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Ring Glossary

by Staff Writer

A pretty young woman in a field wearing two rings

Rings are available in many different styles, and these jewelry styles are defined in a variety of ways. Modern rings have different fashion definitions than antique rings. When you are shopping, it can be very helpful to know how pieces of jewelry are defined. Do you want to shop only for cocktail rings with a bezel setting? Do you want a wedding band with a comfort-fit design? Consider these common terms when shopping for rings.

Common Ring Terms:

  1. Band and shank: The round section of the ring that fits around the ring finger is called both the band and the shank. When referred to as a band, like a wedding band, the ring generally has the same width on the entire perimeter. The shank sometimes refers to the ring sections on either side of the center setting.

  2. Gallery: The gallery is the underside of a ring that fits over the top of the finger. A large or domed ring often has a hollow gallery to allow more room for gemstones and fingers.

  3. Comfort fit: A comfort-fit band has a contoured inner surface, which means less of the band surface touches the skin and the ring is more comfortable to wear. The design slides easily on the finger; it is a good option for anyone not used to wearing a ring. Be aware that comfort-fit bands run approximately one-half size larger than rings with a flat band. For a better fit, the next smaller ring size is suggested.

  4. Bezel: A bezel ring-setting features a metal rim that fits around the gemstone at the circumference to securely hold it in place; the gem appears to be sitting in a cup.

  5. Channel: The channel ring-setting features a groove in a metal band that holds a row of stones between two parallel bars. The stones sit next to each other without metal bars between them.

  6. Flush: Similar to the bezel setting, the flush ring-setting has the stones set deep into the band in order to maintain a level surface.

  7. Invisible: The invisible setting showcases several rows of stones without metal bars or prongs to interrupt the pattern. A jeweler sets gemstones, usually princess-cut gemstones, with special grooves cut into them into a band that is prepared with a special framework. The gems sit securely in the band, but the metal tracks underneath them are not seen.

  8. Pave: This setting uses small prongs to secure many gemstones in a pattern, and each prong touches at least three stones. Pave ring settings create the look of glitter in a display of multiple tiny diamonds or colored gemstones.

  9. Prong: A prong is a metal bar that protrudes from the band to clasp the gemstone and hold it in place. The most common ring setting, prongs are best for displaying large stones as they allow more of the gem to be seen. A mount for solitaire diamond rings usually has four to six prongs; four show more of the diamond, but six will hold it more securely.

  10. Tension: This ring setting features an opening in the band that holds a gemstone. The pressure created from the band trying to close itself keeps the gem in place.

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