The Anatomy of an Engagement Ring
If you’ve recently begun shopping for an engagement ring, you have likely encountered some unfamiliar terms that may have left you feeling confused. While the idea of a ring may seem simple, there are numerous design details that go into each type of setting. Understanding how to differentiate these parts can help you fully appreciate your options and communicate your preferences to a jeweler.
This stone is the biggest gem that sits amid the center of the ring setting. Although the most popular diamond center stone shape is round, fancy shapes, including oval, pear, marquise, cushion, emerald, radiant and pear cut diamonds, are becoming more and more popular.
Accent and Side Stones
Attached at the shank or shoulders of the ring, these stones flank the sides of the center stone. Made up of gemstones or diamonds, side stones can come in an array of fancy shapes for a uniquely compelling look. Accent gemstones can span a portion of the ring or encircle the whole band in an alluring “eternity” style.
The setting includes every part of the ring except the center stone. It essentially refers to how stones are mounted to the band. The setting is intended to support and highlight the brilliance and beauty of the primary center stone.
The style of a setting can significantly impact the overall final look, maintenance and performance of a ring. The six most common settings are:
Solitaire: Timeless and eternally popular, solitaire settings feature an all-metal band with a single stone, placing all the emphasis on the center gem. Solitaire settings can be simple or stylized by pairing them with a gorgeous diamond-accented wedding band.
Halo: Halo settings feature a center stone that’s encircled by smaller gems for a scintillating look. Halo settings can make the center diamond look bigger and are perfect for brides who covet that show-stopping sparkle.
Three Stone: These settings are often preferred for their fiery sparkle and symbolic meaning. They feature a primary center stone and a pair of smaller accent diamonds on both sides. The three stones signify a couple’s journey by representing the past, present and future.
Hidden Accents: Some engagement ring settings include hidden diamond accents. This can be a diamond-adorned gallery, diamond-accented bridge, or diamonds within a halo beneath the center stone. This causes the ring to sparkle from every angle for an especially dazzling effect.
Bezel: These settings are the most secure since the center stone’s outer edge is entirely enclosed with a layer of precious metal. This securely fastens the center stone in place while creating a contemporary look.
Pavé: Pavé ring settings include a band mounted with numerous tiny diamonds set closely together for a glittering diamond-encrusted look. This engagement ring setting is ideal for brides who want a ring with eye-catching sparkle.
The Anatomy of a Ring
Situated at the top of the ring, the head refers to the area that holds up the center gemstone. The head includes the gallery and prongs.
Prongs are the metal tips that hold the center gemstone in place. They are either bead prongs that are rounded, claw prongs that have pointed ends, or sometimes V-shaped depending on your setting and stone shape. Most engagement ring settings include four or six prongs, although some fancy diamond shapes require an odd number.
Part of the head, the gallery refers to the detail on the bottom side of the center stone that’s visible from the side profile. The gallery is a nice place to feature hidden diamond accents and other intricate design details that bring unique beauty to the engagement ring.
Typically located beneath the head, the bridge is the portion of the ring that rests on top of the finger. It supports the head and often includes added design details such as milgrain pattern and/or diamond accents.
This refers to the top sides of the ring that form the start of the shank. The shank can be curved, flat, twisted or enhanced with unique design details.
Commonly referred to as the engagement ring band, the shank is the metal portion of the ring that encircles the finger. Beginning at the end of the shoulders, it is usually all-metal but can include diamond accents that encircle the entire shank (eternity band). The shank is a critical design element that impacts both the comfortability and appearance of the ring.
This term refers to the bottom of the shank where the ring can be cut and sized as necessary. It’s generally easier and less expensive to remove metal to reduce the size of a ring than it is to add metal to increase the size.
Searching for the perfect engagement ring for your unique love story? John Atencio takes a unique approach to engagement ring settings, designing every piece around the center stone. The result is a beautifully balanced, durable design that sets the diamond and ring in a harmonious union based on the wants and needs of your bride-to-be. Visit one of our locations and let our knowledgeable experts guide you toward the perfect ring for your magical proposal.