Everything You Need To Know About Engagement Ring Settings

by Ultimate Jewelry Guide
Engagement Ring Settings

An engagement ring is an iconic symbol of love, commitment and fidelity. This makes it essential to choose the right type of ring that will suit every taste, and every occasion.

When it comes to choosing a ring, it’s not all about the diamond. Perhaps, an important part of your ring’s style will come from the setting itself. The different types of ring settings, plus numerous creative styles make our choices almost limitless.

From the simple prong setting to the more elaborate & contemporary geometric style, there’s a ring design for everyone. With such a large number of setting styles, it can be quite overwhelming to choose the best ring setting for your diamond.

In this blog, we review the most popular diamond ring setting types used in contemporary jewelry, their pros and cons, and learn more about how different settings impact the appearance & value of a ring.

What Is A Ring Setting?

The setting is one of the most defining characteristics of a ring and has a significant impact on it’s worth. Setting refers to how diamonds are set, secured or mounted into a metal band. Whether it be solitaire, bezel or halo, a ring setting highlights the aesthetics and beauty of a diamond.

In addition to providing a beautiful background for a gem, the setting holds it securely and protects it from damage. Different settings offer different degrees of protection. A well set stone is firmly placed and does not exceed the base of the metal.

The setting can be made in a wide variety of precious metals. The type and color of metal-typically yellow gold, rose gold, white gold or platinum-is based on personal preferences.

Why Is Your Engagement Right Setting Important?

As per a survey, ‘ring setting style’ is the number one thing that women care about with their ring – above diamond quality – so it’s the most important thing to get right.

A ring’s setting greatly affects the ring’s ultimate style and look and can minimize or maximize a stone’s appearance. The way the diamond is held by the metal can affect its overall brilliance as well as its susceptibility to external elements. 

The right setting can enhance everything from the stone’s cut to color and even safeguard stones against damage or loss. Thus, protective gem settings can help your prized jewelry last a lifetime.

What Are The Types of Engagement Ring Settings?

The ring settings described below account for nearly all types of engagement ring settings, however they can be combined endlessly into new and innovative styles. 

Prong Setting

Prong is the most common and well known ring setting style.

Prongs are thin pieces of metal that wrap a stone from beneath to secure it in place. The more prongs, the more secure the stone is in the setting.

As the classic setting for a diamond ring, this iconic and minimalistic setting puts the diamond at the heart of the ring, thus allowing more light to travel through the diamond, maximising its beauty and sparkle. It also showcases the stone’s size and features exceptionally well.

It’s ideal for showing off a single stone (often called solitaire), as the claw setting elevates the stone and there’s nothing else going to distract it. The stone is held by strategically placed prongs which usually come in two variations i.e. 4 and 6 prongs, the latter offering a more secure hold.

One of the world’s most famous engagement ring settings- the ‘Tiffany’ setting- uses 6 subtle claws to hold the diamond.

Choose the type of prong depending on the shape of your gemstone. A V-shaped prong would be best suited for a fancy shaped diamond such as a princess, marquise or pear-shaped diamond, as this holds the stone more securely, while emerald cut diamonds are best set with flat prongs.

Pros Of Prong Setting

  • Complements a variety of diamond shapes and sizes.
  • Allows for more light exposure from all angles, thus increasing the stone’s brilliance and sparkle.
  • Elevates the diamond, making it more prominent.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • May cost less due to its simple design.

Cons Of Prong Setting

  • Prongs are prone to snagging especially if high-set, so this is not recommended for women with highly active lifestyles.
  • Might not be your first choice for an everyday ring, as the gem is elevated.
  • May loosen with wear.
  • Thin prongs can bend and loosen over time so be sure to choose sturdy metals.

Bezel Setting

If you are looking for a versatile setting to complement your active lifestyle, look no further than a Bezel setting. This second most popular ring setting offers a modern and elegant look along with the highest level of security.

With bezel, a thin metal rim surrounds the perimeter of the diamond to secure it in place on all sides. Bezel settings can have straight or scalloped edges and can be molded into any shape to accommodate the stone. 

There are two types of bezel settings: Full and partial. 

A full bezel encompasses the whole stone while a partial bezel leaves the sides of the gemstone exposed. The back of the Bezel settings can also be opened or closed and they are used to set earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings.

Pros Of Bezel Setting

  • Secures the diamond, making it an excellent choice for active lifestyles.
  • The simple setting creates a smooth edge and keeps the gem extremely secure.
  • Protects the diamond well and prevents damage.
  • Offers a unique, sleek and modern look.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.
  • A white metal bezel can create the illusion that a diamond appears larger than it actually is.

Cons Of Bezel Setting

  • Tends to hide more of the stone than a prong setting.
  • Achieves less brilliance as the surrounding metal obscures the sides of the stone, thus reducing the amount of light that strikes or bounces off the stone.
  • Might be expensive because of the extra metal and labour involved.

Pavé Setting

Add a bit of bling and sparkle to your ring with Pavé setting. In this dramatic setting type, lots of small diamonds are placed very close together with minimal metal being shown, which creates the effect of continuous sparkle. 

Derived from the French word for ‘pavement’, it literally means ‘paving’ a ring’s surface with tiny diamonds, to create an uninterrupted flow of light. This technique involves creating tiny beads or prongs from the surrounding metal to hold the diamonds in place. 

Pavé is the most common way for setting side stones. It is also known as a bead setting where smaller diamonds are closely set together to form two or three rows around the central stone, that gives an appearance of a sparkling field of gems.

Diamonds are said to be pavé-set when they are as small as .01-.02 carats and any smaller than that would be called ‘micro pavé’. 

Pros Of Pavé Setting

  • Magnifies the ring’s overall brilliance with side stones.
  • A pavé setting would give a less sparkly gemstone added brilliance and the illusion of a bigger shape.
  • Can be designed in modern or vintage styles. 
  • The total weight of the diamonds used in the ring is lower, thus bringing down the cost. 
  • Because Pavé creates a smooth surface, it also works with active lifestyles.

Cons Of Pavé Setting

  • Sizing and resizing the ring can be difficult, if it is pavé set around the full band.
  • There is a risk of diamonds falling out, because they use tiny diamonds set on the surface of a ring.

Tension Setting

You are sure to fall in love with Tension setting if you are looking for something innovative and different from the usual. The stunning, gravity-defying look of this setting is highly fashionable & contemporary and can be used to set necklaces, earring and rings.

The tension setting gets its name from the innovative way a metal band secures the diamond in place. In this setting, a diamond seems to float above the ring, making it fully visible.

A tension-set diamond is held in place by the pressure of the band’s metal shank, which is designed to grasp the stone on either edge, creating the illusion of a diamond floating in mid air. With open sides and a high setting, light enters and exits the gemstone to display an exceptional sparkle.

Tension style settings are complicated to make as lasers are used to calibrate the exact dimensions of the stone. The tension setting is most often used with harder gems because the pressure it exerts tends to damage less durable ones.

Pros Of Tension Setting

  • Securely holds the diamond in place as a prong or a bezel setting is used on either the sides or underneath the diamond, holding it firmly in place.
  • Showcases the diamond beautifully.
  • Enhances light reflection, due to minimal metal surrounding the diamond.
  • Provides a distinctive and contemporary look.
  • Requires less maintenance and is easy to clean.

Cons Of Tension Setting

  • Difficult and often expensive to resize.
  • Pressure it exerts can damage or break less durable & softer gems.
  • Covering the girdle of a gem on each side may make the stone appear smaller, especially if the metal bands are thick.

Channel Setting

A channel setting is where diamonds are set into grooves or channel, in the band of the ring.

This exceptionally sparkling and dazzling style shows off a series of neatly-aligned, smaller diamonds that catches the light at every angle. 

In this contemporary setting, the stones are nestled edge to edge in a continuous row between vertical metal walls, creating a smooth channel.  Grooves on both walls hold the diamonds securely in place. This protects the girdle area of the diamonds better than a bead or prong setting.

A technique commonly seen in high-end, heirloom-quality pieces, the Chanel setting enhances the diamonds with some additional glamour and style.

Pros Of Channel Setting

  • Securely holds diamond in the setting.
  • Less risk of diamonds getting caught or snagging.
  • Achieves a sharp design without losing stability. 
  • Enhances the ring’s sparkle with side stones along the band.

Cons Of Channel Setting

  • Requires more time and effort to clean as dirt can be trapped in the channels.
  • Can be challenging to repair and resize due to numerous channels. Should a jeweler accidentally bend the channels, the stones may come loose.
  • Can be a bit more expensive because of the metal and labour required.

Halo Setting

Halo setting rings first emerged in the 1920s and have experienced a resurgence in popularity in recent years.

It refers to the concentric placement of small, luminous diamonds around a dazzling center stone. In this way, the main diamond is surrounded by smaller stones that form a ‘halo’ of sparkle. 

This is a popular style because it maximises the visual impact of the central diamond and makes it appear bigger. The overall effect of the collective stones can resemble a single larger stone, and they make the center stone seem larger by comparison.

If you want to maximise your budget smartly, then set a smaller diamond in a halo setting to make it seem bigger than its actual size and save money on carat weight!

The halo setting can be a versatile option to create striking combinations, as the diamonds can be set with different color metal or surrounded by colored gems, resulting in a ring whose contrasting colors make a distinctive statement. 

Types Of Halo Settings

Halo settings can be of two types: – Single and Double. 

Single Halo Setting

A single halo setting features one circle of pave stones surrounding the center stone. 

Double Halo Setting

A double halo setting, has two circles of pave stones surrounding the center stone.

Pros Of Halo Setting

  • Halo setting keeps the center diamond secure.
  • Multiple diamonds can enhance a stunning statement piece.
  • Offers the illusion of a larger center stone without the price tag.
  • The accent stones also add some texture and dimension to a solitaire stone.

Cons Of Halo Setting

  • Can require more careful maintenance due to the many diamonds.
  • Because many halo settings use pavé or micro-pavé diamonds around the perimeter of the center stone, there can be problems with diamonds coming loose.

Invisible Setting

As thrilling as it sounds, a ‘Mystery or Invisible setting’ enables many smaller diamonds to be placed close to each other with no visible gap. 

Invisible setting has been present since the early twentieth century and gained its popularity after the work of fine design house Van Cleef and Arples. 

Developed in France more than 200 years ago, the invisible setting continues to be a popular setting for diamond rings.  This type of setting is most often used when multiple diamonds are mounted in a row.

An invisible setting is a mounting that cannot be seen; it holds the stones snug inside the ring so the setting/metal itself is not as visible. For this technique, small diamonds are cut with grooved pavilions and then slipped into a thin wire framework. This allows the gems to be set against each other.

Although it is a difficult setting to accomplish, it gives a smooth, seamless and uninterrupted finish and can give the appearance of a field of diamonds. What makes this setting even more special is that, the smaller diamonds are placed side by side, giving the illusion of a single, larger stone.  

Pros Of Invisible Setting

  • Tends to make stone look larger.
  • Perfect for vintage lovers.
  • It is versatile and can be used in a number of styles, for both men and women.
  • Protects the diamonds from damage, wear and tear.

Cons Of Invisible Setting

  • This setting style means that stones do not sparkle as brightly as they could via other settings like prong.
  • Difficult to clean and requires regular maintenance.
  • Can be expensive.
  • More specialist setting means that any size changes are more difficult and costly.

Flush or Gypsy Setting

This setting features a metal band with diamonds set ‘flush’ against the ring’s band, creating a stylish and sleek look.

The band on the flush setting is one continuous piece that gets thicker at the top. It is shaped like a dome and the stone is inserted into a drilled hole in the metal and flush with the band. The metal around the diamond is hammered down to fit smoothly without any edges exposed.

Similar to the Bezel setting, the crown of the diamond is really the only visible area within the Gypsy setting, while all other parts are embedded into the metal. This setting, however, eliminates the slight bump formed in the bezel setting, and instead sinks the stone into the metal until it’s completely flush. 

This type of setting is a popular choice for men’s engagement rings and wedding bands, as the diamond sits securely in the band, making it one of the most secure options for wearers concerned about losing or damaging their gems.

Pros Of Flush Setting

  • Provides a secure setting since the gem is well protected and hugged around by the metal.
  • Delivers peace of mind, knowing the stone is highly unlikely to loosen or fall out.
  • Highly functional and practical.
  • There are no prongs in the therefore the look is smooth and clean.
  • Offers a sleek, simple look.
  • Easy to clean and maintain.

Cons Of Flush Setting

  • Limits the amount of light that passes through the stone thus reducing brilliance and fire.
  • Reduces visibility of the stone.
  • Not suitable for softer gems which could crack during the setting process.

What Is The Best Setting For An Engagement Ring?

The ring setting is the foundation of your entire ring design. Selection largely depends on personal style, taste and preferences. A lot of factors come into play while picking the right setting, such as budget, lifestyle and wearability. 

However, the most important things to keep in mind are the practicality of the ring as well as the security of the stones. You should choose such a setting that will best accommodate the stone’s size and shape while maximizing its brilliance.

For example, if you choose a marquise or pear shape diamond, you should ensure that the prongs are v-shaped to ensure that the diamond doesn’t slide to one side. 

Bezel settings are best suited to round or oval diamonds.

Likewise, prong settings can be manipulated to fit virtually any size diamond, but tension set and bezel set diamonds have more limitations on size. Thus, no one ring setting is superior to another, as they all serve varied purposes and create different looks.

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