8 Ring Shank Styles and Their Identifying Features

8 Ring Shank Styles and Their Identifying Features

Curious about the trendy types of ring bands? No need to fret!

In this informative Twirl Weddings guide, I’ll walk you through the most popular ring shank styles found in the jewelry world nowadays.

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  • Which setting comes with a higher price tag?
  • Are 8 prongs superior to 4 prongs?
  • What sets apart a closed split shank from an open ended split shank?
  • Is a bypass shank identical to a tension setting?
  • How does a euro shank differ from a straight shank?

What is a Ring Shank?

The ring shank serves as the circular portion encircling a ring. When jewelers discuss a ring shank, they commonly refer to the metal framework excluding the central diamond and prongs. Numerous distinct styles exist for ring shanks. It is important to note that many individuals mistake ring shank styles for ring settings, but they are not entirely comparable.

A single ring setting can accommodate various ring shanks. For instance, a solitaire engagement ring can feature a straight shank, split shank, or knife edge shank. As long as there is a solitary stone, it qualifies as a solitaire setting. The ring shank style, on the other hand, differs accordingly.

Parts of an Engagement Ring

Take a look at this useful diagram that illustrates the various components of an engagement ring. Up at the top, we have the main gem, known as the center stone. The center stone rests upon the prongs, and together they form what is called the “head” or “ring head” of the ring. If we remove the engagement ring head, what remains is the ring shank. The bridge and the shoulders are integral parts of the ring shank.

image: GD1

Different Ring Shank Styles

Straight Shank

Straight shanks represent the typical ring shank styles found in regular engagement rings. These shanks consist of two straight sides, forming a flat and rectangular strip of metal. While most straight shank engagement rings have a 2mm width, there are also wider bands available. The traditional solitaire ring shank often features a flat edge and comes in various widths.

Solitaire Engagement Rings at Clean Origin

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When it comes to men’s wedding bands, those with flat edges that lack beveling or a comfort-fit design would fall into the category of straight shank style. Although they may be referred to as flat-edged, they essentially belong to the same group as straight bands.

Knife Edge Shank

The knife edge ring shank is commonly seen as a type of solitaire band style. Instead of having flat edges, the outer edges come together to form a point in the middle. This creates a resemblance to the sharp edges of a knife, which gives it its name. Despite its name, the knife edge shank is not actually sharp; it has a rather blunt edge.


Tapered Shank

Tapered shank rings belong to the family of straight shanks as well. In contrast to the flat edges of a regular straight shank style, the two sides of a tapered shank gradually narrow as they approach the center stone. Tapered bands are often designed with a simple solitaire appearance, although they can also feature accent diamonds or gemstones.


Cathedral Shank

Cathedral shanks, also known as cathedral ring settings, are often characterized by a high-profile design, although some may have a medium profile as well. Many cathedral shank style engagement rings feature straight bands, where two arches meet at the center stone.

RECOMMENDED: Engagement Ring Cathedral Settings

However, instead of the typical shank, there is a metal bar underneath that connects each side of the shank. It’s like the ring head is resting on a bridge. Sometimes, the two arches of a cathedral shank will meet at the prong basket, while others may not completely enclose.

Cathedral Settings Engagement Rings at Blue Nile

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Cathedral ring shanks can be paired with various engagement ring settings. They can be simple, with straight and polished metal bars, or they can have intricate designs adorned with small diamonds and vintage elements. As long as the cathedral bridge is present underneath, the ring falls under this category of shank styles.

Split Shank

A split shank ring creates the illusion of two separate bands instead of a single metal shank. However, it is actually a single band that divides near the center, resembling a butterfly design. Split shank wedding rings often have a narrow width and can be polished or adorned with pave diamonds.


On the other hand, an open split shank style ring features open space that extends all the way to the bottom of the shank. These open split shank bands are more likely to have diamonds set in prongs. Due to the way the band splits, these ring shanks have a thinner width, creating a larger open space on both sides of the finger.


Bypass Shank

In a bypass shank, the sides of the shank wrap around the center stone. Instead of appearing as if it’s holding the stone up, the bypass shank gives the impression that the stone is floating. A bypass shank is also referred to as a tension setting.


While these ring shanks can look stunning, finding a matching wedding band for them can be challenging.

Euro Shank

If you struggle to find the perfect ring size due to large knuckles and small fingers, an engagement ring with a Euro shank style might be the solution. Rings with this type of shank are suitable for individuals who experience difficulty sliding a traditional ring shank over their knuckles but find it loose at the base of their fingers.

When a ring shank spins, it is usually because the gemstones in the engagement ring make it top-heavy, causing it to shift. The Euro shank eliminates this issue by making the ring band non-circular. Instead, the ring will have squared sides or a squared bottom. The squared sides or bottom help the engagement ring stay in place and conform to the shape of your finger, offering a more secure fit compared to a standard ring.


Euro shanks are known to pose a comfort challenge for some individuals. If this is a concern, it’s advisable to choose a Euro shank retailer with a generous return policy like Clean Origin. This way, you’ll have sufficient time to determine whether this shank style suits you.

Crossover Shank

For those with a versatile style, a crossover shank ring is an excellent choice. While crossover shank engagement rings can be found, this shank style is primarily used for wedding bands, anniversary bands, or cocktail rings. It is sometimes referred to as an interlocked ring shank.


Interlocked rings can feature gemstones, but they can also incorporate mixed metals. The ring may consist of multiple layers of metals overlapping in the cross section. At times, they can resemble intertwining vines, and they tend to have a wider width.

If you desire an engagement ring with a crossover shank style, an infinity ring setting could be an ideal option. The infinity sign not only represents eternal love and commitment, but it also features a loose weaving that falls under the category of crossover shank rings. Many nature-inspired ring settings can also be considered crossovers, as they incorporate metal weaving to mimic vines.


Chevron Shank

The chevron ring style has been gaining popularity in recent years, although it is not commonly seen in engagement rings. It is more commonly chosen for wedding bands and ring jackets, as it offers a unique and appealing look. Chevron rings can also be worn as multiple bands, such as stackable or double-band sets.


A chevron style ring shank is characterized by the two sides of the band meeting at a point, forming a shape similar to a chevron or V. Some may refer to it as a V-styled band or a triangular band, but they all describe the same overall appearance.

It’s important to consider your finger size and comfort level when deciding on a chevron ring. If you have fleshy fingers or are easily bothered by discomfort, the chevron style might not be the best choice for you. In cases where the ring is flush set, the point of the chevron could potentially poke your skin when you flex your hand. It’s always a good idea to move your hand around and test the comfort of a ring before making a final decision, especially if you may need to return it.



Often, our attention is drawn to the ring’s centerpiece and the precious stone it holds. However, it’s fascinating to discover the wide range of choices available for ring shanks. The shank of a ring holds its own style and uniqueness.

It’s important to keep in mind that a ring, especially an engagement ring, is more than just its individual components. It’s about the way everything harmoniously combines to create an extension of the person wearing it and symbolize their commitment and love.

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