The anatomy of a ring: What’s holding your diamond?

th-12How many rings do you have? Do you know what the various parts are called? Here’s help understanding the terms that jewelers, appraisers, and other professionals use, so you can talk “shop” with them.

If I asked you about the parts of a ring, you might say, “well, there’s a stone and a band.” But there’s more.

Shank: Also known as a band. A band usually has the same width all around (like a wedding band), while a shank can have different widths. The shank is divided into the upper and lower shanks. This is also the part that wears down the most, due to banging and rubbing against hard objects.

th-8Head: Sometimes referred to as the setting, this is the piece that holds the center stone in a ring. It’s made up of the prongs and the piece to which they’re attached. It forms the design of the mounting.

Center stone: As the name implies, it’s the main stone in a solitaire. Your engagement ring likely has a diamond as its center stone.

Shoulder: The top two sides of the ring.

Side stones: Stones that are on either side of the center stone.

Prong: The small metal pieces that hold the gemstone in place. Since they’re not solid around (as in a bezel), they let you see more of the stone. Solitaire diamonds usually have 4-6 prongs. The more prongs you have, the more secure the stone is. A prong setting is also called a claw setting.

Gallery: The back part of the ring that fits over the top of the finger. A ring with a large stone often features a hollow gallery so that there’s more room for the stone and your finger.

Girdle: The edge or narrow band between the upper and lower facets of a gemstone.


Hallmark: The marking on the underside of the shank that has the identifying markings of what the precious metal is (14K, Plat, etc.).

In future weeks, we’ll examine different cuts of stones and styles of rings. If you’d like more information about your rings, necklaces, or any pieces of jewelry, I’ll be happy to help, so contact me!

Brilliantly yours, Aimee


, , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply