When you go shopping for a ring, usually the diamond and the design of the ring will take away most of your attention. But there are several other aspects of the ring that can go unnoticed. Wonder what they are? In this article, we’ll take you through every part of a ring, one by one. Prepared to take notes? Keep scrolling…
1. Center Stone
The center stone is precisely the centerpiece of the ring. It is usually the largest stone on the ring, secured in the middle of the shank. A center stone can be a diamond or a colored gemstone like a sapphire, ruby, emerald, aquamarine or any other gem. If it is a diamond, it will draw attention with its breathtaking brilliance, while a colored gemstone will allure with its color and sparkle. While the center stone can be the star of the show alone, it can be accompanied by side stones and accents. There are several ways to showcase the center stone on a ring – solitaire, halo, double halo, three stone, east-west, tilted and ornate.
The head refers to the part of the setting that holds the center stone in place. There are different types of heads used in setting the center stone – prong head, claw head, channel head, basket head or bezel. The prong head is the most popular option as it allows maximum light entry and helps in amplifying the diamond’s scintillation. It also keeps the metal visibility to a minimum unlike a bezel, channel or basket. It comes in various styles including rounded prongs, double prongs, flat prongs, square prongs and V prongs. The head not only focuses on the stone’s security and longevity but also contributes to the overall design and look of the ring.
The setting, also referred to as mounting, supports the center stone. It extends from the shank and gives the ring a distinct look from the front. Some of the ornate settings give a luxurious and vintage feel to the jewel.
The shoulders are the top two sides of the ring that form the beginning of the shank (think of them as the shoulders of a person). Either they can be a part of the entire band or can link the band to the ring’s setting. Typically, they are embellished with decorative motifs and diamond accents to enhance the brilliance of the center stone or left unadorned.
When you look from the top, the girdle is the part of the gemstone that creates the outline. It separates the crown (top) from the pavilion (lower part). The thickness of the girdle is a significant aspect of the diamond and it depends on the cut. A very thin girdle is vulnerable to chipping while a very thick girdle can limit the interaction of light with the gem. Moreover, the head of a setting secures the diamond by its girdle.
6. Side Stones
Side stones (not to be confused with accents) are placed on either side of the center stone. The side stones could be diamonds or colored gemstones. For a balanced look, the side stones should match the quality of the center stone.
The shank or the band is the part of the ring that goes around your finger. It is designed in several beautiful ways such as tapered, split shank, bypass, double shank, criss cross, infinity, rope, knife-edge shank and other ornate styles. One of the most important aspects of the shank is to make sure that the ring fits you properly. Sometimes for added beauty, diamond accents are embellished along the entire shank and on its front. The inside of the shank can be used for an inscription – such as a meaningful message or your engagement date.
8. Accent stones
Accent stones are the small stones that are placed along the ring’s shank and the gallery. The accent stones enhance the overall sparkle of the main stones and complement the design of the ring. They are showcased in various settings – channel, pave, shared prong and others.
The gallery is the part that is underneath the center stone and can be seen from the side and front profiles of the ring. It sits over the top of the finger and can be decorated with filigree detailing and accents.
The bridge is the part of the ring which is underneath the gallery and gives a front view of the ring. It can either be plain or embellished with diamonds, milgrain work and other intricate details.
11. Sizing Area
The sizing area is at the base of the shank where the jeweler can cut and resize your ring. It is an important part to consider especially for full eternity, patterned or tapered bands.
With a thorough idea about the anatomy of a ring, you’ll have a broader perspective about its design, which will help you to make an informed decision for your next purchase.