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Understanding the Anatomy & Parts of an Engagement Ring

  • 8 mins

Online shopping has made the process of purchasing the perfect engagement ring infinitely easier. There are so many more options to choose from, allowing you to find the ideal ring that fits both your preferences and your budget.

However, if you’re new to the jewelry world, you might have trouble navigating the descriptions of engagement rings you see online. “The brilliant emerald-cut center stone in a four-prong setting is flanked by two side stones of the same cut, which also adorn the shank.” What does this all even mean?

Don’t worry; you’ll find out today. Read this guide on different parts of an engagement ring so you can start your quest for the perfect one with confidence.


Key Takeaways

  • Familiarize yourself with the key parts of an engagement ring—including the center stone, head, prongs, shoulders, shank, gallery, and more—to make an informed decision when ring shopping.
  • While the center stone is typically the most prominent and valuable part of an engagement ring, every element of the ring contributes to its overall aesthetic, durability, and functionality.
  • With ring anatomy knowledge, you can effectively communicate your preferences and design a custom engagement ring that perfectly fits your style and budget—giving the ring a unique and personal touch.

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What Are the Different Parts of an Engagement Ring?

The anatomy of an engagement ring consists of several crucial parts. Here’s an overview of each of them.

 

The Center Stone

Center Stone

The center stone has a pretty self-explanatory name. Perhaps the most self-explanatory name in the anatomy of a ring. It’s the central and most prominent stone in an engagement ring.

Most commonly, the center stone is a diamond, but other precious stones are also becoming increasingly popular as an alternative. As far as the diamond shapes go, there’s a whole host of them, from the classic round shape to the more unique shapes like pear, marquise, or even a heart. 

 

The Head

Prongs

The head of an engagement ring, also referred to as its crown, refers to the setting that holds the center stone in place. Simply put, it consists of the center stone plus all the metal surrounding the center stone.

The primary purpose of this part is to secure the center stone. For instance, a basket head will protect a larger center stone from all sides, making it less prone to damage. However, the head of an engagement ring also immensely contributes to its overall aesthetic appeal.

Take the tulip head as an example. Sure, this head will hold the center stone in place, but it’ll also add a touch of whimsy to the ring.

 

The Prongs

Head

Remember the metal we mentioned when describing what the head of an engagement ring looks like? Well, those pieces of metal are called prongs, which are essentially the metal arms that hold the center stone in place. The more prongs there are, the more secure the centerpiece is.

Four- and six-prong settings are the most popular options, but a uniquely shaped center stone might call for a different style, such as the V-prongs.

 

The Side Stones

Side Stones

Another engagement ring part with a self-explanatory name, side stones are the stones flanking the center diamond on each side. The side stones can match the center stone in shape for a more uniform appearance or contrast in shape (or even color) for a more dynamic look.

Keep in mind that not all engagement rings will have side stones. One of the most popular examples is the solitaire ring where the center diamond is left alone to shine in all its glory.

 

The Shoulders

Shoulders

The shoulders of an engagement ring are the two sides of the ring between the center stone and the band. The shoulders are where side stones are set, if there are any. This part can also vary in shape to add visual interest to the ring. So, you can find tapering, twisted, or split shoulders.

 

The Accent Stones

Accent Stones

Despite a popular misconception, the accent stones aren’t the same as the side stones. Sure, the accent stones are technically also on the side of the ring, but they’re positioned along the engagement ring band. Their role is purely decorative; they add sparkle and detail to the overall engagement ring design without necessarily supporting the center stone.

 

The Shank

Shank

The engagement ring shank is the part of the ring that wraps around the finger. You probably know it as the ring’s band. The ring shank plays a significant role in the ring’s overall comfort and fit but can also add to its aesthetic appeal. For example, a crisscross shank featuring two bands that intersect creates an incredibly unique look for your ring. Besides the shank design, you should decide which precious metal to use for its construction. The most popular choices are platinum, white gold, and yellow gold. 

 

The Gallery

Gallery

The gallery is the area you can see when looking at the ring from the side. This part can be kept plain for a more minimalistic look or adorned with intricate scrolls and filigree designs for a more ornate appearance.

 

The Bridge

Bridge

The bridge of an engagement ring is located at the bottom part of the gallery. Essentially, it’s the underside of the mounted center stone. Like galleries, engagement ring bridges can be kept simple or adorned with milgrain and smaller diamonds.

 

The Sizing Bar

Sizing Bar

The sizing bar of an engagement ring is located at the base of the shank. This area is purely functional; it’s where the jeweler can cut the shank to resize the ring.

 

Make Your Dream Ring Come to Life with Faithful Platform

Now that you’re equipped with valuable knowledge of parts of an engagement ring, it’s time to put that knowledge into practice.

Sure, you can use it to understand existing ring descriptions online. But you can also use it to communicate your preferences accurately when making a custom engagement ring with Faithful Platform. This option allows you to create the ring of your dreams from scratch, showing your fiancée how much you truly care.

Learn more about how we intentionally help you save on your ring so you can invest in your marriage by reaching out for a custom quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the parts of the engagement ring called?

The main parts of an engagement ring include the center stone, head, prongs, shoulders, and shank. Depending on the ring, it can also include side stones and accent stones.

 

What should an engagement ring consist of?

The essential elements of an engagement ring include the center stone, setting, shank, and precious metal. All of these work together to make a beautiful and durable engagement ring.

 

What is the most important thing in an engagement ring?

The most important thing in an engagement ring is undoubtedly the center stone. As the focal point of the ring, this element often carries the most value.

The center stone’s cut, clarity, color, and carat weight (aka the 4Cs) are crucial in determining its brilliance and overall appearance. However, the setting that holds the center stone is also vital for both security and style. Together, they establish the ring’s overall aesthetic and durability for everyday wear.


What types of metals are commonly used for engagement rings?

When it comes to the metal for the band or shank, the most popular types include platinum, white gold, yellow gold, and rose gold. Each metal has its own set of benefits, so the choice ultimately depends on your (or your girlfriend’s) personal style and preferences.