Imagine this: You are at a fancy jewelry store, shopping for the perfect engagement ring. The jeweler hands you a silver-color one and says, “This is a classic six-prong solitaire engagement ring in platinum.” And you have no idea what he just said.

Ring shopping is more than just deciding the color, size, and stone. If you want to give your partner an engagement ring that will make her say “yes,” you have to familiarize yourself with the terms jewelers commonly use, starting with the parts of a ring.

Band or Shank

The band or the shank is the part that wraps around the finger. A band, like a wedding band, typically has the same width all around. Meanwhile, a shank can have more intricate designs and shapes.

This is the part that wears down the most since it’s prone to rubbing and bumping against other surfaces, so choosing the material for the band is crucial. The metals have varying properties, such as hardness, value, and density, all of which you should consider when making a decision. Another important factor is whether the ring is resizable. If you’re unsure about your partner’s ring size, consider platinum, sterling silver, or any gold band, which are all resizable metals.

Shoulder

The ring shoulder is the part of the shank that is close to the head or the stone. The jeweler may mention the shoulder when describing where to set the diamonds or when you want to add smaller stones beside the center stone.

man holding out a ring

Head, Setting, or Mount

These three terms all refer to the part that holds the center stone. There are different kinds of settings, some of the most common are:

  • Prongs – This is the most common head. A prong is composed of metal claws that grip the stone at the sides. Prongs can be flat, pointed, rounded, or V-shaped. V-shaped prongs are common for princess-cut diamonds.
  • Bezel – The bezel is a round, flat surface that sits atop the ring shoulder. It has a thin metal rim that holds the center stone in place. Its wide shape makes it perfect for diamonds and other stones that have a big face. The bezel is ideal for people with an active lifestyle since it won’t snag on fabrics and other material, unlike the prong setting.
  • Tension – This setting is unique since the shoulder holds the stone in place by applying pressure. The gemstone seems like it’s suspended in the air because there’s nothing supporting it underneath, giving the ring a sleek, modern look.

Gallery

The gallery is the part of the center stone and the mount that is visible from the side. Galleries can have intricate or simple designs, depending on the setting and width of the band.

Center Stone

The center stone is the main point of attention. Engagement rings commonly have a solitaire stone or a single stone on the mount. But some rings also have small side stones and even smaller accent stones on the band.

If you’re choosing a diamond for the center stone, you also have to determine the 4Cs: clarity, color, cut, and carat.  All of these features together determine the diamond’s quality.

It’s better to come to the jewelry shop with an idea of what kind of engagement ring you want, and you can only do this if you’re familiar with the different parts of a ring. If you know the different features of a ring, you can choose the one that best suits the preference and personality of your partner.