If you take the time to admire different engagement rings—whether a friend or family member—then you know that no two are ever exactly alike. Whether it’s something you’ve never seen before or a common style you love, there’s usually something new that catches your eye—no matter how small. In addition to the most popular engagement ring styles, there are so many different engagement types that you rarely ever see the same one.
Each type of engagement ring has a different style and design details. Different types of engagement rings may even hold different symbolic meanings. Choosing the right one for you is sometimes an exhaustive task. Whether you’re searching for yourself or your loved one, there’s a lot of pressure in finding the right traditional or simulated diamond jewellery. Your engagement ring is an adornment that you will hold close to your heart for the rest of your life, so you must choose one that you can admire forever. Instead of diving into all types of different engagement rings at once, you should first understand the pros and cons of each style so that you can slim down your choices. From most loved to most unique, the list goes on and on. Read on to learn about all of the different types of engagement rings to get you on your way to picking the absolute perfect one.
We’re arming you with as many engagement ring styles we could think of, so you’ll know what you’re looking for – and what to ask for – when the time comes to make your all-important purchase.
What Is an Engagement Ring Setting?
Setting refers to how gemstones are set, or mounted, into a metal band. The ring setting is meant to highlight the beauty of an engagement diamond. Style refers to the overall design aesthetic that the ring setting helps create—whether it be solitaire, halo or three stone.
Popular types of engagement ring settings
Prong or solitaire setting
Prongs are the little claws or arms that reach up and around the edges of the diamond to hold it in place. This type of setting uses anywhere from three to six prongs (depending on the diamond size and shape, and the wearer’s preference) to secure the stone.
Pros: Perfect for a solitaire (or single) diamond (the most popular engagement ring trend at the moment), a prong setting allows for the lightest exposure from all angles—giving the centre stone maximum sparkle factor. It’s a clean and timeless ring setting that works for almost all stone shapes, easily accommodates a wedding band, and may cost less due to its simple design.
Cons: Gemstones set with prongs tend to be elevated, which showcases the stone, but might not be your first choice for an everyday ring (i.e. an engagement ring), especially if you’re actively worried about hitting your ring on things.
A halo engagement ring features a larger centre stone hugged by a circle, or halo, of smaller accent diamonds. “Halo settings can come in a range of styles, including a single halo, two (or more) halos, or a distinct floral or scalloped design,” according to Brilliant Earth.
Pros: A halo is one of the best ways to get more bling for your buck. This type of setting offers the illusion of a larger centre stone without the price tag. The accent stones also add some texture and dimension to a solitaire stone.
Cons: A low-sitting halo can make it more difficult to find a wedding band that sits flush against the engagement ring. If you’re obsessed with having a halo, but want to avoid this issue, look for a ring designed with a higher-set diamond and surrounding halo.
This setting’s name comes from the French word “paved,” because a pavé ring looks like a road paved with teeny-tiny diamonds.
Pros: A pavé setting elevates a simple band into something extra special. Many people upgrade their engagement rings with a pavé of some kind after an anniversary or other marriage milestone.
Cons: With diamonds set into the band, resizing a pavé ring can be more difficult than a plain band. Brilliant Earth also points out that engagement rings featuring such little diamonds can require more maintenance. You might be making more trips to the jeweller for cleanings and inspections than you would with a solitaire ring.
Three-stone (or side-stone) setting
When just one stone doesn’t suffice, a three-stone setting allows for a little versatility. This is a common setting that includes a central stone flanked by two side stones. These stones can be the same size or slightly smaller, diamonds or gemstones—whatever the bride’s choice.
However, what makes the three-stone truly special isn’t just its style, it’s the symbolism. Each stone represents the past, present, and future of a relationship, making it a beautiful romantic gesture.
This setting—famously favoured by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex—consists of a centre diamond flanked by two (sometimes smaller) side stones, either diamonds or other precious gemstones.
Pros: The sheer number of stones allowed by this setting means more room for creativity. Sapphires, rubies, or emeralds make for beautiful additions to this multi-stone setting. It’s not just for looks, either: Three-stone rings are said to symbolize a couple’s past, present, and future.
Cons: The accent stones may steal the centre diamond’s limelight or make it appear smaller than it is. It can also be tricky to find three diamonds of identical (or even near-identical) colour and clarity. You may need to select a higher colour or clarity centre diamond if you’re aiming to match the two accent diamonds (and usually the higher the colour and clarity, the more expensive it is).
Instead of holding a raised diamond in place with prongs, a bezel setting wraps the centre diamond snugly in a metal rim that either completely or partially covers its sides.
Pros: This setting is ideal for anyone with a very active job or lifestyle (nurses, doctors, gym rats), but is also popular in general for its modern, minimalist appeal. The simple setting creates a perfectly smooth edge and keeps the gem extremely secure.
Cons: Bezels cover more of the diamond’s girdle and sides, so you’d need to splurge on a larger diamond for the same visual effect as a prong setting. Skip a bezel if you’ve always wanted to flaunt a diamond from all sides.
Side Stone Engagement Rings
Not every side stone engagement ring is a three-stone ring. Many rings feature more than three side stones or use diamonds and gemstones as accents in settings that don’t fit the traditional three-stone mould, particularly vintage gemstone and custom ring designs. However they’re used, side stones are a great way to add personality to a ring.
Additional stones make a ring sparkle and stand out, but beware that the more side stones you have, the more at risk they are to come loose—especially if you’re very active and use your hands a lot at work or home. Your lifestyle is often just as important to choose a ring as your fashion sense!
Classic Ring Styles
These engagement ring styles are the ones you’ll find in almost any jewellery shop you walk into. Classic in this context doesn’t mean boring or basic. These ring styles are versatile, timeless, and work with various gemstones, shapes of stone, and metals, and may overlap into more unusual vintage or contemporary ring settings.
Vintage Styles (or Vintage-Inspired) Engagement Rings
If you know your other half loves vintage style, appreciates gifts with a story behind them, or has a kinship about a certain era, it’s likely she might have her eye on an antique or vintage engagement ring (or a new ring that’s inspired by vintage design). For antique engagement rings, places like Powerscourt Townhouse in Dublin or Greys in London are great places to start, as they’re a veritable treasure trove of vintage jewels.
Modern & Alternative Styles
As with anything alternative, the sky’s the limit for modern engagement rings. There are exciting designers throughout Ireland and around the world, making beautiful and innovative designs. These are just some examples of the most popular contemporary engagement ring styles. Still, this style lends itself to a custom made ring, so look to places like Natasha Sherling or Stonechat Jewellers for something bespoke.
Some of these designs can be tricky to pair up with wedding rings, so look out for bridal sets (where the engagement ring and wedding band are designed to fit together) when you’re shopping.
Eternity Band Engagement Rings
Many modern engagement rings feature small diamonds or gemstones embedded in the band of the ring. If these small stones circle the entire length of the band, it is known as an eternity band. “Eternity rings” first appeared as a popular gift for an anniversary and did not feature a centre stone at all, but the striking beauty of these gem-encrusted bands has caught the eyes of couples around the world.
An eternity band symbolizes endless commitment, which is perhaps why they have come into fashion for engagement rings. Since the amount of diamonds needed for an eternity band makes for a hefty price tag, the half-eternity engagement ring is the more affordable (and more popular) option.
Getting engaged is exciting, and the bride-to-be deserves the best ring she can get—and the ring she wants most. Knowing what you want ahead of time can ensure that happens, and researching types of engagement rings can give you ideas you may not have thought of before! Whether you go for something traditional, modern, or eclectic, the best engagement ring is the one given and received with love.
Top Five Different Stone Shape
While your engagement ring style is no doubt, one of the first decisions you should consider, choosing a radiant cut for your stone cut is arguably just as important. The shape you choose has a big impact on your engagement ring’s overall look and your budget. Choosing a classic shape will allow you to add more details to your shank and profile view, while choosing a bolder, more modern shape may lend the focus to the centre.
There are many reputable jewellers out there, and each one carries a different variety of stone shapes. This means your stone or diamond shape options will depend on the jeweller you choose. While the options may seem endless, there are a handful of common shapes in today’s market. To understand more about the style of engagement ring you’re looking for, learn the top diamond shapes to help you decide which type of engagement ring is right for you or your loved one.
As the most popular shape, both modern and classic engagement ring styles are commonly seen with a Round Brilliant stone. The shape is easily paired with most setting styles and is as timeless as it is stunning. Round cut engagement rings are among some of the top engagement rings of all time, and it is the only shape that has an ideal facet pattern, which means it has excellent sparkle. Since this stone shape is extremely versatile, it can be designed as a classic solitaire, three stone, halo or any other type of popular engagement ring you can think of. If you’re looking for a true sparkler that will be in style for years to come, then a Round Brilliant shape might be right for you.
Similar to the shape of a Round Brilliant but elongated, Oval-cut stones are also very versatile. Oval engagement rings have grown immensely in popularity, and because of that are now a top choice for modern engagement ring styles. Not only is the sparkle superb, but their long design allows the carat weight to appear larger than it is. If you like the look of a Round Brilliant, but want something a little more modern and perhaps slightly more affordable, then an Oval stone will be the perfect touch to your adornment.
As the second most popular shape, Princess cut engagement rings have stolen the hearts of many women. The classic square shape looks great with accent stones, a simple band or metalwork. With this shape, you can let your design imagination run wild, knowing it will pair well with almost anything. Princess shapes are the second closest shape to having an ideal facet pattern, meaning they radiate an abundance of sparkle, similar to a Round Brilliant. Its beauty and versatility make this shape timeless enough to be in style for years to come.
This shape resembles a rectangle but is considered a step-cut stone. This means that instead of the all-over sparkle that shapes like Round Brilliant feature, Emerald cut engagement rings feature sparkle in steps. The Emerald shape is often used in vintage designs because it was such a popular style in the 1920s. It features slightly cropped edges and long open facets that make a captivating design. While this shape is unique and utterly captivating, keep in mind that since there are fewer facets featured on the table, inclusions are much more easily seen if you choose a traditional diamond.
This unique shape also features an elongated design that flatters the finger and can create the appearance of a larger carat weight. It’s traditionally worn pointing away from your hand when featured in an engagement ring, although some choose to wear it pointing toward the hand. No matter how you choose to wear it, it will lend length throughout your finger. Pear-shaped diamonds and diamond simulants are modern, which is why the shape is commonly paired with modern settings to match. Halo engagement rings look luminous with a unique shape like Pear.
Now that you know each of the different engagement ring types and stone shapes, you can begin your search for the perfect ring. Start by selecting the type of metal band by browsing through our collections of platinum, white gold, yellow gold, or rose gold engagement rings. The type you choose should embody your style—whether it’s simple or striking, glam or dainty. Your ring will be your most prized possession, and so it should mean the world to you.
Your search for the perfect one is part of the fun and shouldn’t be done in a rush. Take your time searching around, so you won’t have any doubts when you land on the right one. The best time to buy an engagement ring varies for each individual, so choose the type of engagement ring that you can see yourself in years from now, and that will remind you of all the special memories you and your partner have and will make.