Blog / Three Stone Engagement Ring Design Advice

Trilogy or three stone ring designs are very popular and for good reason. Trilogy rings can withstand the test of time because they don’t subscribe to the trend of the day. Trilogies can also "substantiate" a ring by adding width thereby adding finger coverage to a design. Although, as in fashion, there is no right and wrong in three stone rings, we’d like to share some general preferences that we tend to abide by that have yielded beautiful designs in the past.

Proportions play a crucial role in the aesthetics of a three stone ring. It’s important to keep in mind the center stone size and whether that specific size works in a trilogy design. Center stones of 1ct and smaller might not be ideal in terms of proportions when set into three stone rings. Exceptions can be made to this general guideline if the side stones are thin or small. For example, tapered baguettes or thin “bullet” shaped side stones can work with relatively smaller stones as shown by Model 20.1190 which was a 1/3ct round shaped diamond flanked by bullet shaped side diamonds.

A Radiant & Trapezoid Trilogy Engagement Ring
Mdl 20.1140 A Radiant & Trapezoid Three Stone Engagement Ring.


The most classic way of designing a trilogy is the use of same shaped side stones as the center stone. For example, a round brilliant center stone flanked by two smaller rounds or a cushion with cushion shaped side stones. In instances when the center stone is rectangular such as a rectangular cushion we recommend using cushions that are as similar in length to width as the center stone as possible. The same holds true for square diamonds such as an Ascher (square emerald cut) which look best when flanked by square aschers.

For trilogy designs with same shaped stones, the next question that arises is the size of the side diamonds in relation to the center stone. Although there is no right and wrong answer to this question, we tend to design rings with medium to smaller sized side stones. Using larger side stones may not yield as fluid of a graduation in these designs. In “graduation” we are referring to the graduation from a band (shank) of a ring, to the side diamonds continuing on to the center stone. Trilogy designs using large side stones may also make them appear to be more of a “right hand ring” or second ring as opposed to a engagement ring. As a point of reference, we feel that using a 2ct round center stone of approximately 8mm produces an excellent graduation with 1/3 ct round side diamonds.

Aside from using three same shaped stones in a trilogy, there are combinations of shapes that also produce beautiful rings. For example, emerald cut center stones flanked by two trapezoid shaped side stones. Or oval shaped center stones flanked by two half moons. Although not a rule set in stone, our preference is to pair angular side stones with an angular center stone and rounded side stones along with rounded center stones. Although some side stones can work with pretty much any shaped center stone. For example, tapered baguettes can look beautiful when paired with almost any shaped center stone. A person might also choose to take an art-deco direction to his three stone ring by using “bullet” shaped side stones. We have successfully used “Epaulette” or “shield cut” (also known as Cadillac shape) side stones with angular center stones such as emerald cuts, radiants and others. Pear shaped side stones can also look beautiful when used with round, oval or heart shaped center stones.

In order to prevent color contrast, we always try to match, as closely as possible, the color of the side stones to the center stone. Large differences in color between a center stone and side stones can be visible because the three diamonds are in very close proximity to each other. Less essential is the matching of clarity. Eye clean, SI+ clarity, side stones can be acceptable even with un-included center stones although this can also be a matter of preference.

Whenever possible try to match the faceting of the side stones to the center stone. As an example, it’s advisable to use step cut faceted, instead of brilliant faceted trapezoids with likewise step cut faceted center stones such as emerald cuts or ascher cuts. Many side stone come in different faceting options.

At the end of all this, the execution of a trilogy design can be what distinguishes a mediocre piece from one that is truly a work of art. Victor Canera is known for producing fully hand made and casting free designs. Our trilogy works are excellent examples of why hand fabricated jewelry are superior to ones manufactured using casting. Hand forged trilogy rings result in extremely clean metal work which is the canvas upon which the diamonds are set. This clean metal work is shown by the sharp joints in a ring’s construction without the “melted metal” appearance visible in rings created using casting. The hand fabrication process also results in a denser and stronger metal.

Emerald Cut & Shield Cut Trilogy Ring
Emerald Cut & Shield Cut Trilogy with "groove set" side stones.

A unique distinguishing characteristic of Victor Canera trilogy designs is our “groove set” side stone system. This method of constructing three stone rings eliminates the need for two prongs holding each side stone (four prongs in total). The vast majority of trilogy rings secure the side stones using prongs located immediately between the center and side stones. These prongs would otherwise have covered the side stones and needlessly clutter the look of a ring. Victor Canera “groove set” three stone and five stone rings have a much more fluid appearance due to our groove set system. In almost every instance there are no prongs holding the side stones. The side stones appear to be suspended in mid air between the center stone and the band of a ring. Additionally our “groove set” system causes side stones to be set lower. This results in a more three dimensional three stone ring with a beautiful graduation in height from the center stone, to the side stones and then the band.