Engagement Ring Styles – Basics
Engagement ring styles range from simple to complex, from subtly scintillating to swimming in sparkle.
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Engagement Ring Styles Described
Solitaire, halo, pavé (prounounced pah-vay), bead set, fishtail… The descriptions go on and on. There’s no limit to human taste and imagination. Are you looking for a classic Tiffany-style solitaire, a split-shank halo ring, a 3 stone ring, a 5 stone ring or something else? Do you want pointed prongs holding the center diamond, or do you want it surrounded by a bezel? Do you want a gallery with high polish or embellishments like milgrain (nee millegrain) or engraving? Is the center stone round or square?
From classic to cutting edge, the world is your oyster when it comes to engagement ring styles. Below you will find many of the styles and terms that you’ll encounter when shopping for engagement jewelry online or at local retail stores.
Let’s Get Practical
If you are proposing, an engagement ring will be one of the most significant purchases you’ll ever make. Likewise, the symbol of your union will be one of the most treasured pieces of jewelry the recipient will ever wear. For this reason, it’s critical to know what engagement ring style the recipient prefers. Candidly, if you’re unsure about her preferences, you can always propose with a simple solitaire setting. It’s a timeless, affordable classic which can be upgraded or changed later.
If you’d like to know her favorite engagement ring styles in advance, here are a few tips:
- Ask someone you’re certain knows the recipient’s ring style preference for secret assistance.
- Take the recipient “browsing” in a jewelry store or surfing one of our vendors’ websites – asking their favorite ring style under the guise of gifting someone (your sister, brother, etc.).
- More tips here.
- Or just ask. The last thing you want is your beloved partner “settling” for a ring style you chose, while wishing she had something different.
Engagement Ring Styles
The solitaire engagement ring style has been the most popular engagement ring style for generations. A timeless classic, it places the gemstone at center stage with elegance and simplicity. The solitaire style uses less metal than other setting styles, making it most affordable. The open style also facilitates easy cleaning of the gemstone.
This engagement ring style adds a “halo” of small accent stones surrounding the center stone. The main advantage of this style is more sparkle directly around the center stone, making it appear larger. Halo styles which can be customized by mixing different halo geometries, accent stones and metal colors.
Pronounced “pah-vay,” the pavé engagement ring style adorns the ring with rows of smaller diamonds set flush with the surface of the ring. This style is supercharged with sparkle which, like the halo, can make the center gemstone appear larger.
Three Stone Settings
An elegant way to add a splash of color, the three-stone engagement ring style showcase a large center gemstone flanked by two smaller stones. Diamond center stones can be accented with smaller diamonds or, alternately, with sapphires, rubies or other colored gemstones for contrast.
Five Stone Settings
The five stone engagement ring style uses five stones set above the shank. The stones may be equal size or graduated to feature the center stone. As with three stone settings, the five stone style can be used to mix or match color with diamonds. The five stone setting can be used for engagement or to add a complimentary wedding band to a suitable engagement ring.
Men’s Style Settings
The terms men’s style and ladies’ style are obsolete, but the term is still used to describe rings with wider, thicker shanks which may or may not include gemstones. These rings suit active lifestyles, are easy to maintain and come with many finish options, from high polish to hammered.
Gemstone Mounting Techniques
The most popular mounting style uses prongs: Three or more prongs rise from the ring’s shank, forming a head which holds the gemstone. The prongs can be shaped differently where they meet the gemstone for aesthetic or practical purposes. For square or rectangular gemstones the prongs act as seats, covering and protecting the corners.
A center diamond mounted into a bezel setting is surrounded by a strip of metal that partially or fully encircles the diamond, holding it securely in place. This setting style protects the stone which is especially advantageous for shapes with sharp edges, prone to chipping. Some people feel a bezel setting minimizes size and makes the gemstone more difficult to clean.
Tension setting is a process that mounts the gemstone under compression. The most appealing aspect of this is the aesthetic sense that the stone is floating between two pieces of metal. Only gemstones with medium thick girdles (or thicker) should be mounted using this process.
Primarily used for accent stones, this process mounts gemstones directly into the shank of the setting, creating a “channel” of sparkle. Like bezel settings channel settings are snag-free because they don’t use prongs.
Other Engagement Ring Style Essentials
White Gold vs Platinum
Milgrain and other Embellishments
Prong Shaping Styles
Antique Engagement Ring Styles
Unique Engagement Rings Styles
Care and Cleaning
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