Cocktail Rings - Bling in the New Year!

Remember when cocktail rings were only worn by the likes of a caftan-wafting Mrs. Roper on Three’s Company or your wacky Aunt Florence from Miami Beach? Thankfully, those days are long gone, and the jewelry statement has made a major comeback.

Celebs from Angelina Jolie to fashion icon Cate Blanchett wear them with pride on the red carpet, and we've seen them all over the runway this year from Versace's bold gold looks to Marc Jacobs's bohemian-chic stylings.

Cocktail rings emerged in the roaring 20s during Prohibition at illegal, booze-filled ‘cocktail’ parties. Women went big with fashion statements at these underground soirees, flashing their oversized, colorful baubles for all to see. Cocktail rings continued to be popular in the 1940’s and 1950’s but soon became a fixture in Aunt Ida’s cobwebbed jewelry box until recently.

The fashionable baubles generally have an oversized center stone of 3 carats or more and are typically worn on the right hand (any finger will do). They come in two gemstone categories: higher-priced precious stones (rubies, emeralds, sapphires) or the more affordable semi-precious options like citrine, aquamarine, peridot, etc. They also come in a variety of costume options, like this fabulous oversized, recession-friendly star ring from Nicole Ritchie’s House of Harlow jewelry line for only $38 bucks.

Because of their affordable price points and wide style range, cocktail rings are the perfect alternative to a more expensive diamond piece. The bigger and bolder the better. And since the economy will most likely have us wearing that little black dress more often this year, a cocktail ring is the perfect way to take things up a notch. features a great selection of cocktail rings in all shades of the rainbow:

This amethyst flower ring covers both the purple and flower-shape trend for 2009.

Blue and white topaz bring in the New Year for only $99

And this psychedelic mystic topaz ring from JCPenney is almost $300 off the original price.

Champagne in one hand and a big old rock on the other - -seems the perfect way to ‘ring’ in the New Year, don’t you think?

Building A Basic Jewelry Wardrobe

Whether you're accessorizing for work or play, having the right jewelry can go a long way in helping you project an image of confidence and individual style. But how do you develop that style when you're building your jewelry wardrobe from scratch?

According to, developing your own style means "knowing yourself": what you like and dislike. To determine this, ask yourself "What is my ideal?" and "What turns my head?" Decide if that means contemporary or classic jewelry styles; streamlined or detailed; colored stones or white diamonds.

Also, listen to style-related comments from others. What outfits or accessories do people compliment you on? This will give you important clues about the kind of jewelry that looks best on you.

Next, make sure what you've selected fits your personality and lifestyle. For instance, if you spend a lot of time doing activities outdoors, consider simple earrings that won't dangle too far and get in the way. Comfort is a must. If something is either physically or psychologically uncomfortable to wear, you'll have trouble projecting the kind of confidence and competence integral to developing a personal style.

As for the jewelry itself, stick with the basics in the beginning. The rule of thumb is to always buy the best-quality basics you can afford, so you can add matching pieces later. In gold jewelry, such basics should include a gold chain necklace, classic hoop or button earrings, and a link bracelet. Additions could include slide-on pendants or drops to create different looks with your necklace and earrings. In diamond jewelry, classic stud earrings or a solitaire pendant should be among your first purchases.

Experts advise that you begin with classic shapes that look appropriate with a variety of outfits, and then add pieces that offer versatility of wear or a fashion touch, such as different colors or finishes.

And don't overlook the importance of selecting jewelry that suits your body type. For instance, your height and bone structure play a big role in determining the kind of jewelry that looks best on you. A smaller, petite woman would be better served with necklace lengths that fall below the breast but above the waist to elongate her figure. Meanwhile, a tall, thin woman may want to select a choker that cuts the line of the neck and de-emphasizes her height. And a full-figured woman should stay away from jewelry that's too small or delicate.

Equally important to style are face shapes. The four basic are oval, round, rectangular and heart-shaped. If your face is oval, triangular-shaped earrings are especially flattering. A round shape should seek elongated, dangling styles that draw the eyes down, rather than around. For a rectangular face, try jewelry that adds width, camouflaging the length of the face. And for heart-shaped faces, look for earrings that are wider at the bottom, because style can soften a pointed chin look.

And don't forget to consider your hand type if you're purchasing rings. If you're long-fingered, wider bands will look especially good on you. If you're short-fingered, thinner bands and stone shapes such as marquise or pear that elongate the hand would be a good choice.

Purple Jewelry Reigns for 2009

New Year’s Eve is around the corner, and it’s time to hone in on the jewelry look that’s going to take your fabulous self into the early hours of 2009. It’s a big decision, I know. And while you can certainly never go wrong with diamonds, of course, there is another trend emerging in the fashion world that is worth a jewelry hound’s attention these days. In a word: purple.

Purples in every incarnation – from fuchsia to lavender, violet to plum - lit up the runways this season, and the hue is sure to have staying power well into spring. There is a reason President Elect Obama calls it his favorite stripe on the rainbow.

Purple is a powerful color that has long been associated with royalty and nobility. Color psychologists deem purple the color of good judgment and spiritual fulfillment and claim it also fosters peace of mind.

Will it also foster a rise in my 401k balance? Just asking…

So what jewelry is best to bring out your inner purple princess?

Amethysts are gorgeous gemstones that come in a variety of purple pigments. They have long been a favorite gem of kings and queens - and as an added bonus? They’ve been used throughout history to guard against drunkenness and mental disorders.

Pass the bubbly!

But if your intention is to get a little tipsy on December 31st, perhaps a tanzanite ensemble will add sparkle while you say goodbye to your sobriety.

Although tanzanite is a relative newcomer to the gemstone market, it has made its mark on the jewelry world in a hurry. This rare, exotic gem was first discovered by Portuguese prospector Manuel d'Souza in the Merelani Hills of Tanzania in 1967 in the shadow of majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. The gem comes in a variety of purple shades, but most fall in the light purple or lavender color category.

And if these gemstones don’t work for you, there are purple sapphires and purple topaz jewelry styles to make the likes of Prince and the runway rats proud. So get in touch with your purple passion, dazzle hounds, and add the royal color to your jewelry box for 2009.

Dolce & Gabbana Make Diamonds & Pearls

Prince isn’t the only icon to sing the praises of Diamonds and Pearls, now the famous fashion duo, Dolce & Gabbana, are getting in on the act.

To celebrate over two decades of their successful partnership, the tony twosome is launching a new book appropriately titled, Diamonds & Pearls, which Domenico Dolce describes as “an invitation to the public into our own personal world: one of luxury, intense pleasure and seduction, but also a dreamlike world featuring grotesque and ambiguous situations that verge on the paradoxical”.

Fashion designers love their paradoxical adjectives, don’t they just?

The book is a collaboration with the Austrian photographer Guenter Parth, whom they chose because he specializes in still-life images. The fashion that graces the pages was personally selected by D & G to highlight jewelry of all kinds – from gemstones to diamonds, gold leaves to pearls.

And in a bizarre turn, the clothes are not worn by models but by what the pair call three “real dolls”, or lifelike mannequins made to bear a striking resemblance to real women and built following specifications for their “ideal woman”.

“The three dolls symbolize the perfect woman: we deliberately chose not to take any top model as an aesthetic reference when we made them,” Gabbana explains to The National Newspaper.

I’m not sure that their ultimate muse, Madonna, would approve of replacing flesh and blood with mannequins that are three hairs shy of a blow-up doll in couture, but I suppose anything goes in the name of art.

The book retails for $270 and is available in select D & G boutiques worldwide. All proceeds benefit children's charity, Butterfly Onlus Foundation.