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Jewelry Design Guide

Our goal at Brilliant Earth is to simplify the process of buying the perfect ring. Our Jewelry Design Guide will help you understand the different aspects of a ring, as well as design elements to consider. Whether you choose from our stunning selection of made-to-order engagement rings or wedding rings or work with our designers to create a one-of-a-kind custom piece, we will help you to create the perfect ring.

For answers to all your specific questions, we encourage you to contact us directly. We have a lot of expertise to share, and we enjoy helping our customers during this exciting time in their lives.

Types of Settings for Accent Gemstones

Accent gemstones are small diamonds or other gemstones incorporated into the ring to add a touch of sparkle and glamour. If you choose a style with accent gemstones, there are a variety of setting options to consider. Accent gemstones can either span just a portion of the ring or fully encircle the entire band in an “eternity” style.


A channel setting features gemstones gracefully suspended between two parallel walls of precious metal for a smooth, elegant look.

Pavé/Bead Set

In this glamorous setting type, gemstones are set closely together for a dazzling, diamond-encrusted look. The gemstones are held securely in place by small beads of precious metal.

Shared Prong

With a shared prong setting, adjacent gemstones share precious metal prongs which allows more light to pass through and increases their brilliance and fire.


A bezel setting features a gemstone that is fully encircled by a thin border of precious metal, which holds the gem securely in place.


A bar setting is a variation on the channel setting in which gems are held securely in place between parallel vertical channels.


Flush set gemstones are set into the band so that only the top of the gem is visible and the ring’s surface is smooth and even. Since no precious metal prongs are required to set the gem, gemstones can be placed anywhere in the piece where the depth of the ring can accommodate the gem.

Types of Settings for Center Gemstones

The center gemstone setting is an important consideration for the overall look of your engagement ring. The type of setting will showcase your dazzling center gemstone, as well as hold it securely in place. It is also important to consider your lifestyle when choosing a center gemstone setting. Bezel and other low profile settings are great choices for active lifestyles, while peg head settings hold the diamond a bit higher and are more exposed.


A basket setting features prongs that secure the gemstone in a basket shape. A popular choice, it optimizes the amount of light to pass through the gem, while keeping it set low.


A trellis setting features interwoven prongs which create an elegant design, and secures the gemstone low in a basket.


A bezel setting features a stone that is fully surrounded by a thin border of precious metal, which holds the gem securely in place. This setting accentuates the gemstone for a contemporary look.

Semi Bezel

A semi bezel features two thin borders of precious metal that arc around the East and West sides of the gem. Since the border of precious metal does not fully encircle the gem, more light is able to pass through and show off the gem’s brilliant facets.


With a cathedral setting, the center gemstone is framed between elegant archways that gently taper upward towards the center gem.


In a halo setting, the center gemstone is completely encircled by smaller accent diamonds, which enhance the center gem for a glamorous look. Halo settings are one of the most sought after engagement ring styles today.

Three Stone

The classic three stone ring typically features a larger center gemstone framed on either sides by slightly smaller or equal size gems. A three stone setting is often thought to represent a couple’s past, present and future.

Compass Points

A compass point setting features a center gemstone that is held securely in place by four precious metal prongs on the North, South, East and West sides of the gem.

Integrated Head vs. Peg Head

A ring can either have an integrated head or a peg head. A ring with an integrated head is cast as one continuous piece of precious metal, and center gemstones will typically sit lower and more flush with the band.

Peg Head

A peg head is soldered separately onto the ring shank, holding the diamond a bit higher. The majority of peg head settings feature either four or six prongs securing the center gemstone.

Types of Ring Shanks

The ring shank, or what is commonly referred to as the band, is the portion of the ring that encircles the finger. The shank is an important design element affecting both the appearance of the ring and how it feels to the wearer.

Low Profile

This type of band features a softly defined squared edge for a clean and classic look.

Comfort Fit

Comfort fit bands feature a rounded inside edge for increased comfort and wearability.


A rounded or half-round band features a subtly domed or softened outer surface.

Split Shank

With a split shank design, the band on either side of the ring divides into two before joining with the center gemstone.

Knife Edge

A knife edge features two gently slanted sides that meet at a point at the top of the band creating a sleek and elegant look.

Euro Shank

With a Euro Shank, the bottom portion of the band is flat instead of the more traditional rounded shape. This design is often used to prevent the ring from spinning on the finger.


With a Bypass ring shank the two sides of the band overlap or traverse rather than forming a straight line.

Types of Precious Metal Detailing

Precious metal details are a great way to add interest or embellishment to your ring. Finishing details can affect the overall appearance of the ring giving it either a more contemporary or vintage look.


A delicate beaded effect along the edge of the piece. Milgrain detailing is popular in vintage and antique style jewelry. Also called “millegrain.”

Matte / Brushed / Satin

This contemporary finish is a popular alternative to traditional high polish, which is shiny and reflective. A satin finish has a soft, non-reflective quality, while a matte or brushed finish appears more textured. One benefit to this finish is scratches on the surface do not show up easily.


An exquisite vintage design element where small threads of precious metal create artistic, lacey designs.

Hand Engraving

Hand engraving is done by a jeweler who hand carves designs into the precious metal. Each hand engraving is unique as no two are exactly the same.


Soft indentations are formed into the precious metal surface adding visual texture. This finishing detail is great for active lifestyles as it easily disguises wear and tear over time.


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