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 Victorian Antique Rolled Gold Jewellery-bracelet Brooch Ring ChainVintage Huge Lot Costume Jewelry 22.5 Lbs. Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, & MoreHuge Vtg To Now Junk Drawer Ring Lot Estate Find Unsearched Untested 45 Items Vintage Christian Dior Set - Ring, Pin/brooch & Earrings - Rare 40.8 Grams16pc Lot Antique Victorian Jewelry Bar Pin Locket Photo Ring Brooch BraceletEstate Sterling Silver Genuine Blue And White Diamond Ring Size 8 No Reserve 925Incredible 16 Lot Vintage & Contemporary Multi Design Sterling Silver RingsHuge! Sterling Silver, 10k Gf, 14k Gf, 18k Hge Vintage Estate Jewelry Lot! Rings84 Vintage Modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring Lot69 Vintage /modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring Lot67 Vintage Modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring LotHuge Lot Of 88 Cameo Brooches Earrings Necklaces Rings Stick Pins Old To New 89 Vintage /modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring LotHuge Lot Of 76 Cameo Brooches Earrings Necklaces Rings Stick Pins Old To New 18k Yellow Gold Citrine Ring Signed Burle Marx Size 6.5 Super Quality85 Vintage /modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring Lot13 Pc Gold Filled Vintage Bracelet Pin Ring Antique Watch Lot Elgin Bulova I136Huge Lot Vintage Costume Jewelry Cocktail Rhinestone Rings Cameo Avon Religious47g Sterling Silver Vintage Ring Lot Aztec Warrior Onyx Mexico Flower Cz I128Asian Lot 1 Jewelry Bracelet Necklace Ring Estate Vintage Costume Enamel PinsHuge Lot Of Costume Rings Many Different Styles And SizesVictorian Lot Jewelry Pins Rings Bracelet Old Estate Antique Painted Lady Cameo78 Vintage /modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring Lot120+ Pc 8+ Lbs Semi Precious .925 Ring Rhinestone Wholesale Jewelry Lot $600+Massive Haute Couture Cranberry Red Faceted Stone & Rhinestone RingVintage - Modern Cocktail Ring Lot 52 Pcs Glass Rhinestone Flower Signed 18k HgeSarah Coventry Ring Lot ~ 17 ~ +4Massive & Gorgeous Purple Glass Rhinestone Double Finger Cuff RingStunning Vintage Estate Signed 925 Sterling Silver Gold Tone Size 6 Ring!! 6568jVintage Michaela Frey Bangle Brooch & RingGrandma's Jewelry Box Vintage Costume Ring Collection Lot Of 12 Spectacular PcsLot Of 925 Sterling Silver Ladies Jewelry Rings Tennis Bracelet Necklace DiamondLot Jewelry Most Vintage 25 Pieces Chains Rings Some SignedGoldtone Coral Crystal Flower Ring Size 7 1/2 -- No Markings Lot 14 Fashion Costume Jewelry Rings Rhinestone Assorted Sizes Costume JewelryModernist Rafael Alfandary Brass & Glass Cabochon Ring Canada 3 Lb Vtg Now Nice Wearable Jewelry Rhinestones Ring Cameos Brooch Earring Lot 20Vintage 366 Grams Sterling Silver Jewelry And No Scrap Rings, Pendants, Earrings50 Vintage /modern Silver Tone &sterling Spoon Ring Lot Some SignedLot 2 Jewelry Bracelet Necklace Ring Vintage Costume Mexico Pin Carved Jade6 Pieces Vintage Jewelry, 2 Enamel Bangle Bracelets, 2 Pairs Earrings, Onyx RingHuge Vtg Mens 56pc Jewelry Lot-25 Cufflink Sets Tie Bars Clips Rings Chains Fob+Huge Lot Vintage & Costume Necklaces Bracelets Watches Rings Earrings MarvellaSarah Conventry Jewelry Lot ~ 28 Pieces Necklaces, Earrings, Ring, BraceletsVintage Sterling Silver Lot Of 12 Gemstone Amethyst Cocktail Fashion Rings Victorian Lot 6 Jewelry Pins Child Rings Old Estate Antique Cuff LinksGrandma's Jewelry Box Vintage Costume Ring Collection 8 Pc Lot (bold, Stones)Vintage/ Estate Jewelry Lot-high End Rhinestone Pin/brooches-bracelet-ring Vintage Lot Of 3 Ornate Turquoise Stone And Turquoise Enameled Designed RingsArt Deco Sterling Carnelian Cabochon Deer On Side Ring Size 11 1/2Vintage Jewelry Box Full Of Vintage Jewelry, Cuff Links, Gold, Rings,bracelets..10 Serpent Snake Jewelry Rhinestone Earrings Pin Mesh Bracelet Ring Real RattlerVintage Mood RingFlorenza Kramer Clip Earrings And Rings Mixed As-is Lot 6 PiecesVintage Antique Victorian Art Nouveau Gold Filled Ring Jade Fancy Floral Bezel4pc Vintage Sarah Coventry Ensemble, Bracelet, Ring & Earring SetHuge Vintage To Modern Estate Costume Ring Lot Many Signed Roman Rsc 925 UncasVintage Limoges Brooch & Ring Whiting&davis Co. Victorian Bracelet Women L@@k!!!Lot Of Vintage Silver Jewelry - Necklace, Ring, Earrings, Pins - Damascene +Vtg Antique Victorian Or Art Deco Jewelry Ring Holder Box Display White