Guide to Jewelry

Rick Terry Jewelry / Guide to Jewelry

A Jeweler's Guide

To Jewelry

At Rick Terry Jewelry Designs, we’re more than just a jewelry store. We want to be your jeweler. When you work with us, whether it’s purchasing an engagement ring, choosing the perfect gift for a loved one, or working with us to create the custom piece of your dreams, we want you to be informed and educated about the processes and materials we use. There are so many options when it comes to buying jewelry that the task can seem daunting, overwhelming, and confusing. However, we hope that with a little help from our Jeweler’s Guide to Jewelry, you will be shopping like a professional in no time.


Ring Terminology

There are many different parts that make up your ring.

The head (or setting) is the portion of the ring that typically holds the stone, whether that’s a diamond or other precious stone.

The shank is the lower portion of the ring.

The prong is a little metal claw that holds the diamond in place. Prongs can be rounded, pointed, flat, or V-shaped.


of Design

There are stark differences between the type of design work on a ring when it is commercially made versus when it is handmade. The craftsmanship differs significantly and impacts the quality of the ring. Always be sure to get your ring inspected every four to six months by a jeweler in order to investigate wear-and-tear, to get it properly cleaned, and ensure there are no issues that need to be addressed.


Designs and Terms

There are many ways to combine shank profiles, shapes, and design anatomy to achieve your ideal design. We have a few styles shown above and explained below. If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us for more information.

Cathedral shank: Cathedral settings are one of the most classic engagement ring settings. It uses arches of metal to hold the diamond or other gemstones. The cathedral may be set with prongs, bezel, or tension setting.
Halo: A halo setting refers to the placement of diamonds in a concentric circle or square around a center stone. The halo setting makes the center stone appear larger.
Solitaire: The solitaire describes a ring with a single diamond or gemstone set into the ring.
Bypass Shank: With a bypass ring shank the two sides of the band overlap or traverse rather than forming a straight line.
Split Shank: A split-shank refers to a ring in which the shank splits into two separate shanks.



There are many ways to hold a stone in a design. The most common are prong set, channel set, bead & bright, and bezel set.

Prong set: The prong is a little metal claw that grips the diamond (or other stone) tightly, holding it in place. Prongs can be rounded, pointed, flat, or v-shaped. Most prong settings feature four or six prongs.
Channel Set: Channel settings provide a secure way to set smaller diamonds in a row in the band of a ring, creating a metal channel of stones.
Bead & Bright/Pave settings: Pave settings use closely set diamonds with minimal visibility of the prongs or beads holding them in place, giving the impression of continuous sparkle.
Bezel Set: With a bezel setting, instead of holding the diamond with prongs, it encircles the stone with a thin metal rim.
Tension Setting: Tension settings use tension in a metal band that secures the stones in place so they appear suspended between the two sides of the shank.



When choosing diamonds, the first choice is often deciding what shape to use. Round cut diamonds are by far the most popular, with nearly 75% of all diamond purchases being round. Princess cuts are also quite popular, but there are a wide range of diamond shapes and styles to examine. Take a look at our graph above and feel free to stop by one of our stores to try one on.