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    

Antique Vintage 14k Or 15k Rose Gold Diamond Ruby Art Deco Ring Huge Vintage Estate Jewelry Costume Ring Lot Of 37 Cocktail Cameo Rhinestone AdjVtg Oscar De La Renta Couture Russian Huge Blue Glass Wild Flower Cocktail RingVintage Huge Lot Costume Jewelry 22 Lbs. Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, & MoreVintage Now Ring Lot Sterling Silver Cocktail Runway Style RhinestonesLot 1 Vintage Costume Jewelry Cocktail Ring Rhinestone Gold & Silver Tone Big Vintage Rhinestone + Costume Jewelry Ring Lot Lot 2 Vintage Costume Jewelry Cocktail Ring Rhinestone Gold & Silver Tone Big 14k Solid Gold Natural Orange 13ct Citrine Cut Enamel Art Deco Antique Ring NrVintage Sterling Silver Gold Tone Jewelry Lot Rings Necklaces BraceletsVintage Huge Lot Costume Jewelry 20.5lbs. Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, & MoreShow-stopping Vtg Mogul Couture 4 Lion Panther Emerald Gilt Cocktail Runway RingVintage Ring Lot Costume 37 Piece Assorted Sizes Styles Rhinestones CrystalsVintage To Now Lot 53 Rings~modernistic~faux Gemstones~coventry~rhinestones Grandmas Estate Old Pawn Cameo Western Sterling Silver RingGrandma's Jewelry Box Vintage Mix Lot Of 3 Rings + 1 Cross With Unknown StonesVintage Jewellery Sterling Silver Shooting Stars Ring Size 't'Vintage Trifari Interchangeable Cocktail Ring W/6 Faux GemstonesVintage Rhinestone Lot Of 3 Rings Austria Germany Dragons Breath #129Huge Vintage Jewelry Lot! Vintage To Now! 11.6 Lbs Necklaces! Bracelets! Rings!Designer Couture Runway Architectual Styled Faux Pearl Cocktail RingHeavy Late Victorian Knights Templar Silver Intaglio Seal Ring50 Pc Lot Vintage Enamel Metal Flower Brooches Pins Earrings Ring SignedVtg Vendome Kashmir Moghul Jewels Of India Art Glass Princess Gold Ring Sz AdjHuge Lot Of Rings Vintage To Now Silver Tone Gold Tone Rhinestones14k White Gold Art Deco Filigree Solitaire Lemon Citrine Ring - 1.7 GramsLarge Lot Of Vintage Rings And CaseVintage Lot Of Green Bakelite Bracelets Rings EarringsVintage Crown Trifari Chameleon Interchangeable Ring 6 Orbs + Original Box TagGrandmas Estate Old Pawn Turquoise Western Sterling Silver RingVintage Art Deco Jewellery Silver And Marcasite Crystal Flower Ring Size 'm'170 Pc Southwest Turquoise Silver Rings & More Mix Estate Lot! Vint/now Unique!Heavy Late Victorian Knights Templar Silver Intaglio Seal RingHuge Vintage Jewelry Lot W/ Box Rings Rhinestones WearableUnusual Vintage Modernist 800 Fine Silver Amazonite RingGrandmas Old Pawn Amethyst Western Sterling Silver Big Chunky Ring Huge 300 Pieces Wear Jewelry Lot-,vintage/mod,rhinestones,rings,signed- 20+ LbsVintage~modern Fashion Rhinestone Costume Ladies Jewelry Rings Lot 75pc SignedVintage Ring Lot165j, 16 Rings ,9.25 Silver,some Gold Over Silver,some Marked,scrap Or Resell? Brutalist Sarah Coventry Modernist Glass Necklace Bracelet Earrings Ring SetAn Exceptional Designer Mogul Estate Sterling Gold Vermeil Turquoise Resin RingNovelty "lanco" Vintage Gold Plated & Mother Of Pearl Watch Ring Maker Rw Size HVtg Faceted Amber Lucite Graduated Beaded Triple Ring Fringe Choker NecklaceImpossible To Find Vintage Iradj Moni Runway Persian Turquoise Snake RingVintage+modern Costume Jewellery 925 Silver And 1950s Jewellery Cabinet RingsChristian Dior Art Deco Ring75 Vtg Now Western Tribal Jewelry Lot Turquoise Jade Stone Brass Ring Brooch LbsSolid Late Victorian Silver Intaglio Seal RingVintage Egyptian Scarab RingVintage Necklace,earrings And Ring Set Whiting Davis Reverse Carved CameosHuge 53 Pc Vintage Modern Ring Collection / Lot See Other ListingsStunning Vintage Estate Gold Tone Malachite Green Sz 7 Ring!!! 2723zGrandmas Estate Old Pawn Garnet Western Sterling Silver RingVintage Signed Grosse 67 Germany Cabochon Pearls Stunning Cluster Ring - Dior?Vintage & Mod Jewelry Lot Rings Gerda Lynggaard Jade Cameos .925 18kgf 215+itemsVintage Necklace,earrings, Bracelet And Ring Set Whiting DavisVintage Jewelry Ring Lot 25 Piece Rhinestones Faux Pearl Cameo CrystalsHuge Vintage Jewelry Lot! Vintage To Now! 8.10 Lbs Necklaces! Bracelets! Rings!Grandmas Estate Beautiful Western Sterling Silver Garnet Ring