Signet Ring for Women: Anatomy of a Ring

Lester Fangonilo - November 22, 2021

Signet Ring for Women in Gold

Women’s rings have been part and parcel of the jewelry scene for centuries. These are accessories that have never seemed to go out of style. However, they are also the sort of accessories that many people take for granted.

In this post, we talk about how rings, including signet ring for women are made, what parts make up its structure, and how each part functions.

The Anatomy of a Ring

The Setting and Band: The Sum of Its Parts

When considered in toto, a complete signet ring for women is referred to by jewelers as a setting. Depending on the type of ring, it may have just two or up to nine parts.

The most familiar part of any ring is, of course, the band which some jewellers also refer to as the shank. This is usually an apparently seamless circle of metal, usually made with gold, silver, or platinum, though rings molded from plastic or porcelain or carved from stones like jade and obsidian are crafted around the world. Ring bands or shanks are usually made from a single thin bar of tempered metal and come in a range of sizes to choose from. 


Stack ring in gold by Oliver Cabell

Plain bands are usually sold for weddings, as the perfect circular shape denotes the unending cycle of love and life. For more elaborate jewelry, however, the band simply serves as the foundation for a jeweler’s more detailed masterpieces.

Note that some jewelers offer adjustable bands for their rings in order to ensure that the owner of the piece can wear it comfortably around their finger. Otherwise, the jeweler may have to either clip or augment the size of the piece to make it fit.

Head and Shoulders


Twist ring in gold by Oliver Cabell

The central part of signet ring for women is referred to by jewelers as its head. In most gold rings, this is where a gemstone, an ornament, or possibly the wearer’s signet is placed. Depending on the jeweler, this area may come in a variety of formats:

    • The basket head is so called because of the curved, bowl-formed shape of the receptacle for holding the stone;
  • Peg heads are made separately and are usually soldered onto the band and tends to hold the central stone quite high;
  • Tulip heads, on the other hand, have prongs that curve upward gracefully, giving the setting a refined and elegant look; and
  • Trellis heads are similar to peg heads, but the prongs holding the stone are slightly thinner. These get their name from the vine-like appearance of these prongs.

    Likewise, your jeweler will also ask whether you prefer a high-profile or low-profile placement for your stone. The high-profile setting is standard: set high to show off the stone. However, the low-profile setting is recommended for those who want a ring that looks more subtle and discreet as the stone is placed much closer to the band.

    The shoulders on signet ring for women refer to the top left and right sides of the ring next to the central stone.

    When it comes to the central stone itself, jewelers offer six standard configurations, two of which have slight variations:

      • The classic solitaire features a single, beautifully-cut gemstone, usually a diamond in the center of the band. Solitaires are usually high-profile settings which allow the stone to catch light in order to show off its brilliance;
      • In the halo setting, a thin band of smaller stones set around the center makes the main gemstone look much larger and more impressive. The double-halo variation with its two bands of small gems has the purpose of catching more light to make the central stone look more vibrant;
      • The bezel setting uses a set of metal bands rather than prongs to hold the stone in place. It’s a low-profile setting, so the placement of the stone is more discreet, making this type of setting ideal for daily wear. In the half-bezel configuration, the bands only come halfway up the stone;
      • For the East West setting, a stone with a fancy cut - either emerald or oval - is placed onto the band horizontally;
  • Three-stone settings feature a large central stone flanked by two smaller ones. Popular for engagement rings, these are said to represent the happy couple’s past, present, and future; and
    • In the compass-point setting, the central stone is held in place by four equidistant prongs representing the North, South, East, and West.

     A Note About Prongs

    Prongs where rings are concerned refer to the tiny strips of metal that hold a central stone in place. We’ve mentioned these above with regard to the different forms of the ring head and they are necessary for securing stones or any other embellishments.

    It goes without saying that the more prongs there are on a signet ring for women, the more secure the placement of its ornaments.

    Link Ring in Gold by Oliver Cabell


    There’s Something Written in My Ring!

    If you bought your ring from a reputable jeweler, you may notice a clutch of letters or numbers stamped into the metal on the inside of the band.

    This is the hallmark and it is where jewelers show buyers the precious metal content of the piece: 12, 14, 18, and 24K for gold; 925 for sterling silver; and 999 for fine silver. The initials PT or Plat, on the other hand, denote a piece made with platinum.

    Especially if the gold ring is meant to be a commemorative piece marking a milestone, clients may ask their jeweler or goldsmith to etch on a motto, a sentimental phrase, or key dates on the inside of the ring in lieu of or in addition to the hallmark.

    Between a Stone and a Hard Place

    The part of a ring’s band located directly beneath the central stone is referred to as the gallery and its size is usually dependent on how big a stone you have mounted onto the ring.

    The metal here may be slightly thicker or wider and flatter to prevent friction between one’s finger and the stone.

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    Oliver Cabell has become synonymous with stylish yet timeless sneakers crafted with fine Italian leather using techniques that have been practiced by master cobblers for generations. But did you know that the brand has expanded its line to include casual wear that combines elegance and comfort as well as beautifully made accessories? 

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