A Light Touch With Big Rings
The cocktail ring, in all its opulent glory, has been one of the signature designs of the Buccellati jewelry house ever since Mario Buccellati was making them to adorn the hands of Milan's most fashionable women after the First World War.
Cocktail ring, Mario Buccellati, 1936
The cocktail ring became popular during the roaring twenties, when women quit wearing corsets and floor-length skirts, and started bobbing their hair, doing the Charleston, and sneaking actual cocktails in speakeasies. This era coincided neatly with the opening of Mario Buccellati's first store in Milan, and his quick rise in popularity with the Milanese elite.
Mario and his son Gianmaria, who succeeded Mario as Buccellati's Creative Director, shared a fascination with the large, striking, unusual stones that serve as the centerpiece of cocktail rings. In 2007 Gianmaria designed an entire collection of cocktail rings inspired by the elaborate style of the 1920s that toured the world for a year.
The original owner of the two stunning Buccellati cocktail rings in our Signature Fall Auction purchased them in the 1970s from the Buccellati store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Both rings showcase the signature Buccellati traforato goldwork technique, in which gold is pierced and engraved to resemble lace or fabric. The rings themselves are ornate, which made a dramatic counterpoint to the understated style of their owner. She was not one to follow trends, but at the same time was keen to keep abreast of what was new. She collected carefully, always with an eye for lasting style. Buccellati, with its long tenure as a top jewelry house, and designs that looked to their own history for inspiration, made a natural fit.
According to her granddaughter, the rings' owner was most often dressed in her own timeless uniform of one of her husband's white shirts with jeans or jodphurs and short riding boots. For an evening out, she'd put on a little lipstick, a Buccellati ring, and string of pearls, and instantly look effortlessly chic. It would be easy to over-style pieces as sumptuous as the Buccellati rings, but in (and on) Annabel's refined hands, they became the perfect accent to her quiet aesthetic.
Annabel, the original purchaser of the Buccellati cocktail rings in our Signature Fall Auction, in her natural habitat.
The Signature Fall Auction
Saturday, September 18th
9:00am (EDT)