The Ultimate Guide to Three Stone Settings

by * Aug 17, 2021

Key Takeaways

  • The three stone engagement ring is in some ways the most romantic setting style out there, thanks to its representation of the past, present, and future.
  • It’s certainly apt to be a more expensive option, since you’ll need to invest in two additional diamonds of considerable carat weight.
  • That said, keep in mind that the best three stone engagement rings are generally the ones that feature some variance between the center stone, and the two stones on either side.
  • It’s best to remain uniform between the three when it comes to clarity and color, since it’ll be easier to spot any discrepancies when they’re all lined up alongside one another.
man and woman with a Three Stone diamond engagement ring - Three Stone Settings

While the silhouette of the solitaire diamond ring is still the symbol of engagement in many parts of the world, it is pretty likely you have encountered the beautiful shape of the three stone engagement ring at some time or another.

An incredibly versatile style, though growing in popularity for its ability to accommodate a much more modern vibe, three stone ring settings are proof that the classics will always stick around and, more importantly, find new ways to take our breath away.

What is a Three Stone Diamond Ring Called?

Trinity rings – or, alternatively, trilogy rings.

The three stones represent a ‘trilogy’ in the love story shared between the couple. Many people feel that their shared past, present and future are symbolized within these three stones, but part of the beauty of this setting style is that it’s left open to interpretation.

Are 3 Stone Engagement Rings in Style?

Yes, and they have been for many years, although it the trilogy ring has seen a remarkable wave of attention since Harry, the Duke of Sussex, designed a unique three-stone piece for Meghan Markle, alongside renowned jeweler Cleave & Co, in London.

Trilogy rings are perfectly balanced. Like any traditional engagement ring, they still feature a center stone, although flanked by two more diamonds on either side. These additional diamonds may be the same carat weight as the center stone, but it is much more common for them to be slightly smaller. This creates more dimension, and a beautiful symmetry.

Sometimes, jewelers will place other, more colorful gemstones on either side of the center diamond, such as rubies or emeralds –although, in general, this is better suited to anniversary jewelry. You’ll get the most sparkle possible from three diamonds…

Why Do People Wear Three Stone Engagement Rings?

Whether buyers fall for their symbolic meaning or simply the dazzling sparkle created by three diamonds placed side-by-side, there’s no shortage of reasons why you’re seeing more and more of three stone ring settings on the fingers of brides-to-be.

It is likely down to the open-ended meaning of the trilogy ring that it has become a popular style for both engagements, and landmark anniversaries. Much like the eternity ring, it may be given from husband to wife to celebrate any ‘turning point’ in their life’s story – a new part of the trilogy.

As always, there are no rules – only beautiful creations waiting for you to give them their special meaning.

In a more practical sense, the three stone engagement ring achieves a pretty impressive sparkle. The combined light performance of the three diamonds creates a dazzling display of brilliance and fire that travels across the bridge of the finger in a way that cannot be replicated by any other setting style.

The incredible sparkle of this Three Stone Round Platinum Engagement Ring is a perfect example of the unrivalled light performance made by this setting style. The larger center stone is given dimension by the two smaller side stones – themselves complemented by the bright white of the platinum.

Finally, three stone engagement rings have already proven themselves to be pretty much timeless. While this design hasn’t been around as long as the solitaire diamond ring, we have still only scratched the surface of what can be done to reinvent, restyle and personalize three stone ring settings.

bride with Three Stone diamond ring holding boqut

Are Three Stone Engagement Rings More Expensive?

In all likelihood, yes. Buying three times as many diamonds will inevitably run up the cost of your engagement ring. Not only are you paying for the stones themselves, but for the time and skill it takes to design and complete this design to a very high standard.

Unlike the melee diamonds used in a pavé setting, or any other ‘accent’ stones, the two diamonds that will sit on either side of your center stone will have been individually graded and, provided you shop from a reputable jeweler, given GIA certification.

You will want each one of these diamonds to be of a good (and similar) quality. As with any diamond, eye cleanliness is a must, and a good cut and color.

Something very important to consider is symmetry. Even a relatively minor variation in color quality between one diamond and the other will be all the more obvious when they’re placed alongside one another – and the same goes for cut.

While a non-expert might find it hard to decide whether or not a diamond’s cut quality is ‘Fair’ or ‘Very Good’, it’ll be much easier if you’re looking at an example of each grade in person.

Symmetry is about more than shape – it’s about getting the most of your investment by hand-picking diamonds that truly complement one another, and look great as a three-piece set.  

Finally, you’ll want to invest into the best level of craftmanship possible. It is all too easy for the center stone to look overwhelmed or ‘jumbled together’ with the two additional diamonds. Striking that perfect balance is an art in and of itself, and one you’ll want to pay a good price for.

What Size Diamonds Should I Pick for a Three Stone Ring?

The center stone should be the biggest, with the two diamonds on either side between 30 – 75% the size of that larger diamond.

As always, however, there are no rules. Most jewelers recommend these proportions because it helps to create more depth to the ring, and to draw the eye inwards toward that center diamond.

It is also possible – and beautiful – to choose three diamonds of the same size, although keep in mind that a larger center stone is the best way to emulate the traditional engagement ring shape, with the setting angled up toward a single high point in the middle of the band.

Even if your bride-to-be has dropped plenty of not-so-subtle hints about the three stone setting, it’s probably best to aim for that size differentiation, rather than getting three diamonds of equal weight.

Other than that, the carat weight of your center diamond and two side-diamonds is down to you and your budget. These proportions work on diamonds of 0.5 carats or 5 carats, proving that everything lies in the execution.

Are Three Stone Rings Durable?

Yes, the diamonds are held in place using the same techniques a good jeweler will use on any solitaire diamond.

The type of setting used to secure these three diamonds in place will determine quite how secure they are, but all settings offer a very high level of reassurance regardless.

A four prong setting remains one of the most popular, because it offers great security and durability without blocking too much of the diamond from the light.

Alternatively, for a much more contemporary look, the bezel setting gives an incredibly high level of security to wearers, although it does interfere a lot more with the diamonds’ light performance. You’ll get less sparkle, but even more durability.

It is also possible to use the bar setting to hold these diamonds in place – or, for the edgier wearer, the tension setting.

Each setting will incur a different cost, with some requiring a lot more skill and time from the jeweler creating it. Prongs, for example, are considered a little simpler than a bezel – although any design requires many hours’ worth of skill to perfect.

Still, regardless of what’s holding those diamonds in place, you need to pick the right jeweler first. For the most durable ring possible, the best thing you can do is use our Jewelry Store Locator to find a reputable establishment in your area. Ordering online is a major risk, both for diamonds, and for knowing that your investment is granting you access to the experience and technical skill of a professional jeweler.

Doing so will also mean you can return to them for regular check-ups, which will give you peace of mind should the ring ever sustain a knock or a bump during wear.

What Wedding Band Goes With a Trilogy Ring?

Most wedding band styles can be worn comfortably alongside a trilogy ring, as the center stones are high enough to avoid ‘bumping into’ the wedding band.

If your center stones have a halo, then you might want to start by narrowing your search to wedding bands made for engagement halo but, otherwise, you needn’t start panicking about shaping your wedding band around the trilogy engagement ring.

Some brides love to complement the extra sparkle of three stone ring settings by choosing a pavé or channel set wedding band, which will add even more depth and dimension to the finger – and plenty more sparkle.

Alternatively, you can never go wrong with a plain gold or platinum wedding band, particularly when you’ve made such a strong statement with the three stone setting already.

As always, aim to pick a band no wider than the shank of your engagement ring, in order to ensure balance. There’s no need to match metals unless your bride-to-be has a preference between a warmer hued gold or a cooler platinum.

What Does Three Wedding Rings Mean?

Wearing three rings on the ring finger holds different meanings around the world. Most commonly, however, the rings are worn to symbolize engagement, marriage, and the arrival of the couple’s first child – or a landmark anniversary.

Unlike three stone ring settings, the three rings most commonly worn on a woman’s left-hand ring finger tend to hold a more specific meaning. While most of us are familiar with the engagement ring and wedding band, the third ring is a little less common – though still highly popular around the world. Known as the eternity ring, this band usually has a pavé design, and is generally given from husband to wife at a particular milestone in their relationship.

While this particular milestone differs from couple to couple, wedding rings are almost invariably worn so that the wedding band sits at the base of the finger, the engagement ring in the middle, and the eternity ring closes to the middle knuckle.

So, Should You Pick a Three Stone Engagement Ring?

It’s definitely one to consider, provided you keep in mind that many brides still picture themselves wearing the more traditional solitaire diamond.

The great thing about this setting, however, is its versatility. You can make the two side-diamonds as big or as small as you want, and interpret the style in your own way to create something totally unique and suited to your partner.

Whether you’re taking inspiration from the timeless style of Meghan Markle’s engagement ring, or the bold and elegant lines of a bezel or channel set ring, an expert jeweler will be more than capable of combining your three diamonds in a way that lives up to the sparkling reputation of three stone ring settings.