Wedding Ring Design: Five different engagement rings being worn on one hand for display.

The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Perfect Wedding Ring Design

Everything to Know About Putting a Ring On It (Literally)
BY HALEY JENA / 11 11 22
Photo c/o Ring Concierge

What better new way to ring in a new life chapter than with, well, a beautiful ring? Whether you’re on the hunt for an engagement ring or searching for the perfect set of beautiful wedding rings, selecting the perfect style is a big decision. It’s probably one of the most major jewelry purchases you’ll ever make, so you’ll want to carefully choose a wedding ring design that’ll be cherished for years to come.

Selecting a wedding ring design style, however, is much easier said than done. First of all, there are tons of different types of gems, cuts, settings, and bands to pick from—more than can be counted on two hands. Add the fact that this jewelry is designed to be worn for an entire lifetime, and the pressure can feel a bit overwhelming. Where to begin?!

Fear not: We’re here to answer every single question about your wedding and engagement ring design. Planning to pop the question soon and have no idea which cut of diamond to choose, for instance? We’ve got you covered. Already engaged and trying to pick a wedding ring design that’ll complement your existing engagement ring? We’ve got expert advice from jewelers on that too. 

From engagement ring cuts and settings to the different wedding band designs to consider, plus the factors to consider when narrowing down a wedding ring design, here’s what you need to know.

Wedding Ring Design: Two diamond engagement rings in boxes.
Wedding Ring Design: Two metal wedding bands in a burnt-yellow color suede ring box.
Wedding Ring Design: A bride holding a groom's face in her hands as they lean in to one another. Her marquise diamond ring can be seen on her ring finger.

Engagement ring styles

If you’re planning to propose to your partner soon and want an engagement ring to accompany the big question, it’s easy to get lost in the frenzy of different engagement ring ideas. Whether you’re picturing a traditional round-cut diamond ring or an art-deco style with a unique gemstone, there are a few things to consider when selecting from the many engagement ring styles. (Psst, if you’re only interested in wedding ring design styles rather than engagement rings, scroll down!)

The Diamond 4Cs are a solid place to start when nailing down the ideal engagement ring styles for your partner. Created by Robert M. Shipley, the founder of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), these four factors (all starting with the letter C, of course) help to characterize a faceted diamond: color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. 

Color measures the amount of a diamond's color, on a scale of D-to-Z. (D diamonds are colorless, while Z diamonds have a light yellow or brown color, per the GIA.) Clarity, as defined by the GIA, is the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes. A diamond’s cut refers to how its facets are arranged and determines how well it interacts with light. And carat weight measures the weight of a diamond, with one carat equaling 0.20 grams. Carat weight is a major factor in how much a diamond costs, since larger diamonds are rarer and, thus, more expensive, according to the GIA. That said, the other three Cs (color, clarity, and cut) greatly affect a diamond's value and price too, and should be considered when you're shopping for a ring.

You should also think about whether you'd like a lab-grown diamond or a natural diamond. Both options are incredibly similar—they're both made of tightly bonded carbon atoms and respond to light in the same way—but have different origins, explains the GIA. While natural diamonds are mined from the Earth's surface, lab-grown diamonds are (as you might have guessed from the name) grown in labs, providing a much more sustainably sourced stone.

Feeling more knowledgeable on all-things engagement rings? Read on for more info on engagement ring cuts, plus how they play into the overall vibe of all the different engagement ring styles.

Wedding Ring Design: Three generations of hands with engagement rings on their ring fingers.

Engagement Ring Cuts

The engagement ring cut is responsible for a diamond’s brilliance, scintillation, and dispersion—which translates to its brightness, sparkle, and the colors it displays, respectively, according to the International Gem Society (IGS). A diamond’s cut is not to be confused with its shape, which is how its outline generally looks from above.

As you might have already guessed, there’s no shortage of engagement ring cuts to choose from. Here’s a quick guide to all the different engagement ring cuts:

Wedding Ring Design: A round-cut engagement ring sitting in a pink octagonal ring box.

Round cut engagement ring

A round cut is probably what you picture when you think of a traditional engagement ring design, as it's one of most popular shapes out there. This look provides lots of sparkle and a timeless look, making for an always-elegant engagement ring style. "[A round brilliant] is the only perfectly symmetrical shape and offers unmatched brilliance," says Nicole Wegman, founder and CEO of Ring Concierge. But the beauty comes with a higher price tag: "Rounds are also the most expensive shape per carat because the diamond cutter loses the most rough diamond in the process," she explains.

Wedding Ring Design: A princess cut diamond with a silver band.

Princess cut engagement ring

A princess cut engagement ring design offers a striking square or rectangular shape and no shortage of sparkle. With a  modified brilliant facet arrangement, this cut hides includes well, according to Wegman.

Wedding Ring Design: An oval cut engagement ring sitting on top of a spool of pink ribbon.

Oval cut engagement ring

Another classic engagement ring cut, an oval cut offers an elegant shape and beautiful display of colors when it hits the light. Bonus: They’re also less likely to get chipped. "Oval cut diamonds are our most requested because their elongated shape appears larger than their carat weight," Wegman notes. This cut would work wonderfully with pavé and metal engagement ring bands alike. You're in great company with this cut—Simone Biles and Hailey Bieber both have oval-shaped rings.

Wedding Ring Design: A pear cut engagement ring sitting in a white and pink box surrounded by two wedding bands against a floral backdrop.

Pear cut engagement ring

It’s important to look for symmetry and a protective setting with this unique engagement ring cut, which resembles the shape of a teardrop. A big bonus to this style: "Pear cuts appear the largest for their carat weight," Wegman shares, adding that "pears mask inclusions well but tend to show warmth in their tip with lower color grade diamonds." Sophie Turner's ring is one example (of many!) of how elegant this style looks on your hand.

Wedding Ring Design: An emerald cut engagement ring sitting on a table.

Emerald cut engagement ring

This elegant engagement ring design boasts a rectangular shape with beveled corners. "Emerald cuts are created by their step cut, open table which creates a hall-of-mirrors effect with an understated sparkle as opposed to a brilliant sparkle," Wegman explains. "Emerald cuts hide color well but their glassy appearance shows inclusions easily so it’s important to prioritize clarity." You might recognize the style from seeing Amal Clooney's massive emerald-cut ring.

Wedding Ring Design: A cushion cut diamond ring with a yellow gold band.

Cushion cut engagement ring

Chances are good you’ve seen a cushion cut ring on your Instagram feed lately. This pillow-shaped, celebrity-favorite style resembles an old mine cut diamond, which makes it feel both vintage and modern at the same time. They hide inclusions very well, too, according to Wegman. Gabrielle Union, Priyanka Chopra, and Leighton Meester all adorn a cushion-cut style.

Wedding Ring Design: A marquise engagement ring being worn on a ring finger.

Marquise cut engagement ring

This beautiful, elongated engagement ring design with two points on either end will make your finger appear longer—and look absolutely romantic while doing so. Another pro: "[They] appear larger than other shapes of the same carat weight, making them a good choice when trying to maximize perceived size," Wegman says.

Wedding Ring Design: An asscher cut diamond engagement ring on a ring finger.
c/o VRAI

Asscher cut engagement ring

This artistic, impressive engagement ring design looks like an emerald cut at first glance. What makes the asscher cut special is its larger, more wide-set facets, octagonal shape, and better scintillation (aka sparkle), according to the GIA. "Similar to an emerald cut, asschers hide color very well but show inclusions easily," Wegman adds.

Wedding Ring Design: A radiant cut engagement ring with a halo setting sitting in a pink ring box.

Radiant cut engagement ring

Square or rectangular in shape, a radiant cut boasts beautiful cropped corners, straight edges, and sparkly, light-reflecting facets. "Radiant cut diamonds hide both color and clarity well, allowing you to allocate more of your budget towards carat size without sacrificing beauty," explains Wegman. Another pro tip, per Wegman: "Elongated radiants appear larger than square radiants."

Wedding Ring Design: A heart cut engagement ring with a double halo on someone's finger.

Heart cut engagement ring

What better shape for a ring symbolizing eternal love than a beautiful heart cut? This romantic style is a thoughtful choice, but prioritze symmetry while you shop. "When choosing a heart cut diamond, symmetry is very important since it is critical that the two halves of the heart are identical," Wegman explains. "The cleft (between the two lobes) should be sharp and distinct, and the wings (the sides as they curve down to the point) should have a very slightly rounded shape."

Wedding Ring Design: A vintage-inspired engagement ring against a plain white background.

Vintage engagement ring

Whether you have an Old Mine or Old European cut ring passed down from an older relative or want to shop for an antique style, vintage engagement rings offer a unique distinctiveness that often can’t be found elsewhere.

Wedding Ring Design: A plain gold metal band on a ring finger.
c/o Kimai

Metal engagement ring

Not a huge diamond or gemstone person? No problem. Tons of brides- and grooms-to-be opt for a more minimalistic style of engagement ring with the help of a classic metal band. Plus, think about how beautifully it'd stack with a wedding band.

In addition to all the great choices above, there are many more unique engagement ring cuts you can explore, from trapeze cuts to kite cuts and beyond. “You can really have a lot of fun with the design when you experiment with these silhouettes,” says Ali Galgano, founder and head jeweler at Serpentine Jewels.

All of the 4Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat weight—work together to affect the look and price of a ring. Deciding which characteristics are most important to you and your partner (and your budget) will help you narrow down the best engagement ring cuts to consider. Once you have an ideal cut in mind, it’s time to consider your engagement ring setting.

Wedding Ring Design: A beautiful star/flower inspired engagement ring next to a thin wedding band. Both rings are sitting on top of a flower design.

Engagement Ring Settings

The engagement ring setting not only helps define the look and feel of your ring, it also plays a super-important role in protecting your precision gemstone or diamond by keeping it in place and shielding it from damage. 

Just like with engagement ring cuts, there are nearly countless settings to choose from. Many of them share common characteristics, like protective prongs that keep the diamond or gemstone in place or additional stones besides the center diamond. Settings should also complement the engagement ring bands that go with them. For instance, Tiffany-style settings often come with classic metal engagement ring bands to keep the focus on the diamond.  

When you’re thinking about what you’d like your engagement ring to look like, think ahead about your wedding band vision as well. “When you buy your engagement ring, it’s nice to actually think about your wedding band at the same time,” advises Sidney Neuhaus, co-founder of lab-grown diamond label Kimai and GIA-certified gemologist. “Especially if you want to wear them on the same finger, you need to see the whole picture, so that’s something to keep in mind.” (You can, of course, wear them on different fingers, she adds, but it’s nice if they can complement one another.)

Here are some of the most popular engagement ring settings to know:

Wedding Ring Design: An oval cut engagement ring in a solitaire sitting perched on beige cloth next to a gold metal wedding band,

Solitaire engagement ring setting

This ultra-popular style showcases a single-stone ring and allows it to catch plenty of light.

Wedding Ring Design: A round cut engagement ring in a prong setting next to an eternity wedding band in a hexagonal pink ring box.

Prong engagement ring setting

"The most traditional and popular wedding band style is prong set," Wegman shares. "Each individual diamond is set with prongs, keeping the attention on the diamonds, often highlighting the diamond shape." Many engagement settings employ four to six tiny prongs to keep your precious stone safe. 

Wedding Ring Design: A round cut diamond in a gold bezel setting resting on a table.

Bezel engagement ring setting

A bezel engagement ring setting completely surrounds your gem, protecting the entire perimeter of the stone (and looking chic while doing so!). "They are bold and minimalistic featuring a thin metal rim around each diamond creating a secure and extremely comfortable setting," Wegman explains. "With the resurgence of 90s styles, they are increasingly becoming more and more popular." Even more, we're noticing unique takes on this setting, like jewelry designer Jessica McCormack's rings featuring trendy black bezel trims.

Wedding Ring Design: Two hands holding up a round cut engagement ring with a square halo setting.

Halo engagement ring setting 

A halo setting is exactly what it sounds like: A beautiful halo of tiny diamonds or gems around a larger main stone, which can make it appear larger. You’ll also find variations of this popular engagement ring setting, like a double halo, flower halo, or hidden halo. ("Many clients add a hidden halo which features small micro pavé diamonds on the basket underneath the diamond to give a subtle touch of sparkle for the wearer," Wegman says of the setting.) Best of all, a halo setting goes well with tons of engagement ring bands—we love this pavé band pairing from Erica and Josh’s wedding, for instance. It's a celeb-loved setting too: Princess Diana's diamond-surrounded saphire ring (which Prince William later used to propose to Kate Middleton!) and Katy Perry's flower-shaped style are both halo-inspired cluster styles.

Weddng Ring Design: An oval cut engagement ring with a pavé setting on top of an evergreen square ring box.

Pavé engagement ring setting

A pavé setting features a ring or band covered in small stones extremely close to one another, giving the appearance that the ring’s surface has been paved with diamonds or gems. Kourtney Kardashian and Blake Lively alike sport pavé engagement ring bands.

Wedding Ring Design: Side view of a diamond engagement ring with a cathedral setting propped in a box.

Cathedral engagement ring setting

Elegant and intricate in design, a cathedral engagement ring setting uses arcs (which look similar to arches you might find in a cathedral, hence the name!) to secure and lift up your center stone, allowing more of your diamond or gem to be visible.

Wedding Ring Design: A Tiffany setting engagement ring in an oval ring box above a wedding band.

Tiffany engagement ring setting

Designed by iconic jeweler Tiffany & Co. in 1886, this famous six-prong setting lifts your diamond up high, bumping up the ring’s light exposure and overall sparkle.

Wedding Ring Design: An emerald cut engagement ring with a channel setting facing up while resting in a wedding band on a blue invitation.

Channel engagement ring setting

This classic style is popular for both wedding bands and engagement rings, touting a string of stones held in place between two “channels,” or the edges of your ring that keep the diamonds or gems in place. "Channel set bands are an older style of setting—in lieu of prongs, the diamonds are 'railroad' set with two walls holding in the diamonds," Wegman explains. Something to keep in mind, though? "They're secure but harder to clean and the stones are more exposed on top."

Wedding Ring Design: East-west diamond engagement ring in a ring box next to an infinity wedding band.

East-west engagement ring setting 

An east-west setting flips your stone on its “side,” making your stone wider than it is tall and horizontally stretching from east to west. This is one of the more unconventional engagement ring ideas to pick from, adding an extra dimension of uniqueness to the style.

Wedding Ring Design: An oval engagement ring with a split-shank setting and rose band.

Split-shank engagement ring setting

For a modern twist on an engagement ring setting, consider a split-shank, which “splits” the ring band in two and creates negative space on the sides of the center stone.

Wedding Ring Design: A bride wearing a two-stone engagement ring.

Two-stone or three-stone engagement ring settings

Engagement rings with additional stones have become increasingly popular, and it’s easy to see why: A two-stone (aka “toi et moi”) or three-stone ring setting creates a unique design and adds to the overall sparkle. Tons of different engagement ring bands pair well with this setting based on the stones involved, so there’s ample room to make this style your own. It's a celeb-favorite setting too—Jacqueline Kennedy, Emily Ratajkowski, and Megan Fox all rock the style, as does Ariana Grande, whose ring features a unique pearl and diamond pairing.

It probably goes without saying that the list of engagement ring settings goes on beyond the ones listed above—there are tons of creative styles, shapes, cuts, and settings, as well as bespoke rings, that you can choose from with the help of your jeweler. 

Not sure which setting to pair your diamond or gemstone with? Look to your engagement ring cut for guidance. For instance, if you have a princess cut, consider a classic solitaire setting or pair it with side stones to show off the beauty of the stone, suggests the GIA. And of course, work with your jeweler to decide which engagement ring setting makes the most sense.

Wedding Ring Design: A groom laying his hand on another groom's chest with his wedding band on his ring finger.
Wedding Ring Design: A bride and groom doing a pink promise with their rings on.
Wedding Ring Design: A round cut diamond engagement ring and two golden wedding bands sitting on top of the front page of the New York Times.

Wedding ring design ideas

Once it’s time to shop for a wedding ring design, know that there are tons of beautiful wedding rings out there to consider. That can make your decision both easier and more difficult. The good news? You know you’ll be able to find a gorgeous pair of wedding bands amid a sea of wedding ring ideas. But with so many options, you may have difficulty narrowing down the perfect wedding ring design styles for you and your partner.

There are a few things to consider to help make your decision easier. First things first, think about what type of band you’d like. One of the most popular options are metal wedding band designs, which are usually smooth gold or platinum all the way around. Meanwhile, other wedding ring design styles utilize diamonds or gemstones for a bit of extra sparkle and glam. 

With that said, here are some of the most popular types of wedding band designs, plus which engagement ring cuts and settings they typically complement:

Wedding Ring Design: Two metal wedding rings stacked on top of a mossy perch.

Metal wedding ring design

A metal wedding ring design is the golden standard (literally!), especially when it comes to wedding ring designs for couples. Golden and platinum bands are evergreen picks and will always remain beautiful wedding rings, but other metals like titanium or black tungsten are available too. A metal wedding ring design complements all engagement ring ideas, so you can shop confidently.

Wedding Ring Design: Gold and pink pavé wedding bands resting against a large metal wedding band.

Pavé wedding ring design

Amp up the glam with pavé wedding band designs. These wedding bands are encrusted with pavé diamonds or gemstones, adding extra sparkle and shine to your wedding ring design. It’s an especially great choice for couples looking for glam wedding ring ideas, and would go well with a plain metal engagement band as it would with a diamond-encrusted engagement band.

Wedding Ring Design: Two matching channel wedding rings.

Channel wedding ring design

Looking for a bit more flair with your wedding ring design? Just like their engagement ring counterpart, channel-set wedding band designs are lined with small diamonds or accent gems, protected by two metal channels on the top and bottom of the band, making for classically beautiful wedding rings. These styles are especially great wedding ring designs for couples too.

Wedding Ring Design: A gold eternity wedding band sitting in a circular white dish with a gold metal wedding band.

Eternity wedding ring design

These beautiful wedding rings are covered in smaller diamonds or gemstones around the entire band, representing eternal love. If you have a more classic engagement ring (such as an oval-cut or solitaire setting), an eternity ring would make for a beautiful pairing, Neuhaus says. Or, if you have a diamond eternity ring, you could pair it with an eternity band as well, so that the two bands almost appear as one.

Wedding Ring Design: A gold anniversary wedding ring sitting in a pink ring box next to a solitaire engagement band.

Anniversary wedding ring design

Similar to an eternity band, an anniversary wedding ring design is covered in diamonds or gemstones. The difference is that the stones only go halfway around the ring rather than the entire perimeter. While this is certainly a popular wedding ring idea that’d look great with a metal, pavé, or eternity engagement band, this ring design idea is equally great for an anniversary present of its own down the road.

Wedding Ring Design: A baguette diamond wedding ring band on a ring finger.
c/o Zales

Baguette diamond wedding ring design

A baguette band includes one or more baguette diamonds, which (as you might have guessed based on the name) are long and rectangular in shape. They add some extra shine to your wedding band, and come in plenty of different variations. A solitaire-style engagement ring setting would look especially perfect with these beautiful wedding rings.

Your jeweler may also offer a wedding ring design that’s designed to match perfectly with your engagement ring, which ensures that gemstones will match well and that there won’t be any gaps between your engagement ring and wedding band, according to the GIA. Some couples also solder engagement rings to their wedding bands so that they’re permanently aligned.

And while some pairs may look for matching wedding ring designs for couples, it’s up to you on whether or not you’d like your band to coordinate with your partner’s. They could be the exact same metal and style, or they could tout a completely different vibe. 

Wedding Ring Design: A groom placing a metal wedding band on another groom's finger.
Wedding Ring Design: A bride's hand wearing a pear cut engagement ring seen through her veil.
Wedding Ring Design: Two hands holding one another with matching eternity and pavé wedding bands.

How to choose an engagement or wedding ring design

Now that you know all the wedding ring design styles, how do you pick which one is best for you or your partner? Here are a few things to consider:

Think about your personal style

Your engagement or wedding ring will be one of your most-worn accessories, so you’ll want to make sure it matches your or your partner’s vibe. For instance, if your partner gravitates toward the art-deco style, consider a vintage engagement ring cut or another more unconventional option. If your spouse-to-be prefers to keep things classic and traditional, a solitaire-setting ring would be a fail-proof pick. Personal style is a big part of choosing your wedding band’s thickness as well. “If you’re edgier, then you can go for a thicker band, something quite bold,” Neuhaus advises.

Consider your lifestyle

Think about which engagement ring cut or wedding ring design will not only make you feel joy when you look at it, but also which style will be most pragmatic for your lifestyle. For example, if you work with your hands and are afraid of hurting your ring, Neuhaus advises picking a style with a closed band that goes all the way around your finger and fits securely, rather than a more open style. Think about the ring band’s metal too: “Platinum is a great alternative if you want to make sure nothing happens to your band in the long run,” she adds.

Prioritize the main stone

Whatever style you’re leaning towards, think carefully about an engagement ring’s main diamond or gemstone especially. “My biggest piece of advice would be to make sure you love the diamond, because the setting can always be changed!” Galgano recommends.

Imagine How It’ll Look with Your Engagement Ring

As mentioned earlier, consider how your engagement and wedding rings will look together when you’re picking out a style. “Deciding how you want your ring to sit—high or flush—will help you determine the best band to accompany your engagement ring,” Galgano notes. “Also think about how you will wear it: on its own or always as a pair? Will you want to stack in the future? Do you like to mix metals or is it important that you stick with platinum or yellow gold? That may open up your options, too.” 

Wedding Ring Design: Channel diamond and art-deco wedding rings stacked on top of one another on a white setting.
Keep an Open Mind

While you might go into the shopping process sure of a style combination, remain flexible while you're trying on different styles. "Mixing shapes, carat sizes, and metal colors might pleasantly surprise you!" Wegman shares.

Ditch the Rulebook

Picking out an engagement or wedding ring design is the perfect time to do you. "When thinking through bands, there are no rules, only suggestions," Wegman says. "Feel free to mix and match and you don’t need to stick to just one. Having a few bands gives you the opportunity to mix and match your look."

Leave Plenty of Time to Decide On a Style

Build in plenty of padding in your shopping timeline, especially for bespoke rings. "Since each bespoke engagement ring is custom-made, the entire process takes about eight to 10 weeks, including diamond select and production, so build that into your timeline from when you want to propose," Wegman advises. Ditto for wedding bands: "Each wedding band is custom-made for you and production times can take from about four to six weeks so we recommend starting the process about four months in advance," Wegman recommends.

Ask a professional for help

The world of wedding and engagement ring designs can feel overwhelming, so if you’re ever unsure of which cut, setting, style, or band to go with, ask your jeweler for their advice. They can help you find the best wedding ring designs for couples, engagement rings, or anything else you need. “Work with someone who can walk you through these scenarios so you can choose the best possible pairing!” Galgono advises.

Picking out beautiful wedding rings can be a daunting task. With so many different engagement ring ideas and wedding ring designs for couples to pick from amid a sea of cuts, settings, and bands, there are tons of great paths to take. Before shopping for a style, it helps to familiarize yourself with the different engagement ring settings, cuts, and more, as well as the many wedding ring design styles out there. Consider, too, your and your partner’s personal taste, lifestyle, and overall preferences. That way, you can shop more confidently and feel extra-sure of the wedding ring design you end up with. 

No matter which style you decide on, we know it’ll have a nice ring to it.