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    

Collection Of Vintage Jewellery Silver Brooches Necklaces Rings Etc.micro MosaicJob Lot Jewellery Some Silver Incl Amber Emerald Ring Cameo Locket Cross EtcBreathtaking Vintage Cocktail Ring Lot Of 72 Pieces, Some Sterling, Real Stones27pc Vintage Clear Rhinestone Jewelry Lot Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings, Rings+Vintage Ring Lot Cocktail Rhinestone Flower Heart Faux Pearl Cz Cameo M110Huge Estate Lot Vintage/antique Jewelry *rings * Necklace * BroochesWwii Usmc Marine Corps Eagle Globe Anchor Insignia Officers Gold Mens Ring Sz 9Designer Haute Couture Runway Massive Topaz Sterling Silver Owl Ring600 Grams Scrap Or Not .925 Sterling Silver Lot Chains Bracelets Earrings RingsAntique Vintage Butterscotch Amber Ring Stone Beads Natur Real Bracelet PendantSigned 925 Sterling Silver Vintage Ring Size 7 Opal Amethyst Engagement 1001Designer Massive Jeweled Sterling Silver Peridot & Ruby Dragon RingHuge Vintage Junk Drawer Lot Jewelry Bracelets Necklaces Rings Wear RepairBakelite Bonanza! 19 Pins - 2 Pendants - 2 Rings - 1 Clip All TestedPretty Victorian Era Gold Filled Saphiret & Crystals Size 7 1/2 Ring No ReserveVintage 72 Costume Rings Jewelry Lot-rhinestone-2-925//uncas/opal/avon/18kthgeLot Of Vintage Masonic Egyptian Gold RingsAntique/vintage Real Pearl Bracelet Gold Ring Fastening-wonderful Glow VgcVtg-jewelry-lot-southwest?native?tribal?earring-necklace-ring-bracelet 90pc LbsVintage Style Ring Lot Cocktail Rhinestone Flower Cabochon Heart M111The Love Ring Ultima'll By Charles Revson Ny 1970Huge Victorian Deco Repair & Wear 925 G/f Watch Chains Fobs Rings Jewelry Lot Lot 6-victorian Revivl Rhinestone Pendant/brooch/pin/ring-coro/catherine PopescoStunning Vintage Estate Signed 14k Hge Gio Lind Blue Topaz Sz 7 Ring!!! 4310dVintage Coral Molded Plastic Celluloid Lily Of The Valley Long Oval Ring Sz 6.5Large Lot Of Vintage Rings - Mostly Avon - Over 40 In Box Plus Some Extra StuffLot Of 16 Vintage Multi Color Gemstone Costume Jewelry Rings - Assorted SizesHuge Vintage To Modern Ring Lot Costume Fashion Cocktail Retro Mixed Jewelry Vintage Faux Ivory Or Bone Carved Rose Flower Pin With Matching Ear RingsVintage Estate Ring Lot Repair Junk Or Not LotEstate Lot Sterling Silver 925 Blue Lapis Hematite Ring Vintage Charm Bracelet Sign Sterling Handcrafted Silver 925 Vintage Ring Size 10 Mop Indian Chief 1094Vtg Silver Bear Fetish Blue Turquoise Chip Inlay G&s Surf Biker Mens Ring Sz 9Vintage Souvenir Ring Chicago World's Fair 1934 Century Of Progress Art Deco Lot Of Vintage Jewelry Sterling Gold Fill Turquoise Rings W Germany Cameo PiecesVintage Antique Jewelry Lot Victorian 1960's Wear Repair Locket Rings Pins +++4 Piece Vntg Spoon Rings & Bracelet Jewelry Lot925 Sterling Silver Gold Tone Purple Gemstone Estate Ring72 Vintage Rings Gp, Sterling, Rhinestones, Amethyst, Turquoise, Garnet 1960's Sterling Silver 925 Vintage Ring Size 7 Turquoise Feather Southwest 1244925 Sterling Silver Orange Gemstone Silver Tone Vintage Estate RingAntique Vintage Butterscotch Amber Ring Stone Beads Natur Real Bracelet PendantStunning Art Deco White Opal Turtle Marcasite Ring 925 Sterling SilverSign 925 Vintage Sterling Silver Ring Lot Gemstone Rhinestone Native Wrap 4060Great Vintage Big 14pc Cocktail Costume Ring Lot 3 Rhinestone Silver Gold ToneVintage Cameo Lot 19 Estate Bought Most On Shell From Italy Rings,broochs,pin Lot Of 12 Vintage Multi Color Gemstone Costume Jewelry Rings - Assorted SizesVintage Estate Sarah Coventry Amber Topaz Glass Link Bracelet Ring Earrings SetVintage Art Deco Large Ruby Crystal Solitaire Gilt/ Gold Plated RingAntique 10kt Yellow Gold Mens Art Deco Red Stone Ring Size 8 3/4Estate Vintage Ring Jewelry Lot 4 Rings 925 Silver Big Cz's Some Stones UntestedHuge Lot Of 125 Junk Rings - Large VarietyVintage Sterling Silver 925 Ring Lot Scarab Horse Aquamarine Etched Band 4 Rings7 Rings Lot-steling & Gold Filled W/ Real Amethyst, Peach Coral, Yellow Topaz!Over 10lb Vintage/antique Estate Jewelry & Items Lot Necklaces Earrings Rings Fantastic Lot Of 60 Vtg Rings Includes Gen.10kt Yg Opal, Heavy Gf Ring, 18k GpVintage Art Deco Black Onyx And Diamond 10k Gold Ring Vintage 1960's Signed Vendome Crystal Ball Adjustable Cocktail Ring Vintage Cocktail Ring Lot Cabochon Rhinestone Cluster Bead Flower Metallic! J12Antique Vintage Butterscotch Amber Ring Stone Beads Natur Real Baltic