The Cocktail Ring (a Tongue in Cheek History)

The cocktail ring is a must-have for any woman on the go. It’s large stones and sparkling presentation make it the ostentatious ring of choice for socialites of all statures.

Contrary to the urban legends of today, the Cocktail Ring has its’ origins, not in the prohibition era of 1920’s rebellion, but dates back to the year 1647, when Lord Reginald Farquar Cocktail, of the Coventry Cocktails, first adorned his finger with the tail feathers of his favorite rooster, Neville. Neville was an extraordinary specimen of poultry magnificence with a large ruby-red comb adorning his head like a crown. This fit his personality so well because he truly thought of himself as the King of the Barnyard. What really set him apart, however, was his exquisitely colorful plumage. With shades of sinopia, persimmon, coquelicot and amaranth as well as amber and burnt orange, Neville was, and remains to this day, the most colorful rooster of all time. His name has been entered into the Rooster Hall of Fame, where a bust of Neville was submitted by the famous sculptor, Chip Stone. His legend lives on in the lives and hearts of roosters everywhere.

The fashion of wearing rooster feathers as a ring caught on quickly and soon the nobility were all wearing the trendy rooster-feather cocktail rings. Queen Elizabeth (Lizzie the first) was even seen sporting a cocktail ring in parliament.

Just as many trends today start in California and work their way east, so too did trends move back and forth between the continent, as it was then called, and England. By the time the French were exposed to the marvelous confection of rooster tail feather rings, a month or more had passed. Marie Antoinette was not to be outdone, however, and soon was seen with a generously sized rooster feather on her hand as well. Marie was known to be over the top about everything so, of course she started the style of rooster feather necklaces and eventually rooster feathers adorned her hats as well.

When the commoners cried out that they had no cocktail rings, Marie stated “Then let them wear tie tacks”. Rumor has it that this incensed the populace so much, especially since no one was wearing ties that year, that they overran the Bastille and called for Marie’s head. In their lust for cocktail rings, people stripped the roosters of all their feathers. One can imagine the embarrassment of those poor naked roosters. This is where the saying “ruffled feathers” comes from. This led to the tragic rooster uprising of 1650, a bloody carnage which caused a complete shortage of roosters for many years to come.

Subsequently, pets, small hand tools and levers proved unsuccessful substitutes. Eventually, they hit upon using gold, silver and precious stones. Today, the precious stones and high noble metals have been updated to include lab-created stones, lucite, rhodium and even gold filled varieties!

Due to the organic composition of the rooster-feather cocktail rings, very few have survived the ravages of time. The originals are oftentimes in poor condition and are extremely rare due to the aforementioned rooster uprising and the unionization of roosters worldwide. An original can be viewed at the KFC next to the Tower of London between the hours of 2:00pm to 6:00pm British Standard Time.