Ring Bands and Parts of a Ring

Ring bands are a classic piece of jewelry. For centuries, rings have been used to symbolize a commitment to love or show off a great achievement. But if you're in the market for a ring, you might find shopping to be a daunting and confusing task.

This could be especially true if you don't understand all the jewelry anatomy associated with rings. Below we're going to go over the parts of a ring and the terms used to describe them. First, let's go over the ring shank.


The Ring Shank

The shank of the ring is the part that wraps around your finger. Shanks may be referred to as ring bands, and they come in a variety of styles and materials.

Zales offers ring bands made with: Next, let's go over the head of the ring.

The Head of the Ring Bands

Sometimes called the basket, the head of the ring is one of the most important jewelry parts. It's what holds the stone, gem, pearl or diamond in place.

Not all heads are the same. In fact, there are three different types: prong, tension, or bezel. Prong heads are the most common. They are the type that has four or more prongs to hold the stone or jewel in place.

Tension heads are more unique. Instead of using prongs, tension heads use ring bands to hold the stone in its place. This head is called a tension head because it's the tension of the band that keeps everything together.

Bezel heads work by creating a fence of metal around what will go on top of the ring. Next, let's talk about one of the most artful parts of the ring: the gallery.


The Ring Gallery

Have you ever looked at the side of the ring under where the stone is mounted? That's called the gallery. Some galleries don't have much detail to them since the stones are the main event.

Other galleries are more intricate, adding whole chapters to the ring band’s design story. Like all jewelry parts, how the gallery looks is completely up to you. Next, let’s look at a part of the gallery called the airline.


Ring Bands Airline

An airline is an opening in the ring's shank near the gallery. Like the gallery, the airline is usually visible from the side of the ring band.

Airlines are most common in cathedral shanks. These shanks raise the diamond or stone higher up from your finger. In the next section, we'll talk about the "shoulders" of the shank.


Ring Band Shoulders

The part of the shank near the head or basket of the ring band is called the shoulder. Jewelers and ring designers often use this term when talking about where to set diamonds or overall shank thickness.

Some shanks and shoulders taper in while others keep the same thickness throughout. In the next section, we'll talk about what holds all the jewelry parts together.


Solder Points of Rings

Have you ever examined a bike body or the metal legs of a chair? You might have noticed that they are not made of one solid piece. Rings are no different.

The shank and head are separate parts that are soldered together. If you look closely, you'll see the solder points between the head and shank. While we're on the subject of soldering, let’s talk about the ring sizing bar.


Ring Sizing Bar

Like clothes, shanks can be sized to fit your finger. This is great if you've found the perfect ring but need it in another size. Sizing can be a tricky thing for jewelers if there are diamonds on the shank itself.

That's why many jewelry designers will internally leave diamonds off the bottom of the ring band. This small metal sizing bar makes it easier for jewelers to resize ring bands without issue. If you want to add extra diamonds but don't want resizing issues, read the next section for information.


Halo Rings

One elegant way to add extra sparkle to your ring is with a halo. A halo is an outer ring of diamonds, stones or metal around the center stone.

The halo's stones are small to help the main stone take center stage. In the next section, we'll talk about a shank style that prevents movement.


The Euro Shank Ring Band

If you want your jewelry to stay in place once it's on, the euro shank might be for you. The ring bands of a euro shank are squared off instead of rounded. This makes it harder for ring bands to move around. Once the band is in place, it won't spin around your finger.


Get the Ring Band of Your Dreams Today

Whatever the occasion, rings from Zales make the perfect gift. Check out our ring band selection online or stop by your local Zales store today to find the ring you've always wanted.