Choosing your perfect engagement ring is an exciting process. With endless options for customisation, you can create a piece that captures your style and personality perfectly. This guide will help introduce you to some of the commonly used design options and terminology you may encounter and put you on the right path to creating your dream ring.
Which metals can I choose from?
Here at Larsen, our focus is on creating jewellery that lasts a lifetime. When it comes to choosing a metal for an engagement ring, it’s important to choose a metal that is suitable for everyday wear. It is for this reason that we make all of our Larsen engagement rings with 18ct yellow, white and rose gold, as well as platinum.
18ct gold is made from 75% pure gold. The other 25% is an alloy of other metals used to strengthen and also to adjust the colour of the metal. White gold for example, contains silver and palladium to give the metal its whiter colour, and rose gold contains more copper to produce a pink tone in the gold. Yellow gold is a balance of the two, in order to maintain the bright yellow hue of pure gold.
Platinum is another popular choice for engagement rings. Containing 95% platinum and only 5% other alloys, it retains its bright white colour whereas 18ct white gold needs to be routinely plated in rhodium to maintain it’s brightness. Although fine details lend themselves well to platinum, this metal can be more susceptible to scratches than white gold. For more information, please read our Platinum vs White Gold page.
Another option to consider is to create a ring using a combination of two or more metals. A popular example of this is to use a white gold setting on a yellow or rose gold ring so as to keep a neutral colour under and around the diamond.
When it comes to choosing the centrepiece for your engagement ring It can feel like you’re faced with endless options, so we have broken it down to a few simple categories to help you decide.
As the traditional option, a diamond is a classic, enduring choice for an engagement ring. Diamonds are the hardest natural substance known to man, rating 10 on the Moh’s scale of hardness. This means it cannot be scratched by anything other than another diamond, so it will keep its crisp brilliance longer than all other gemstones. As well as their exceptional hardness, diamonds are prized for their ability to interact with light which provides us with those wonderful flashes of rainbow colours and that characteristic diamond “twinkle”. Head on over to our diamond education page to learn more about diamond characteristics.
Fancy Coloured Diamonds
The most popular diamonds are colourless, but the coloured varieties are equally beautiful. Diamonds occur naturally in many shades such as pale champagne colours to dark chocolate brown. Yellow diamonds are also increasingly popular and can be vivid in colour ranging to very subtle tints. The most valuable colours are also the rarest. Pink, red, blue and green natural diamonds are among some of the most beautiful and the most collectable gemstones in the world.
Choosing a coloured gemstone is a beautiful way of creating a unique engagement ring that complements the personality of its wearer. There are many different types of coloured gemstones out there, but not all are suitable for everyday wear. A gemstone’s hardness and ability to resist fractures are important considerations for an engagement ring.
Corundum - Sapphires and Rubies
For a coloured stone that ticks all the boxes for durability, beauty and colour range we recommend corundum – a crystal better known as sapphires and rubies. Corundum is the next hardest natural mineral to diamond, making it highly scratch resistant and a perfect choice for every-day wear.
While sapphires are most known for their stunning blue hues, they can be sourced in many other colours including gorgeous tones of green, yellow, pink, orange, black, purple, teal, mauve… almost any colour you can think of. A red corundum is referred to as a ruby.
The price range of sapphires and rubies is just as varied as their colour range. Here at Larsen, our gemmologists can source specific sapphires that suit your preference for colour, shape and budget. You will have the opportunity to view any sourced gemstones in person before you commit to purchase, so you can be 100% confident that you have the perfect stone for your ring.
This image captures an example of the wide variety of colours and intensities for which sapphires are famous
Diamonds and coloured gemstones come in a wide variety of shapes. The most common of these are round brilliant, princess, cushion, radiant, asscher, emerald, marquise, pear, oval and heart.
The iconic round brilliant cut is the most popular shape worldwide accounting for over 75% of diamonds purchased, followed by cushion cut (square with rounded edges) and oval cut.
The shape of your centre stone is a very personal choice and each cut comes with a wide variety of ring designs to suit. At Larsen Jewellery we can create a completely unique design for you using the shape of your centre stone as inspiration.
A popular choice for adding sparkle to your design is to add accent diamonds or gemstones around the centre stone. Whether they’re in a halo, a cluster, framing the centre stone or down the length of the band, these diamonds can add stunning detail and bring your engagement ring design to life.
Generally, accent stones that add sparkle to a band are small and round in shape, but some designs lend themselves to square or rectangular stones offering a cleaner, more geometric look. Other unique shapes for accent diamonds include trillion, baguette, pear, marquise, halfmoon, trapezoid and bullet shapes which can create a lovely frame to a larger centre stone.
At Larsen Jewellery, our specialty is bespoke engagement rings where each design is custom made to your unique specifications. Getting to know the existing design terms that describe certain popular styles can help you understand your preferences and give you ideas on where to start.
The solitaire style, as the name suggests, refers to a ring with a single stone. Although solitaire designs are typically associated with round diamonds, a solitaire design can feature any stone or shape. This style is elegant and minimalist allowing the chosen diamond or coloured stone to take centre stage.
Rings with shoulder settings have smaller stones (usually diamonds) that run along the band on either side of the centre stone. There are many creative ways that shoulder stones can be positioned on a ring – along a straight band is a classic example, but we can also create a band that splits into two or crosses over on either side of the centre setting. As a general rule, shoulder stones run down the ring from the centre setting to halfway down the band.
A halo is the term used for a circle of small diamonds (or coloured gemstones) that surround a centre stone. A halo gives the illusion of extra sparkle and is a popular choice for emphasising the size of the centre diamond or gemstone. The halo usually sits tight to the centre stone and contains small diamonds to enhance this illusion. Halo designs look beautiful with or without shoulder diamonds set into the band.
As a slight deviation from a halo, a cluster design tends to have larger diamonds surrounding the centre stone. There is more of an emphasis on the surrounding stones, making a cluster more of a statement than a halo. Clusters and haloes are usually categorised together however they are slightly different.
A trilogy, or 3-stone design incorporates three main diamonds or gemstones. Generally, the centre stone is the largest and the stones on either side are smaller, but they can also be the same size. The three stones can be the same shape or a combination of one shape for the centre and a different shape either side.
Examples of vintage designs can be found in any of the above categories, but certain features distinguish them from modern designs. Intricate details such as scrolls, flourishes, filigree, engraving and millgrain finishes with grain set diamonds on the shoulders are features to consider for antique style appeal. These features will be elaborated on in the settings and finishing touches sections of this guide.
This style has been given this name because it mimics the curves and arches often seen in the ceilings and roof trusses of cathedrals. A cathedral design will have shoulders that sweep upwards from the band creating curved, triangular openings either side of the setting.
There are many setting styles available for securing your centre stone and accent stones. This guide will outline the most popular setting styles and show the visual differences between them.
The most popular option for centre stones, a claw setting consists of round wire prongs which clasp over the top of the stone to secure it into the ring. Round stones are most commonly set in 4-claw or 6-claw designs and other cuts are set based on the best alignment for their shape. For example, square and rectangular cut stones are typically set in 4-claw settings to protect each corner. Pear shape and marquise cut diamonds are usually set with V shaped claws on to protect the points with additional claws positioned on the curved sides.
Accent stones like haloes and shoulder diamonds also have setting options. The most popular of these options is microclaw setting, this is where claws are carved from the sides of the band creating a secure setting for each individual diamond. With this technique, there is minimal metal visible around the diamonds allowing for a finer looking band with a lot of sparkle.
Grain setting, also called bead setting, is achieved by drilling under each stone allowing the diamond to drop in and sit almost flush with the surface of the metal. The stones are then secured by raising a bead of metal from the ring and pushing it over the edge of the stone. This setting features heavily in accent stones for vintage designs.
A variation of grain setting, known as Pavé setting, refers to multiple rows of grain set diamonds offset from each other. Translated from French, Pavé means paved which is why the term is used when diamonds form the appearance of a paved-like surface across the band.
As the name suggests, a channel setting is created when a channel is carved out of the ring and diamonds are placed side by side between the walls. The top edges of these walls are then lightly hammered securing the diamonds inside the channel.
Bezel setting, also called rubover or gypsy setting, is where the stones are secured into the ring by a fine rim of metal. The bezel is smooth around the circumference of the stone and protects the edges from knocks. It is worth keeping in mind that it also hides more of the diamond or gemstone than a claw setting. Partial and half bezel setting styles are variations where the metal doesn’t fully encircle the stone. These can also be considered depending on the design along with the suitability of the stone.
In this guide so far, we have covered most of the elements that go into designing a custom-made engagement ring. There are some other aspects to consider from a design perspective. Would you like the centre setting to sit proudly above the band or to sit as low as possible against the finger? Would a cathedral setting be preferable to a ring with low shoulders? Your occupation and day-to-day activities may also factor in some design choices.
Another thing to consider is whether the engagement ring should be able to sit flush with a wedding ring. Most of our engagement ring designs are made to sit with a straight wedding band next to it. In designs where the base of the setting comes out further than the band, a wedding ring will need to be specially fitted around the setting. Our talented team of jewellers and designers will always be happy to give their advice on all design options.
The Emerald Serenity design has a narrow bridge under the setting and will allow a straight wedding band to sit next to it without gaps. The Sky (Oval) is wider where the setting rests against the finger and needs a curved wedding band fitted to its shape.
There are many details, both bold and intricate, which we can employ to create a unique engagement ring.
Filigree & Wirework
Open sections of the ring which contain intricate details are perfect for antique-inspired designs. A ring can feature these details in the centre setting alone or right throughout the top section.
Florence design with filigree work under the setting
Millgrain refers to a technique where tiny beads are created along an edge of a ring, it looks particularly effective on grain set bands. This stippled effect features strongly in antique rings and is perfect to incorporate in vintage designs.
The Venezia design is finished with milgrain detail surrounding the grain set halo and along the centre bezel
Fine flourishes can be carved into the surface of rings through hand engraving by a master engraver. The detail achieved in the finely scored patterns of a hand engraved ring is unrivalled.
Bluebell (Engraved) is a stunning example of the fine detail that can be added by hand
Final touches can also be applied on the inside of the band. What could be sweeter than choosing a secret message for your significant other and having it inscribed by a master engraver?
At Larsen Jewellery, we believe in creating personalised and unique pieces that can be cherished for a lifetime. Ensuring your jewellery can stand the test of time with everyday wear means paying special attention to the structural integrity of every piece we make. We design and create rings that adhere to our strict quality standards without compromising on their strength or beauty. All of our pieces come with a lifetime guarantee so you can feel confident in the knowledge that your piece has been made with the highest quality materials and is designed to last. The outcome is elegant, expertly made rings that will be proudly worn for years to come. We encourage you to visit us every year to have your ring inspected and cleaned, ensuring it is kept in great condition.
Fleur and the entire gang at Larsen in Melbourne are WONDERFUL. They produce the most amazing pieces of jewellery. Fleur worked very closely with my partner (who, although very creative, had no idea about jewellery) to make the most gorgeous engagement ring. He was met with patience, guidance, prompt feedback and responses, and he was always made to feel welcome to make changes or slight tweaks to his original design. When it came to creating my wedding band together, we had the same experience. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Larsen Jewellery to anyone looking for beautiful custom jewellery!! Thank you Fleur & Larsen Jewellery for the two pieces that I will own for a lifetime!
05:31 22 Jul 20
My partner and I both got engagement rings made by Rod. They are absolutely beautiful, we are in love with them. We had Rod helping us on our journey of picking diamonds and getting the bands made. He was so helpful and patient. Highly recommend this place
00:32 22 Jul 20
I cannot rate Larsen highly enough. It is always an absolute pleasure working with them to design jewellery. From an engagement ring, to wedding bands and birthday earrings, they always provide the absolute best service and the highest quality products. I doubt I’ll set foot in another jewellers when these guys can customise whatever I could ever need. Thanks again to the whole Larsen team!
04:47 19 Jul 20
From when I first wandered in off the street (without an appointment - sorry!) to completion of my fiancee's beautiful engagement ring, Fleur and the Larsen Jewellery team were an absolute delight to deal with throughout the process. Having decided to take the more traditional route and surprise my partner, and knowing little about diamonds beyond their reputation for being expensive, trust was an important factor for me in choosing a jeweller. Fleur instantly put my mind at ease, in that she patiently explained 'the four Cs', emphasised the importance of sticking to a budget that suited me (there was not even a hint of upselling) and was clearly passionate about her work. Indeed, I could sense that ensuring the final product was right for my partner was also important to her. I can confirm that the story had a happy ending - my fiancee loves her ring - and I would not hesitate in recommending Larsen Jewellery.
00:44 08 Jul 20
Had such a lovely experience with Larsen Jewellery. Sarina guided us with helping design our wedding rings and sent us mockups before they were finalised to be made. When I came to collect the rings, they were presented very well and they also gave my engagement ring a very nice polish. We were so happy with the results. The process was super smooth and met our deadline and budget. Will definitely recommend!