Chapter 2: Engagement Ring Styles
An engagement ring is not just any piece of jewelry — it represents the love and commitment you share. Your girlfriend will be reminded of your journey together every time she looks at her hand. It’s important to choose a style that fits her personality.
With these things in mind, you probably feel a little pressured to find a ring that perfectly encapsulates the admiration and adoration you feel toward your girlfriend. It can be hard to put feelings into words sometimes, but the right engagement ring will do the talking for you.
Because there are many different styles of engagement rings to choose from, it greatly helps to know your girlfriend’s style. If you are not so sure how to describe her style, it’s okay — we are here to guide you. In this chapter, we will look at a variety of engagement ring diamond shapes and settings to help you choose the best design for your significant other.
Types of Engagement Ring Settings
The setting is the piece of the ring that holds the center diamond. You’ll want to consider settings first because this will affect the type of diamond to buy. Ring settings can seem confusing, but we’ll help you understand how each setting looks and feels:
1. Bar Setting
With a bar setting, many diamonds are secured between vertical bars around the band. You can add a center diamond to the setting if you wish.
The bar setting offers a spin on the traditional band and also provides increased sparkle. When left without a center diamond, the bar setting can function as a stackable band.
Resizing can be more of a challenge with this setting due to the multiple diamonds in the band.
2. Bead Setting
With a bead setting, the band is lined with small diamonds that accent the center diamond, and multiple beads secure the diamonds along the band. This type of setting is perfect for a classic style and offers a lot of sparkle.
3. Bezel Setting
Unlike a traditional prong that holds the center diamond in place, a bezel setting surrounds the diamond with a metal rim and keeps it secure. A bezel setting is a popular choice due to its snag-free design and easy-to-clean center. You might choose a bezel setting if your girlfriend is a nurse, teacher or has an otherwise active lifestyle.
4. Cathedral Setting
A cathedral setting is an elegant, classic choice. With this setting, the prongs resemble the arches of a cathedral and hold the diamond in place. A cathedral setting draws attention to the center diamond as it lifts the diamond higher off the finger.
If you are looking for an affordable way to make a diamond appear larger while adding character to an engagement ring, consider a cathedral setting. However, keep in mind that a cathedral setting might get caught on clothes or other materials due to the high prongs.
5. Channel Setting
With a channel setting, small diamonds are embedded along the channel of the band. The diamonds are not elevated from the band, so there is less chance of the ring getting caught on other objects.
This type of setting is suitable for an active lifestyle with its snag-free design, and it keeps diamonds secure since there are no prongs. This style can be more challenging to resize, however, and takes a little extra effort to clean as dirt can get trapped in the channels.
6. Cluster Setting
If you are looking for an engagement ring that features a large center diamond but do not have room in your budget, you might consider a cluster setting.
With a cluster setting, small diamonds are artfully bunched together in a floral arrangement pattern, creating the appearance of a large diamond. As a result, you are left with a textured, brilliantly sparkling ring. You can also custom design the shape of the cluster. This type of setting complements any style beautifully.
7. Fishtail Setting
A fishtail setting has an elegant vintage feel. Usually, small diamonds line the band with a larger diamond in the center. This type of setting offers timeless style.
8. Halo Ring Setting
A halo ring setting provides intense shine. With a halo setting, the center diamond is encircled and secured by smaller diamonds. This type of setting makes the center diamond appear larger, so it may be an excellent choice for those on a budget who want increased sparkle and a big diamond.
Although a halo ring setting makes a divine choice, the smaller diamonds could become loose over time, and resizing may be a challenge depending on the number of diamonds lining the band.
9. Knife-Edge Setting
A knife-edge setting refers to a tapered band or a band that resembles the edge of a knife. The overall look is sleek and classic.
10. Pave Setting
With a pave setting, small diamonds are embedded into the band and mimic the look of a path paved with diamonds. Usually, a diamond sits in the center and is illuminated by the surrounding sparkle.
A pave setting is bold and intricate and can be designed in either a modern or vintage style. This type of engagement ring may be difficult to resize.
11. Side-Stone Setting
A side-stone setting features a center diamond flanked by smaller diamonds or other gemstones on either side. With a side-stone setting, you can add variety with contrasting colors. For example, you might flank the center diamond with deep red rubies. You can also choose to keep the colors uniform. Just make sure the side gemstones do not detract from the center diamond’s brilliance.
A side-stone setting has a romantic, classic feel. The three gemstones are believed to represent friendship, love and fidelity along with the couple’s past, present and future, making this setting a popular choice.
12. Solitaire Setting
The solitaire setting is the most popular setting and is the type of ring many people think of when they conjure up the image of an engagement ring.
With a solitaire setting or prong setting, the center diamond is the main focus. The metal prongs hold the diamond in place like a claw, and they are available in different shapes, such as rounded or V-shaped.
A thin band makes the diamond appear larger, and minimal metal increases the shine. If you think your girlfriend wants an engagement ring that sings about your love aloud, you cannot go wrong with a solitaire setting — it’s a classic choice.
13. Twist Setting
With a twist setting, two bands twist to form one band, and twists can be tight or wide. This type of setting offers a unique version of a traditional ring, and you could say it represents the interconnectedness you and your partner share.
14. Vintage Setting
A vintage setting usually showcases intricate band work and can be paired with other features. For a charming, more ornate style, you might choose a vintage setting.
Types of Engagement Ring Diamond Shapes
When a diamond is removed from the earth, it could be any shape or size. A professional diamond cutter is needed to cut, shape and polish the diamond to bring out its natural beauty and make it suitable for jewelry. Diamond cutting is an art that takes years to master.
A diamond’s cut refers to the way the diamond is styled regarding the shape and light-refracting slices. There are several types of diamond cuts that affect how a diamond sparkles.
The cut is not the same as a diamond shape. However, a certain cut will imply shape. The shape is how a diamond looks from its outline, whereas cut refers to the number and arrangement of facets. We’ll look at each cut to help you choose how you want style and shine to work together in your engagement ring:
1. Square or Princess-Cut
A square or princess-cut diamond is commonly square-shaped with pointed corners. This type of cut features brilliant sparkle and contemporary style. This style often complements women with long, slim fingers.
A cushion-cut looks square but has curved sides and rounded corners. A cushion-cut works well with large diamonds and provides extra sparkle. If you want an engagement ring that feels both vintage and modern, you might consider a cushion-cut diamond.
3. Asscher Cut
The Asscher cut is similar to an emerald-cut diamond but features larger facets. You might imagine an Asscher cut as having an almost octagonal shape. An Asscher cut may not sparkle as brilliantly as a princess-cut diamond, for example, but it offers a distinct style that’s traditional and elegant — think Elizabeth Taylor.
4. Rectangular or Emerald-Cut
A rectangular or emerald-cut diamond is perfect for diamonds with high clarity because they feature a large, glassy surface. This style is glamorous, elegant and modern. Its rectangular shape elongates the finger, looking lovely with smaller hands.
A pear-shaped diamond is flattering on any finger and complements a traditional and elegant style. If you think the pear-shaped diamond is perfect for your engagement ring, be sure to find a diamond that is symmetrical.
Another flattering cut is the oval cut, which makes the hand look longer. Because of its larger surface area, it can also appear larger than round diamonds of the same carat weight. If your girlfriend has a style that is both romantic and chic, she might adore an oval-cut diamond — a look that’s fit for a princess.
A marquise diamond has a classic, elongated shape with curved sides and pointed ends. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the marquise diamond shape was developed in France in the 1740s and is also called a navette, which means “little ship.”
A marquise diamond makes a finger appear longer and more slender, and it appears larger than round diamonds that are of the same carat weight. Many brides appreciate the romance of a marquise diamond.
A heart-shaped diamond symbolizes love without reserve. Heart-shaped diamond engagement rings typically feature a simple design to emphasize the special heart shape. This may be an excellent choice if your girlfriend wants to celebrate your love with a dramatic style.
A round diamond shape is a popular choice for an engagement ring because it is designed to radiate supreme brilliance. A round diamond can suit any style, whether your girlfriend prefers a modern look or a romantic antique feel.
How to Choose a Ring for Her Personality
We covered the basics about settings and shapes, and we hope we helped you develop a sense of your girlfriend's style. Over 86 percent of brides rated the overall style as the most important feature of their engagement ring, so you want to try to get this aspect right.
If you still feel uncertain about your girlfriend’s style, stop by any one of our three locations — we’re happy to assist you.
Until then, consider the following descriptions in this engagement ring styles guide. Ask yourself if your bride-to-be is:
- Playful and passionate: She might like an edgy but charming oval shape.
- Earthy: A vintage-style Asscher shape might be the way to go.
- Classy: Consider a traditional princess shape.
- Exquisite: Try a pear-shaped cut or a cluster ring.
- Quirky: Consider a two-tone ring or a variety of gemstones.
- Bold and confident: Consider a three-stone ring or an emerald-cut diamond.
- Simple and active: Try a traditional princess-cut diamond in a channel setting.
Also, consider the following to determine your girlfriend’s style:
- How she regularly dresses: What type of clothing does your girlfriend usually wear? Is she usually polished and put together, or is she more about comfort with a laid-back style? Does she like to keep up with the latest fashion trends?
- What she loves: Think about your girlfriend’s favorite hobbies and pastimes. Is she a fan of glamorous classic films? Or would her dream-day involve a strenuous hike and hours spent in nature? You might even consider how she decorates her home for inspiration. Does she love antiques or vintage accessories? All of her favorite things serve as style clues.
- What kind of job she has: If your girlfriend is an artist, geologist or any other professional who regularly gets her hands dirty, you might want to choose a ring that is durable and easy to clean. If she’s a nurse, teacher or another type of caregiver, you probably want a snag-free ring. However, if your girlfriend has an office job and loves an elaborate style, it’s probably safe to go with a more delicate ring setting.
- What makes her unique: What is that special something that made you fall head over heels for your girlfriend? Is it because she’s sweet as cherry pie? Or because she’s as brave as a warrior? Perhaps her gentle mannerisms won you over the moment you met. Whatever it is that makes her special, keep it in mind when you shop for her style.
If you still feel a little lost, try not to worry too much. From now on, take notice of her everyday style, including the jewelry she wears to get an idea of what she likes.
Remember — although it is true that style is important, nothing is more important than your proposal and the love you share. She is going to be thrilled to see you get on one knee, no matter what is inside the box.