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    

129 Vintage Ladies Cocktail Rings In Large Prestige Ring Jewel Box*sterling*gf+Huge Sterling Silver Navajo Zuni Mexico Turquoise Ring Jewelry 26 Pc Lot! Sc10Lot 12 Victorian Pins Bracelet Ring Gold Filled Jewelry Parts Repair WearLot 9 Vintage Costume Jewelry Cocktail Rings Band Rhinestone Estate Huge BigJob Lot Vintage Antique Costume Jewellery Beads Watches Paste Silver Rings Etc++Vtg Lg Antique Lot Micro Mosaic Bracelet Pin/brooch Earrings Ring Flower Heart10r Huge 25 Wear Cameo Jewelry Lot Vtg Brooches Lockets Necklaces Earrings Ring72 Vintage To Now Costume Fashion Rings Rhinestone Sorrelli Mexico Sarah Cov R14 Huge 27 Pc Wear Cameo Jewelry Lot Vtg Brooches Locket Necklace Earrings RingVintage Estate Jewelry All Cameo Lot Bracelets Pins Rings Perfume LocketLot 10 Vintage Costume Jewelry Cocktail Rings Band Rhinestone Estate Huge BigLot 9 Vintage Now Vermeil Gold Sterling Silver 925 Ring Bracelet Pendant JewelryAntique Victorian Vintage Bracelet Pins Jewelry Lot-opal-ring-chatelaine-links+Grandmas Native American Rare Buffalo Opal Western Sterling Silver RingMixed Lot Of Vintage/antique Costume Jewelry Necklaces Earrings Bracelets RingsVintage/estate Jewelry Lot-rhinestone Brooches-necklaces-rings-earrings-craftsVintage Jewellery Large Collection Of 9ct Gold & Solid Silver & Sterling Stlver20 Vintage Sterling Silver Ring Lot Turquoise Moonstone Abalone Rose Cigar BandLot Of 30 Vintage Costume Jewelry Cameo Brooches Necklace Rings Earings Pendants18 Vintage All Solid Sterling Silver Ring Lot Slv 14k 925 Nf, Uncas, Italy Mex +Vintage Huge Lot Costume Jewelry 22.5 Lbs. Necklaces, Bracelets, Rings, & MoreGrandmas Marcasite Pearl Ladies Hand Western Sterling Silver Ring55 Vintage /modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring LotVintage Faux Pearl Lot Necklaces Earrings Brooch Rings Art Deco Sterling 3.5lbsAntique Vintage Mix Lot Of 30 Sterling Silver Rings-150 Grams -james Avery TaxcoA Stack Of 4 Look Of Fine Jewelry Sterling Silver Eternity Band Ring CollectionNyjewel 14k Solid Gold Vintage Victorian Floral Cameo Ring20 Vintage Sterling Silver Ring Lot Tiger Eye Spinner Butterfly Dolph Heart StarDesigner Vintage Sterling Silver & Amethyst Band Ring (poppy Dandiya)Vintage Jewellery Delightful Sterling Silver And Real Amber Heart Ring SignedHuge Vintage To Modern Cocktail Ring Lot 53 Pieces Glass Rhinestone Flowers EtcLot French Antique Vintage Art Deco Czech Glass Ring Brooch Jewelry Wear Repair63 Vintage /modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring LotGorgeous Vintage Jewelry Lot: Cameos Rings Signed Rhinestones .925 Brooches MensGrandmas Estate Beautiful Western Sterling Silver Opal Amethyst Ring Vintage Lot Jewelry, Rings, Bracelots, Pins, EarringsGrandmas Estate Celine Rare Western Sterling Silver Ring Huge Lot 50 Rings Vintage Costume Jewelry Sterling Silver 925 Rhinestones 304 GrLot Of 24 Owl Vintage To Now Necklaces Brooch Rings Pendants EarringsGrandmas Estate Opal Old Pawn Western Sterling Silver RingVintage 'delcita' Sterling Silver Paste Costume RingZ428) Vintage Gold-filled Lot –necklaces, Bracelets, Pins,rings,watches/chains +57 Vintage /modern Rhinestone And More Costume Cocktail Ring LotVintage Mid Century 3-strand Czech Amber Glass Ring Bead Chain Choker NecklaceSorrelli Necklace-illuminate Collection. Never Worn. Still In The BagHuge Lot Of Vintage Costume Jewelry From Estate Earrings Necklaces Broaches RingLot Of 33 Rings Most Vintage Some Sterling Some Signed Coro & MoreJunk Drawer Lot, Costume Jewelry, Rings, Cufflinks Exc.Antique Vintage Mix Lot Of 21 Sterling Silver Rings 114 Grams Gorham Coral Mexic29 Vintage Rings �� Various Sizes, Stones & Metals - Large Lot - NiceGrandmas Estate Beautiful Western Sterling Silver RingVintage Art Deco Era 14k Rolled Gold Plate Fire Opal Cab Ring Sz 8 ~ 17 X 13 MmGrandmas Estate Turquoise Lapis Western Sterling Silver Ring Rachel Zoe Gold Tone Emerald Crystal Ring Size 7 NewGrandmas Estate Beautiful Old Pawn Western Sterling Silver RingHigh End Lot Of 19 Rings, Vintage - Now, 925, Gold Plate, Cz, Guc To Nwt, SignedHuge Vintage Mod Jewelry Lot Costume Brooch Necklace Bracelet Ring Over 12 LbsHuge Jewelry Lot Costume Vintage Turquoise Rhinestones Gemstones Rings NecklacesVntg Ring Lot Ruby Baguette Opal Emerald Graduating Cz Band Citrine Blue TopazOrig. Box/tag Signed Crown Trifari Gold Tone Flower 3-d Pin Brooch/ear Rings