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Engagement Ring Style Guide

Engagement Ring Styles

Choosing the perfect engagement ring is one of the most important decisions you and your loved one will ever make. One of the most important features of any engagement ring is the cut of the diamond, which determines how the light reflects and refracts. There are many different diamond cuts and shapes available, each with unique characteristics, from traditional round or emerald cut to bold trillion or pear cut. Since you want to choose a ring your partner will love forever, your choice of engagement ring should mirror her style and preferences.

Before shopping for an engagement ring, it's essential to know a little about the characteristics of each cut and shape of diamond, along with the many different types of settings that are available, such as solitaire, pave and halo. The cut of the stone will determine the setting you choose and how much you may ultimately spend. Cornell’s Jewelers, your destination for beautiful diamond engagement rings in Rochester, N.Y., is pleased to offer you this helpful engagement ring style guide.Let us help you choose the right diamond for your budget and create a stunning setting that will shine.

Types of Engagement Ring Cuts

The cut of the diamond or other stone directly affects the amount of light it will refract and reflect, which ultimately determines how sparkly it is. The cut of a diamond is the single most crucial factor in determining the beauty and value of a diamond, and is the only one of the 4Cs a jeweler can control. These are some of the most popular engagement ring shapes, which just like the brides who wear them feature unique characteristics and style.

Emerald Cut Diamond

Emerald Cut Diamond

What is an emerald-cut engagement ring? Emerald-cut engagement rings are rectangular in shape, with step-cut facets along the sides. This shape is ideal for showcasing higher-clarity stones, since it features a large, glassy table that allows you to look into the stone. Emerald-cut engagement rings, like this beautiful Tacori Platinum Engagement Ring, are ideal for brides who enjoy luxury and glamour without being too bold. This shape is flattering for everyone, since the thin, rectangular shape elongates the hand.

Characteristics of an emerald cut engagement ring include:

  • Slim, rectangular shape
  • Large, smooth table
  • Step-cut facets

Cushion Cut

What is a cushion-cut engagement ring? A cushion-cut stone features rounded corners and large facets, making it ideal for larger stones. Also called "antique cut," cushion-cut engagement rings evoke a feeling of nostalgia. They are the perfect style for brides who adore romance and glamour. While possessing a vintage feel, cushion-cut stones, such as the one featured in this gorgeous Rahaminov Diamonds Cushion-Cut Halo Cluster Engagement Ring, also look beautiful placed in a modern setting.

Characteristics of a cushion-cut engagement ring include:

  • Pillow shape with rounded corners
  • Vintage feel
  • Very sparkly

Round Cut

What is a round-cut engagement ring? This classic engagement ring style features a round center stone. Brilliant-cut round stones boast the most sparkle due to their 58 facets which beautifully reflect the light. With their timeless elegance and enduring popularity, it's no surprise that 52 percent of engagement rings purchased are round cut. Round-cut engagement rings, such as this classic Jack Kelege Solitaire Engagement Ring, are ideal for brides who have a taste for all things traditional and chic.

Characteristics of a round-cut engagement ring include:

  • Round shape
  • 58 facets
  • Super sparkly

Asscher Cut

What is an Asscher-cut engagement ring? Created by the Royal Asscher Company in 1902, Asscher-cut stones are often called "square emerald cut." Like emerald-cut stones, Asscher-cut stones feature a large table that allows you to see into the center of the stone. This elegant style, featured in this stunning Tacori 18kt White Gold Engagement Ring, is ideal for brides who are sophisticated and fashion-conscious with an appreciation for tradition. The Asscher cut is available in both standard, featuring 58 facets, or Royal, featuring a high crown and 74 facets.

Characteristics of an Asscher-cut engagement ring include:

  • Octagonal shape
  • Cropped corners
  • 58 or 74 facets

Oval Engagement Ring



Oval Cut

What is an oval-cut engagement ring? Oval-cut stones feature a symmetrical oval shape that elongates any hand. This cut makes smaller stones look larger and, due to its brilliant-cut facets, can be just as sparkly as a round stone. Oval-cut engagement rings, such as this gorgeous Tacori 18kt White Gold Oval Engagement Ring, are perfect for brides with a romantic, but edgy, style who want something traditional, but a little unexpected.

Characteristics of an oval-cut engagement ring include:

  • Long, oval shape
  • Symmetrical
  • Brilliant-cut facets maximize sparkle

Pear Cut

What is a pear-cut engagement ring? Pear-cut stones have a distinctive teardrop shape. This cut allows smaller stones to appear larger, and is also a good cut for colored stones, since the shape tends to hold more color than other shapes. When worn with the point facing up, pear-cut engagement rings elongate the hand although tradition states that the bride wear the point facing her heart. Their vintage feel and unique shape make pear-cut engagement rings, such as this sparkly Simon G 18kt White Gold Pear-Shaped Engagement Ring, ideal for brides with a traditional, but bold, style.

Characteristics of a pear-cut engagement ring include:

  • Teardrop shape
  • Vintage feel
  • Symmetrical shape allows for even shimmer

Princess Cut

What is a princess-cut engagement ring? Princess-cut engagement stones have a square shape with pointed corners and offer more brilliance than similarly shaped stones. They feature both step and brilliant-cut facets, which gives them a supreme sparkle. Princess-cut engagement rings, such as this stunning Jeff Cooper 18kt White Gold Engagement Ring, are suitable for brides with a traditional but avant-garde style.

Characteristics of a princess-cut engagement ring include:

  • Square shape
  • Corners are cut and pointed
  • Step and brilliant-cut facets

Radiant Cut Engagement Ring



Radiant Cut

What is a radiant-cut engagement ring? Radiant-cut stones, which gained their popularity in the 1980s, are similar in shape to an emerald cut. They are available in both rectangular and square cuts. Their 70 facets allow them to catch the light beautifully, making them very sparkly. Radiant-cut engagement rings, like this shimmering Mark Patterson Platinum Engagement Ring, are the perfect choice for brides who want ultimate sparkle and bling and have a penchant for quality and attention to detail.

Characteristics of a radiant-cut engagement ring include:

  • Wide, rectangular or square shape
  • Very sparkly
  • 70 facets

Trillion Cut

What is a trillion-cut engagement ring? Created in the Netherlands, trillion-cut stones feature a symmetrical triangular shape with three equal sides. They tend to look larger than other stone shapes, and are beautiful as both a center or accent stone. Trillion-cut engagement rings are an ideal choice for brides with a modern and minimalist style.

Characteristics of a trillion-cut engagement ring include:

  • Triangular shape
  • Three equal sides
  • 31 to 50 facets


Engagement Ring Settings

The engagement ring setting is one of the most crucial features of your ring. Not only does the setting hold the center and side stones securely in the ring, but it also plays a significant role in your ring's style. Different types of engagement ring settings can make stones appear larger or differently shaped, and even give them a modern or vintage feel. Since the cut of the stone often dictates the setting you choose, many jewelers recommend selecting your setting first, as that will determine the size and shape of stone that will look and fit the best. The engagement ring setting should reflect the bride-to-be's taste, personality and lifestyle just as much as the stones it showcases.

Common engagement ring settings include:


The solitaire setting is the most common type of prong setting and serves as a pedestal to showcase your stone. Prongs are clawlike metal pieces that securely hold your stones in place. They can be pointed, rounded, V-shaped or flat. Jewelers use different prong types, depending on the cut of the stone. Most solitaire rings feature either four or six prongs that secure a single center stone. This type of setting allows for more light to pass through the stone, maximizing its brilliance. This classic setting, shown in this beautiful Ritani 18kt White Gold Engagement Ring, looks beautiful with a variety of different diamond shapes and sizes.


The pave setting beautifully showcases the center stone while adding a touch of drama and sparkle. Featuring tiny, individual diamonds or other stones, set closely together along the band, the pave setting, shown in this gorgeous Ritani 18kt White Gold Engagement Ring, gives your engagement ring a little extra something without taking away from the center stone. The pave setting can give your engagement ring a modern or vintage feel and looks beautiful with a variety of different stone shapes and sizes. Pave settings are available in half pave, which encircles half the band, or full pave, which goes all the way around. Micro pave settings, which use extremely tiny diamonds, can be expensive due to the time and effort it takes to set all the tiny stones individually.


The channel setting features tiny diamonds or other stones set into a grooved channel that goes either partially or entirely around the ring's band. Since the diamonds are set flush into the band, using metal bars rather than prongs, the channel setting is very secure and ideal for brides with active lifestyles or who work with their hands. A channel setting, as shown in this stunning Artcarved 14kt White Gold Engagement Ring, is a beautiful way to add a little extra sparkle to your engagement ring.

Channel Set Engagemenet Ring


Tension settings feature a center stone suspended between the metal of the ring shank. The tension of the metal holds the stone in place. True tension settings are quite expensive to create, since the process involves making perfectly calibrated cuts into the inside of the band to fit the dimensions of the stone. Tension-style rings tend to be a little less expensive, since they often use prongs or bezels to secure the stone. This style of engagement ring setting is modern, sleek and unique and allows your diamond to reflect a large amount of light. While most stone shapes pair well with tension settings, they work best with round-cut or princess-cut diamonds.


Halo settings feature tiny, individually set diamonds or other stones outlining the center stone, which adds a significant amount of sparkle to the ring. Single halo settings feature a single row of diamonds around the center or stone, while double halo settings have two rows. Using contrasting colored stones or a different-colored metal around the around the stones can give your engagement ring a bold and unique look. Jewelry designers frequently pair halo settings with a pave-set band, making a ring that is super sparkly and beautiful, like this Hearts on Fire Platinum Engagement Ring. Halo-set engagement rings can be a cost-saving option, since they make smaller stones appear larger.


Vintage or antique engagement ring settings are Old-World styles inspired by specific periods such as Art Deco, Victorian and Edwardian. They often feature vintage details such as intricate filigree or milgrain work. Filigree metalwork consists of soldering tiny metal threads or beads around the band of the ring in a decorative design. Milgrain engraving gives rings an antique and decorative look of small metal balls surrounding the band and crown. Vintage-style engagement rings, such as this elegant Jeff Cooper 14kt White Gold Engagement Ring, are charming and unique and beautifully showcase the center stone.

How to Choose an Engagement Ring


With so many options available, choosing the perfect engagement ring can be overwhelming. While it's crucial to understand the different engagement ring cuts and settings, it's also essential to know the basic style of the bride-to-be and choose a reputable jeweler. Here are some helpful tips that will make choosing an engagement ring an enjoyable experience.

  • Be aware of your budget: While three months' salary was once the guideline when buying an engagement ring, the myth that you have to go broke has thankfully fallen by the wayside. You should buy the best ring you can afford without going into debt. Choosing a stone that is just shy of the next carat weight can save you nearly 20 percent, while choosing a stone that is just shy of the next clarity grade can also equal significant savings. You can also save money by opting for a less expensive metal or choosing a lower-clarity stone with a brilliant cut.
  • Know the 4Cs: Before choosing an engagement ring, it's essential to know the 4Cs of diamond grading, which include color, cut, clarity and carat weight. The more colorless and flawless the stone is, the more it will cost. The better the cut of the diamond, the more brilliance and sparkle it will have. While most people may think higher carat weight automatically equates to a more expensive stone, this is not always true. Jewelers grade each stone using all four Cs to determine its ultimate value.
  • Know your metals: Many different types of metals are common in engagement ring settings, and the metal you choose can drastically affect the look and price of the finished ring. Gold is a popular and affordable setting choice, and is available in many different colors, such as white, yellow and rose. Platinum, a popular setting choice due to its hypoallergenic qualities and durability, usually costs a little more than gold. Palladium is similar to platinum, with a slightly grayer tone and a lower cost.
  • Know your bride-to-be's style: While one in three couples shops for their engagement ring together, some partners prefer to maintain the element of surprise. It may be helpful to enlist the help of her friends or family or pay close attention to the jewelry she already owns. It's also essential to consider her lifestyle and profession, as higher settings and larger stones may not be ideal for someone who is very active or athletic.
  • Choose a reputable and knowledgeable jeweler: When making such a significant decision, it's essential to find a jeweler you trust. Cornell’s Jewelers chooses only the diamonds that meet our high standards for quality and value. Fewer than 1 percent of all diamonds presented to our family-owned business make it into our showroom. We are proud to feature one of the largest collections of loose diamonds, along with beautiful designer diamond engagement rings from brands such as Hearts On Fire, Tacori, Memoire, Jack Kelege, Simon G, Ritani, ArtCarved, Jeff Cooper and more.

Many of our customers prefer to design their wedding rings themselves, including engagement rings and custom wedding bands.

Find Your Perfect Engagement Ring at Cornell's

When you're ready to choose the engagement ring of her dreams, visit Cornell's Jewelers, where we have kept romance alive for over three generations.Our beautiful showroom in Rochester, NY, is home to our extensive selection of designer engagement rings. Whether you want a stunning designer engagement ring or wish to create a custom design that's all your own, our caring and professional staff will work with your ideas and budget. Explore our selection of beautiful engagement rings or contact us to schedule an appointment today.



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