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Engagement Ring Lexicon

Going to the store to pick out your engagement ring can be an intimidating task if you don't know the terms-and whenever diamonds are involved, there are plenty to know. A cheat sheet.

A type of setting in which the diamond is encased in a ring of metal and lies flat or slightly raised within the band


The weight of the diamond; one carat weighs 100 milligrams. As carat-count goes up, a diamond's value increases exponentially because of the rarity of natural diamonds found in larger sizes.


A type of setting in which a string of diamonds is placed within a metal frame.


The relative absence within the diamond of natural minerals or fractures, which can cloud or mar its appearance. The more clarity a diamond retains, the more value it possesses. Clarity ranges from F (for flawless) to I3 (for many inclusions).

The degree of colorlessness of a diamond. Diamonds are graded from D (least amount of color) to Z (very dark). The color of the diamond may affect which metal works best as its setting.

As you’d expect, the top of the diamond when laid flat.

The degree to which the diamond is cut to most effectively reflect light.

Emerald Cut
A shape of diamond that resembles a rectangle with softened corners.

The diamond’s widest measurement.

A type of setting similar to a prong, but in which the metal is unseen.

Marquise Cut
A shape of diamond that resembles an oval with each end cut into points. Said to be inspired by the smile of the Marquise de Pompadour.

The base of the diamond.

Princess Cut
A square-cut diamond.

The diamond is raised away from the ring by four metal fingers as if on a pedestal.

A square diamond cut to retain more depth than average, which increases its brilliance.

From the Fall 2005 New York Wedding Guide