Finding the perfect engagement ring can be an exciting journey. But, like any journey, it helps to be prepared. The world of designer engagement rings is chock-full of specialized terminology and jargon, and it can be easy to get lost. Here are a few must know diamond ring terms and definitions to help you know what to look for.
- The Four Cs
These are four characteristics of every diamond. "Carat" is the weight. "Clarity" is the presence and visibility of any imperfections or inclusion on or in the diamond. "Color" is how clear a diamond is (ranging from clear to a straw-colored yellow). And "Cut" is the shape that the rough stone has been fashioned into (such as round, princess, baguette, tear-drop, etc.).
- Pave Set
Pave set engagement rings and wedding bands contain many small diamonds set into the band itself, and very close to each other -- so close, in fact, that the setting may sometimes appear to be actually made of diamonds.
- Channel Set
A channel setting, like a pave setting, places diamonds within the metal of the band, but usually larger, baguette-cut stones (rectangles). Unlike a pave setting, however, channel settings allow the ring's metal to show along the sides.
- Prong Set
This is the most common setting for diamond solitaire rings. The main stone is set into prongs (usually four, but sometimes as many as eight) that hold the diamond above the ring. Prong settings are considered to be the quintessential engagement ring setting.
- Bezel Set
A bezel setting, as opposed to a prong setting, holds the main stone within the metal itself, and usually in a round brace. This setting is mostly used in men's diamond wedding bands, though it can be used to good effect for engagement rings as well.
- Halo Set
A halo setting is a variation of the bezel setting, where the bezel (surrounding metal collar) is lined with smaller diamonds, creating a "halo" around the main stone. This setting can make the center diamond appear to be up to 30% larger than it actually is.
Some designer engagement rings have their own terminology that varies from designer to designer, but the general principles are the same. Ask your jeweler for examples of each style, so that you can truly get a feel for each particular setting.