THE TOP ENGAGEMENT RING SETTING STYLES YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUTDiamond Story suggests- choose your setting before choosing your diamond. The diamond ring setting is extremely important as the diamond that you will choose will depend on the setting. Because there are an unlimited number of options when it comes to a ring setting, you will most likely get overwhelmed with the options out there. To help you figure out what setting you should go for, drop in for a consultation with one of our experts and decide on your ring setting by trying on the different options available to you. You can also get expert opinion based on your usage and expert wear and tear.
So, what is the latest engagement ring trend for 2019?
The sheer number of styles and options available in the market today are sure to make a wise person confused. This article is to take away from the madness and give you some clarity regarding the ring setting along with all its pros and cons, so you know exactly what you’re signing up for.
Whether you are looking for an engagement ring, a diamond ring just to treat yourself or are simply looking to gift someone, the following ring setting guide will provide you with a thorough idea about the most sought-after ring settings with definitions and photos.
- Prong Setting & Solitaire Setting
- The Tiffany Setting
- Bezel Setting
- Tension Setting
- Tension Style Setting
- Channel Setting
- Pavé Setting
- Halo Setting
- Cathedral Setting
- Bar Setting
- Flush Setting
- Three-Stone Setting
- Antique/Vintage Setting
- Cluster Setting
- Eternity Band
- Shared Claw Setting
- Grain Setting
Prong Setting and Solitaire Setting
The prong setting is perhaps the most common and classic ring setting in the history of ring setting. A prong is a little metal claw that will grip on to the diamond tightly to hold it in its place. Prongs come on different types and can be rounded, pointy, flat or even V-shaped. V-shaped prongs are used most commonly for a princess cut diamond. Prong or Solitaire settings feature four or six prongs in most cases. Four prongs allow more of the diamond to be visible, however, six prongs ensure that the diamond is completely secure in its place. The biggest advantage of choosing a setting like this is the minimum presence of metal that allows more diamond to see and more light to pass through the diamond creating a greater reflection, adding to its brilliance.
Pros of a Prong Setting
- Prong setting elevates the diamond, thereby making it look bigger and much more noticeable.
- It is extremely easy to maintain and clean this type of setting.
- The setting, as discussed, allows more light to pass through the diamond, thereby increasing its fire and brilliance.
- This setting is a timeless classic and will never go out of style.
- The setting can be used across variety of diamond shapes, cuts and sizes.
Cons of a Prong Setting
- Prong Settings if not flattened out can snag on your clothing, furniture and other things, especially if the prong is set very high. It is advisable to choose a lower-set prong for those who with an active lifestyle or are more likely to be clumsy.
- Prong settings may come loose overtime with wear. It is recommended that you have your ring inspected and serviced once a year to make sure that the stone is secure in its place.
Of all the prong settings, the most common one is the solitaire setting that holds one big diamond or a gemstone of your choice. A solitaire setting places complete focus on the single centre diamond or the gem, with little to nothing to distract us like artistic metalwork or other stones.
The Tiffany Setting
A long time ago, in 1886, jewellers Tiffany and Co, developed a six-prong setting that could maximise the sparkle of the diamond, whilst keeping it secure. This simple yet intricate plain-band setting is known as the “Tiffany Setting” and the main distinguishing factor is the “knife edge” of its shaft and the scientifically created design of its prong. This setting is known around the world as the classic engagement ring.
Pros of Tiffany Setting
- Classic look that never goes out of style much like the Solitaire setting.
- Amplified light reflection and increased brilliance and fire from the diamond.
- Rather easy to maintain and clean.
- More secure than four prong setting.
- Supports variety of diamond shapes, sizes and cuts.
Cons of Tiffany Setting
- Much like with Solitaire and any other Prong Setting, Tiffany setting is also susceptible to cling and snag on clothing and needs extra attention.
- Although more secure than the four-prong setting, diamonds in Tiffany setting may come loose as well. It is advisable to have the ring inspected at least every two years.
The Bezel Setting
The Bezel setting has become extremely common of late and is undoubtedly one of the most popular ring settings available today. This is due to its functionality and modern looks that supports an active lifestyle. In this setting, instead of holding the diamond with prongs, the bezel setting encircles the diamond or the stone in the centre with a thin metal rim custom-made to hold the stone securely in its place.
A bezel setting can be a full setting or a partial setting depending on what you are looking for. A full bezel surrounds all sides of the diamond, whereas a partial bezel leaves the sides of the diamond open. A full bezel is a perfect choice for nurses, teachers and others with active lifestyles that are looking for a ring for daily wear- as it won’t snag and will protect the diamond adequately.
Pros of a Bezel Setting
- Much more secure for the diamond than the prong setting, and therefore is an excellent choice for those with active lifestyles or jobs.
- Looks extremely modern and chic.
- It does not snag, or clothing or other materials so is quite functional for daily wear.
- The bezel fully protects the diamond from any external damage.
- It is easier to clean and maintain and does not require routine checks as there are no prongs involved.
Cons of a Bezel Setting
- The stone is not as prominent in this setting as it is in the prong setting.
- As the stone is covered it blocks out the light reflection, thereby reducing the fire and brilliance of the diamond, as compared to prong setting.
The Tension Setting
In tension setting, the diamond in the ring is literally held together by the tension of the metal band on the stone. As a result, the stone appears to be suspended between the two sides of the shank of the metal band. Our expert jewellers use lasers to calibrate the exact dimensions of the diamond that needs to be set, and tiny grooves are cut on each side of the shank. The diamond is the fit in the grooves is held thereby the pressure of the custom metal band pushing down on the sides of the stone.
Pros of a Tension Setting
- They can securely hold the diamond in its place
- They are unique and offer a stylish look to an engagement ring
- There is ample light reflection, as the metal surrounding the diamond is minimal, thereby increasing the diamonds brilliance and sparkle.
- Extremely modern and futuristic looking
- Requires much less maintenance than a prong setting.
Cons of a Tension Setting
- Tension settings are often difficult and expensive to resize.
- In some cases, it maybe almost impossible to resize the ring.
- It may cause the stone used to look smaller than it is, especially if the metal band around it is thick.
- The stone could fall out if exposed to being struck by extreme external force. This is however, extremely rare.
Tension Style Setting
This is an extremely popular engagement ring style-it mimics the Tension Setting, but in fact the diamond or the gemstone is set in the band in a bezel setting.
Pros of a Tension Style Setting
- Diamond is held in place securely.
- It offers a more timeless look than the traditional tension setting.
- Involves less maintenance compared to prong and solitaire setting.
- It allows light to pass through the diamond thereby influencing its fire and brilliance.
Cons of a Tension Style Setting
- It is extremely difficult to resize.
- It may cause the diamond to look smaller.
- The stone could come loose due to an extreme external force; however, it is unlikely.
A channel setting is a rather secure way of setting small diamonds or gemstones in a row on the band of the ring, to form a sparkling metal channel to compliment the shank.
The diamonds are set extremely close to each other onto the grooves of the channel and thereby decorate the band either partially or fully depending on what you want your ring to look like. This setting is especially popular for wedding bands and stackable rings that feature multiple small stones and no centre stone. There are no prongs holding the centre stone in place which makes this setting snag free and more secure.
Pros of a Channel Setting
- It securely holds all the diamonds in its place and provides protection against external forces.
- The ring is especially sparkly as it is studded with diamonds.
- The ring has a sharp design however it is also stable and hassle free
- It is way more unlikely to snag on clothes and other materials or be damaged by external forces.
Cons of Channel Setting
- As there are more diamonds, this setting requires more time and effort when it comes to cleaning.
- It’s easier for the dirt to get trapped in the channels and grooves of the ring.
- This type of setting is quite challenging to repair and resize as there are multiple channels and stones involved.
- It is especially difficult to repair or resize rings that have diamonds that go all the way around the band.
- It is possible that the channels may become bent or misaligned, or the stones may come loose from the repair process.
- The diamonds or stones are studded in the channel therefore making it less reflective than a prong setting.
The Pavè Setting
The Pave setting, (pronounced Paa-Vaay) comes from the French word “to pave” as in it is paved with diamonds. It is made by closely setting smaller diamonds together with minimal visibility of the tiny metal prongs that are made to hold the stone together in place. This creates an effect of continuous sparkles throughout the band.
The jeweller will typically drill a hole onto the band and carefully set each diamond onto the hole and form tiny beads that are essentially like mini prongs around each of the diamonds to secure them into the tiny holes.
This setting is also called bead setting and in the case of extremely small stones, this setting is called micro pave setting. A pave setting is called a micro-pave setting when the diamonds that are set onto the band are as small as 0.01- 0.02 carats or smaller.
Pros of Pavè Setting
- It really brings out and highlights the centre stone.
- It magnifies the rings brilliance and fire with the presence of multiple tiny side stones.
- It provides extra sparkle to a lower set stone or a stone that is not as sparkly.
- It can be designed to look vintage and in contemporary design.
Cons of Pavè Setting
- Sizing and resizing of a ring with Pave setting can be quite difficult, especially if the diamonds are studded throughout the band.
- Although unlikely and extremely rare there is a minimal risk of losing side stones.
- This setting is very highly likely to get dirty, therefore it is advisable to get it professionally cleaned every six to eight months.
The Halo Setting
The Halo setting is also one of the more common types of settings opted by many of our customers. This setting refers to the placement of diamonds or any gemstones in a concentric circle or a semi square around a large centre stone. This type of setting is used to make the centre stone appear much larger than it is- and is a great budget option to boost the appearance of a smaller diamond. It increases the sparkle of the ring. Halo settings come in various interesting shapes and can also be made to look like a flower.
A Halo setting is a perfect way to save dollars on your diamond by choosing a smaller carat stone but at the same time not compromising on the quality of the appearance of the ring. Moreover, these rings can be made to look absolutely unique by adding a halo of coloured gemstones or setting the halo diamonds with a different colour metal to really bring contrast and attention to the ring.
Halos are more often than not paired with pave bands but can also be stunning on their own with a simple band. Double halo setting is a type of halo setting that, as the name suggests, consists of two concentric circles or squares of gemstones that surround the centre stone.
Pros of a Halo Setting
- It can boost the appearance of a smaller carat centre stone and make it appear much larger than it is.
- It enhances the overall look of the ring by adding sparkle thanks to the surrounding stones.
- It securely holds and protects the centre stone and is therefore safe for people with an active lifestyle.
- It supports and looks good with multiple shapes and cuts of diamonds/gemstones.
- Contrast can be created by using different colour metal or gemstones.
Cons of a Halo Setting
- The tiny side stones may sometimes come loose.
- It can be difficult to resize based on the number of side stones on the band, if it also includes a pave band.
The Cathedral Setting
The cathedral setting is considered the most elegant of all engagement ring setting. It is similar to the graceful arches of the cathedral, and this ring setting uses the arches of the metal to support the diamond or the gemstone.
The cathedral may be set with either tension, prong or bezel setting, as it is not the defining characteristic of this type of a ring. How the diamond is held is not what makes this ring unique but rather how it is mounted onto the arches above the rest of the shank is what truly matters.
These arches may add some extra height to the stone and make it appear larger; they can also help you save costs by giving you the choice to save money rather than adding more diamonds.
Pros of a Cathedral Setting
- It accentuates and adds height to the centre stone.
- The design is unique and stands out as compared to the traditional prong setting.
- The stone is held securely in its place, thanks to the arches.
- The height adds character and makes stone appear larger at a minimal expense.
- The centre stone looks way more prominent and is a perfect fit for sparkly stunning stones that you may want to stand out.
Cons of a Cathedral Setting
- It can snag on clothes, furniture and other materials if you decide to set it higher.
- It is much less streamlined compared to other settings for example: the bezel setting.
- It requires much more time and effort to clean compared to other rings due to the presence of extra crevices.
- Some of our customers have said that the curved features maybe distracting from the centre stones appearance, especially if the design is poor.
The Bar Setting
Setting diamonds separately between vertical bars of metals is another common way to set precious gemstones onto a ring. Bar settings are extremely similar to channel settings, however there is a difference, in that, in channel settings diamonds are enclosed on all sides whereas in bar settings, the diamonds are left exposed on two sides and are held in place by metal bars that securely hold diamonds together by the other two sides.
Bar settings are very common with wedding bands and stackable rings.
Pros of a Bar Setting
- It offers better visibility to diamonds that are embedded in the setting as compared to channel setting (usage of less metal).
- It can function as a stackable ring, single band ring or one with a larger centre stone and is therefore quite a flexible setting.
- It holds the stones in one place quite securely with the metal bars.
- Amplifies the sparkles on the multiple stones as they are more exposed than other stones.
Cons of a Bar Setting
- It is slightly less secure than channel setting as parts of the stone are exposed to external factors.
- Resizing these types of rings ca be a costly affair.
- Stones are less protected by the metal that surrounds it, therefore the diamonds are left vulnerable to chipping.
The Flush Setting
A flush setting (also known as gypsy setting, rub over setting and hammer setting) sets the diamond into a drilled hole directly inside the band of the ring so that the rings sits flush with the band of the ring. Because the jeweller has to hammer this metal piece to hold the stone in place, this type of setting is only ideal with the rather tougher stones, as the softer gemstones may crack during the process.
This type of setting is a popular choice amongst men’s wedding bands, as the diamond sits securely inside the band of the ring and is therefore highly protected from chipping or falling out due to external forces.
Pros of Flush Setting
- It provides extreme coverage and security to the diamond and is best for people who work with their hands.
- It offers a sleek, polished and simple look, perfect for men’s wedding bands.
- It gives a sense of peace of mind to the wearer, knowing that the stone is unlikely to loosen, chip or fall out.
- Highly functional design and practical for everyday wearers.
Cons of Flush Setting
- Provides little visibility to the actual stone.
- Reduces the amount of light that passes through the stone decreasing the brilliance and the fire of the diamond.
- It is less likely to stand out or catch attention.
The Three-Stone Setting
The three-stone setting is an extremely versatile setting that can be used for any occasion- be it engagement, gift or an anniversary. The three stones are set closely together and are supposed to symbolise the past, present and the future.
The three stones can all be the same size or, like in most cases, the centre stone can be larger than the side stones. The most popular diamond shapes used for this type of setting is a round brilliant cut diamond and the princess cut.
It is also possible to personalise the setting with coloured side stones- emeralds, rubies etc.
Pros of a Three Stone Setting
- It maximises the sparkle and brilliance of the ring.
- It allows the ring to have multiple large stones that could be of different colours.
- It enhances the appearance of the centre stones, if paired with side stones that will compliment the larger stone.
- It provides the option and flexibility for personalisation, colour contrast and size determination in terms of the stones.
- It can achieve a greater surface area of a gemstone than a normal singular setting.
Cons of a Three Stone Setting
- The level of maintenance and routine cleaning required is higher than most other low maintenance settings.
- If made poorly, the side stones can overpower the ring taking away from the beauty of the centre stone rather than adding to it.
Many of the antique and vintage styles are custom made to fit a specific time, era or periods of jewellery fashion such as Art Deco, Edwardian and Victorian era styles. More often than not these rings feature intricate detail work such as milgrain or filigree.
Filigree is a kind of delicate metalwork that can solder together tiny metal beads or twisted threads of metal to the surface of the jewel. Milgrain is an engraving that is an embellishment that is added to these ring settings to achieve the antique look of tiny balls or designs of metal decorating the sides of the band and the crown of the ring.
Pros of a Vintage Setting
- Unlike all other rings, these rings are made to order and are custom made. This adds plenty of character to the ring.
- They are all unique and intricately built with attention to detail.
- The design can enhance the beauty and the prominence of the centre stone if designed well.
- Can be crafted to match a time or era.
Cons of Vintage Setting
- May require routine professional cleaning and maintenance due to intricate design and crevices of the setting.
- If designed poorly, can take away from the beauty and the sparkle of the stone.
- If choosing an antique vintage setting, different to a new design of antique design- ensure that extra time is given to keep it secure and well maintained.
A cluster setting basically “clusters” stones tightly together to make it look like one singular large diamond/gemstone. It can contain a larger centre stone or cluster together multiple stones of equal size.
Pros of Cluster Setting
- It presents as a larger stone even though in reality these are smaller stones clustered together.
- It emphasizes a unique look with a plenty of dimension and the texture.
- It provides a lower cost option instead of purchasing a large centre stone.
- It can be crafted to form a shape of choice.
- It is considered to complement those with smaller fingers or hands.
Cons of a Cluster Setting
- It often requires professional cleaning and maintenance as the stones are clustered together.
- The smaller stones may become loose and appear off or may fall out of the setting.
The Eternity Band Setting
Eternity Band is not an exclusive setting by itself per se; but rather a style of band that is used for women’s wedding bands or special occasions such as anniversaries, birthdays and Valentine’s day.
These bands get their name from the eternal presence of diamonds or other precious stones that decorate the entire metal band of the ring. Eternity ring can have prong, channel, bezel as well as flush settings.
Pros of an Eternity Band
- It delivers a sparkle to the entire finger.
- It adds personality and style to a simple metal only band.
- It pairs well with other rings and can be used as a part of stackable ring, including wedding bands and engagement ring.
- It comes in variety of styles such as channel, bezel etc.
- It can be made to securely hold the smaller diamonds.
Cons of an Eternity Band
- It can be difficult to resize and is often times costly. In some cases, it may not be possible to resize.
- It requires timely cleaning of the crevices and the stones to keep it looking shine and sparkly.
Shank /Spilt-shank are terms you’ve definitely heard your jewellers say. The shank is nothing but the band of the ring that encircles your entire finger. Shanks are round, but in some cases they maybe square or other more creative shapes.
A split-shank refers to a ring which has two split shanks. An example of a split shank ring is the photo given below.
Pros of a Shank/Split-Shank Setting
- Unique, attention grabbing and stands out
- Offers additional metal space to add side stones and thereby more chances to increase sparkles.
- Leads the eyes towards the centre stone making it more prominent.
- It can be made to look modern and futuristic or timeless and classic based on preference.
Cons of a Shank/Split-Shank Setting
- This type of setting requires more cleaning than other simpler settings.
- The design is not streamlined, making it extremely non practical for people who do active physical work with their hands.
In grain setting, diamonds are placed on the entire band and are held together by tiny little prongs or beads. These prongs or beads are nearly invisible to the eye, keeping the diamonds set really close to each other. This gives the illusion that the entire band is made up of diamonds. Grain setting is a popular choice amongst women when it comes to a wedding band.
Pros of a Grain Setting
- The setting makes the entire band appear sparkly and reflective, drawing attention to the ring.
- These rings are easily stackable with simple metal wedding bands or even big engagement rings with solitaire.
- This setting can be used with a larger centre stone to create an extremely sparkly engagement ring.
Cons of a Grain Setting
- It is highly difficult if not impossible to clean these types of rings at home. Professional cleaning devices maybe required to clean these beads.
- The beads may loosen causing the diamonds to fall out.
- It is extremely difficult to resize or reconstruct these types of settings.
Shared Claw Setting
Shared claw setting is used for diamonds that are too big for the pave or the channel setting. Shared prong settings are used because the bigger diamonds require more metal to hold them in place. In a shared prong setting, each of the stones shares the prong with the stone that is right next to it. Thanks to this, the amount of metal on the band is reduced allowing more light to pass through each of the stones. This means added sparkle to the ring.
Pros of a Shared Claw Setting
- Less metal allowing more light to pass through making it extra sparkly and prominent.
- Cleaning these settings is usually easier than most settings.
- Use of extra metal prongs would mean that the diamonds stay secure.
Cons of a Shared Claw Setting
- The shared claw setting would require more metal than pavè setting, it can cause the prominence of the stone to reduce.
- There is a minimal risk of the stones falling out, however, that is rare.
- Since the diamonds are embedded inside the prong, it may cause the stones to appear smaller than their actual size.
How to pick a ring setting?
Your ring setting is the first building block and a fundamental component of your entire ring design. Therefore, this selection depends highly on your personal taste and preference as well as your lifestyle. As discussed above, some settings are geared towards folks who have an extremely active lifestyle and others are perfect for those who don’t have to use their hands for physical tasks all that much. There are other designs that are intricately made for special events with high-set stones. Consider how all these factors play a role in what you expect out of the ring and how often you are looking to clean and maintain the ring as well. Some settings require more upkeep than the others.
You can also check out our comprehensive ring size guide to make sure that you find the right size for your ring, so you don’t have to go through the hassle of resizing it.
Once you’ve made your pick from the setting options available, we can help you find a diamond that will go perfectly with the ring and fit your budget at the same time.
Overwhelmed? Get in touch with one of our diamond experts for a comprehensive consultation and guidance, right from the setting, size and the stone.