Beverly R Blog

Art deco jewelry was born in the roaring 20s when social change for women was reflected in women's style with short hair and dresses adorned with jewelry inspired by many cultures’ art. Geometric shapes, intricate designs, and other complex patterns were surrounded by encrusted diamonds for decadent jewelry representing the rebellion of women during the prohibition, especially cocktail rings that were designed to make a statement. When it comes to retro jewelry Chicago residents love pieces that capture the era.

Vintage art deco

Cocktail rings were designed as the showiest of art deco jewelry, with large stones raised by platforms and surrounded by encrusted precious stones, to create large statement rings. They were designed with colorful stones and abstract shapes for a dramatic fashion statement. Popular designs of the era included large diamonds, emeralds, or sapphires set mainly in platinum and surrounded with diamonds, rubies, and emeralds. Find the most glamorous antique rings Chicago has to offer.

Material and value

Because authentic art deco cocktail ring is made with precious metals it obviously affects its value. Because antique costume jewelry is made with artificial stones and other inexpensive materials, it can still have historical value, but never as much as the ‘real thing’ . Slightly more expensive jewelry is made with semi-precious stones set in silver, and fine jewelry is made with precious stones and set in gold or platinum,  making it the most valuable. For example, the 1920s' most valuable jewelry was made with large precious stones, while the cheaper versions were made of semi-precious stones. It is interesting to note that the 1920’ & 30’s they had just been able to develop synthetic gemstones, and due to their novelty at the time were very often more expensive than the real gemstones; now however, the novelty has worn off, and people only want the genuine article.

Throughout the decades

Over the decades, cocktail rings have evolved yet never lost their design aesthetic, guiding the art deco movement. After the prohibition era, cocktail rings evolved to dinner rings which were still glamorous and large, designed with diamonds encrusted around larger, colorful stones. In the 1990s, cocktail rings often featured a black pearl as the center with sunburst-style encrustments.

Current trends

Vintage art deco rings are made with large cut precious stones which are no longer available, because many of the mines they came from are no longer producing gemstones, also the techniques have changed where mounts were hand made to create unique rings that honored the vintage styles. More current designs are mass produced with molding metals into shapes like animals, flowers, or other forms and lay smaller cut stones into a pattern such as the petals on the flower shape. Some rings use smaller cut stones to create a larger stone pattern with bold colors.

The cocktail ring has been a staple in women’s fashion and as jewelry-making advances, current designs mimic vintage art deco cocktail rings with geometric shapes and delicate details. Created as a fashion statement, cocktails rings were large, dramatic, and flashy, while serving to mark a time of change in women’s fashion. At a retro jewelry shop Chicago residents can find antique engagement rings or the best Georgian jewelry Chicago has available.