The Quick And Dirty - There are a five key components that form a ring: Center Stone, Head, Halo, Shank, and Band. All are customizable and impact the price and design of an engagement ring.
Buying a ring is confusing. We were in your shoes, and had to learn about all of the different parts of a ring. Why? Because as it turns out, you can customize just about every part of your engagement ring!
In this article, we break down the key parts of the ring so you will be armed with the best information, whether you are purchasing online or in store.
The center stone is the star of the show and what everyone is going to notice first. This is your classic diamond or alternative gemstone. A 1 carat round diamond is one of the most popular stones and cuts to go here, but there are a whole host of other shapes that people enjoy. Here’s a list of all of them: round, princess, emerald, asscher, marquise, oval, radiant, pear, heart, and cushion.
The head holds the diamond or other gemstone in its place. This is often referred to as the “setting”. Prongs are generally what people opt for, in either four or six prongs. Six prongs will be a more secure and stable hold of the center stone, but with more prongs, means covering up more of the stone. It’s a trade-off you’ll have to consider. We all chose four, because at the end of the day, our girlfriends and their friends wanted to show off the bling.
There are a number of other heads and settings that are offered, let’s dive into a few popular ones. Additionally, James Allen has a great resource guide for all of the different settings available.
The bezel is a relatively simple setting that wraps around the entire diamond. In this case, more of the diamond is hidden than when using other settings such as prongs. However, this setting can accommodate any diamond shape so it’s often used.
With the tension setting, the diamond is essentially wedged in between the medal on both ends. It is a very unique and beautiful design, and the diamond is very secure in it.
While there are a few more options out there, the last one we wanted to highlight was the twist. We’ve seen it become more and more popular over the internet these days. It is a unique design where the metal wraps around the diamond from both ends of the band.
The halo refers to the much smaller stones that you can add to your engagement ring. These stones surround the center stone to make it appear larger and flashier. These are totally optional, but add a nice touch.
The shank is also referred to as the band. This represents the metal ring that wraps around the finger. Shanks generally come in four different metals, but more on that below. They can also be customized to add stones on the shank itself, called accent stones.
Ring Band (Shank) Metals
Let’s dive deeper into the different metals that are available for your band. This is a crucial part of the ring buying process, so we’ll spend time breaking down the different types of metals to help you figure out which one is best for you.
There are four main types of metals when choosing a ring band: white gold, rose gold, yellow gold, and platinum. We’ll do a brief dive into the merits of each metal.
White gold is a far cheaper option than platinum but still offers a similar and shiny color. It consists of gold and is alloyed by other metals (nickel, zinc). It is generally plated with rhodium which gives it the white/shiny coloring. It can however degrade over time and start to show a bit yellow from the gold material in it. If this happens, it can be restored to its original color with a simple re-plating.
Rose gold is popular due to its unique color. The rose color comes from adding copper to it. You can clean rose gold by using a mild soap, warm water, and a toothbrush (or another soft brush will do)
The yellow gold band is the most common since yellow is the natural color of gold. Since these bands are made of a higher percentage of gold, they don’t degrade nearly as much. Gold doesn’t corrode, tarnish or rust. Just be sure to keep it away from harmful chemicals such as bleach or chlorine.
Platinum is the most expensive of all the different metal options. This is due to there being a much smaller platinum supply that is extracted from mines each year than gold. In addition to its scarcity, platinum is a much stronger and resilient metal. It can withstand a lot of stress and almost any environment while still maintaining its alluring shine. It will certainly require the least upkeep out of each metal option.
Frequently Asked Questions
The mounting is essentially the head and shoulders of the ring. It encompasses the head (setting), and the pieces of the ring that connect the head to the band. It can be described as everything connected to the wedding band that holds the stone in place.
The head holds the stone. It can also be referred to as the setting or mount. There are different styles of settings such as prongs, bezels, twists, and tension heads.
The shank is the part of the ring that encircles the finger. The shank is important in the design process of any engagement ring. They generally come in four styles: white gold, yellow gold, rose gold, and platinum.