The Ultimate Guide To Engagement Ring Terminology

by Bob Mullen July 14, 2017

The Ultimate Guide To Engagement Ring Terminology

It's an exciting time—it's time to buy an engagement ring!  You're ready to pop the question, so you're eager to find the perfect diamond engagement ring.

Before you get started, it's a really good idea for you to become acquainted with all the diamond terms and concepts that come with buying a diamond engagement ring. (Btw, there's a lot of the them!)

So, here's a helpful list I've put together to help you navigate the engagement ring shopping waters and keep yourself from drowning...

Understanding Diamond Engagement Ring Terms

Blemish – a clarity characteristic on the surface of a diamond

Branded diamonds and diamond cuts – A diamond with a patented or trademarked cutting style

Brilliant cut – a gem cutting style that has triangular and kite shaped facets spread out from the diamond’s center toward the girdle (see girdle below)

Brilliance – the brightness that stems from the center of the diamond

4Cs Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat

Carat (ct) – standard industry term used for the weight of a diamond

Clarity – absence of internal inclusions and external blemishes

Color – absence of color in a diamond--the less color, the higher the grade, rated on a 23-point scale  from “D” (colorless) to “Z” (light yellow or brown)

Cut – the proportions and finish of a polished diamond and a diamond’s cut grade is rated on a GIA Cut Scale that ranges from excellent to poor.(Cut is very important because it greatly influences a diamond's sparkle!)

*There are two other C's I think are important for you to know when shopping for a diamond engagement ring...check them out!

Crown – the upper portion of the diamond above the girdle portion

Culet – a flat facet sometimes added to the bottom of the pavilion to protect the tip

Eye clean – a phrase used to describe a diamond with no blemishes or inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye

Face-up (or table up) – a position where the diamond’s crown and table are faced towards the observer

Face-down (or table down) – a position where the diamond’s pavilion is faced towards the observer

Facet – a smooth flat plane on the surface of a diamond that reflects light

Fancy cut– any diamond shape other than round

Fire – the flashes of colors in a polished diamond

Flawless A diamond with no visible blemishes or inclusions when viewed under 10× magnification by a specially trained grader

Fluorescence – emission of visible light from a diamond when it is exposed to ultraviolet radiation

Girdle – the outer edge or outline of the diamond’s shape

Inclusion – a clarity characteristic totally enclosed inside a polished diamond

Loupe - a small, portable, hand-held magnifying lens used for examining diamonds (and other gemstones!),  10× magnification is considered the standard in gemology

Melee – a jewelry trade term used to describe small diamonds, weighing less than 1/5 carat (˂0.20 ct), the exact size range of melee can vary from country to country

Pavilion – the lower portion of a diamond below the girdle

Plot (or diamond certificate) – a map of a diamond’s inclusions, blemishes, and facet arrangements

Princess Cut – Trade name for a square- or rectangular-shaped brilliant cut diamond

Proportions – the relationship between the angles and relative measurements of a polished diamond

Scintillation – the flashes of light and dark areas you see when the diamond, light, or viewer moves

Shape – the face-up outline of a diamond —not its cutting style,—e.g.  round,  marquise, pear, oval, rectangle, heart, and square.

Setting Styles

Prong Setting Diamond Engagement RingProng setting (aka claw setting) is the most common type of setting for solitaire diamond rings.  The diamond is placed in a metal head or basket and it is secured with 3-8 prongs. 

A Channel Set Diamond Engagement RingChannel setting  has diamonds that are placed in a row and are “suspended” between two pieces of metal on the top and bottom with no metal between each stone.

A Pave Setting Diamond Engagement RingPave setting (aka bead setting) contains small round brilliant cut diamonds that are set even with the surface of the ring. Small holes are made in the setting and after the diamond is put into the hole, the surrounding metal is raised to form tiny beads or prongs that will hold the diamond in place.

A Bezel Setting Diamond Engagement RingA Bezel Setting  is a technique where a gemstone is surrounded by a thin, flat piece of metal.

Metal Choices

Platinum Diamond Engagement RingPlatinum is known for its incredible durability and is 95% pure and will not fade or tarnish keeping its rich white color for a lifetime.  It's a great choice for someone who has sensitive skin.

Palladium is part of the platinum family and has a grayish white tone.  It is 10% stronger than platinum and consists of 95% palladium and 5% ruthenium.

White Gold Diamond Engagement Ring White Gold, available in 10kt, 14kt or 18kt, is pure gold alloyed with palladium, zinc or nickel. It is stronger than yellow gold. To cover the slightly yellowish tone in white gold, it is rhodium plated.

Yellow Gold Diamond Engagement RingYellow Gold, available in 10kt, 14kt or 18kt, is pure gold alloyed with copper and silver.

Rose Gold Diamond Engagement RingRose Gold, available in 10kt, 14kt or 18kt, is pure gold alloyed with copper and comes in a variety of shades from reddish to a soft pink.

I hope this guide helps you find the perfect ring for your partner!

We're honored that Mullen Bros. Jewelers ranks #1 in overall customer ratings among all jewelry stores in Southeastern Massachusetts and we will continue to take care of our neighbors and friends, one jewel at a time.

The Ultimate Guide to Engagement Ring Terms





Bob Mullen
Bob Mullen

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