How to choose an engagement ring to suit your hand shape

Don't go shopping without reading our guide to finding the perfect engagement ring to best enhance your hand's size and shape.

De Beers 13.25-carat oval-cut diamond engagement ring

Choosing the right engagement ring for your hand and finger shape from the dizzying array of designs on offer can be likened to finding the most figure-flattering pair of jeans. The flares that look amazing on your friend with legs up to her armpits can make those of us not blessed with long limbs feel like we have taken a swig of the shrinking potion in Alice in Wonderland.

In a similar, albeit more subtle way, certain engagement ring styles and cuts will enhance your hand’s best features and detract from the ones that you are less keen on. To help you in your hunt for the perfect engagement ring for your unique hand shape, we’ve compiled a guide to kick-start your search.

Getting started

The first thing you need to do is to establish your hand shape, taking into account the length and width of your fingers as well as the overall size of your hand. Don’t forget to also consider whether you keep your nails long or trimmed short as longer nails have an elongating effect on the fingers. It is important to give yourself plenty of time to try on and play around with lots of different ring styles as often they look very different on the finger compared to in the display case.

Don’t be afraid to ask for advice – while buying an engagement ring is (hopefully) a once-in-a-lifetime occasion for you, the designer or retailer will have seen hands of all shapes and sizes and can suggest suitable styles. It is also vital to make sure that the ring is sized correctly as there is nothing flattering about a ring that is so tight that it pinches your finger or so loose that it slides around whenever you move your hand.

Engagement rings for short fingers

To elongate short fingers, look for stones with a longer shape such as oval, marquise or pear-cut stones. A narrower band will also create an illusion of length as will keeping your nails on the longer side if it suits your lifestyle. A pear cut with its rounded end and tapered point is universally flattering. It lengthens those who might be shorter in the finger and is a nice balanced shape for those with larger hands. Marquise-cut stones set vertically can also have an elongating effect on a hand.

Anaya marquise-cut diamond engagement ring
Marquise-cut stones set vertically, like Rachel Boston's double-band Anaya engagement ring, are very flattering for shorter fingers because they have an elongating effect on the hand (£7,350).

Engagement rings for long fingers

Those lucky enough to have been blessed with long digits can experiment with bold, dramatic designs such as snake styles that wind their way up the finger. Long fingers also suit bigger stones so you have the perfect excuse to splash out on that carat-busting engagement ring. Princess and round-cut diamonds set onto a thicker band are particularly flattering on longer fingers.

Space Odyssey diamond engagement ring
Those with long fingers can experiment with bold and unusual designs like this Space Odyssey engagement ring by Jessica McCormack (POA).

Engagement rings for slim fingers

Avoid swamping slim fingers by opting for a smaller stone set onto a thicker band in order to create an illusion of width. If your fingers are short but slender you could look for a narrow marquise- or pear-cut diamond to elongate as well as widen the finger.

Marquise diamond solitaire engagement ring
Consider a narrow gemstone, like Kataoka's delicate marquise-cut diamond solitaire ring, pictured here alongside a Paraiba tourmaline design, if you have short and slender fingers ($5,580).

Engagement rings for wide fingers

If you have wide fingers, try to avoid narrow stones as revealing too much skin on either side of the ring will further exaggerate the width of your finger. Instead, look for larger round stones or cluster styles set onto a medium to thick band that will draw the eye in and have a slimming effect. Asymmetrical and angular shapes, like the emerald-cut diamond engagement ring below, also help to create the illusion of slimmer fingers.

Xpandable emerald-cut diamond engagement ring
Asymmetrical and angular-shaped gemstones, like this Xpandable emerald-cut diamond engagement ring by Pichiotti, will help to create the illusion of slimmer fingers (POA).

Engagement rings for small hands

Keep the stone in proportion to your hands by opting for a smaller round, heart or princess-cut diamond. Super-delicate rings can look out of proportion on larger, longer hands, but smaller stones in any cut really flatter very small fingers. However, if you have your mind set on a petite, delicate ring, pair it with a wider wedding band to create a chunkier look.

Twisted diamond engagement ring
Petite hands? Keep your ring in proportion by opting for a smaller gemstone, like this brilliant-cut diamond engagement ring by Completedworks (£7,900).

Engagement rings for big hands

The opposite is true for those with larger hands as small designs can look like you’re wearing a toy ring. Big, bold designs were made for you and don’t be afraid to go for flamboyant cocktail-ring styles as you will be able to carry them off with aplomb. Look for larger stones in a bezel setting as these are very flattering for fleshier hands and avoid very petite, thin bands.

Classic 13.25-carat oval-cut diamond engagement ring
Carat-busting stones like this 13.25-carat D IF oval-cut diamond from De Beers work best on large hands (POA).

Engagement rings for square hands and fingers

If your hand and fingers are square in shape, the goal is to soften the angular look with flowing, feminine designs and stones with a more rounded cut. Steer clear of square shapes such as the princess cut and opt instead for round, oval or pear-cut stones.

Whether you are choosing a ring as a couple or you’re browsing for ideas ahead of a proposal, this guide is intended as a useful resource for identifying the most flattering engagement ring designs for individual hand and finger shapes. There are no prescriptive rules that you have to follow and, if you have your heart set on a particular stone shape, use that as a starting point and look for the most flattering setting.

Windsor 1.52-carat brilliant-cut diamond engagement ring
If you have square-shaped hands and fingers, soften the look with a feminine design and more rounded cut, like this pretty 1.52-carat brilliant-cut diamond engagement ring with heart-shaped claws by George Pragnell (£20,500).

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