11 Engagement Ring Styles and How To Choose

Just as you will need to decide on a ring setting when shopping for an engagement ring, ring styles is also another important factor to consider. Many people confuse ring settings with styles, but there is a difference.

While a ring setting refers to the way the stones are held in the ring, a ring style refers to the overall look of the stone. The term ‘ring style’ is quite comprehensive, and takes into account the color of the ring metal, the cut of the diamond, the preference of the wearer in terms of overall design, and even the ring setting used.

JamesAllen Engagement Rings

Let’s take a look at the most popular ring styles available on the market, and the pros and cons of each option.

1. The Diamond Solitaire

diamond set in rose gold
Solitaire ring style. See more here.

A solitaire is a classic and is the quintessential engagement ring. It consists of just one diamond, hence the term ‘solitaire’ (think solitary).

Typically, a solitaire diamond is a round brilliant, held in place by either a prong setting or a cathedral setting. The prong setting aids in displaying the optimal brilliance of the diamond while the cathedral setting hold up the diamond in an even higher position with its slender arches.

A slender ring with a bigger diamond on it will create the illusion of the wearer having longer and slimmer fingers.

High quality diamonds will sparkle best with white metals such as platinum or white gold, however yellow gold can do the same magic quite well with a diamond on the lower end of the color scale (H-Z grades). Remember that this will mean a slightly less expensive stone!

2. The Three Stone Ring

Three stone high setting engagement ring
Three stone ring by Brian Gavin. See more here.

This style features three diamonds or gemstones placed side by side, usually held with prongs. The stones can either be in similar sizes or there can be a bigger center piece diamond and two smaller side stones.

The advantage of this style as compared to the solitaire is that the sparkle of the diamonds is greatly improved. Also, with a three stone ring, you can play with the price of the diamond in that smaller diamonds will naturally be less expensive compared to the bigger diamonds needed for the solitaire style.

The three stone ring style is contemporary, fashionable and cost-efficient at the same time. An added plus to this style is the meaning that each stone brings – your past, your present and your future.

3. The Vintage Inspired Style

vintage engagement ring with oval diamond
Vintage inspired ring. See this here.

Timeless and glamorous, the vintage style will never run out of fashion. Inspired by the rich histories of the old eras, vintage rings will outlast fashion styles in years to come.

The antique appearance of vintage rings, usually achieved by delicate engravings, sophisticated bead details and fine filigree work, is ideal for someone who appreciates art and culture.

Vintage rings are ideal for heirloom pieces to be passed on from one generation to the next.

4. Eternity Bands

Garland Diamond Eternity Ring
Diamond eternity band. See this here.

Nothing’s more chic and elegant than an entire band of diamonds. The ring metal used in eternity bands is usually platinum or white gold to complement the sparkle of the eternity stones. This ring style is simple but classy and matches any outfit or style the wearer may have.

5. The Split Shank

split shank ring
White gold split shank ring. See this here.

The shank is the body of the ring which is worn around the finger. This style features a shank that splits into two as it approaches the center stone.

Some interpret this to mean that a healthy personal space in a relationship contributes highly to the strength of the love shared between the couple.

Figurative words aside, the split-shank is ideal when one desires for more decorative details to be added to the shank, say smaller diamonds or an interesting floral designs perhaps.

6. Double Shanks

double shank setting engagement ring
Double shank ring. See more rings here.

With the double shank design, the ring consists of not one but two metal bands. These two shanks are embellished with diamonds like that of the eternity band except that the latter is composed of one shank only.

Double shank rings are more elaborate and flashy, and has a more stylish and glamorous feel. The ring can be crafted with a bigger diamond for a center stone. All in all, the sparkle of the diamonds are louder in this style, making the appearance of this ring flashy all the way.

7. East-west Setting

garnet east-west engagement ring
An east west garnet ring. See more here.

An oval-cut diamond elicits an air of mystery. Set it horizontally on the band and everyone’s up to uncover the stories it holds. At least, we like to think so. An east-west setting is so called because the oval diamond is set horizontally rather than the usual vertical setting. You can pair this style with an eternity band for the optimal look.

8. Floral Accents

lab created pink diamond ring
Pink diamond ring with floral accents by Brilliant Earth. See more here.

You may wish to add floral accents to your engagement ring for a unique and yet natural look. This style is ideal for artistic types or people who value nature.

You can opt to add flowers, leaves or vines onto the ring; what you choose is entirely up to you and the designer of the ring. Some couples like to draw their own ring and have it custom made.

Brilliant Earth has a good range of floral accented engagement rings (but the cost can be somewhat pricey). 

9. Gemstones and Colored Diamonds

Ruby engagement ring in white gold
Ruby ring in white gold setting. See this here.

A lot of couples like to get off the beaten path, and many opt to choose a gemstone or colored diamond over the traditionally colorless diamond.

Choosing a colored stone can change the entire style of the ring and even bring a different meaning to the ring.

A blue sapphire solitaire ring, for example, has a very different vibe to a diamond solitaire ring.  If you wish to take this route, you will have many options to choose from!

10. Square Bands

square engagement ring with diamond
Unique square band engagement ring. See this here.

This style offers a fresh relief from the usual feel of round bands. Some people actually feel more comfortable wearing square bands than the typical round ones.

The square shape of the band itself offers a unique contemporary sleek design.

11. Fancy Cut Diamonds

marquise diamond in yellow gold setting
Marquise cut diamond in a pave setting. See more here.

Round diamonds are the most popular, but choosing a fancy cut diamond or gemstone makes for a more unique designed ring. There are a range of cuts that you can choose from, including pear-shaped, heart-shaped, marquise cut, cushion shape and Asscher.

The round brilliant and the princess cut are the most brilliant and flashy of all the diamond cuts, however the fancy cuts make the ring eye-catching and different.

If you are confused about all the different designs and styles of engagement rings, recap by going through the summary below!

Ring Styles – Advantages and Disadvantages

Ring StyleAdvantagesDisadvantages
Diamond SolitaireMore emphasis on the diamond Simple and elegant A timeless designRequires a high quality diamond
Three-stone SettingIncreased sparkle You can choose smaller stones and reduce the price A glamorous lookStones held with prong settings will require extra care
Vintage InspiredGreat for an heirloom piece Fashionable and classicWould require expert artisan skills and knowledge of Vintage styles which mean higher cost on the design
Eternity BandsSimple but gorgeous A timeless classic that suits any outfit or styleCleaning the ring will require more effort Resizing can prove difficult
Split ShankElaborate designs can be added to the shanks Glamorous and eye-catchingThe designs on the shank will entail more cost Resizing can prove difficult
Double ShanksAllows for more designs on the shanks Even more glamorous and eye-catchingThe designs on the shank will entail more cost Resizing is difficult
Fancy Cut DiamondsThe contemporary cuts are unique and eye-catchingThe stone can be more expensive than a round brilliant
East-west SettingThe design is unique The oval cut diamond creates an illusion of a diamond with larger carat sizeResizing can compromise the stone
Floral AccentsGreat for artistic types and nature lovers Elegant and classy Unique and eye-catchingThe designs will naturally entail more cost as compared to plain smooth bands
Square BandsUnique and sleek Can be more comfortable, depending on preferenceAs round ones are typically common among ring styles, there could be fewer design options with square bands from a jeweler’s product list

Remember that in addition to the ring style, you will also have to consider ring settings. Oftentimes, you may choose a ring setting that you’ve got your heart set on but it may not be compatible with the ring design.

This is something that you will have to discuss with your jeweler, who will be able to help you find compatible styles and settings.

Wrapping Up

It’s clear that each engagement ring style has its own pros and cons. When deciding on which ring style to choose, consider your general style, preferences, budget, and lifestyle. All of these factors will be impacted by the ring style.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

Jewelry Guide