Rings come in all shapes and sizes. Possibly the most common ring most people are familiar with is the engagement ring and wedding band. The one is a simple ring often adorned with a precious stone (usually a diamond) and the other a simple circlet of some kind of metal (usually gold). As soon as you walk into a jewellery store or even a flea market, you will see that there are lots of kinds of rings on the market beyond those that we are normally used to.
Without even mentioning the many other kinds of rings and what they mean or where they come from, it might be useful to look at the basic kinds of rings that are available. The usual shapes and styles of ring include flat bands, half-round bands, solitaires, eternity rings and cluster rings. These are the so-called 'basic' ring designs that many others are based on.
It is, essentially, a strip of metal that has been twisted into a circle with the ends soldered together to complete the loop. Obviously these rings can be made from other materials aside from metal. They can be carved from bone, stone, gemstones or wood; or they can be moulded from plastic. This is the most basic ring there is.
One up from this is the half-round ring or D-shaped ring. This is usual flat band ring that has the outside edge filed or carved to be half round. Sometimes the rounded part of the ring is a separate piece that is a different colour or material that can be carved or adorned with some other decoration.
Solitaires are normal rings that have a single stone setting. The usual engagement ring is a solitaire. So called because of a solitary precious stone that is set in the ring. The eternity ring has stones, usually much smaller ones than the one set in a solitaire, that run around the entire outer surface of the ring. The stones are usually set in a groove setting, though other settings are sometimes used if the design allows or warrants it. If the stones only go half way around the ring then it is called a half eternity ring.
The cluster ring, as can be surmised from the name, has clusters of stones set on the ring. This cluster of stones can be many small stones arranged in some sort of pattern or can be a single stone with smaller stones 'clustering' around it. Very decorative rings usually use this style and it is often seen with costume jewellery.
Aside from these common designs, there are many different kinds of rings that have been created and developed throughout history. Some were made for a special occasion and became common while other have long histories and traditions tied to them. A short description of some of these rings can be found here. These rings include rings like the Claddagh ring, Ecclesiastical ring, mood ring, mother's ring, promise ring, puzzle ring, poison ring, signet ring and the famous wedding ring, to name but a few.
Rings have been around for a long time and they have changed and developed over time as people needed them to. From simple bands of precious metals, to intricate bands of interlocking pieces, rings come in varieties from the simple to the complicated. No matter what your fancy, chances are that there is a ring out there for you.
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