The Diamond Pro

How to Choose an Engagement Ring to Suit Your Hand

By Michael Fried
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None of us are exactly alike. The perfect engagement ring for one person may not be so perfect for another.

When you go shopping for an engagement ring for your spouse-to-be, it’s vital you take into account her finger type and hand shape. Doing so avoids the situation where a beautiful ring doesn’t look quite right when you slide it on.

The features of your girlfriend’s hand may be accentuated or otherwise by the style of ring you choose. Whether she has short or long fingers, large or small hands, or distinct features like large knuckles, your choice of design will end up looking a lot different on her hand.

To take out the guesswork, we’ve put together a list of common finger types and hand shapes, and what to look for in a design for each one. Click the link to jump ahead to the section that applies.

Best Engagement Rings for Petite Fingers

Small, thin fingers have an elegance that pairs beautifully with fine jewelry. This lets you turn a simple ring into something really special.

You want to match up petite fingers with smaller stones and understated designs. A simple Round Brilliant, Cushion or Princess Cut on a prong setting can look stunning, at a much cheaper price than more elaborate settings.

Extravagant or overloaded designs can easily be overbearing for slim fingers. As such, you should take a minimalistic approach if your girlfriend falls under this category. If you want a ring that grabs a little more attention, pavé settings pair beautifully with a slender finger.

presentation solitaire six prong james allen
Presentation Six-Prong Solitaire Setting from James Allen
french pave setting blue nile platinum
French Pavé Setting in Platinum from Blue Nile

Examples of rings for petite fingers:

Best Engagement Rings for Small Hands

If your girlfriend has a smaller frame and petite hands, you’ll be able to find something beautiful without needing to dish out for a large diamond. Small hands allow delicate rings with small stones to really stand out. 

You don’t want anything too elaborate. A high-quality Round Brilliant Cut on a simple solitaire setting can look stunning on small hands. If you want a little more style, you could go with a thin channel set like this.

14K white gold thin channel setting james allen
14K White Gold Thin Channel Setting from James Allen
14K rose gold thin channel setting james allen
14K Rose Gold Thin Channel Setting from James Allen

Avoid anything too bold and extravagant. The look this provides will be overpowering, and you’ll be paying more for something that doesn’t look as nice.

Examples of rings for small hands:

Best Engagement Rings for Short Fingers

If your girlfriend’s hand or finger has any distinct characteristics, the intention is generally to draw attention away from it. If her fingers are shorter than normal, you will want to make them appear longer and leaner. 

You can achieve this with a vertically-set, elongated diamond shape, such as an Oval, Pear Shape or Marquise. These shapes help to create an illusion of length, which makes the fingers seem longer and slimmer. Emerald cuts can also achieve this, as long as the stone is not too big.

A stunning Marquise diamond matches perfectly with a shorter finger, drawing attention to the brilliance of the diamond and away from the negative points of the finger.

yellow gold solitaire setting james allen
Yellow Gold Solitaire from James Allen
petite micropave setting blue nile
Petite Micropavé Setting from Blue Nile

Additionally, a narrow band helps to make the finger seem longer, by reducing the coverage area of the band. 

For women with short fingers, you’ll want to avoid the opposite (wide or thick bands). As for specific cuts, shy away from diamonds with a wide surface area like Asscher and Princess Cuts, as well as any overly large diamonds. In lieu of size, put your budget into finding a diamond with a better cut and higher brilliance.

Examples of rings for short fingers:

Best Engagement Rings for Chubby Fingers

Chubby or thick fingers can present a problem when buying rings. The larger width of the finger takes away from smaller rings and diamond cuts quite easily. A small ring or thin band also accentuates the thickness of the finger.

In general, rings for chubby or stubby fingers need to be larger and show less skin, particularly on the sides of the stone.

If you have the budget, high carat diamonds look better and have more prominence over the finger itself. Otherwise, certain settings and styles can make the ring look larger and draw more attention. For example, this halo style ring gives a smaller center diamond a larger appearance and enhanced sparkle. Three-stone and cluster settings also do a fine job of accentuating the ring and drawing attention away from the finger.

platinum pave halo setting james allen
Platinum Pavé Halo Diamond Engagement Ring Setting from James Allen
three stone pave setting blue nile
Three-Stone Pavé Setting from Blue Nile

Examples of rings for chubby fingers:

Best Engagement Rings for Large Hands

Large hands can easily take attention away from a ring if it is too small, so the objective should be to find a larger stone or a more attention-grabbing design.

In lieu of buying a large center stone, the setting can make a big difference in how a ring appears on a woman with larger hands. Three-stone settings draw a lot of attention and won’t be overpowered by the size of the hand. Halo settings can help to accentuate the perceived size of the diamond, while vintage, cluster and split-shank settings provide a pronounced look that goes well with large hands.

blue nile studio heiress setting
Blue Nile Studio Heiress Halo Diamond Engagement RIng
vintage infinity setting james allen
Vintage Infinity Setting from James Allen

Stay away from small or narrow rings, slim bands and minimalist designs, which will draw too much contrast to the size of the hand.

Examples of rings for large hands:

Best Engagement Rings for Large Knuckles

Larger than normal knuckles require the engagement ring to draw attention away from them, and balance out the look.

Wide or bold bands achieve the desired effect, drawing the eye to the ring, as opposed to other features. More elaborate settings, such as this Zac Posen Three-Stone Emerald-Cut also help to grab peoples’ attention. Three-stone settings or other styles with a wide surface area accentuate the ring and give a balanced look.

Zac Posen three stone emerald cut setting blue nile
Zac Posen Three-Stone Emerald Cut Setting from Blue Nile
tapered baguette setting james allen
14K White Gold Tapered Baguette Diamond Engagement Ring from James Allen

The main thing to avoid with large knuckles is thin bands, as this will present a significant contrast to the knuckle, making it stand out even more.

Examples of rings for large knuckles:

Best Engagement Rings for Long Fingers

For long fingers, you have a lot of freedom in the choice of rings, diamonds, and bands. Many bold and creative styles look stunning on long fingers, where they may not have the same effect with different finger types.

While a simple, high-quality Round Brilliant Cut can still be exquisite, you should take the opportunity to make a statement and turn heads with a stunning, unique design. Princess Cut, Asscher Cut, and Cushion Cut diamonds will look perfect on long, slender fingers. Pair it with a bold setting like a tension style for an incredible look.

two-tone swirl tension setting james allen
Two-Tone White and Yellow Gold Swirl Tension setting from James Allen
spiral tension set james allen
14K White Gold Spiral Tension Setting from James Allen

As for what to avoid, you have a lot less to worry about than other finger types, but you should stay away from anything that makes the finger appear any longer. That means vertically-set cuts like Pear, Oval and Marquise may not draw the attention they should, especially if paired with a thin band.

Examples of rings for long fingers:

Picking the Right Ring to Suit Her Hand

There are many things you need to take into account when shopping for an engagement ring or your future spouse. At the end of the day, the goal is to pick out a ring that looks stunning and fits your budget.

That’s why it’s vital to take into account the unique shape and features of your girlfriend’s hand. Doing so will help you maximize the impression of the positive aspects of the ring, hand, and fingers while drawing attention away from the negatives. Better yet, you’ll avoid wasting money on features of a ring that don’t pop out when she puts it on.

If you require more personalized advice, feel free to contact our team of experts, and we’ll help you pick out a ring that looks beautiful and fits your requirements and budget.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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