Whether you’re picking out a wedding band or are simply curious about jewelry basics, understanding the unique components of rings can be quite enlightening. With centuries to hone the craft, jewelry-makers the world over have long obsessed over the most seemingly subtle details, including the size and shape of the ring shank. As the foundation of the ring, the shank does plenty of heavy-lifting, and it’s not to be overlooked! \nWhat Is a Ring Shank?\n“Ring shank” is simply another name for the ring band. The shank’s width, shape and edge all contribute to the overall aesthetic and feel of the ring. The shank may affect the comfort of the ring and impact the way it feels on your finger.\nPopular Kinds of Ring Shanks\nTo get a better idea of the variation in shanks, we’ve put together a list of some of the most popular kinds of ring bands to consider.\n1. Straight Shank — The straight shank is the most classic and straightforward style on this list. It is of the same width the entire way around and usually features a flat edge. Straight shanks are a popular choice for stacking rings and bring a bit of a minimalist aesthetic. \n 2. Split Shank — The split shank is a band that comes together at one point, usually at the back of the shank, but splits into two separate bands at the sides or front. Often, the shank splits in a sideways V-shape to dramatize and highlight a central stone or design feature. 3. Tapered Shank — The tapered shank is similar to the straight shank except it tapers down into a slimmer band, usually towards the stone. A gorgeous example of the tapered shank engagement ring is the one worn by Princess Beatrice of York, which tapers to highlight a show-stopping 3.5-carat round diamond. \n \n4. Cathedral Shank — The cathedral shank is most often found on a classic engagement ring. It features V-shaped edges that prop up the center stone, creating a beautiful centerpiece that is slightly raised. 5. Knife Edge Shank — This ultra-cool ring shank brings a bit of an edgy vibe. It features a sharp edge that’s usually slanted to create a knife-like look. Though it appears sharp, knife edge rings are actually dull to the touch, so don’t worry — they’re totally safe (and legal) to wear! 6. Crossover Shank — The crossover shank, also known as a twist shank or twisting shank, is one where the band splits in two and then wraps around itself, creating a twisting or interwoven pattern. \n\n7. Bypass Shank — The bypass shank is one of the more dramatic styles of ring bands. It’s marked by its unique wavy design. Where the shank would normally meet itself, it instead bypasses itself, creating some drama. 8. Beveled Edge — A popular choice for men’s wedding bands, the bevel ring brings a classic, masculine style. It’s marked by a flat top with a 45-degree angled edge to add some dimension to an otherwise simple style. 9. Dome — The dome edge ring is a sleek, attractive choice for those who prefer a more modern aesthetic without compromising simplicity. It has a domed edge that curves upward, offering a smooth surface that looks gorgeous when polished. \n\n10. Step-Down Edge — Also known as a step edge ring, this kind of ring has a flat top with a single or multiple steps coming down off the edges. This creates a stunning yet subtle transition, adding a bit of structure and dimension to the ring. 11. Flat Pipe Cut Edge — Also known as a pipe cut ring, the flat pipe cut edge ring features a straight-across surface with no bevel, dome or step. The straight-cut aesthetic looks similar to a cut pipe, bringing this style a more industrial, modern vibe. \nA Shank for All Tastes\nThe shank is just one of many ways you can ensure that your ring fits your personality and lifestyle to perfection. Jewelry is an expression of the self and a symbol of love, commitment and style, so why not take the time to pick a piece that feels completely and totally you? There’s a shank style for all personalities and style profiles here at QALO.