Hancocks is delighted to preview a gold, diamond and onyx dress ring by Cartier, circa 1960, as its jewel of the month for November.

The 18ct yellow gold ring is of bombe design set with a central row of seven rectangular faceted black onyx edged to each side with a row of tapering round brilliant cut diamonds (14 in total) between uted shoulders tapering to form the shank.

Guy Burton of Hancocks London said:

“Cocktail rings started out as a sign of rebellion against the Prohibition that swept across America in the 1920s. There were no rules on construction, design or the array of colours used so anything went!”


Cocktail rings were a product of the American prohibition era in the 1920s. This was a time of major societal advancements, in which women were gaining far more freedom in their day-to-day lives, including the freedom to vote.

The overall atmosphere at this time, despite the prohibition on alcohol, was one of exuberance. Women wanted to celebrate their newfound freedom in any way they could, which included being as extravagant and outgoing as possible. Unusual haircuts, short skirts, drinking and smoking – all sorts of things that were generally frowned upon – were heavily practiced during this time, including cocktail parties.

During the Twenties, the rings became synonymous with the glamour of the woman who would ‘dare to wear’. It was said that the larger and more ostentatious the ring, the more on trend the woman was deemed to be.

Once prohibition was lifted, cocktail rings remained a fashion accessory, especially in the 1950s and 1960s when women went out to party. They brie y went out of fashion in the 1960s and 1970s only to return even bigger and bolder in the power-dressing 1980s. Now they are a rm xture, featuring in ne jewellery brands’ collections across the world.


Hancocks is London’s oldest family-run jewellers and is headed by Managing Director Stephen Burton. It specialising in antique jewels from eponymous jewellery houses right through to vintage and contemporary pieces. Its collection range from Art Nouveau to Art Deco, with jewellery from all the great houses including Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels and Bulgari. To ensure it meets the needs of its discerning customers, based all over the world, Hancocks also offers bespoke jewellery, often completed with important gemstones and old-mine-cut diamonds. Well known for offering the best selection of diamonds in London, all are in-keeping with the Hancocks’ ‘best in class’ quality standards. The jeweller has also recently launched three new contemporary collections created by jewellery designer and gemologist Amy Burton, daughter of Stephen Burton, and these are exclusive to Hancocks.



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