As the champagne continues to pour this holiday season, Sotheby’s Diamonds takes a close look at the chicest way to accessorize a glass of Dom Perignon: the Cocktail Ring. Its history is one of a bygone era, eloquently summed up by F. Scott Fitzgerald as “the greatest, gaudiest spree in history.”


CONRAD NAGEL AND KAY JOHNSON (RIGHT), ON-SET OF THE FILM, DYNAMITE, 1929. © GLASSHOUSE IMAGES / ALAMY STOCK PHOTO.

1920s America was a decade of excess: social, artistic and cultural dynamisms fueled opulent lifestyles despite the Eighteenth Amendment. Prohibition gave way to the rise of the speakeasy, where eager cocktail-goers would flock to enjoy a rebellious French 75. The stylish and fashionable women of the decade, The Flapper, intent on enjoying herself and flouting conventional standards of behavior, dressed in luxuriously elegant jewels of multi-thread pearl necklaces, diadems and stacks of bracelets, but none as symbolic as the large, ornamental rings worn on the same hand that wielded an illicit cocktail. Thus the cocktail ring was born, becoming an ultimate status symbol and creating a no-excuse policy for accessorizing your cocktail appropriately this holiday season.

Diamond Iris Ring, Centering a 8.09ct, fancy yellow, round brilliant diamond, in a pavé-set diamond surround with carved sapphire Iris petals and blackened silver stems.
Pastel Ricci Ring, Centering a fancy deep brownish orangy-yellow, 6.53ct, oval brilliant cut diamond. Mounted in 18k rose gold and 18k white gold with a pavé-set surround of blue sapphires, green sapphires and pink sapphires.
Diamond Pavé Cocktail Ring, Centering a 17.78ct, cushion cut diamond. Mounted in 18k white gold with pavé-set single cut diamonds and rose cut diamonds.
Lunar Diamond Ring, Centering a 5.22ct, round brilliant diamond. Mounted in platinum, 18k white gold, 18k rose gold and steel with pavé-set diamonds.
Shamrock Ricci Ring, Centering a fancy brownish yellow, 5.24ct, oval brilliant cut diamond. Mounted in 18k yellow gold with a pavé-set surround of tsavorites, sapphires and emeralds.

Should you still require a last minute piece of jewelry to bring in the New Year, drop by Sotheby’s Diamonds holiday boutique at The Surrey Hotel to find the perfect gift. The collection will be available for purchase in the lobby, 10–24 December, 11am–7pm daily.