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Ring and Diamond Terminology

Ring and Diamond Terminology

When shopping for a wedding ring there are lots of terms used that can be quite confusing! Different settings, metals, shapes, and finishes can be overwhelming if you don’t understand what they all mean. When you do know what styles or aesthetics you like going into shopping for a ring, you can more clearly articulate what you’re looking for and get a ring that’s perfect for you and your fiance! We’ll go over some of the most common terms used to help clarify any confusion: 

Setting Terms: 

Halo: A halo in a diamond ring refers to the small diamonds that surround the center stone. Using a halo is a great way to draw attention to a beautiful center stone. Halos can be used around any shape of center stone, like a round halo around a round diamond, or you can switch them up to give your ring depth. You can also add more halos, like a double halo, to give your ring even more shine and radiance! 

Burst Halo: Similar to a regular halo but with the prongs holding in the diamonds from the outer edge. This gives the ring a star or flower-like design. This style again looks beautiful on any shape center stone and is a simple way to add a lot of personality. 

Under Halo: Rather than the stones surrounding the diamond on the diameter of the center stone, an under halo features the surrounding stones underneath the center stone. This style is perfect for people who love the little details and want something unique in their ring. 

Melee: This is a term that is used to describe the very small diamonds used in a setting or on a band. One melee usually weighs less than .10 carats. 

Pave: pronounced Pah-vay, is a style of band which features many small melee stones surrounding the band. Pave bands include melee stones with small, tiny prongs between each stone to hold the little diamonds in place. Pave bands usually feature diamonds only on the top, outer part of the ring. 

Band: This refers to the part of the ring that goes around the finger. Some varieties include men’s bands, wedding bands, pave bands, infinity bands (when diamonds go all the way around the whole finger) or fashion bands, like mother’s rings or anniversary rings. 

Prongs: Prongs are the small pieces of metal attached to the base of the band or crown that hold the diamond in place. Having strong and sturdy prongs is one of the best ways you can protect the diamond you’ve invested in. When taken care of, prongs will keep your stones in your ring sturdy and safe. Prongs, much like gears on a car, will naturally wear down in time and will need to be replaced; but good maintenance and inspection can keep them in good shape for years! 

Cluster: This is a term when many small diamonds are placed in a cluster form to give a similar look of one larger center stone. This is a good option if you’re looking for a ring that sits flat against the top of your finger or a more subtle aesthetic. 

Metal Terms: 

Karat: Karat with a “K” refers to the purity level of gold. Karats measure the proportion of gold in an alloy in 24 parts; so 18 Karat gold is 18/24 parts gold. Karat numbers most commonly used in jewelry are 10K, 14K, 18K. 24K gold is too soft to make durable jewelry out of without the reinforcement of other metals.

White Gold: White gold is one variation of metal that can be used in fine jewelry. It is a mixture of pure gold with other white metals like palladium, silver, and nickel with a rhodium coating. Gold is a naturally soft metal, but when combined with other metals it is durable enough for jewelry. The white gold’s value depends on the Karat and how much gold is used to make the ring. White gold looks great with diamonds and complements well for fairer skin tones. It does, however, need to be redipped with a rhodium plating every few years to keep its luster. 

Yellow Gold: Yellow gold is another variation of metal used in jewelry; yellow gold is made of pure gold mixed with alloy metals which can include copper and zinc. Yellow gold is the most hypoallergenic of all gold metals and historically the most popular for engagement rings or wedding bands. It has the purest color of all golds and doesn’t need to be plated as time passes, just polished. Yellow gold is a great compliment for darker skin tones or olive colored skin and looks great with many colors of stones. It is a very precious and soft metal and can get knicks and dents over time. 

Rose Gold: Rose gold is made of pure gold mixed with silver and copper alloys. It is real gold but not entirely gold. Just like white and yellow gold, the copper and silver help strengthen it. The copper is what gives rose gold it’s pinkish color. Rose gold, like yellow gold, does not need to be plated but does need to be cleaned and polished. Rose gold beautifully compliments all skin tones and looks great with diamonds or colored stones like a Peach Morganite.

Platinum: Platinum is a naturally white metal that looks like white gold but is heavier and more durable. Platinum is the purest metal commonly used in jewelry, so it is a great hypoallergenic option for someone with nickel or copper allergies. Although platinum is one of the stronger metals, it can still scratch or dull over time and needs to be polished and taken care of. 

Rhodium: Rhodium is a natural chemical element that is a thick, silver-white metal. Rhodium plating is the process of dipping a white gold ring in rhodium to renew it’s shine. This is only necessary usually every few years. When buying a white gold ring, it’s important to ask if Rhodium Plating is included in your ring’s warranty! 

Diamond Terms: 

4 C’s: When shopping for a diamond, each diamond is rated in categories often referred to as the 4 C’s. These stand for a diamond’s Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat weight. Each of these is ranked on their own specific scale and determine a diamond’s size, shape, transparency, and overall value. It’s important to work with a diamond specialist who will be upfront and honest with you about how each diamond ranks on each of the 4 C’s scales because they can often be hard to tell to the untrained eye. Working with a trained specialist ensures you get the best value for your budget! 

Cut: Cut refers to the facets of a stone. The factor that makes diamonds so shiny and sparkly is their ability to convey light, and this is where very specific cuts come into play. Precision and symmetry are needed to make sure each side, angle, and view of a diamond are able to transmit as much light as possible. 

Color: One of the stand out characteristics of diamonds is how clear and reflective they are, but not all diamonds have that same transparency naturally. A pure and well structured diamond has no hue, which means light is able to pass through it more easily. Because it’s brilliance and shine are so clear and reflective, they have a higher value. 

Clarity: Clarity is the absence of any imperfections in or on the diamond, like blemishes and inclusions. Because of the unique way in which diamonds are formed over long periods of time and the pressure they have to go through to form, this commonly results in imperfections in the structure of the diamond.

Carat Weight: Simply put, this means how much each diamond weighs. One carat is defined as 200 milligrams, which is then divided even smaller into points. As a diamond’s weight increases, the value increases as well because larger diamonds are more rare. Because it’s harder to mine a larger diamond without damaging it, larger stones will always cost more than smaller stones. Two diamonds of equal weight could have very different value based on the color, cut, and clarity as well. 

Mined Diamond: Mined diamonds are diamonds that are formed and harvested from underground. Diamonds formed in the earth are formed over long periods of time using high pressure and high temperatures. This is the most traditional form of growing diamonds.

Lab Grown Diamonds: Exactly the same substances as a diamond pulled from the earth, but they are formed in a laboratory! Lab Grown diamonds have been on the market for about five years and are a great alternative to mined diamonds! The differences between lab grown and mined diamonds are so subtle that only diamond specialists can tell with expensive, specific equipment. Not only are lab grown diamonds a great cost alternative, but they’re more environmentally friendly as well! 

When you feel more informed about different rings, metals, diamonds, or settings, you can have confidence in knowing you’ll get exactly what you’re looking for! Working with a trained, certified ring and diamond specialist will ensure you’re getting all your questions answered and you can feel at ease with your decision!

For information about setting styles, diamonds, metals, or ring buying, visit our store to meet with a trained ring specialist or check out our website!



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