A well-placed, oversized ring — aka the cocktail ring — might be just what I need to spice up my look this spring. Sure, the cocktail ring is less talked about today than in 2012 when Beyonce debuted her giant blue tanzanite finger candy, but fashion gals like to set trends more than follow them anyway.
The right-hand cocktail ring has long been a go-to style move for celebs. It’s been less popular with the mainstream, maybe because the big ring style can easily take your look from chic to shocking. There was a time when we here at Budget Fashionista said this about cocktail rings: It used to be the only people who wore cocktail rings were women named Marg, who lived in Miami with a husband who looks like Walter Matthau and a pet chihuahua named Baby. Marg kept her furniture covered with plastic and drove a 1989 pink Cadillac Seville that she got from selling Mary Kay.
Although we made fun of Marg, she was, in fact, ahead of her time. Cocktail rings are an easy way to look glam without breaking out the entire jewelry box or breaking the bank. (Oh, you laugh…but I can spend insane amounts of time fussing with accessories to create a perfect style. But with the right cocktail ring, I have all I need to make my look pop. Problem solved).
How to Wear a Cocktail Ring
Typically, a cocktail ring features a large colored stone. If you have a large jewelry budget, that colored stone might be of the semi-precious variety — ruby, citrine, aquamarine or amethyst. The budget variety cocktail ring features a more affordable stone, such as cubic zirconia, crystal or blue topaz. Either option gives you a piece that easily adds spice to your accessory collection at a far cheaper price point than a diamond ring. Cocktail rings are particularly great for women with larger hands, as they can easily overpower a petite set of fingers.
A simple cocktail ring featuring one stone and subtle setting can be worn for almost any non-sporting occasion. Pair a cocktail ring with a simple LBD for a date, or with jeans and a blazer for casual office days. Keep the rest of your finger jewelry to a minimum. If you have a different wedding or engagement ring, wear the cocktail ring on your right hand. You don’t want it to dwarf your relationship ring.
How to shop for a cocktail ring that doesn’t look cheap
Do choose rings with one focal stone. The most versatile designs have only one large focal stone. Too many stones in a large ring are harder to wear, since they’re more likely to appear tacky if paired with the wrong outfit.
Don’t choose cubic zirconia. Unless your goal is to fake it ’til you make it, then skip the CZ. This stone tends to make a cocktail ring look gaudy.
Do pick darker stones. Darker stones make for a more dramatic, expensive-looking ring.
Do pay attention to size. If you have smaller hands, make sure the stone doesn’t extend past the bottom of your knuckles.
Budget Cocktail Ring Picks
Swarovski’s Lattitude cocktail ring features a gray crystal stone with a band that’s placed in rose gold. For $79, this stunning piece is a bargain.
A polished brass setting gives this ring from Asa Kaftans ($97) a rich, Old World feel.
The focal point in this ring by Kendra Scott ($95) is the blue howlite — which doubles down on variation for impact.
This pick violates our rule above about having one focal stone, but fashion rules are meant to be broken, right? The multi-stone design works here because the colors and sizes of the stones are complementary. Even though there are four stones, the overall design remains fairly simple. You can get this ring on sale right now for $45 at JCPenney.
Are you wearing cocktail rings this season? Leave a comment and let us know.