Designing a Ring: How to Use the Right Words to Get What You Want

Designing a Ring: How to Use the Right Words to Get What You Want

Can you picture your perfect ring? I bet you can. But if you can't draw and don't know industry terminology, it can be hard to convey your ideas to a jewelry designer who has the skills to turn your mental picture into reality. Let's talk about what to say when working with your jeweler to create the ring you know you want.

The most basic type of ring is a solitaire, meaning it has one prominent stone and little else. In this case, there's just the head, where the stone is set, and the shank, the part of the ring that goes around the finger.

This ring has a lot more going on. But we can still break it down into parts. There's still a head at the top, but this one also has a halo or gallery of diamonds encircling the center stone. Now look below the halo on the sides at the underbezel. This word describes the design elements under the head that are not normally seen if looking straight down at the top of the ring.

Next, there are the shoulders, the design elements and stones on the top part of the shank, either side of the head. (Get it? The top of the ring is the head, and the shoulders are beside it.) Then you have the bottom half of the shank. It can be round, wide, thin, comfort-fit (domed on the inside), flat, or other variations. This one is called a European shank, with its angled corners that help counterbalance the head and keep the ring situated correctly on the finger.

Let's go back to the head. The prongs hold the stones in place (in this example they're double prongs). Or you might want a bezel, like in this ring, a rim of metal that goes all the way around the stone.

Here we have two different looks for the shoulders. The first is called a split shank, because the shank is split into two sections at the top. The second is a cathedral shank, with sides that come up in an arch toward the head.

This ring has several elements that contribute to its vintage style vibe. Note the milgrain, the beaded edges. It also has carving on the sides, though this embossed design is created with CAD software rather than etched by hand in the wax or metal. The scrolls on the sides also contribute to the vintage look.

This ring has a more contemporary style. The swooping bypass sides and simple, flowing lines of gold are signature elements of the style. Note also the V-end prongs on the princess cut diamond.

The most important thing to remember when talking to your jeweler, though, is that as long as you communicate clearly, it won't matter if you know all the right words. They are there to help you create your dream ring.

Contact Charles to start your design consultation. Check out the web store for ideas and send pictures from there or that you find elsewhere that inspire you!

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