The Anatomy of a Ring

anatomy of a ring

The Anatomy of a Ring

Are you interested in purchasing or even designing a ring, but the technical jewellery terms confuse you? If so, we’re here to help. We’ve put this guide together to help you understand the basics of the anatomy of a ring, so you can express exactly what you want—or do not want—for your special ring.

The Head

The head of the ring consists of multiple design elements. It includes the centre stone and everything that holds the stone in place. This includes the collet, which is the circular rim into which the centre stone is set, and the claws. In terms of the anatomy of a ring, the collet may also be referred to as the setting.

There are many different types of heads and settings to host a centre stone including:

tulip setting basket setting buttercup setting v shape claw settingno rail setting

The Centre Stone

The centre stone is the featured stone on the ring and is quite literally the centrepiece of the ring design. While settings can include more than one stone as the ‘centre’ stone, highlighting a single stone is certainly the most common choice.

Centre stones can be any size for an engagement ring, ranging from 0.3 carat to 10 carats. As a general rule of thumb, they will be larger in size than side stones, for contrast.

Popular centre stone choices include diamonds and coloured gemstones—including sapphires, rubies, emeralds and garnets.

The Claws

The claws of the ring are the small metal pieces that grip the centre stone and hold it in place. Internationally, ‘prongs’ is another ring anatomy term used for this feature, and is common in the United States.

Claws generally number between four and six. When choosing a ring design, keep in mind the number of claws are functional, but impact the beauty of the stone. For example, an increased number of claws ensures the stone is securely held in place even if one is damaged; however, fewer claws allow additional light to filter into the stone, enhancing its beauty.

The Side Stones

The side stones are arranged around the centre stone, and can match or contrast the centre stone in colour, shape or style. An engagement ring, for instance, may feature a ruby centre stone surrounded by diamonds.

Elaborate designs can include just one additional stone or up to 50 smaller side stones that surround or accompany the centre stone.

The Band

The band is the bottom portion of the ring that curves around the finger. In the United States, it is commonly referred to as the ‘shank’. This is the part of the ring that a jeweller will adjust for ring size and the inside of the band may be inscribed or engraved with a few romantic words of your choosing.

The Anatomy of Your Ring

We hope this introduction to the anatomy of a ring has assisted you by providing the terminology you need to describe and create the ring you desire. If you have any design elements you wish to discuss, feel free to contact us or take a look at our website.


Rebecca Smyth

English and Media graduate. Content and Social Media Maven at Rare Pink.

More Posts - Website