Engagement Rings Tutorial
When shopping for an engagement ring you can be presented with quite a large array of options and choices. What center stone to buy? What shape, quality and size? What kind of metal? Gold or platinum?
At least as important as the center diamond is what kind of ring style will your bride-to-be like. Perhaps an elegant solitaire or a sparkling halo. However, even within each style category there are options. Will she love a traditional Classic solitaire, or maybe a Cathedral style solitaire instead? Should it be knife-edge or comfort fit? How wide should the ring be? 2.0 mm or 2.5 mm? And so on…
2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Ring
Thin French-Cut Pave Set Diamond Engagement Ring
To assist with your ring purchase, we’ve gathered together detailed information about the various styles, settings and options, as well as a few favorite and classic representative setting styles. Two of the most popular engagement ring designs are the classic diamond solitaire and the sparkly pave setting [above].
The Elegant Diamond Solitaire
The Classic Diamond Solitaire engagement ring was introduced by Tiffany in 1886. Available in the original six-prong version or the more modern four-prong design [below], the idea behind this “Classic” mount is still the same, a setting that focuses the eye on the stunning beauty of one perfect diamond. About Solitaires settings…
2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Ring
Six Prong Knife-Edge Diamond Ring
Along with the classic six prong design, the 4-prong setting is currently the most popular variation of this setting. The four-prong variant is more versatile than the six-prong as it is capable of handling modern square shaped diamonds, such as the Princess Cut [below], as well as the traditional round cut. About Princess cut settings…
Princess Cut 2mm Knife Edge Solitaire Ring
Verragio Four Prong Princess Cut Solitaire Engagement Ring
So popular is this design, that most major jewelers have a version (or replica) of it. A well crafted prong setting is strong, durable and secure, allowing the diamond to be shown without detracting from the beauty of the stone. With its traditional head and knife edge shank, the “Classic” solitaire setting is one of the most popular styles for diamond engagement rings. If you’re looking for a beautiful diamond engagement ring, you won’t go wrong with a traditional diamond solitaire!
Cathedral Style Diamond Solitaire
A popular variation on the Classic style is the Cathedral setting. The cathedral setting is known by its distinctive curving arches supporting a central Classic Mount. The Cathedral setting raises the diamond even higher off the band, which has the effect of making the diamond appear larger to the eye as well as allowing more light to enter the diamond increasing its brilliance and sparkle. Some variations of Cathedrals have a cross support between the prongs for increased durability. The Cathedral is an elegant setting, that focuses the view on the solitaire diamond making it the center of attention [below].
Representative Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring
Wire Basket Solitaire Ring
Basket Style Diamond Solitaire
Another popular solitaire setting is the Basket style [above]. Unlike the Classic setting the diamond is supported in a basket framework. The basket style allows the diamond to be set lower for those that prefer a more subtle look. The prongs can be slightly smaller because the diamond has the extra support from the basket. The basket setting is also often combined with a Cathedral style for a classic, elegant feel. With the Basket setting the diamond is more protected than with the standard Classic style and may be more practical for women on the go.
Comfort Fit Diamond Solitaire
A variation on the standard Classic style knife-edge [below] shank is the comfort fit.
Although the Classic knife-edge is the most popular engagement ring style, some find the edge to be a bit uncomfortable, so most jewelry manufacturers offer a ring option with a rounded surface, called a “comfort fit” [above].
While in the end it comes down to personal preference, the general consensus is that the classic look of a knife-edge makes the diamond stand out a bit better and is the most flattering setting for a diamond, while some find the “comfort fit” to be the most comfortable. If you’re not sure what you’d like, you could try starting with the knife edge, and if it’s uncomfortable replace it with a comfort fit. Just make sure your online jeweler offers a free return policy!
Ring Band Width
How wide should the ring be? The traditional Classic style band is between 2 and 2.5 mm in width, with the most popular being 2mm.
2.5 mm Classic style solitaire.
2.0 mm Classic style solitaire.
Currently popular are the “petite” styles with bands as narrow as 1.5mm. You can also find wider rings in the 3, 4 or 5mm range or even more. Again, the ring width comes down to personal preference. If you are not sure, a 2 mm band is a good choice.
The Popular Halo Engagement Ring
One of the more popular engagement ring styles is the Halo setting. The halo derives its name from the circle (halo) of diamonds surrounding the main center stone. Two of the most popular Halo styles are the classic round halo and the cushion shaped halo [below]. The vintage look of the halo design is a timeless classic and symbolizes the unbreakable vow between husband and wife. The halo accentuates the center stone and increases the overall sparkle of the ring. For more information, read our Halo settings page.
Pave Halo Engagement Ring
Pave Cushion Style Halo Engagement Ring
Infinity Bands, twisted bands, Split shanks and other “intricate settings” are making waves this year. Diamond-encrusted bands and braids give the ring a new look and a lovely ornate feel. To learn more, check out our article on Intricate Settings and Twisted Bands.
Twisted Pave Shank Contemporary Solitaire
Infinity Pave Engagement Ring
The Sparkly Pave Style Engagement Ring
Second in popularity only to the diamond solitaire, the Pave setting (pronounced pah-vay) is one of the most beautiful and sparkly engagement ring settings. The pave style captures the eye by making the entire surface seem like it is covered in diamonds. A pave setting employs only small beads or prongs to support each stone, which reduces the presence of the ring metal, while at the same time maximizes the appearance of the pave diamonds.
Although the pave setting is often initially higher in price than the solitaire, the total cost of ring plus center stone is often less as the center diamond of a pave ring can be smaller without sacrificing on the overall brilliance of the ring. Check out our Pave Engagement Rings page for more info.
Thin French-Cut Pave Set Diamond Engagement Ring
Vatche Petite Pave Princess Cut Engagement Ring
The channel setting is another style that you will often see with diamond engagement rings. In this setting, two strips of metal help to create a dynamic channel for stones that are set side-by-side. The gems are set flush with the metal, which offers protection against snags.
This setting does slightly diminish the ability for light to shine through the stones, but not enough to where the diamonds don’t still look breath-taking. The gems are held in place, side-by-side, by the two metal strips that come from the main body of the ring. Placed along the length of the channel, the smaller diamonds add extra brilliance to the ring. This setting is often considered to be the most secure, since it grips the stone all around, while simultaneously protecting them against chips and scratches. Visit our Channel Setting page for more information.
Princess Cut Channel Set Engagement Ring
Vintage Engraved Channel Set Engagement Ring
Rings with side stones
The “side stone” setting is another popular choice for engagement rings. This setting incorporates other stones that complement the center diamond. One popular type of side stone setting is the three-stone configuration, where the main diamond is placed in the middle, and has two complementary stones (diamonds or other gemstones) on either side, adding accent while still drawing attention to the main stone.
Some people prefer to have the side stones colored, from blue to red to green, or anything in between, which results in a fascinating mix of hues. Each stone has its own prong setting, and with the combination of three stones together, it gives the ring a larger appearance, which is sure to impress. For further information, read our Side Stones Setting page.
Verragio 3 Stone Princess Cut Engagement Ring
Verragio Twisted Shank 3 Stone Engagement Ring
The Timeless Vintage Styled Engagement Rings
Vintage-styled rings are a timeless favorite. Inspired by the elaborate stylings of the Edwardian, Victorian, Art Deco and Art Nouveau periods, these rings recall the beautiful designs of these romantic times. See our Vintage-styled page for more info.
Antique Bezel & Pave Set Engagement Ring
Antique Style Hand-Engraved Diamond Engagement Ring
Colored Gemtone Engagement Rings
Blue sapphires, pink sapphires and other colored stones are a popular choice for engagement rings. Their popularity is due in large part to the marriage of Prince William to Kate Middleton, and a number of celebrity brides recently opting for beautiful colored gemstones. For more information, check out our articles on Blue Sapphire Engagement Rings and Pink Sapphire Engagement Rings.
Infinity Halo Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring
Cushion Shape Blue Sapphire Halo Engagement Ring
Cushion Shape Pink Sapphire Halo Engagement Ring
Pink Sapphire Halo Engagement Ring