Engagement Ring Terminology: All the Words You Need to Know

Did you know that the average cost for an engagement ring in 2018 was over $6,350?

Yes, buying an engagement ring can be an expensive investment. But she’s worth it, isn’t she?

However, there’s a problem. When you start looking for engagement rings, you begin to hear all kinds of fancy words that leave you scratching your head in confusion. From the 4Cs to pave to lab-grown diamonds, the terminology can be overwhelming.

If you want to know all about engagement ring terminology, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve done all the research so you don’t have too.

Are you ready? Let’s pop the question!

Metals and Alloys

Let’s start with the most obvious part of an engagement ring — the metal shank. There are various metals used in engagement ring terms.

Before you choose, it’s always a good idea to find out which metal your future bride prefers.

Yellow Gold

Yellow gold is available in 10 karats, 14 karats, or 18 karats. Yellow gold is pure gold alloyed with silver and copper.

This has always been the most classic metal to use for an engagement ring.

White Gold

Similarly, white gold is available in 10 karats, 14 karats, or 18 karats. This is a mixture of pure gold, palladium, and nickel, or zinc. Because it’s alloyed with palladium, it is stronger than yellow gold.

It has a bright white finish which has been popular with brides for many years.

Rose Gold

Rose gold has been in and out of fashion for years, but in 2019 it’s back with vengeance. It is also available in 10 karats, 14 karats, or 18 karats. It is pure gold mixed with copper.

The soft pink tone matches a variety of skin tones. But because of the copper alloy, it’s not recommended for people who have metal allergies.


Platinum is a rare and durable metal. Because it’s so pure, it will not tarnish and will keep its rich silvery white color for a lifetime. Although it’s strong, it may scratch.

Platinum is a hypoallergenic metal, so it’s a great option for someone with sensitive skin.


Pallidum is part of the same metal family as platinum. This means it’s strong, but because of the other elements it has, it is more scratch resistant.

It’s not as white as platinum, it has more of a gray hue. But like platinum, it’s hypoallergenic.


Two-tone rings feature two different metal colors. A popular combination is rose gold with white gold.

Now that’s the simple part out of the way. What about the stone and the diamond setting types? Keep reading to start understanding engagement rings!

Engagement Ring Terminology

When it comes to understanding engagement rings, it’s important to know the basics. One basic term to get your head around is the 4Cs.

What exactly are the 4Cs?

  1. Cut — The finish of a polished diamond.
  2. Color — The color or absence of color in a diamond.
  3. Clarity — The absence of blemishes and internal inclusions.
  4. Carats/Karats — The standard term used to weigh a diamond.

Now you’re ready with the basics, let’s take a closer look at some other vital engagement ring terms.

Diamonds and Gems

There are a variety of engagement ring terms focused on the stone itself. It’s the most important part of the ring, so make sure you learn the lingo.

  • Blemish — A characteristic that is on the surface of a cut and polished diamond.
  • Brilliance — The brightness that comes from the middle of the diamond.
  • Crown — The upper section of the diamond.
  • Culet — A flat facet on the bottom of the diamond to protect the tip.
  • Eye Clean — A diamond with no blemishes seen without magnification.
  • Facet — The smooth flat surface of a section of a diamond.
  • Fire — Flashes of color in a polished diamond.
  • Flawless — A diamond with no blemishes even when viewed under magnification.
  • Fluorescence — Light from a diamond when it’s exposed to UV light.
  • Lab-Grown Diamond — An eco-friendly synthetic diamond that’s produced by a controlled process.
  • Melee — A term used to describe tiny diamonds.
  • Pavillion — The lower portion of a diamond which is below the edge of the diamond.
  • Plot — The diamond certificate that includes a map of the diamonds inclusions, facets, and blemishes.
  • Point — A weight measurement.
  • Proportions — The measurements of the polished stone.
  • Scintillation — Flashes of light and shadows on a diamond when it’s moved.

Now you know the size, weight and color terminology, it’s time to look at the shape.

Shape Appeal

The stones shape makes a huge difference to the overall appearance of the ring. Fancy cut diamonds were huge in 2019. Celebs, such as Justin Beiber proposed to Hailee Baldwin with a glamorous oval shaped sparkler.

  • Branded Diamonds — A diamond cut in a patented or trademark style.
  • Brilliant Cut — Gems or diamonds cut into triangular or kite shaped facets that spread out from the center.
  • Fancy Cut — Any diamond shape that isn’t round.
  • Girdle — The outline of a diamond.
  • Princess Cut — Square or rectangular shaped diamond.
  • Shape — The entire outline of the stone (e.g. pear, oval, heart, square or round).

Whichever shape you choose, make sure it’s got real shape appeal!

Diamond Setting Types

First of all, what’s a setting?

The setting is the entire ring, not including the center stone. The setting holds the center diamond or gem in place. If the ring has any additional stones, they are also included in the setting.

  • Bezel Setting — A thin piece of metal surrounds the gemstone.
  • Channel Setting — Diamonds or gemstones in a row with no metal between each stone.
  • Halo — A frame of diamonds that encases the center diamond.
  • Pave Setting — Small holes in the setting with tiny gemstones or diamonds inside them.
  • Prong Setting — The diamond or gemstone lays in a metal basket with 3-8 prongs.
  • Split-Claw Prongs — Prongs that have tiny splits at the top giving a vintage feel.

Of course, there are many other engagement ring terms used between professionals. But these are the terms you’re most likely to come across on your ring finding journey.

Understanding Engagement Rings

From palladium to halo, engagement rings offer more than you may have originally thought. If you’re still worried about choosing the right ring, the best thing to do is speak to a ring designer. They can fill in the blanks for you.

But if you’ve figured out all the engagement ring terminology you’ll ever need to know, what’s next? Time to choose the ring!

Take a look at our previously designed engagement rings for some inspiration.

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