Engagement Rings

What Is a Three-Stone Engagement Ring (and Should I Buy One)?

Why it’s good: Three-stone rings have a symmetry that is universally appealing to the eye and flatters most every finger.

Tip 1: Going for a three-stone setting doesn’t have to mean tripling the price — opting for smaller side stones achieves the same effect without jacking up the cost.

Tip 2: Three-stone settings are a great way to incorporate colored gems in addition to traditional white diamonds, which can make for a unique ring.

So What Is a Three-Stone Ring?

A three-stone ring is just what it sounds like: a ring designed around three prominent stones. While the most traditional engagement ring is a solitaire, just one central stone, three-stone rings triple the sparkle, accenting that center stone with another on each side. 

Three-stone rings have been popular for centuries. And they’re enjoying a renaissance since Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle with one. The most classic version features three stones of equal size, prong-set on a simple platinum or gold band. But that’s just the beginning — it’s a template that jewelers are always reimagining. Often the center stone is flanked with two smaller diamonds or maybe two colored gems. Perhaps the side stones are a different cut or in a different setting. The variables are nearly endless.

How Much Do Three-Stone Rings Cost? 

You may be thinking that a three-stone rings command higher price tags,, but that isn’t always the case. While they may be more expensive than the most affordable solitaire, three-stone rings can offer a lot of brilliance for a relatively small price. As with all engagement rings, the main factor in determining the price is the size and quality of the stones. But whereas solitaires rely on finding the single best diamond within one’s budget, three-stone rings take a bit of the pressure off. Having three stones as the main focal point means they don’t need to be the biggest and best — a three-stone ring’s appeal is the sum of its parts. 

If price is a concern, look for rings with one larger center stone and smaller side stones. It’s an option that has the visual impact three-stone rings are known for, but without significantly upping the carat weight and price tag. Another thing to consider is that all three stones needn’t be diamonds. This is a ring style that lends itself to incorporating other colored gemstones like rubies and sapphires, or more idiosyncratic gems like tourmalines (which come in all kinds of colors) and garnets (usually a dark red). It all comes down to your bride-to-be’s taste and personality — is she colorful? Unconventional? Are there any hues or stones you know she loves? Three-stone rings provide a lot of opportunity to tailor the ring to her.

Three-Stone Ring Themes & Symbols

There’s a particularly sentimental nature to three-stone styles, making them a good choice if your future wife appreciates small, thoughtful gestures. Historically, the grouping of three has had a number of romantic meanings: the vows to love, honor, and cherish; the pillars of marriage: friendship, love, and fidelity; the eras of your relationship: past, present, and future. If you want to double down on the sentimentality, you could even go for a side stone in each of your birthstones. Symbolism aside, three-stone rings have a universally-flattering silhouette and a glamorous look — traits most every woman will appreciate. Here are 10 of our favorites.

10 Types of Three-Stone Rings for All Budgets

1. MICHELLE OH

Even though each of the diamonds in this ring are less than 0.25 carats, they combine to create a dazzling effect, amplified by the sun ray detail surrounding the center round-brilliant stone. $2,895 (Photo courtesy of Tomfoolery London)

What is a Three-Stone Ring (and Should I Buy One)?

2. FOREVERMARK

This is a three-stone ring in its purest, most classic form: three round brilliant diamonds with a slightly larger center stone, prong-set on a polished gold band. From $4,795 (Photo courtesy of Forevermark)

Photo courtesy of Forevermark

3. MICHELLE FANTACI

This is a subtly modern riff on a traditional three-stone band, with rose-cut polygonal diamonds bezel-set in matte green gold. It’s both understated and eye-catching. $5,440 (Photo courtesy of Michelle Fantaci)

(Photo courtesy of Michelle Fantaci)

4. MATERIAL GOOD

Three-stone rings have a decidedly glamorous attitude, particularly when centered around a spectacular rock like this 4.52ct pear-shaped stunner flanked with tapered baguettes. Price upon request (Photo courtesy of Material Good)

Photo courtesy of Material Good

5. NIKOS KOULIS

Diamonds may be the conventional gem for engagement rings but when you have three stones to work with, why not add in some color? This exquisite emerald — framed with diamonds, enamel, and emerald-cut diamonds on either side — won’t leave her missing anything. $13,550 (Photo courtesy of Nikos Koulis)

Photo courtesy of Nikos Koulis

6. KATAOKA

This ring’s three diamonds are each encircled with a smattering of smaller stones. Together with the textured gold band, it makes for a delicate, vintage-inflected beauty. $6,380 (Photo courtesy of Kataoka)

Photo courtesy of Kataoka

7. CATBIRD

A prime example of how combining varied cuts, like these rose- and pear-cuts, can make smaller stones yield an impressive visual impact. $5,600 (Photo courtesy of Catbird)

Photo courtesy of Catbird

8. KWIAT

The three Ashoka-cut diamonds featured in this ring, with their graphic facets and clean bezel setting, underscore the elegant symmetry of three-stone silhouettes. Price upon request (Photo courtesy of KWIAT)

9. JADE TRAU

For an edgier take on the three-stone silhouette, look to this ring featuring a round-brilliant and pear-cut diamonds seemingly floating between two knife-edge bands of white gold. $3,200, excluding center stone (Photo courtesy of Jade Trau)

Photo courtesy of Jade Trau

10. POLLY WALES

There’s an earthy, organic charm to this ring with an old-mine-cut center stone flanked by kite-cut rubies for an irreverent twist — and several more diamonds for even more sparkle. $20,570 (Photo courtesy of Polly Wales)

Photo courtesy of Polly Wales

Bottom Line

Three stone rings truly triple the fun. You get to work with more diamonds, more brilliance, and more wow factor. And they often do it for less than a ring with just one superlative stone. If you want to impress without breaking the bank, you may want to follow the rule of three.

Join The Plunge (Don’t Worry: It’s Free)

Even More Engagement Rings