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Everything You Need to Know About Engagement Ring Styles

Everything You Need to Know About Engagement Ring Styles

Engagement ring. Micro-pave. Channel setting. Bezel setting. Halo setting. Cathedral setting? Shank? That one sounds scary...yikes! These are terms familiar to a jeweler but what do they mean? Does it matter? Do these terms go past esthetics? Yes! When choosing an engagement ring style, the resounding answer is YES. Some of these terms mean so much more than the look: they impact day to day wear, durability and resizing down the road. We hope to clarify some of these terms & if we may be so bold, present THE complete guide to choosing your perfect engagement ring.

Your Buying Guide to:

Solitaire Engagement Rings

a yellow gold engagement ring with a round brilliant cut diamond

Traditionally, a solitaire engagement ring has one main diamond, without any smaller stones on the band. A center diamond takes center stage - all the focus is on that one beautiful diamond. While the band can reflect your personal style with carving, varying widths on the foundation & custom ring finishes this style is all about the diamond. A solitaire engagement ring requires the least maintenance. You’ll want to have your prongs (the gold or platinum holding your center stone) checked yearly for security & tightness but short of that, easy breezy wearing!

Rings with Side Diamonds

an engagement ring with a round cut diamond and big to small diamonds on the band

A very popular choice is a ring with smaller diamonds on the band. They can be held in different ways but a classic design like this Petite Crescent engagement ring from Tacori is prong set with round brilliant cut diamonds graduating in size from biggest to smallest. We’ll delve into this further in the article but prong set means the diamonds are secured with small points of gold or platinum called “prongs” or sometimes “claws”.

Three-Stone Ring Settings

Three-Stone engagement ring settings are exactly how they sound- they are rings with three prominent diamonds (or sometimes gemstones). In many designs the center stone is a larger carat size than the two on each side. There may also be smaller diamonds on the band! This is also a great choice to incorporate your personal style. One way to do this is choosing complimentary but different shapes for the side stones. In the Tacori ring below, pear cut diamonds are set with an oval cut diamond center for a striking & unique look.

a yellow gold engagement ring with an oval diamond in the center and one pear cut diamond on each side

Explore different diamond shapes, have fun! Another option is to incorporate gemstones - rubies, sapphires or even colored diamonds.

Pro tip: If you are considering a three-stone engagement ring be sure to try on wedding bands while shopping for your engagement ring. Even though you won’t be purchasing it at the same time, you’ll want to make sure you have options you will love with this style.

Split Shank

an oval cut diamond on a white gold split shank band

First off, the shank of a ring is simply the band of a ring. They are often categorized by their appearance - in this case a split shank means there is a split in the band. In this Dantela diamond engagement ring by Tacori, the split is very minimal, just a hint of intrigue. The space can be small or large, be sure to try on many variations to decide if this is your perfect ring!

Pro tip: trying on wedding bands with split shanks while engagement ring shopping is crucial! A good number of people don’t love the look of a wedding band with split shank...make sure you do before you commit to this ring style.

Halo Engagement Rings

Personally one of my favorite ring styles! Sometimes referred to as a cluster setting although I don’t feel that’s quite accurate (a little pet peeve of mine!)

an oval cut diamond on a white gold band with a double halo of diamonds

A halo engagement ring means there is a string of diamonds around the center stone. This gives the illusion that center diamond is bigger than it actually is. Typically these will be white diamonds, but we have customized halo rings with gemstones or colored diamonds. The diamonds in the halo can be small for just a hint of pop, large & prominent for maximum effect or even with a design unique to the wearer. In this engagement ring style by Simon G, an oval cut diamond is showcased by a double halo of sparkling round brilliant cut diamonds. Truly a setting style with so many options!

Pro tip: if you have an especially busy lifestyle or work with your hands, speak to your local retailer about the durability of the halo ring you are considering. Depending on how the small diamonds are set, there may be more maintenance to this style. A good rule of thumb: the more small diamonds on a ring the more maintenance the ring will have!

Now that we’ve covered the most desired engagement ring styles you will see in retail stores, let’s delve into some different ways that large & small diamonds might be set.

Your Buying Guide to:

Prong Setting

Prong setting can and will apply to both the center diamond and any side stones the ring may have. Prongs are the gold or platinum points used to secure diamonds. On a main center diamond, the most common ring settings sport either four or six prongs (six prongs always make us think of a classic solitaire by Tiffany).

On these two rings set with marquise shaped diamonds, the first one has four prongs, the second has six prongs. More prongs equal increased durability but also change the look of the ring.

a marquise cut diamond solitaire ring with four prongs

a yellow gold ring with six prongs holding a marquise shaped diamond

Eagle Prongs

A relatively new style, eagle prongs refer to prongs that come to a point. They can be used on any shape of diamond and more so an esthetic choice for your center stone.

an emerald cut diamond on a yellow gold band with side diamonds and eagle prongs

This emerald cut center stone is set with double eagle prongs. Note the graceful execution on this yellow gold vintage style ring by award winning designer Noam Carver (yes, available at Perrara!)

Micro-pavé Settings

Micro-pavé refers to a style of setting where are loads of small diamonds and each one shares the prongs of the diamond beside it. This style of stone setting is very meticulous & each diamond must be perfectly matched for carat, clarity and color to ensure a uniform look. This ring design is bold & beautiful. Note how round diamonds are micro-pavé set and oval cut diamond is showcased on this engagement ring by Noam Carver. The micro-pavé is in three small rows.

a rose gold ring with an oval cut center diamond and micro pave foundation

Pro-tip: engagement rings and wedding bands that are micro-pavé set do not size well. Depending on how far down the band the micro-pavé goes, resizing may not be an option. You may need to commit to a ring size for life so discuss with your local jeweler to be sure this is a wedding ring that will work for you long term.

Bezel Setting

an emerald cut diamond is bezel set on a yellow gold ring

Bezel setting means that a thin band of gold will go around each diamond. On this yellow gold emerald cut diamond ring by Noam Carver, the center diamond is set low with a bezel setting. The really amazing pro on this style of setting is there are no prongs to catch on things. It is a very smooth, practical way to set a diamond with very little maintenance. If you are active, busy with your hands and want a no fuss ring style that goes though all facets of life with you, consider bezel set!

Channel Setting

Typically you’ll see channel setting on the band of an engagement ring as this style of setting is rarely used for a center stone. Channel set means there are two bars of gold (white gold, yellow gold or rose gold) and the round, baguette or princess cut diamonds are set between them. Like bezel setting this is a very smooth way to set diamonds - there are no prongs. On this stunning engagement ring by Parade Designs, baguette cut diamonds are set on the band. The center is a stunning radiant cut diamond, which is an elongated square cut.

a radiant cut diamond on a white gold ring with channel set baguette cut diamonds

Hidden Halo Setting

A hidden halo ring setting is an ingenious way to spice up a classic solitaire wedding ring. Prong set from the top, there is a string of small diamonds on the profile of this Noam Carver beauty. While of course you will gaze down at your ring about every five seconds after he pops the question, a hidden halo provides beauty from every angle. Think gripping the top of the steering wheel in traffic. This is the time to admire your hidden halo which you will see on the profile of your engagement ring. A special detail giving your engagement ring 360 degree magic.

an engagement ring with a hidden halo

It’s important to note that so many elements described in this post can be combined into your dream ring. A white gold bezel set emerald cut diamond with a micro-pavé band? A yellow gold prong set marquise cut diamond with a hidden halo setting? A rose gold princess cut diamond with eagle prongs & a channel set foundation? Really, the sky’s the limit! If you’re shopping for your dream engagement ring, take the time to try on lots of ring styles, even those that may not be your personal style. You may fall in love with an element and your jeweler may be able to incorporate it.

You will also want to chat with your jeweler about the feasibility of gemstones in an engagement ring. Many gemstones such as opals, emeralds, pearls and tanzanite are not good candidates for a ring that you are going to be wearing daily. The gems listed above are much softer than a diamond would be and susceptible to scratching, breaking, or chipping under every day wear. Gemstones like sapphire and rubies are closest in hardness to a diamond, yet still softer. You’ll want to know all the all the details of a particular gemstone before you incorporate it into your wedding ring. Even the choice between a natural mined diamond vs lab-grown diamond is a choice you will have to make and we recommend making an informed decision based on what is important to you.

In Summary:

At Perrara, customization is at the heart of everything we do. While we have hundreds of engagement rings, wedding bands and wedding rings in stock for you to try on, we love to brainstorm to bring your vision to life. After all, it’s a symbol of commitment and something you’ll wear for the rest of your life. It should be that special. It should be all that is you.

With Love, Perrara

Author: Lisa Maloney, Proprietor

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