First Steps to Buying an Engagement Ring


Buying an engagement ring is a big step for most couples, as well as a big investment. Most people like to research investments before they make them, which is why we’ve put together this short primer to help guide you through the process. Since most guides focus on the 4Cs, we’ve gone in a different direction to explain the different styles and options available.


This is usually the first decision couples make. Usually one or the other has a firm opinion on the color of metal that the wedding set should be — either traditional yellow gold or a silvery metal of some kind. Within the silvery metals there are several options: white gold, platinum, palladium, or titanium. Titanium is silver-gray in its natural state, but can also be polished black, which leads us to more non-traditional metals. If titanium isn’t your style, black gold is also a possibility. In recent years, rose gold has become popular as well.

Band Profile

There are many types of bands to choose from as well. Not all bands will be possible with every style of ring, but you should be aware of the broad categories. A court band is probably the most comfortable and traditional style of ring. If you cut a cross-section of the band, it would look like a flattened oval. This is called the ring “profile.”

The D profile is another common style. It is either flat or only slightly curved on the inside of the ring, but sports a distinctive domed exterior. A flat court profile is the opposite of the D profile; it is flat on the outside and curved on the inside for comfort.

A flat profile is flat on both the inside and the outside, and the edges. If you cut a cross-section, it would look like a rectangle. This is a very versatile profile because the ring can look very different depending on the thickness and width of the metal. A minor variation on this is the beveled profile, where the corners have been sliced off. In profile, then, the a beveled ring looks octagonal.

Types of Setting

“Settings” are the methods with which the stone is anchored to the band. There are many, many types of settings, but we will cover the most common. The most familiar setting is the prong setting. This is very common in engagement rings because it allows light to hit every side of the stone, resulting in more sparkle.

Tension settings are a modern innovation. They require a stone to be wedged between two ends of metal that are trying very hard to be together again. Imagine anchoring a stone between two loops of a spring — that’s how a tension setting works. Due to the immense pressure of the setting, stones have to be a hardness level of 9 or greater.

Other familiar settings are pave (dozens of tiny stones arranged in rows) and channel settings. Channel settings fit the stones into a groove. Some types of channel settings even allow the stones to slide in the channel, so you can see the precision of the construction.

There you have it — an engagement ring primer to get you started on the process. Of course, if you have any questions, come on down to Midtown Jewelers and we’ll be happy to help you out!