Parts of a Ring

Picking the perfect engagement ring design for your significant other can seem like a daunting task, but dont worry because we are here to help. We’ve put together an extensive guide on all the different things to take into consideration when making your decision so that your journey is as pleasurable as possible. Learn about the anatomy of a ring, types of ring settings, different styles of rings, what holds the center stone, ring dimensions, various jewelry terms and much more.


Beginning the search for your perfect engagement ring can be overwhelming. Apart from the huge variety of designs, unfamiliar jewelry terminology used in names and descriptions can seem like a foreign language.

Our design guide will make your search a little easier so you can better communicate the types of rings you want to jewelers. In order to help you learn the terminologies used for ring parts, we have put together this guide to explain the basic aspects of jewelry design which can be used as a visual glossary of the ring anatomy. If you have any questions that aren’t answered by the guide, do not hesitate to contact us.

Design Photo

Anatomy of a Ring

What’s a shank? How is a ring’s depth different from its profile? Read through our guide to learn all about the anatomy of a ring and use the diagrams to become familiar with the different parts of a ring setting.

Ring Styles

Solitaire Ring

The most classic of all styles, a solitaire features a single diamond or gemstone.

Halo Ring

Halo designs features a center diamond stone surrounded by a “halo” of small diamonds or accent stones. A halo can make a small center stone appear larger – a double halo even more so.

Accent stone
Accent Stone Ring

An accent stone ring features diamond embellishments on the shoulders of the ring. An engagement ring with a pave diamond band is a popular example.

Design Guide Threestone
Three-Stone Ring

The three stone ring features a center stone or diamond framed by two side stones, one on either side. The three stones are often described as representing the past, present, and future.

Design Guide Cluster
Cluster Ring

A cluster ring features many small gemstones or a set of small diamonds clustered together as side stones. Gemstones are often arranged in the shape of a flower.

Design Guide Vintage
Vintage Ring

A vintage style ring has a design that evokes a past era. Popular design eras include Victorian (1837-1900) and Art Deco (1920s-1940s).

Design Guide Plain Metal

Plain Metal

A plain metal ring is a fashion or engagement ring without a diamond or gemstones. Plain rings are often chosen by men as a fuss-free wedding ring.

Design Guide With Accents

Ring With Accents

A ring with accents features side stones on the shank. The shape, size, and setting of diamonds or gemstone accents vary by design.

Design Guide Eternity


An eternity ring features a full circle of diamonds or gemstones. Rings that have the appearance of an eternity ring when worn but do not feature a complete circle of gemstones are sometimes described as ‘semi-eternity’.

Gemstone Settings

In technical terms, the setting of a gemstone is how it is held in place. However, the setting also plays a central role in the overall appearance of a ring. Listed below are twelve of the most common different ring settings. It should be noted that the names used to describe settings often vary by country or even jeweler.

Prong Setting
Prong Setting

The most-used setting for center stones, a prong setting uses metal claws called prongs to hold the gemstone in place. The number and shape of prongs used can vary. Most prong settings use four or six prongs. Prongs may be rounded, pointed (‘claw prongs’), flat, or v-shaped. When prongs are used to set a row of accent stones, adjacent stones may share prongs. This “shared prong” setting may be used to minimize metal and space between stones.

Bezel And Half Bezel Setting
Bezel and Half-bezel Setting

A bezel setting uses a thin metal border to hold the gemstone in place. In a half-bezel , a border surrounds part of the gemstone, leaving the sides open. This setting does not allow as much light to enter the stone as a prong setting, but is very secure and does not snag – an excellent choice for people who work with their hands.

Channel Setting
Channel Setting

A smooth and secure setting for diamond bands, a channel setting uses parallel metals lips to hold stones within sunken grooves.

Pave And Micro Pave Setting
Pavé and Micro-pavé Setting

Meaning “paved” in French, a pavé setting is used to closely set gemstones, allowing the minimal metal to show through between stones. Gemstones are typically positioned in drilled holes, and tiny beads or prongs are used to hold them in place. In the case of very small stones (under .01 ct), this setting technique may be referred to as micro-pavé. Pavé setting using beads is sometimes called “bead setting”.

Bar Setting
Bar Setting

A bar setting uses metal bars to secure the gemstone on two sides. This setting is similar to a channel setting except the bars are positioned vertically, making them perpendicular to the shank rather than parallel with it.

Tension Setting
Tension Setting

In this type of setting, the gemstone is held in place by only the tension of the band. The gemstone appears suspended between two sides of the band. A less difficult and expensive alternative to this type of setting is the “tension-style” setting. In this case, a hidden prong or bezel-style setting holds the gemstone in place while still giving the overall effect of a tension setting.

Burnish Setting
Burnish Setting

A burnish setting can be most easily understood as a “sunken” setting. The gemstone is placed in a hole drilled into the metal and pushed down so that its top is flush with the metal surface. To secure the stone, a burnishing tool is used to push a small amount of metal over the edges of the gemstone surface.

Illusion Setting
Illusion Setting

This type of setting gives the illusion that a gemstone appears larger than it is. To achieve this, the gemstone is set onto a shiny metal ring cut to mimic the facets of the stone. The metal diffuses the outline of the stone, creating the illusion of a larger stone.

Invisible Setting
Invisible Setting

As the name implies, this setting does not reveal how gemstones are held in place. No metal can be seen overlapping the gemstones, which together create a single smooth surface. The secret to this setting lies in a special stone cutting technique. Grooves cut into the sides of each gemstone allow them to lock onto a hidden metal rail, with pressure applied from the outer edges keeping them in place. Though stunning, buyers should keep in mind that this type of setting is arguably the least secure of all settings types.

Gemstone Shapes

For a complete guide to shapes, visit the Diamond & Gemstone Shape Guide.

Ring Shank

Commonly referred to as the band, shanks are the parts of a ring that encircles the finger. Shanks can vary in width, depth, and shape. Here we list some popular types of ring shanks.

Design Guide Straight Band

A basic straight shank forms a straight line of equal width all the way around.


A tapered shank widens as it reaches the center stone.

Design Guide Reverse Tapered Band
Reverse Tapered

In a reverse tapered shank, the band becomes skinnier as it approaches the center stone.

Reverse Split Shank
Split Shank

In this style the shank splits into two thinner bands as it reaches the head of the ring.

1 Reverse Split Shank
Reverse Split Shank

A reverse split shank separates at the base or lower portion of the band, and joins together again at the center stone.

Design Guide Bypass Band

Instead of forming a straight line that meets at the head of the ring, the two sides of this style “bypass” each other. The ends may protrude in opposite directions or curve around the center stone.

Design Guide Traditional Band

A traditional shank is evenly rounded at the bottom.

Design Guide Euro Shank Band
Euro Shank

A Euro shank has a slightly squared bottom, which can help prevent the ring from spinning.

Design Guide Cathedral Band

In a cathedral mounting, part of the shank slopes up to meet the head of the ring, creating negative space in the shoulders of the ring.

Design Guide Curve Band

Curved rings can include classic curve, twist, and freeform designs. Wedding rings can feature a single contour custom made to accommodate the large head of a matched engagement ring. Twist and freeform designs are playful alternatives the traditional straight line.

Ring Profiles

A ring’s profile refers to the shape it would be if sliced in half and viewed as a cross-section. Below are the most common profile shapes used for a wedding band or an engagement ring, though the names for bands may vary by country and even by jewelers.

Ring Profiles
D Shape

A D-shape ring is flat on the inside and domed on the outside, giving the profile a “D” shape


A flat profile ring has a completely flat innner and outer surface.

Knife Edge
Knife Edge

A knife edge ring has a flat inner edge and an outside that is angled to form at pronounced peak at the center.


A court shape ring has a comfortably curved inner and outer edge.

Flat Court
Flat Court

A flat court profile is curved on the inside but flat on the outside, giving it a modern look.

Flat Sided Court
Flat-Sided Court

Similar to a court ring, a flat-sided court ring is curved on both sides but features flatter edges.

Double Comfort
Double Comfort

A double comfort ring has rounded edges and is curved on both the inside and the outside.


Halo rings have a distinctive, completely circular profile.


The exterior of a concave ring curves up at the edges. The inside is curved for comfort.

Metal Finishes & Detailing

The finish and detailing of ring metals can make a big difference to its overall appearance. Filigree, milgrain, and engraving, for instance, can give rings a beautiful antique look.

Metal Polishing

The most popular metal finish for jewelry, polished rings have a high-shine glimmer.


Although as smooth as polished metal, a matte finish eliminates shine. Matte rings have a soft, subtle appearance.


A satin finish is smooth and shine-free, but with very slightly visible brush marks.


A hammered finish gives rings a dimpled appearance. Aside from adding visual interest, hammered rings are good for hiding wear and tear. The surface is usually matte but can also be polished.


Derived from the French words “mille grain”, meaning “a thousand grains”, milgrain is a technique that gives rings a finely beaded appearance. Milgrain is usually applied to the edges of jewelry, creating a border, though it can be used anywhere


Filigree is an ancient metalworking technique dating back thousands of years. Very thin threads of precious metal are woven together to create lace-like jewelry.


A brushed finish is a more textured matte finish. A popular finish for men’s rings, brushed metal has a finely scratched appearance.

Hand Engraved

Hand engraving is the technique of carving designs into metal by hand.

Frequently Asked Questions

The shank of a ring is what is often referred to as the band and is the part of the ring that wraps around the finger. There are several different types of shanks, including criss-cross double and silhouette style split.
The “setting” or “head” is the part of the ring that holds the stone, usually a center stone. The stone is held in place by “prongs” which form part of the overall “mounting”.
When we talk about ring cuts and ring designs, we usually are referring to the cut of the gemstone as opposed to the ring structure itself. There are dozens of different styles of cut include emerald, oval, marquise, cushion and round brilliant. The band too can also have different styles.
It isn’t easy to give an accurate estimate of how much a one-carat diamond ring will cost. Several factors need to be considered, including the clarity and colour, the cut and the type of metal used in the band. Prices often range from anything upwards of $2,500.
There are several ways that you can measure your ring size at home, but some are more accurate than others. The best way is to use a plastic ring sizer which can be ordered free of charge from most jewellers. Failing that, you could wrap a piece of paper or string around your finger and take a measurement which can then be compared to a ring size chart. You can also check out our ring size guide for more information.
Diamonds are set in mountings such as prongs, brackets and bezels to hold them in place.
The most popular setting for a diamond ring is the prong setting. The stone is held in place with only 4-6 prongs which allow more light to pass through the diamond enhancing brilliance.
Sterling silver is appropriate to use for an engagement ring. Although it may tarnish and show wear over time.