Parts of a Ring

Picking the perfect engagement ring design for your significant other can seem like a daunting task, but you can relax! We're 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 the different parts of rings and find the best combination of styles, shapes, shanks, and profiles for the perfect piece.


DESIGN GUIDE

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 is here to make your search a little easier so you can better communicate the ring you want to your jeweler. 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.

Anatomy of a Ring

What’s a shank? How is a ring’s depth different from its profile? Read through our guide for a session of Ring Anatomy 101 and use the diagrams to become familiar with the different parts of a ring.


Ring Styles

Design Guide Solitaire
Solitaire Ring

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

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Halo Ring

This style 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.

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Accent Stone Ring

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

Design Guide Cathedral Band
Three-Stone Ring

This ring style 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.

Ring Profiles
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.

Metal Polishing
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).

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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.

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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.

Gemstone Education Top

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 settings. It should be noted that the names used to describe settings often vary by country or even jeweler.

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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.

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Bezel and Half-bezel Setting

A bezel setting uses a thin metal border to hold the gemstone in place. In a half-bezel setting, 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.

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Channel Setting

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

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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”.

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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 the shank.

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Tension Setting

In a tension 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 a true tension setting is the “tension-style” setting. In this case, a hidden prong or bezel setting holds the gemstone in place while still giving the overall effect of a tension setting.

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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.

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Illusion Setting

An illusion setting- actually a type of prong setting- is used to make a gemstone appear 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.

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Invisible Setting

As the name implies, an invisible 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 an invisible 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 Shanks

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

Diamond Color Long Rectangle
Straight

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

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Tapered

A tapered shank widens as it reaches the center stone.

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Reverse Tapered

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

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Split Shank

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

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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.

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Bypass

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.

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Traditional

A traditional shank is evenly rounded at the bottom.

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Euro Shank

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

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Cathedral

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.

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Curved

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, though the names used to describe them can vary by country and even jeweler.

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D-Shape

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

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Flat

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.

Court
Court

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
Halo

Halo rings have a distinctive, completely circular profile.

Concave
Concave

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 your ring’s metal make a big difference to its overall appearance. Filigree, milgrain, and engraving, for instance, can give rings a beautifully antique look.

Unsure
Polished

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

Matte

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

Satin

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

Brushed

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

Hammered

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.

Milgrain

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

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.

Hand Engraved

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

FAQs

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 shank, including criss-cross double shank and silhouette style split shank.
The “setting” or “head” is the part of the ring that holds the stone. The stone is held in place by “prongs” which form part of the overall “mounting”.
When we talk about ring cuts, we usually are referring to the cut of the gemstone as opposed to the ring 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.