lot: Some Signed 925, Etc...lot Of 24 RingsVintage Hand Carved Shell Mini Cameo Set In Silver Engraved Poison Ring Late Victorian Silver Intaglio Seal RingVtg~victorian~art Deco~jewelry Lot~jewelry Box~lockets~rings~gold Fill~art GlassVintage 1950's-60's Trifari Turquoise Necklace & Bracelet & Ear RingsVintage :*whiting & Davis Watermelon Rivoli Stone Ring On Ornate Silver Tone:* XSigned 925 Vintage Sterling Ring Size 8 Huge Turquoise Flower Filigree Wow 601