Whether you’re shopping for or with your partner, it’s helpful to educate yourself on the anatomy of an engagement ring and the terminology used to describe it. Particularly when it’s time to go in and try some on, knowing the difference between a variety of settings or what exactly the shoulders of a ring are will make your experience much easier and more enjoyable, and likely more successful in finding the one.
The Basic Anatomy of an Engagement Ring
Setting: An engagement ring setting is actually the entire ring, with the exception of the center stone. However, it’s also quite common for the term to be used to refer to how the center stone is situated and placed on the ring, i.e., a prong or three-stone setting.
Head: This includes the center stone plus the hardware, like prongs or bezels, that hold it in place (see The Fine Print of an Engagement Ring below).
Center Stone: This, of course, is the centerpiece of the ring and is generally the largest stone on the ring. Although the center stone tends to be the focal point, there are endless ways to enhance a diamond ring, no matter the size of the center stone.
Shank: The shank is often referred to as the band, but it’s technically the part of the ring that starts below the head and goes all the way around the finger. Shanks are crafted from various metals, the most popular being platinum, white gold, and yellow gold (though rose gold is growing in popularity).
Gallery: The space between the center stone and the shank is the gallery. It can be accented with diamonds, beading (milgrain), or other intricate patterns (filigree).
Shoulders: “Shoulders” refer to the area between the shank and the head. The shoulders are usually where the side stones are placed and can either meld seamlessly into the shank or, in the case of a cathedral setting, form an arch between the head and shank.
Getting to Know the Details of an Engagement Ring
Prong: There are generally four to six prongs holding a stone. Options include round, pointed, flat, V-shaped, or tulip (which affects more of the side gallery’s appearance than the crown of the diamond). A prong setting exposes a diamond’s girdle for maximum light exposure. Perhaps the most classic engagement ring style today is a solitaire diamond with a prong setting.
Bezel: An alternative to prongs is the bezel, which uses metal to rim the diamond, exposing only the area above the diamond’s girdle. It’s more common to see a bezel setting on a round-cut center stone than other shapes, though in recent years bezel-set fancy diamonds are becoming more and more common. There are plentiful ways of setting stones, but prong and bezel settings are two of the most common for a center stone.
Side Stones: Side stones, such as those found on a three-stone engagement ring, sit on either side of the center stone and can flow down the length of a ring. They may also be referred to as accent stones.
Halo: A halo is exactly what it sounds like — a ribbon of stones set in precious metal that encircle the center stone. Halos can be any number of shapes, and there can even be two or three around a center stone!
Learn More About the Anatomy of an Engagement Ring at Waterfall Jewelers
Learning all the intricacies of the anatomy of an engagement ring can be a challenge. The staff at Waterfall Jewelers is highly trained and takes pride in helping customers leave completely satisfied. Family owned and operated for 40 years, we have two locations in White Lake and Waterford, Michigan. Visit us today!
If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call at (248) 623-9422 for our Waterford store and (248) 698-1200 for our White Lake location.