A Complete Engagement Ring Glossary

When it comes to buying an engagement ring, it seems like you need to bring a dictionary with you just to understand everything the jeweler says. What do the 4Cs stand for? What’s an engagement ring setting? Wait, diamonds come in colors?

If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Know your lingo with our guide to engagement ring terminology and you’ll be on your way to buying the ring of your partner’s dreams

engagement ringPhoto by Lisa Mark Photography

Diamond terminology

4Cs: Acronym standing for cut, color, clarity and carat. These are the top four characteristics to look for when purchasing a diamond.

Accent diamonds: Diamonds that surround or enhance the main diamond. Typically smaller in size than the main diamond.

Crown: Top half of a diamond.

Halo: Ring of diamonds or stones surrounding a center diamond or stone. Ring is typically made of pavé stones.

Pavilion: Lower half of a diamond.

Scintillations: Sparkles in a diamond that are seen as the diamond moves under a light.

Table: Flat surface that is the uppermost part of a diamond. The table percentage is calculated by dividing the width of the table by the width of the diamond. This number is included in the cut aspect of the 4Cs.

cushion cut engagement ringPhoto by Lisa Mark Photography

diamond cuts

Asscher cut: Square shaped diamond with a high crown, step facets, and a small table.

Cushion cut: Square cut diamond with rounded edges.

Emerald cut: Rectangular shaped with small, rounded edges and a large, open table.

European cut: Antique diamond cut created before the precision created by modern technology was available.

Heart cut: Diamond in the shape of a heart typically found in solitaire settings.

heart cut engagement ringPhoto by Andrea Jay Photography

Marquise cut: Long and narrow diamond-shaped similarly to a football. It’s best set with prongs on each end to protect the points from chipping.

Oval cut: A unique take on a round diamond. Oval-shaped stones come in a variety of widths ranging from slim to wide.

Pear cut: Combination of a round and a marquise shape diamond available in a variety of narrow to wide sizes.

Princess cut: Popular fancy diamond cut with a lower price per carat due to the minimal waste produced when cutting from a rough diamond.

Radiant cut: Square or rectangular diamond with minimal curved edges similar to an emerald shape.

Round cut: Circular-shaped diamond. It’s  the most common shape for engagement rings.

Trillion cut: Triangular shaped diamond, often used as side stones to frame a square diamond.

engagement ring metals

14k gold: Made of 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metals or alloys.

18k gold: Made of 18 parts gold and 6 parts other metals.

24k gold: Pure gold. The softest gold, as gold gets softer the purer it is.

Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals mixed together.

Gold plated: Thin, almost microscopic layer of pure gold used to coat another type of metal.

Platinum: Precious metal with a silvery white color and shine.

Rose gold: An alloy of gold tinted with copper to create a rosy tone. The deeper the pink color, the more copper there is in the alloy.

White gold: Yellow gold mixed with a white alloy.

Yellow gold: The color of pure gold, yellow gold gets darker or changes color the more alloys are mixed with it.

Photo by Tenth and Grace

engagement ring styles

Art deco: Rings created during (or inspired by) the art deco era from 1920 to 1935, known for bold line and geometric shapes.

Baguette: Meaning “long rod” in French, the baguette cut features long, clean lines, and is typically used in side stones.

Band: Ring that tends to accompany an engagement ring. Can be made of a precious metal, alloys, and/or include stones.

Bezel: Metal that completely surrounds the diamond or featured gemstone. A half bezel is the term used when half of the stone is framed by metal. Bezel ring settings are stronger and more protective than prong settings.

Colored diamond: Diamonds come in a variety of natural and dyed colors. Common diamond color options include yellow, pink, blue, chocolate and black.

Colored gemstone: Engagement rings featuring a colored gemstone stone ranging in a variety of colors.

Eco-friendly diamond: Diamonds sourced ethically under fair labor standards with eco-friendly practices.

Halo: Ring featuring a center stone that’s surrounded by a circle of stones. Engagement rings can have more than one halo, referred to as a double halo if two circles of gemstones encircle one center stone.

Hand-crafted: Ring that’s been made by hand instead of the casing process of filling a mold. It’s shaped by hand by the jeweler.

Pavé: Setting of stones where they’re placed close together so as to avoid seeing metal in between the stones.

Side Stones: Ring featuring a main stone and surrounded by smaller stones. Can also be referred to as a three-stone ring or a halo.

Solitaire: Ring with a single, solitary stone.

Tension set: Gemstone is held in place by metal on either side, thus creating tension.

Three-Stone: Ring featuring three stones, typically three diamonds or a diamond centered between two other stones.

Unique: Creatively designed ring, typically not modeled after a traditional ring style, or a classic ring with a modern twist.

Unique shank: Engagement ring with an individualized lower part that goes around the finger, also known as a shank.

Vintage/Antique: These are classic-style engagement rings typically created during or prior to the early 1900s. An antique engagement ring is defined as being over fifty years old.

Vintage-inspired: Modern day rings modeled after vintage rings. Also referred to as a reproduction.

square cut engagement ringPhoto by Andie Freeman Photography

 More resources for soon-to-be proposers:

The Knot’s Engagement Ring Gallery
Learn about buying a diamond online!
How to Buy a Diamond: Everything You Need to Know
Use our Proposal Idea Generator
Find Her Engagement Ring Style