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    

Vintage Sterling Silver Jewelry Lot Turquoise Coral Signed Bangle Bracelet Ring Vintage Art Deco Max Neiger Czech Chinese Style Peking Glass Dragon Phoenix RingPanetta Gold-tone Ring Leaf & Flower Form Turquoise Cabs & Fuchsia RhinestonesAntique Art Nouveau Sterling Silver Abalone RingSolid Gold 14k 6 Grams Estate Find Wedding Ring Vintage Jewelry Lot #257 Pretty Victorian (9ct) Gold Paste/turquoise Gypsy Ring 1886-1887Estate Collection! 8 Sterling Silver 18k Gold Trim Multi Stone Cocktail Ring SetFaceted Saphiret Ring Open Back Large Round Adjustable Antiqued Brass Setting 200pc Vintage Costume Jewelry Lot Necklace Earrings Bracelets Brooch RingsVintage Mexican Biker Souvenir Ring Indian MexicoLot Vintage Jewelry Silver Rings Fashion Stones Turquoise Sterling Silver Look Vintage Turquoise Petti Point Ring Cuff Bracelet Sterling Silver Jewelry LotJob Lot Vintage Antique Costume Jewellery In Box Rings Earrings Brooches Beads++Lot Of 8 Cameo's. Ring, Necklace, Cufflinks And BroochesVintage Antique Art Deco 1930's Rose Rolled Gold Wire Work Celtic Knot Ring Uk LJob Lot Victorian Art Deco Jewellery Mourning Brooch,ring,choker-pearl,gold,mink22pc Vintage Ring Lot Sterling 925 Gold Filled Signed Uncas Vargas 18k 14k Hge +Rare Vintage Trifari Something Wild Owl Ring - Silvertone - Size 980+ Lot Estate Jewelry Locket Cameo Brooch Hair Ring Necklace Cufflinks Craft10k Gold Vintage Ring Blue Stone Old Estate Jewelry 2 Grams Lot # 259 10k Gold Three Heart Stone Diamonds Pink Ice Stone Ring Jewelry Lot # 258 Huge Vintage Jewelry Lot All Rings Costume Silver Gold Plate Possible 925 CoralAntique Mystery Ring-amethyst Glass,paste, Pinchbeck? Georgian To Art Deco Age100 Vintage Rings - Some Old Stock Excellent Cond! No Missing Stones NrEstate Sale .925 Sterling Silver Vintage Antique Ring Size 9Lot Of 28 Vintage Sterling Silver 925 Rings!!!!!Lot Of 20 Vintage Avon Rings And Fostoria Ring Holder All Nib Size 8, 5, 6, Sm MMen's Vintage Jewelry Lot - Watches, Cufflinks, Knife, Chains, RingsVintage Sterling Silver Ring Lot Of 3 Pretty! Summer Sale!Vintage Large Lot Costume Jewelry 22.5 Lbs. Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, & More Lot Of 35 Vtg Costume Rings Several Signed Ready To Wear Rhinestones Cocktail 36 Vintage To Now Ring Lot Rhinestone Sterling And More Some Signed40 Piece Mix Lot Vintage Jewelry Craft Wear Flower Pins Er's Rings Coro DuetteSterling Silver Lot Of 8 Assorted Vintage Rings Sized 5 - 6.75 (24.8g)Job Lot Collection Vintage Brooches Scarf Ring Necklace Enamel Crystal EtcGrandmas Estate Beautiful Western Sterling Silver RingA Rare Treasure! Absolutely Exquisite Black & Butterscotch Bakelite Ring Box 9k Gold With Garnets Ring Great Britain Marked 333 Job Lot Victorian Art Deco Jewellery Mourning Brooch,ring,choker-pearl,goldVtg Cameo Lot 900 Silver Carved Pin, Molded Lucite Pendant Ring Necklace EarringMix Lot Vintage+sterling Silver+gold Color+rings+chain Necklace+bracelet Nscrap Estate Fashion Ring Lot Vintage Modern Opal Coral Crystal Cz Semi Size 7 To 8Huge Ring Necklace Bracelet Lot Of 36 All Wearable Avon Monet Napier 1 SterlingVintage Mens Sz. 10.25 Sterling Silver 10k Gold Top Roman Soldier Intaglio RingVintage Tested Bakelite Multi Color Ring Large Necklace Chunky Ring Pendant NrEstate Jewelry Ring Unsearched UntestedVintage Lind Sterling Wedding Ring Set Can Be Worn Separately 7.5-8 Hallmarked Sterling Silver Flower/rose Spoon Ring Antique Art Nouveau Birmingham 1900-sz 7Late Victorian Silver Heraldic Intaglio Seal RingVintage-now Jewelry Lot Lockets Sterling Rings Carl Art Brooch Van Dell 4 LbsGorgeous Vintage To Now Jewelry Lot Of 20 Cocktail Rings Crystals Rhinestones -cEstate Sale Gold Sterling Silver Dark Purple Antique Vintage 925 Ring Size 8Estate Sale Gold Sterling Silver Large Orange Antique Vintage 925 Ring Size 7.5Estate Sale Gold Sterling Silver Deep Purple Antique Vintage 925 Ring Size 7.5Vintage-now Jewelry Lot Rings Brooches Bracelets All Wear 3+lbsVintage Jewellery Mixed Lot RingsCelluloid, Laminated Bakelite, Lucite, Prison Ring Pow V Is For VictoryHuge Mostly Vintage 133pc Flower Heart Jewelry Lot-necklaces Bracelets Rings PinLot Vintage To Modern Jewelry Charm Pendants Necklaces Rhinestones Rings Vintage Rhinestone Jewelry Lot Emerald Cut ,huge Brooch!! Heart Ring