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An Expression of Personality: Dress & Cocktail Rings

18 February 20

Throughout this feature we explore our extensive selection of dress rings, the meaning behind them and ultimately, their use as a form of personal expression.

Our clothing, our accessories and our overall style are just a few of the ways each of us can express our own personality. Throughout this feature we explore our extensive selection of dress rings, the meaning behind them and ultimately, their use as a form of personal expression.

A dress ring, which can also be referred to as a cocktail or a right hand ring, is often worn to add colour, glamour or style to the wearer’s jewellery collection. This particular style of ring is one that is often chosen or bought by the wearer for themselves. This could be as a celebration of their own individual style or perhaps for sentimental reasons, to mark a family occasion, a promotion or a birthday.

Throughout history, this style of statement ring was originally noted for their large, often brightly coloured or dazzling, centre stones and symbolised an expression of freedom that stems back to the 1920s. This decade, the roaring twenties, was arguably where fashion entered the modern era, where personal expression, often to excess, was shown through fashion, style and bold often over-sized cocktail rings. Here, each cocktail ring was adorned with diamonds or precious stones, such as sapphires, rubies or emeralds, with unique and distinctive designs only making the piece more eye-catching as the wearer sipped their cocktail.

Throughout later decades, and even now, celebrity icons, such as Elizabeth Taylor continue to be renowned for their, once again arguably excessive, jewellery collections, many of which contained exceptional and distinctive dress or cocktail rings. In 1962, Richard Burton gifted Elizabeth Taylor a rectangular-cut emerald, within a circular and modified triangular cut diamond surround, originally designed by BVLGARI, an accompanied by a co-ordinating jewellery suite including collar, bracelet, earrings and brooch. The second, in 1968, an oval-cut ruby, weighing approximately 8.24cts, once again surrounded by diamonds and created by Van Cleef & Arpels. Finally, also in 1968 and formerly known as the Krupp Diamond, Richard Burton gifted Elizabeth a cut-cornered rectangular-cut diamond, weighing approximately 33.19cts and flanked, on either side, with tapered baguette-cut diamonds. This particular dress ring, which was renowned for its D colour and flawless clarity, is now often referred to as The Elizabeth Taylor Diamond and sold for $8,818,500 by Christies, during The Elizabeth Taylor Collection: The Legendary Jewels auction, on the 13th December 2011.

In more recent years, Megan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, wore an exquisite aquamarine dress ring, originally seen on Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997, to her wedding reception in 2019. This particular cocktail ring was originally created by Asprey and features a vivid ocean blue emerald cut aquamarine with delicate diamond surround.

Today, when selecting a dress or cocktail ring there is a vast array of choice, from coloured gemstones through to diamonds, or perhaps even consider a bespoke design, for the ultimate personal expression. Here, we explore just a small selection of the dress, cocktail and right hand rings created by our showrooms.

Here, on our dedicated dress rings page, we feature an exceptional 2.13ct cushion cut peach tourmaline chosen for its distinctive and unusual colour. This cut, named for its similarity to a pillow shape, is soft and romantic, and in this instance, beautifully cut.

Here, we explore our Masterpiece Collection, specifically the 5.03ct emerald cut which our design team hand-selected at baselworld 2019. This diamond combines dramatic flashes of reflected light and its own natural fire to create an enchanting, and somewhat mesmerising, dress or cocktail ring.

Finally, on our dedicated bespoke design page we showcase just a small selection of the incredible collections created by our in-house designer, Katrina Young.  It is here, that we see a collection of striking coloured gemstone dress rings. For example, The Water Lane Suite. This particular suite is a celebration of our Wilmslow showroom and homage to its Art Deco style interior design. The ring, which is shown alongside a coordinating necklace, features a 4.91ct cushion cut morganite, hand-chosen for its bold and unmistakeable shade of pink. The cocktail ring is finished with a halo of round brilliant and baguette cut diamonds, totalling 0.70ct, and delicately set into 18ct white gold.

There is no limit on the amount of dress or cocktail rings to include in your own jewellery collection, nor a requirement for each of them to be as striking or bold, as those explored throughout this article. A dress or cocktail ring can be, essentially, any ring that expresses a part of you or your style.

If you would like further information about our dress and cocktail ring collections, please contact us here, or to explore further features please visit Inside Prestons.

Our Showrooms

Over the years, generations of families have become customers of Prestons, and many have gone on to become friends. Today, our teams look forward to welcoming you to our showrooms in Wilmslow, Guildford, Norwich and Leeds.

Prestons Guildford


Our Guildford showroom, which is now located on the opposite side of the high street, is designed to reflect the architectural merit of the Edwardian building it now occupies. The store features newly extended spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases, alongside a comfortable lounge to allow our clients to explore our bridal and fine jewellery collections. Explore This Showroom

Prestons Wilmslow


Located in the heart of Wilmslow, this showroom features a selection of spaces dedicated to the fine watch houses it showcases. Of course, the bridal collections Prestons have always been famous for remain a prominent feature of the store and surround the famous Aquarium Bar which sits at its centre. Explore This Showroom

Rolex by Prestons, Leeds


This showroom, located in Victoria Gate, features extensive Rolex showcases alongside a discrete VIP lounge. Every element of the interior design radiates the values of the Rolex crown: excellence, precision and attention to detail from louvre walls in walnut, to the careful calibration of colours and patterns within the fittings and furnishings. Explore This Showroom

Prestons Norwich


Located on the historic Norwich high street, Prestons Norwich has been expanded and redesigned to reflect the character of the building it has occupied for over 150 years. The showroom features collections by Patek Philippe, Rolex and TUDOR alongside our fine jewellery collections. Explore This Showroom
Guildford showroom