Last updated on February 16, 2020
When it comes to designing the perfect ring, there are many features to consider. That’s why it’s necessary to know ring anatomy to explain to your jeweller what exactly you want. To help you understand each part and make it easier to communicate with your designer, we have put together this visual guide.
The term “setting” may have two different meanings. The most commonly used one is the entire ring, excluding the centre stone.
You may have heard this term in jewellery shops while shopping for your engagement ring. Jewellers often mention the price for the setting only, meaning the total price of the finished ring depends on the gemstone you choose.
Head or Basket
The other meaning of the setting refers to the head or the basket of the ring, the part that holds the centre stone.
The head is located at the top of the ring and it determines how the stones interact with light and at which angle the centre stone can be seen. You may be surprised to learn that the terms “solitaire setting” or “halo setting” describe only the head of the ring, i.e the way the stones are set in the mounting.
Prong, Bezel and Channel Heads
A prong is a tiny metal tip that holds the diamond or another gemstone in place. A ring usually has three, four, six or eight prongs. There are also double prong, claw prong, V-shaped prong and three-prong martini settings depending on the design.
Prong heads allow the light to play with the stone, making it appear larger and more brilliant.
The bezel is a setting that fully encircles a stone in the metal. This is probably the most secure way to set a stone, however, some people are not a big fan of this style.
The half-bezel wraps only half of the stone and might be a good solution for those who don’t like full bezel heads.
Channel heads feature the stone in between two straight pieces of metal on either side of it.
It’s important to mention that not all rings have the head portion. Some designs feature gemstones that are directly set into the rest of the ring without using a separate part.
The gallery is a term that refers to the underside of the head beneath the centre stone. It’s a part of the setting that adds to the profile beauty of the ring.
A ring gallery is a prime location to see wear caused by other rings, such as wedding and eternity bands. The constant friction can wear, crack and break the gallery. This is why you should be careful with your ring if you choose a gallery design.
The airline is the open section under the head. It’s visible when viewed from the side. It’s most commonly found in rings featuring solitaire or cathedral settings.
Some people might find the airline is an unnecessary feature, but it adds to the overall beauty of the ring design.
Shank and Sizing Bar
Shank is the metal portion of the ring that encircles the finger. This is the technical term for the widely used ring band.
If the ring has a distinct design featuring pavé diamonds on the band, the ring shank is said to start at the point where the design stops.
There are many types of ring shanks, from plain round to flat bottomed styles which tend to keep the ring from spinning.
Shank is the portion where jewellers add or remove metal to resize the ring.
In many rings that have accent diamonds on the shank, jewellers intentionally do not put diamonds all the way around to allow for the resizing work to be done. The small plain metal gap that has no diamonds on it is called a sizing bar.
The shank can wear thin over time. In this case jewellers “re-shank” the ring, meaning they replace the worn-out metal. However, if you are careful with your ring the shank will last your lifetime.
The term “shoulders” is referred to as the part of the shank that is very close to the head of the ring. In other words, this portion holds the head.
These are often set with accent diamonds to enhance the centre stone or talked about to describe the thickness of the band.
This term is used to describe complex designs that are made in separate pieces and soldered together. For example, the head and the shank are made separately and then joined. The points at which the parts join are called solder points.