When choosing an engagement ring most people tend to feel torn between picking something with a unique and memorable design and still finding a design that looks and feels like a traditional engagement ring. It’s a neat balancing act and finding the right setting and design for you can be very gratifying.
One type of setting that definitely hits the middle ground between a traditional look and a unique feel is the split shank setting.
If you’ve never heard of that setting before, don’t worry – in our split shank engagement ring setting guide we’ll go over everything there is to know about this fascinating ring setting.
- What is the Split Shank Setting?
- Design and Styles of Split Shank Settings
- What’s the Right Diamond Shape for A Split Shank Setting?
- Why and How to Choose A Split Shank Setting?
- Factors to Consider Before Buying A Split Shank Setting
- How to Clean A Split Shank Setting
- Pros and Cons of the Split Shank Setting
What is the Split Shank Setting?
Split shank with round center diamond. See it here.
The split shank setting is very easy to understand when we remember what “shank” means in the jewelry industry. A shank is essentially the ring’s hoop – the part that actually encircles your finger. In that sense, most rings are “single shank” rings with split shank rings being those that have two partly connected shanks or one shank that splits into to as it reaches the ring’s settings.
In a sense, the split shank is not so much a setting type as it is a ring design. That’s even more evident when you notice that split shank engagement rings can come paired with a variety of ring settings. For example, here’s a split shank engagement ring from Blue Nile that combines both a pave setting and a halo setting, while this 14k white gold split shank ring features a pave setting but no halo.
Similarly, the split shank setting also goes well with a range of different diamond cuts and shapes – from round to princess cuts and everything in-between such as this marquise cut halo split shank engagement ring.
Design and Styles of Split Shank Settings
Split shank settings can not only come with a variety of different diamond shapes and additional ring settings but can also differ from one another in terms of their designs.
One key difference between many split shank engagement rings is how wide the split between the two shanks is.
All split shanks connect on the lower side of the ring, opposite to the centerpiece stone, however, some split very barely like this classic 14k white gold split shank solitaire ring, right before they reach the ring’s stone, and others, like this 14k white gold open split shank diamond ring, split much sooner and wider.
Very unique split shank ring. Check price here.
Another differentiating factor is how wide the shanks themselves are. Some shanks are quite thin and delicate even with a pave setting, such as this cushion halo split shank ring, as to not overshadow the center stone and others have wider and more impressive shanks that aren’t afraid to stand out.
There are also a lot of other more bizarre and very unique split shank designs such as:
- This triple-row split shank that splits into three instead of two
- This dot-dash split shank which widens in the middle but then almost connects as it approaches the centerpiece stone
- This Abbraccio swirl split shank engagement ring, with the shanks swirling and connecting at the center
What’s the Right Diamond Shape for A Split Shank Setting?
Virtually any diamond shape and cut can work with a split shank design. That’s because the design itself is quite versatile and can be made to match any diamond shape – they can be adapted to suit the stone.
Furthermore, the split shank setting offers a lot of stability and works very well with halo, pave, bezel, solitaire, and other ring settings, allowing for smaller and bigger stones alike to work well with the ring.
The important factor is to ensure that the design takes into consideration the shape of the stone. For example, if you’ve got a marquise cut diamond, it would suit to have the shanks very wide, to align with the shape of the stone.
Why and How to Choose A Split Shank Setting?
Split shank settings are both gorgeous and unique. Not only are they different enough from the classic single-hoop styles, but they can also be made different enough from one another so that every split shank engagement ring is truly unique.
When searching for a split shank ring, bcause of their unique shape and the huge diversity in their designs, split shanks should be chosen in accordance with the stone’s size, shape, and cut, as well as with the precise type of complementary setting you’re going for – halo, solitaire, bezel and so on. This isn’t necessarily a drawback, as there’s a split shank design for any diamond and setting, but the choice must be made carefully for an excellent end result.
With that in mind, we’d definitely recommend working with a jewelry expert to get the best possible design combination. Give yourself extra time to look at as many split shank styles as possible, before you make a purchase.
Factors to Consider Before Buying A Split Shank Setting
Because of the impressive diversity in split shank designs, there are a wide range of options and styles to look through. That being said, there are certain things you need to keep in mind with all split shank designs. These questions will help you hone in on the right split shank setting for you:
- Are you going for a simple and more traditional design or for something more modern and/or eye-catching?
- Do you want to use the shanks for a side-stone or a pave setting or do you want them to remain unadorned?
- How wide do you want the gap between the shanks to be?
- How big and imposing do you want the shanks themselves to be?
- What complementary setting do you want around the center stone – halo, bezel, or something else?
- How big is the center stone going to be?
- What shape is the center stone?
- Are you after an angular or curvy split shank design?
Answering these questions will help you identify the type of split shank you’re after.
How to Clean A Split Shank Setting
One of the main drawbacks of split shank settings is that they are harder to clean than most other settings.
Engagement rings are hardest to clean under and around the settings (the part that holds the diamond or gemstone) and the stones themselves as that’s where dirt and dust can easily accumulate.
And because the split shank offers a lot of additional edges and spaces for that to happen, they need to be cleaned more frequently and carefully.
That being said, the cleaning process is the same as with any other ring – use warm water with mild soap and a soft piece of cloth, and clean every nook and cranny of your ring very gently and carefully. Use an electric toothbrush for efficient and quick results when cleaning a split shank (or any other) engagement ring setting.
Pros and Cons of the Split Shank Setting
To round thing’s up, let’s finish with a quick summary of the main pros and cons of the split shank setting.
- It’s unique and attention-grabbing setting.
- It offers a lot of additional space on the ring for side stones.
- The split shank design can come in a variety of different styles and looks, some modern, others – more traditional.
- The split shank setting naturally leads the look toward the ring’s centerpiece stone, making it look even more prominent and impressive.
- If you work a lot with your hands a split shank setting can get damaged as it can get caught on objects
- Split shank settings require extra attention when you clean them as they have more places that can accumulate dirt.