The 411 on Rings

The 411 on Rings

Rings are works of art shaped from metal and stone. The more you understand about how they’re made, the easier it is to choose a quality piece. There are four basic elements that go into the creation of a ring:

1.  The head or setting

2.  The shank or band

3.  The claw

4.  The shoulder

1. The head or setting

This is the area where the stone is mounted. Some of the most popular settings are:


Prong settings are the most popular, especially with engagement rings. Thin metal prongs rise from the base of the setting and grip the stone securely. This type of setting also raises the stone above the rest of the ring, exposing it to more light and making it stand out more. The downside of prong settings is part of the upside: Because it “sticks out” more, the setting can get caught on things, loosening the prongs from the stone over time. For this reason, prong settings should be regularly checked.


Bezel settings circle the main stone in a metal collar that‘s just a little higher than the top of the stone. Bezels can completely encircle a stone, or just partly, which will allow other parts of the stone to become visible. Bezel settings are very secure because they’re made specifically for the stones they’re holding. The downside? Less light gets into the stone, which may make a faceted gem less dazzling.


With a tension setting, it is actually the pressure from the metal of the band (or shank) that holds the stone in place. Tension settings look very modern, with stones that seem to float in mid-air inside the sides of the band. Tension settings are specifically made for the stone or stones they hold, and cannot be changed or resized, which can be a drawback.

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