What Are Low-Profile Engagement Rings? | Rare carat

Your engagement ring is one of the most emotionally - and perhaps financially - significant jewelry items that you will ever own. Many people start dreaming about what style they want to wear long before they even meet their partner! Daily wear of this ring is a proud symbol of commitment. It signals your love and happiness to all who catch a glimpse of it sparkling on your finger. However, with frequent wear comes an increased risk of damage and possible loss of the stone(s). These concerns are amplified if you are particularly active with your hands. Fortunately, choosing low-profile designs can significantly reduce the likelihood of harm to your ring and give you better peace of mind so that you can wear it as often as you like!

So, what are low-profile rings?

It all has to do with minimizing the overall silhouette of the ring against your finger. Rather than having the full body of the stones set above the band, low-profile designs set stones deep into the mounting. This may decrease how much light is allowed into the stone(s), but it adds lots of protection. Many antique and vintage-style rings are going to be low-profile. As the significant stone(s) are positioned lower into the mounting, the visual emphasis of the ring shifts away from the individual stone(s) and moves to the design of the ring as a whole. This means that people are going to notice other details such as metal work and side stones better than they would if a central stone were set higher.

Happily, you can set the significant stones pretty much the same way in low-profile designs as with high-profile rings. Prongs, bezels, tensions, illusions, and halo-settings are all still fair game. Moreover, due to the protective nature of low-profile designs, you can feel free to choose less durable, non-diamond gemstones as your center stone. Sapphires, emeralds, tanzanites - they all can work! Thus, you don’t have to feel that low-profile rings restrict you in any way from expressing your personal style!

Since the depth of your stone is, by definition, going to be hidden within the mounting, it can be wise to choose a cut which features a larger table facet and smaller pavilion. You don’t want to spend extra money on a deep stone when no one can see that feature! This may be a good opportunity to buy a smaller stone with high color and clarity grades. Also, some fancy-cut stones like marquise, oval, triangular, rose, and step-cuts can have relatively shallow depth and are good options for low-profile rings. Two phrases that you should watch out for when shopping for suitable diamonds for low-profile designs are “pavilion bulge” and “thick girdle”. Both of these phrases indicate an unnecessarily bulky stone.

As mentioned, stones set in low-profile designs won’t be able to get as much light as high-profile-set stones do. This slightly decreases the maximum sparkle that your stone(s) can produce, regardless of the cut. A great way to compensate for this is to add side stones. Whether you want a multi-stone setting with numerous significant gems, or wish to decorate the band with a multitude of small channel or pave-set stones, more gems always means more shine! Detailing of the metal on the shank is another great way to add intricacy and interest to the design of your ring. You can shop for mountings with mixed metals, complicated intertwined patterns, and delicate engravings. However, when looking for a ring with a decorated shank, remember that resizing a ring usually requires some plain metal. Rings which have stones all around the shank (eternity rings) may be impossible to size. If you want to leave room for resizing later on, you may want to avoid eternity bands.

From sleek and ultra-modern to classic and vintage, there is a low-profile option for you!

Emily Frontiere
Emily Frontiere
Emily is a GIA Graduate Gemologist and also holds a Master's Degree in Medieval Literature. She has always loved jewelry for its dazzling allure, but her interest in the field was greatly increased when reading in school about medieval sensibilities in regards to gemstones i.e. their use as medicines or talismans.