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    

14k White Gold Vintage Ring Sz 7.25 Huge Amethyst 7.5g Deco Filigree Flower 144Designer Massive $4k Sterling Silver Rose Gold Octopus Cultured Pearl RingGianni Versace Medusa Jeweled Hard To Find Runway Ring In BoxGianni Versace Medusa Massive Runway Ruby Red Rhinestone Cocktail Ring182pc Vtg Mod Costume Jewelry Lot#1 Necklace Brooches Earrings Bracelet Ring LbsVintage 14k Yellow Gold & Green Amethyst Estate Cocktail Ring Size 6-1/2 #1 YqzVintage Oval Faceted Smoked Topaz & 14k Yellow Gold Cocktail Ring Size 6½ #2 YqzVintage Sterling Silver Fluorite & Sapphire Jewels Of India Cocktail RingMassive Designer Sterling Silver Sapphire & Cushion Cut Dyed Quartz RingFab Vintage Bakelite Lot 40 Pcs Bracelets Rings Pins Necklace Clips Buckles S&p Lot Of 63 Vtg Nos Costume Jewelry Rings~ Sterling~coventry~gemstones~decoVintage To Mod Jewelry Ring Lot In Box Old, New, Lucite, Rhinestone,dichroicLot Of Vintage Rings~wearable And Repair Rhinestones Glass Stone Estate JewelryVintage Lot 88 Rings Rhinestone Cocktail Flower Lucite Glass Cz E307Massive Designer Sterling Silver Micro Pave Sapphire Camellia Runway RingDesigner Estate Faux Pearl & Diamante Faux Deco Style Bracelet & RingVintage Cocktail Ring Lot Deco Enamel Flower Figural Butterfly Hge Cz Crystal Vtg15 Hi End Designer Rhinestone Brooch Necklace Earring Ring Lot Juliana LisnerMens 10 Vtg 10k Blue Fleck Cameo Estate Ring Roman Centurion Carved Intaglio LroVintage Rhinestone Sterling Silver Rivoli Cameo Onyx Perfume Poison 54 Ring LotVintage Sterling Silver Eight (8) Rings Lot No Scrap 50.8 GramsVintage New Italy + Micro Mosaic Pin Bracelet Ring Earrings Lot - 12 Pcs.Very Old Antique Ring With Gemstone In Ben J Harral Barnsley Box Antique Coral Ring In 9 Ct GoldVintage Men's Watch Chain Cufflink Prs Razor Rings Buckles Tie Tacks Jewelry LotVintage Costume Fashion Jewelry Lot As Is Tribal Locket Ring Enamel NecklaceVintage Jewelry Estate Lot Micro Mosaics Sterling Silver 10k Gold Rings BroochesLate Victorian Silver - Gold Intaglio Seal RingSterling Silver 925 Vintage Cuff Ring Earring Chain Lot 60g Turquoise Flower 147Mens Sz 9 Vtg 10k Black Cameo Ring Roman Centurion Carved Hematite IntaglioVintage Lot Sterling 925 Silver Jewelry Italy Rings Bracelets Chains 30 ItemsHuge Vintage To Modern Rhinestone Jewelry Lot Necklaces Earrings Bracelets RingsLot Of 26 Vintage Cameos - Mona Lisa Button, Brooches/pins, Earrings, RingBeautiful Vintage Mizpah Green Enamel Shamrock & Purple Rhinestone Ring BroochVintage Costume Fashion Jewelry Lot As Is Rings Pin Stones Clip Cameo BraceletVtg Festival Style Jewelry Lot Alpaca Silver Turquoise Agate Rings Necklaces+Vintage Huge Lot Costume Jewelry 24.5 Lbs. Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, & MoreSigned 925 Vintage Sterling Silver Ring Sz 6 Pave Diamond Belt Buckle Quality 99Vtg Kenneth Lane Kjl Couture Emerald Glass Gilded Modernist Huge Cocktail RingSigned 10k Vintage Cocktail Ring Yellow Gold Synthetic Ruby Sz 5.5 Art Deco 143Antique 160 Yr Old Edwardian Gold Filled 1ct Purple Ametyst Ring Sz 8 No ReserveVintage Sterling Silver Art Deco Design Diamante Ring Massive Designer Sterling Silver Amethyst Emerald Ruby & Sapphire Pave Ring4 Vintage Bakelite Rings Size 6 1/2 Different ColorsVtg Hollycraft Copr 1958 Peacock Ab Rhinestone Confetti Glass Cab 10k Gp RingVintage Danish Design Jacob Hull Necklace And Matching Style Armband And RingVictorian Antique Deco Big Jewelry Lot Ss Gf 10k Heart Pins Rings Fob Locket +Rare Signed Whiting & Davis Saphiret Cabochon Gold Tan Blue Silver Tone RingLot Of Sterling Rings W Stones/czs Long Toggle Chain Necklace Aarikkka FinlandVintage Jewelry Lot - Sterling Rings Turquoise Rhinestones Lucite Pendants Pins+Vintage 2 Celluloid Hand Brooches Pins With Ring And BraceletVintage Jewelry Wearable Rings Bracelets Earrings Necklaces Brooches LotDominique Aurientis Paris Ear RingsHuge 75+ Disney Jewelry Lot Pins Earrings Necklaces Watches Charm Rings MickeyDeco 10k 12k Gold Filled Rgp Pendants Pins Charms Ring Bracelet Cross Chain LotVtg Oscar De La Renta Couture Runway Ruby Gripoix Jewel Big Flower Cocktail RingVtg Natural Red Coral Cabochon Sterling Silver Ring Sz 6.5Lot Of Vintage Jewelry Fashion & Designer Earrings, Necklaces, Bracelets, RingsLot Of 12 Rings Vintage/antique Jewelry Various Styles And Stones Costume -b Huge Estate Lot- Vintage/mod Pins/brooches, Cuff Links,rings++ 100+ All Wear