Time for a cocktail...ring!

Article from Berganza

Sunday 10th July 2011

The invention of the cocktail ring was inspired by a revolution in feminine culture. During World War I many women were forced to take on new roles for the first time. The age of ladies withdrawing after dinner and leaving the gentlemen to their cigars was gone. With the new lifestyle came a new type of evening, where men and women mixed on a social level over cocktails. Women would go from jobs to cocktail parties and because of this the clothes and the jewellery had to be more adaptable. Coco Chanel introduced the ‘little black dress' in the 1920s-a bold departure from the demure fashions of the previous decade--which could be worn at just such occasions, and jewellery soon followed suit.

The Second World War further encouraged these social shifts, and with all the men away in combat, women came into the workforce en masse, this time for good. This generation of strong, independent young women who had real disposable income needed a new style to match. They chose for themselves what they wore and how they wore it, and they wanted bright, exciting designs which they could afford. Style became more personal, utilising multi-coloured stones, various colours of gold, and different textures in the metal to give jewellery a whole different look and feel. Christian Dior coined the phrase 'cocktail dress', and jewellery was similarly cocktail-ized.

New jewellers immerged, such as Seaman Schepps and Oscar Heyman, to take on the challenge, alongside the established names such as Tiffany, Mauboussin, and Marchak. They stepped away from traditional demure and dainty diamond-centric rings towards less conventional stones with more innovative and daring designs. Bolder jewellery in a chunkier style, diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires were set side by side with lapis, rock crystal, and coral. There were no rules, no constraints, just fun and imagination-a timeless combination. And the best thing is, both then and today, you don't have to wait for cocktails to wear one!

front view Emerald and diamond dress ring, English, circa 1978.
Emerald and diamond dress ring, English, circa 1978.
Ref: 16636
front view Ruby and diamond cocktail ring, circa 1945.
Ruby and diamond cocktail ring, circa 1945.
Ref: 16664
front view Diamond cocktail ring by Van Cleef & Arpels
Van Cleef & Arpels diamond cocktail ring, French, circa 1960
Ref: 16945
Tiffany emerald sapphire ring berganza hatton garden
Emerald and sapphire ring, by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany & Co., American, circa 1960.
Ref: 16943
Marchak emerald ruby diamond ring berganza hatton garden
Marchak emerald, ruby and diamond ring cocktail ring, French, circa 1950.
Ref: 16957
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