Humans have always worn rings just to adorn our fingers. Rings we wear occasionally because they are beautiful are known as dress rings. Unlike wedding or engagement rings, they carry no symbolic meaning. They can be worn on any finger, although to avoid confusion, many women don’t wear them on their left ring finger.
Edwardian dress rings have the same elegant, flowing lines and designs as other vintage Edwardian jewellery. They generally feature richly coloured gems such as rubies, sapphires or emeralds in round or oval cuts. Settings reflect the roundness of the gems. When Art Deco came to the forefront, dress rings appeared with a new look. They featured sharp, crisp lines and bold designs.
Fans of big, bold jewellery might be drawn to cocktail rings, a type of dress ring with extra wow factor. This style didn’t really develop until the 1920s. This decade revolutionized the role of women and women’s fashion changed dramatically to reflect that. Skirts and hair got shorter as women grew more assertive and demanded the right to vote. In the USA, the era was marked by prohibition and the public response to it. The ban on alcohol made it chic and daring to go to a speakeasy, a secret bar. The outside was discreet and nondescript, but inside a speakeasy, the music and the fashions were bold and innovative.
This trend didn’t die when prohibition ended. It bloomed. Once alcohol was legal again and World War I was finished, people loved dressing up and going to bars. And when they stayed home and hosted parties, they did it with just as much style. Cocktail parties remained a social staple through the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and into the 1960s.
How to Wear Vintage Dress Rings
Because of their size and elaborate designs, dress rings are not ideal for most workplaces. They were made for nights out and parties. Vintage cocktail rings are ideal for the festive season, when our social schedules fill up with work-dos, family gatherings and nights out with friends. Pair these dress rings with a retro cocktail dress or a more modern frock. Pop one on with jeans and boots for an edgier look. You can wear one for a focused, dramatic look, or you can put on a few if you’d rather revel in the bling. They normally go on any finger but the left ring finger.
Do dress rings make good engagement rings? Some can, but generally not. An engagement ring should be suitable for wearing every day. Dress rings are often too large to be practical on the job. Some can work as engagement rings for some women, but in general, it is better to choose a ring designed to be worn every day for life rather than one that is made for special nights out.