For most couples, an engagement ring or wedding is an incredibly personal thing, so it is straightforward to comprehend why many can’t find something in regular stores that is “perfect” for them. After days, weeks or months of searching, they decide that the only option is to design their own ring. It will reflect their feelings and personality as well as being something particularly poignant and have great sentimental value to them as a couple both now and in the future.
Designing your ring may sound quite complicated, but knowing the parts of the ring, and having a little expert guidance will help to make your project far less daunting. It this article, we will explain the different parts of the ring along with explaining what combinations work well together and match your tastes and budget. Essentially, a ring has six main features, the head where the stone or stones will fit, the prongs and gallery rail that will act as the setting, the shank – more commonly referred to as the band, the bridge and any accent stones affixed to the shank.
Styles of ring
Of course, determining the kind of ring will be your first objective. You will want something that flatters the hand; suits your personality, and matches its purpose. There are dozens of different styles of ring available but most people when designing their ring select one of the more classic styles and use this as the basis for their design. Here are some of the options available.
- Solitaire – perhaps the design which everyone is most familiar with and typically classic style containing a single stone
- Halo – this can be a double of single halo which is a ring or “halo” of smaller gems surrounding the main stone
- Accent – a style of ring that incorporates gemstones on the shank and is popular for engagement rings
- Three-stone – as the name suggests, this is a centre stone flanked by two smaller stone. The design is said to represent the past, present and future; ideal for engagement rings
- Cluster – incorporates a “cluster” of smaller gemstones often to represent a particular design
- Vintage – a design which represents a specific era such as Art Deco or Georgian
- Band – this is usually a plain metal design although it can include patterns and is commonly associated with wedding rings
The setting is one of the most critical parts of the ring and will need to be both practical and fitting with your design. We would strongly advise that you seek the advice of a reputable jeweller when selecting your setting to ensure that it matches both of these criteria. There are, once again, dozens of different types of setting. Some of the commonly used ones include:
- Prong – claws, often varying in style, hold the gemstone in place and widely used for solitaire rings amongst others
- Pave – the stones are set in small drilled holes with the metal of the ring being visible giving a “paved” impression
- Bezel – a bezel setting can be full or half and uses metal to secure the stone. It is a secure setting but can restrict the amount of light exposed to the stone
- Channel – another secure setting that use “lips” to secure the stone in a sunken “channel”
- Bar – similar to the channel setting, but the bar settings uses two vertical parallel bars to hold the gem in place
- Tension – the setting uses the natural tension of the band to secure the stones
- Illusion – the illusion setting is a form of prong setting designed to give the “illusion” that the gemstone is bigger by setting the stone on a metal ring
- Invisible – the invisible setting is a discrete setting with a rail holding the gem in place and looks impressive although it is the least secure of all settings
Cuts of stone
There are lots of different types of cut for gemstones, and your favourite will come down to personal preference. You can read more about the different kinds of cut here, but the most common include:
Types of band
Another critical aspect of your ring design will be the style of band that you incorporate into your design. Again, there is an enormous amount of choice, and some band can become almost bespoke and unique in their design. The most common forms are straight, tapered, reverse tapered, split shank, bypass and traditional with numerous variations available that you can include in your design. It is an aspect of the ring, which can become very individualistic, adding both meaning and sentiment.
Of course, the profile of the band can also be altered to suit your tastes and the look that you wish to achieve. The names can differ from country to country and even amongst different jewellers which can add some confusion. The most commonly used are:
- D-shape – this design has a flat inner and domed outer which is very similar to the letter “D”
- Flat – the design is flat on both surfaces
- Knife-edge – the knife-edge is flat on the inside and peaked on the outer
- Court – one of the most comfortable designed as it is rounded on both the inside and outside edges
- Concave – this design is similar to a concaved lens with the inside of the ring curved to give the wearer added comfort
Traditional rings almost always have a polished finished, but more modern designs use different finishes for the metal. While polished is still by far and away the most popular and giving the most shine, matte and brushed finishes are increasingly fashionable and eliminate almost all the shine from the metal. Brushed is popular with males due to the element of masculinity that it portraits. A satin finish is a compromise as some of the shine is still retained but is more subtle than the polished finish.
Other desirable finishes include hammered, which has a dimpled effect, Milgrain which gives grainy appearance and filigree where threads of the precious metals such as gold are woven together. All three of these styles can mask slight scratches or dents which can develop over time, particularly with the softer, higher carat gold bands. Almost all of these designs can incorporate hand engraved designs.