Three-stone ring

Learn: Three-stone ring

Three-stone ring  |  Side stones  

What is a three-stone ring?

A ring where two side stones flank a larger stone in the center is called a three-stone ring. A three-stone ring captures the very essence of a gemstone and elevates it to a superior level of sophistication.

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The meaning of a three-stone ring

The three-stone design dates back centuries. Three, as a number, has had a special meaning throughout history. Together, three stones represent a couple's journey through life.

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The center signifies the present, while the smaller stones personify the past and the future. Combined, they are the three foundation blocks of a family - friendship, love, and fidelity.

The three stones are eternal reminders to love, honor, and cherish one another, in case you forget. For some, a three-stone ring symbolizes the Holy Trinity. Can a diamond bullet represent the Holy Spirit? You decide.

Are three stones better than one?

No, it's just a different style. However, a three-stone style offers some benefits:

- It makes the ring appear important. Most people feel that a stone that deserves a supporting cast is very special.

- It conceals the shank. Minimum visible metal is a hallmark of the finest craftsmanship.

- It solves "inadequate finger coverage" concerns. - It offers an opportunity to mix different colors if desired. 

- It helps fake a "big look" with only a modest cost increase. Large side stones blend with the center stone blurring the line of separation. An observer cannot make the center stone dimensions. It creates an illusion of a much wider and bigger stone.

- It intensifies the color of fancy colored diamonds and colored gemstones against a contrasting background of white diamonds. 

How to choose a center stone?

Start by choosing the main stone first. Virtually any stone can be used in the center. Choosing side stones is the next step. The goal is to pick a pair of stones that complement the center stone the most.

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Side stones make centers appear wider and shorter. Because of the illusion, an elongated center stone can be a better choice. 

For center stones with a 1:1 length to width ratio, consider:

  • Round brilliants: baguettes, bullets, pears, hearts, and narrow shields.
  • Asschers: step-cut bullets or shields.
  • Square cushions, brilliants, radiants, and princess cuts: narrow brilliant shields, baguettes, or trillions
  • Antique cushions: step-cut baguettes or bullets
  • Heart shapes: bullets or pears

For elongated:

  • Emerald cuts: trapezoids, shields, half-moons, large bullets, all step-cut.
  • Modern cushions: half-moons, shields, bullets.
  • Antique cushions: step-cut half-moons, trapezoids, shields, and French cuts.
  • Radiants and ovals: half-moons, trapezoids, trillions, shields, bullets.
  • Pear shapes: bullets, baguettes, or pears.

Symmetry is essential for emerald cuts, Asschers, and cushions. A poorly shaped center stone stands out more in a three-stone ring. It is recommended to choose a diamond in a D- to I-color range. Lower color grades can be challenging to pair with matching side stones.

How to choose side stones?

For a three-stone ring to look impeccable,  side stones must be well proportioned. A wrong set can throw the entire ring off-balance. Depending on their shape, side stones are angled differently in relation to the center. 

Wide side stones set North-South are part of the ring's head. Baguettes or bullets aligned with the shank are not. For that reason, baguettes and bullets are projected from the center stone at a steep angle. Other side stones are angled less to blend better with the center stone.

Follow this link to learn more about side stones.

A triplet is a three-stone ring version where all stones have the same shape. Its look depends on the proportion between the center and side stones, which varies considerably. Such stones are angled even less and leveled more evenly.

Important considerations

Matching a pair's physical dimensions often affects the cost more than the carat weight.

The actual size and weight do not always correlate. Every set of matching stones is unique, and frequently larger stones weigh less. Side stones should be evaluated by size, not weight.

Side stones made from inverted rough diamond crystals called "mackle" are flat. These stones look big and weigh much less than well-proportioned stones of the same size. The tradeoff is their lackluster brilliance and glassy appearance. When side stones are too big for the center, they make it appear small and insignificant.

On the other hand, too small side stones that are too small make the center stone feel like it does not belong to the ring.

Side stones noticeably higher in color than the center will make it look dark.

A poorly matched by size or shape pair of stones will make the ring appear lopsided.

All stones should have similar facets in size and their arrangement. Mismatched faceting will have a negative impact on the ring. Fluorescence can play nasty tricks with the ring appearance. Fluorescent side stones can stand out in certain lighting conditions and should not be paired with the center stone with none.

Craftsmanship and design

The angles and curvatures are the keys to the well-balanced, proportionate, and eye-pleasing ring.

Their choice is the most crucial decision a jeweler makes, and they determine the final composition. The precise fit of each prong, joint, and element makes the transition from the center to side stones and further down to the shank seamless and natural.

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Hand-forging is the secret to a well-proportioned, properly weighted ring designed to maximize the stone's best features.

By default, the center stone is always set as low as possible. The ring's height is determined by the finger size, center stone size, and the type of side stones used. Raising the center stone is a grave mistake that is usually requested for the wrong reasons.

Three-stone variations:

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