What Is A Dinner Ring? - Jack Weir & Sons

by User on Jul 01, 2024

What Is A Dinner Ring? - Jack Weir & Sons

A dinner ring is more than just a piece of jewelry; it's a statement. These rings, often large and ornate, have a rich history and have adorned the fingers of many notable individuals. Today we’re going to take a look at what makes a dinner ring unique, explore its historical significance, and highlight some famous examples that have stood the test of time.

Introduction to Dinner Rings

A dinner ring is typically a large, eye-catching ring that is designed to be noticed. These rings often feature bold designs, large gemstones, and intricate settings, making them a popular choice for formal events and glamorous gatherings. Dinners ring are worn to make a statement. These rings are often worn to complement evening wear and are intended to draw attention. They are usually worn on the right hand, allowing the left hand to remain free for other jewelry, such as wedding or engagement rings. 

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The History of Dinner Rings

The concept of the dinner ring dates back to the early 20th century, particularly the 1920s and 1930s. During this period, social norms and fashion trends were rapidly evolving. The Roaring Twenties, characterized by economic prosperity and cultural dynamism, saw the emergence of bold fashion statements. Women began to embrace more flamboyant styles, and the dinner ring became a symbol of this newfound freedom and expression. 

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The Art Deco movement, which flourished during the 1920s and 1930s, had a significant impact on the design of dinner rings. Art Deco is characterized by its emphasis on geometric shapes, bold colors, and luxurious materials. Dinner rings from this era often featured intricate patterns, vibrant gemstones, and a combination of precious metals. The influence of Art Deco can still be seen in many contemporary dinner ring designs.


Art Deco Diamond and Emerald Dinner Ring

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What’s the Difference Between a Cocktail Ring and a Dinner Ring? 

Though they are often used interchangeably, there are some historical differences between a cocktail ring and a dinner ring. 
During Prohibition, cocktail culture came into fashion because, well, there was no other choice. The harsh liquors made illegally in bathtubs needed to be mixed with other things to make them more palatable for the average drinker. Speakeasys became a center for style and liberation, with cocktails being the perfect place to show off an exquisite ring. 
Cocktail rings were a great addition to the style of the day - kohl eyeliner, ruby lips, short hair and sequined dresses. Cocktail rings were usually large, bold, and eye-catching with elaborate designs, often featuring oversized gemstones or a cluster of smaller stones that could catch even the dimmest Speakeasy light. Most of these rings were not purchased for women by their partners, but by themselves - a nod to the liberation of the time. 
 After the repeal of Prohibition, cocktail parties gradually turned into dinner parties and became less underground and more formal. The evolution of this right hand ring followed suit. The cocktail rings turned into dinner rings and became a bit lower profile. 
From a design perspective, many people associate a dinner ring with a “north to south” style where the ring stretched along the length of the finger. Additionally, while a cocktail ring usually counted a diamond as it’s center stone, dinner rings take advantage of more colored gemstones. 

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Dinner Ring Designers

Cartier is known for its timeless elegance and luxurious designs, and that is no different when it comes to dinner rings. With bold choices and iconic designs, Cartier is a leader in this category.  

Cartier Tutti Frutti Dinner Ring | Photo: Sotheby's

Tiffany & Co. is an iconic American brand that is celebrated for its classic and elegant pieces. Dinner rings from Tiffany & Co. are usually elegant and elevated, with sophisticated designs that  feature diamonds and other precious stones.

Tiffany & Co Vine Ring | Photo:

Harry Winston is Famous for its extraordinary diamonds and fine jewelry so it comes as no surprise that Harry Winston's dinner rings are synonymous with luxury and elegance.

Winston Candy Collection | Photo:

Van Cleef & Arpels is a French designer renowned for its intricate designs and use of high-quality gemstones, making their dinner rings true works of art.

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Famous Dinner Rings and Their Stories

Elizabeth Taylor’s Emerald and Diamond Ring

One of the most famous dinner rings in history belonged to Elizabeth Taylor, the iconic actress known for her love of jewelry. Taylor's emerald and diamond ring, given to her by Richard Burton, is a stunning example of a dinner ring. The ring features a large emerald surrounded by diamonds, showcasing Taylor's penchant for bold pieces. This ring, like many in her collection, became an iconic symbol of her glamorous personal style and impeccable taste.

Bvlgari Emerald Dinner Ring | Photo: Christies


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Jackie Kennedy’s Cabochon Ruby Ring

Jackie Kennedy, the former First Lady of the United States, was also known for her elegant sense of style. One of her most famous dinner rings was a cabochon ruby ring surrounded by diamonds. This ring, given to her by her second husband, Aristotle Onassis, exemplifies the sophistication and timeless elegance associated with dinner rings. The cabochon cut, which features a smooth, rounded surface, adds a unique and understated charm to the piece.

Van Cleef & Arpels Ruby & Diamond Ring | Photo: Christies

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Princess Diana’s Aquamarine Ring

Another iconic dinner ring is the aquamarine ring worn by Princess Diana. After her divorce from Prince Charles, Diana often wore this stunning piece, which features a large aquamarine stone flanked by diamonds. The ring was a gift from her friend, Lucia Flecha de Lima, and became one of Diana's signature pieces. Its vibrant blue hue and elegant design make it a perfect example of a dinner ring that combines beauty with personal significance. It came back into the spotlight when Meghan Markle wore it in 2018 at the reception of her wedding to Prince Harry. 


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The Evolution of Dinner Ring Designs
Early Designs and Materials

Early dinner rings were often crafted using a combination of precious metals, such as platinum, gold, and silver. These metals provided a sturdy foundation for the intricate designs and large gemstones that characterized the rings. The use of gemstones was a defining feature of early dinner rings, with diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds being popular choices. These rings often featured elaborate settings, such as filigree or milgrain, adding to their overall beauty and complexity.

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The Art Deco Influence

As mentioned earlier, the Art Deco movement had a profound impact on dinner ring designs. Rings from this era often featured bold geometric patterns, symmetrical designs, and vibrant color combinations. The use of step-cut gemstones, such as emerald cuts and baguettes, was common, as were decorative elements like enamel and onyx. Art Deco dinner rings are highly collectible today, prized for their distinctive style and craftsmanship.

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The Mid-Century Era

The mid-20th century brought about a shift in dinner ring designs, with a focus on larger and more extravagant pieces. Rings from this era often featured oversized gemstones and bold, sculptural designs. The use of mixed metals, such as yellow and white gold, became more prevalent, adding contrast and visual interest to the pieces. Dinner rings from this period are characterized by their opulence and statement-making qualities.

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Contemporary Designs

Today dinner rings remain a popular choice for special occasions. While vintage designs from the Art Deco and post-war eras continue to be highly sought after, contemporary designers have also embraced the concept, creating new and innovative styles. While traditional gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies remain popular, designers are also experimenting with less conventional stones, such as morganite, tanzanite, and tourmaline. Modern dinner rings often combine classic elements with contemporary aesthetics, resulting in pieces that are both timeless and on-trend.

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How to Choose the Perfect Dinner Ring
Consider Your Style and Occasion

When choosing a dinner ring, it's important to consider your personal style and the occasions on which you plan to wear it. If you prefer classic and timeless pieces, a vintage-inspired ring with traditional gemstones may be the perfect choice. For those who enjoy bold and contemporary styles, a modern ring with an unconventional design and gemstone might be more suitable.

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Select the Right Gemstone

The gemstone is often the focal point of a dinner ring, so it's important to choose one that resonates with you. Diamonds are a classic choice, known for their brilliance and timeless appeal. Colored gemstones, such as sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, add a pop of color and can make a bold statement. Consider factors such as color, cut, clarity, and carat weight when selecting your gemstone.

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Pay Attention to the Setting

The setting of a dinner ring plays a crucial role in its overall appearance and durability. Common settings for dinner rings include prong, bezel, and halo settings. Prong settings allow the gemstone to take center stage, while bezel settings offer a sleek and modern look. Halo settings, which feature a ring of smaller stones around the center gemstone, add extra sparkle and can make the center stone appear larger.

Choose the Right Metal

The metal used in a dinner ring can significantly impact its look and feel. Common metals for dinner rings include platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. Platinum is known for its durability and luxurious appearance, while white gold offers a contemporary and versatile look. Yellow and rose gold add warmth and richness to the design, making them popular choices for vintage-inspired rings.

Consider Comfort and Wearability

While dinner rings are meant to be statement pieces, it's important to consider comfort and wearability. Ensure that the ring fits well and is not too heavy or cumbersome. If you plan to wear the ring for extended periods, choose a design that is comfortable and practical. Rings with smooth settings and low profiles are often more comfortable for everyday wear.

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Caring for Your Dinner Ring
Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

To keep your dinner ring looking its best, regular cleaning and maintenance are essential. Clean your ring with a soft brush and mild soap to remove dirt and debris. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials, as they can damage the metal and gemstones. Periodically check the settings and prongs to ensure that the gemstones are secure.

Proper Storage

When not wearing your dinner ring, store it in a safe and secure place. Use a jewelry box with individual compartments or a soft pouch to prevent scratches and damage. Avoid storing your ring with other pieces of jewelry, as they can rub against each other and cause wear and tear.

Professional Inspections

Have your dinner ring professionally inspected and cleaned by a jeweler at least once a year. A professional jeweler can check for any signs of wear or damage and make necessary repairs. Regular inspections will help maintain the integrity and beauty of your ring for years to come.

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With a rich history that spans decades, dinner rings have evolved in design and significance, becoming a beloved accessory for special occasions and social events. From the bold and geometric designs of the Art Deco era to the opulent and extravagant styles of the mid-20th century, dinner rings have continually captivated party companions.

Today, dinner rings continue to be a popular choice for those looking to make a statement. Whether it's a vintage piece with historical significance or a contemporary design with a modern twist, dinner rings offer endless possibilities for creativity and personalization. When choosing a dinner ring, consider factors such as your personal style, the occasion, the gemstone, the setting, and the metal to find the perfect piece that resonates with you.

In the end, a dinner ring is not just about the sparkle and glamour; it's about the story it tells and the emotions it evokes. It's a celebration of style, individuality, and the timeless allure of fine jewelry. So, the next time you're looking to add a touch of elegance to your ensemble, consider the captivating beauty of a dinner ring.


At Jack Weir & Sons, we’ve spent the last 40 years traveling to Europe and all over the world, curating extraordinary estate jewels. JWS is where the old world meets the new world. Celebrate life, preserve history, and discover your own priceless heirloom jewel. We are extremely grateful for our clients and the ability to help people celebrate their special moments through one-of-a-kind jewelry. To share that gratitude and our strong family values, we chose to partner with Baby2Baby. So far, we've donated $125,000. A portion of every sale goes towards children living in poverty to provide them with diapers, clothing, and all the basic necessities that every child deserves. 
We offer in-person and Virtual Appointments and are happy to answer any questions about your favorite jewel. 
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