Guide to Engagement Ring
Styles & Settings

Styles vs. Settings

We use the term "style" to refer to the overall look and feel of a ring - is it a sleek modern ring, with a simple band and a step cut diamond, or is it an ornate vintage-inspired ring with hand engraved details and a pavé setting?

An engagement ring's "setting" refers to the entire ring - and in particular how the ring's gemstones are mounted, or held in place. A ring is made up of both a "head" which is the top of the ring that includes the gemstones, and the "shank" which is the part of the ring that encircles the finger.

We start with reviewing overall ring styles, and the explain common settings.

A vintage inspired ring is a wonderful option for anyone who loves intricacy and detail, and there is no better inspiration than looking into the past when craftsmen use old tools and techniques to create embellishments for literally every square millimeter of a piece of jewelry.

We love history and we are in awe of handmade jewelry of the past, especially in the age of Edwardian and Art Deco jewelry. For clients who share our passion in vintage inspired designs, we will take ideas from the past, and recreate them using newer technology.   Sometimes we might add in a modern twist, or just to update the look but keeping the old world charm. Also, a common concern with actual vintage jewelry is that many are not in good shape because metal can lose structure and thin out over many years of wear. Although recreating vintage inspired jewelry can be extremely laborious, we think it is worth every ounce of effort because of how truly special and beautiful it is.

A cushion cut old mine diamond ring features an antique diamond cut as well as style.

A classic emerald cut green sapphire is set in a vintage-inspired band.

Marquise shape diamond sets this Edwardian-era inspired ring apart.

Hand engraving on our Skyla vintage inspired ring.

Black rhodium provides a vintage flare to our Francesca ring.

We love being in nature, and we think there is no better design than the natural world. For those who share in this sentiment, and want a miniaturized keepsake to remind them of our beautiful world, we’ve created a whole collection of engagement rings inspired by elements of the earth - leaf detailing, bark texture, and organically twisted bands and sculptural forms are just some of the ideas that we’ve incorporated into our rings.

Our Laurel ring with bark texture throughout is a subtle nod to nature.

This wave-inspired engagement ring is a twist on the classic solitaire

A rustic Montana sapphire is highlighted with nature inspired leaf detailing.

Our Matilda features subtle leaf accents that secure the center stone.

Our solitaire engagement ring with leaf accents.

Every engagement ring is imbued with a certain sense of romance, but in looking for the perfect ring you will certainly find that the designs of some rings will convey the sentiments they stand for more strongly than others.

Rings with a more romantic feel will often feature stones with softer, warmer coloring, such as a lusciously pink morganite, or a stone that compliments the warmer hue of rose gold.

A ring meant to capture and convey lasting romance will highlight the softer lines and heightened scintillation of certain cuts of stones, often featuring the ever sensuous pear shape diamond, or the overtly romantic heart shape cut.

Our Shanel - Pear is simply pretty in pink.

Magrette ring in an engagement ring stack featuring all rose gold.

Our Marcellina is glorious and fit for a queen

A diamond studded rope band is the highlight of our Shanel.

Modern rings borrow in equal measure from the chic, strong lines of modern architecture and the kinetic dynamism of contemporary art. They take on a sculptural quality that transforms the stone they feature from a single sparkling accent to the centerpiece of a mesmerizing and ultra-sleek, entirely complete and strikingly wearable design.

Modern rings may feature simple solitaires, bezel or other minimal settings, knife edge and tapered bands, and an off-kilter stone orientation.

A minimalist oval bezel set diamond with clean lines.

Stunning yet simple mixed metal marquise diamond

Classic engagement rings feature timeless designs and traditional cuts for the bride who wants simplicity and a tried-and-tested look.

Clean lines on the band, tight or subtle pavé accents, and diamond solitaires, sometimes flanked to create three stone look, are most typically associated with classic designs.  

Emerald and other step cut diamonds when paired with simple bands lend traditional flair to classic engagement rings.

Engagement Ring Settings

An engagement ring's "setting" refers to the entire ring - and in particular how the ring's gemstones are mounted, or held in place. A ring is made up of both a "head" which is the top of the ring that includes the gemstones, and the "shank" which is the part of the ring that encircles the finger.  

The solitaire engagement ring dates back roughly 130 years (for context… it’s older than the modern telephone!), and since that time has been celebrated for its clean and sophisticated engineering, which lets a diamond, most traditionally a round brilliant diamond, shine to its fullest capacity. Some have narrower bands which have the effect of making a smaller diamond appear larger, and compliment small fingers. Others have thicker bands which allow for more options in the way the diamond is set. The brain child of Charles Lewis Tiffany himself, the solitaire is a long admired and beloved option.

Often described as “the new classic,” the halo ring features one center stone, usually, though not always round or with rounded edges, framed with round stones to increase the appearance and overall sparkle of the ring. Depending on the size of the center stone, the stones creating the ethereal “halo” around the stone may vary in size and cut. A halo is a wonderful choice for anyone looking for a romantic way to increase the visual impact of the ring’s central stone, particularly its shape!

A three stone ring features one larger stone flanked by two usually slightly smaller stones of complimentary shape. In a three stone ring, the center stone will usually be set so as to be raised, giving the composition of the ring a lovely visual focus and some architectural interest. The shape of the center stone generally determines the shape of the flanking stones… for instance, an emerald cut’s stark elegance and geometry would most likely be flanked by similarly step cut Asscher or Emerald, just as an Oval shape may be flanked by soft, rounded half moons.

While most traditional engagement rings feature a single band supporting either a solitary stone or a lovely composition of sparkles, there are rings with more elaborate designs in which the shank of the ring, from its nexus at the base of the finger, splits into two branches that frame the diamond or composition of stones, these are known as “split shank” designs. A split shank design is loved both for their versatility and their durability. While the double shank means that the overall architecture of the ring is more secure, it can also make it far more unique, as the shanks themselves can intertwine, feature stones or texturing of their own, etc. They also significantly increase the visual impact of the ring as a whole, giving you a strong overall composition on the finger.

A bezel setting is a setting in which, instead of prongs, a ring of metal wraps around the stone, holding it in place and adhering it to the shank. The bezel setting is by far the most secure and protective setting available, as the metal reaches above the girdle of the diamond, elegantly framing the stone in a manner that is at once old fashioned and entirely modern and sleek.

Pavé is the French word for “paved” which makes perfect sense when considering what we mean when we say “pavé diamonds.” A pavé diamond setting is a setting that is paved with melee (1 to 2 mm) brilliant cut diamonds set that are bead set, or set with four small prongs that reach ever so slightly over the top of the diamond. Pavé can be thought of as a delicate carpet of unrelenting shine that adds significantly to the brilliance of any setting.

If you’re in love with the extra brilliance offered by the pavé setting but looking for an option that is more robust, more secure and sure to be snag free, a channel setting is a wonderful option. A channel setting is a setting in which diamonds (or other gemstones) are set into a specially cut groove, or channel, that has a small lip that extends over the stones on either side keeping them safe and secure. Although the design involves more metal around the edge of the stones, the lack of prongs offers more security and more architectural appeal.

Engagement Ring Style Chart

Have questions? We're happy to help.