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Ring Terminology Guide: Engagement Ring Styles

This is a guide to understanding everything related to the building of a ring and all things related to ring terminology. Please refer to the diamond buying guide for everything related to a diamond. This will hopefully provide you the ability to describe the perfect engagement ring styles that you desire.

First, the anatomy of the ring itself.

Not all of these terms are commonly used. Ideally, it is important to know the center stone, side stones, and prongs (the pieces of metal holding in the stones).

Jewelry inspection for an appraisal under a microscope

Shank of the ring

From there, a shank determines the personality of the ring, and where the diamonds can be placed. A shank can be built up with more metal, or it may be completely reshanked and have the bottom half cut off and a new one soldered on. While a straight traditional shank is common, all the shanks are often used and really depends on personal opinion.

Ring Shanks

Ring Profiles

Ring Profiles are next. This is the shape of the band itself, on the inside and outside. First to note is the width. The width of the ring affects its fit and ability to go over knuckles. From there, the outside profile is not something that someone usually picks, and more just comes based on the setting and shank chosen.

Mens' rings often use a flat outside. The inside profile will greatly affect the comfort of the ring but is largely dependent on personal preference. Make sure to try on various ring profiles before picking your favorite.

Ring Shanks

Ring Styles

Ring styles are common settings and various versions of rings. This is one of the easiest ways to begin ring shopping by finding a style you like.

Ring Shanks

Ring Profiles

Of these sets, a bridal set is the most common. It is the typical engagement ring paired with an additional wedding band. This can be a shadow or notched band, or just straight tracer bands.

Ring Shanks

Diamond Mounting

Finally is how the diamonds themselves are mounted into the ring. Individual diamonds are mounted with prongs, or metal that holds in the diamond. The more prongs the more secure the diamond.

Ring Shanks

Prong Types

There are also different types of prongs as well, ranging from double to v-prong/chevron prongs.

Ring Shanks

Center Stone Mounting

The setting for the center stone is also ranging. The more flush with the ring, the more secure.All of these settings are common, and relies on personal preference and budget when picking. Smaller accent stones going down the band can also be set in various ways.

Channel set is the most popular, although it is again a choice based on personal preference. Pave diamonds are also common in various rings as well.

Ring Shanks

Frequent Asked Questions about Ring Terminology

What are the most popular engagement ring styles?
The most popular engagement ring styles include solitaire, halo, three-stone, and vintage-inspired designs. Solitaires are prized for their classic simplicity, while halo rings are favored for their brilliance and grandeur.
How do I choose the right metal for an engagement ring?
When choosing the right metal for an engagement ring, consider aesthetics, lifestyle, and budget. Platinum is durable and hypoallergenic but expensive. Gold is timeless and available in various colors but requires more maintenance. Your choice should be informed by the intended wear and care for the ring.
What should I know about ring sizing?
For ring sizing, ensure accuracy for comfort and security. Measure finger size at different times and conditions, considering that wider bands may need a larger size. It's often recommended to size up for bands over 6mm in width.
Can engagement ring styles be customized?
Many jewelers offer custom engagement ring designs, allowing for a combination of different elements or the creation of an entirely new design to match personal styles and preferences.
What is a bridal set?
A bridal set includes an engagement ring and a matching wedding band designed to complement each other, either by interlocking or sitting flush against one another.
Are certain settings more secure than others?
Bezel and flush settings offer more security with more metal encasing the stone, whereas multiple prongs can also offer increased security and are ideal for showcasing the stone’s brilliance.
How do I care for and maintain my engagement ring?
Maintain your engagement ring by regular cleaning with a soft brush and mild soap, having it professionally inspected regularly, and avoiding exposure to harsh environments.
What is a prong setting, and how many prongs are best?
A prong setting uses metal claws to secure a stone and typically ranges from four to six prongs. The choice depends on the balance between stone security and visibility for optimal light exposure and sparkle.
How does the shank style affect the ring's appearance?
The shank style can alter a ring’s appearance significantly. Straight, tapered, split, or twisted shanks are just a few options that define the ring's look and style.
What if I'm undecided between two styles?
If you're torn between two styles, consider a hybrid of both or choose different styles for the engagement and wedding bands. Jewelers can often merge different elements into a single cohesive design.