The Ultimate Guide to the Most Common Diamond Ring Settings

Engagement rings are considered to be one of the most important pieces of jewelry as they signify a promise of commitment and the love that two people have for each other. When you look at an engagement ring, usually the first thing that will catch your eyes is the center stone of the ring.  

Sure, the shape, size, and glitter of the center stone are very important because it is the focal point of the ring but the setting in which the stone sits is equally important. 

The setting of an engagement ring is the deciding factor of how secure the center stone is on the ring and if it can be worn actively without much attention and care. The setting also decides the overall aesthetic of the ring. 

For example, the halo setting can bring in a retro vibe while the gypsy setting can offer a more earthy, boho vibe. So, what are these settings and how should you choose a setting that is the best for you? This blog will help you understand it all. 

What is an engagement ring setting? 

Before discussing the different types of settings for an engagement ring, it is important to first understand what exactly is a ring setting. The setting is defined as the way the stones have been placed on the band. All types of diamond ring settings aren’t for everyone as every wearer is different and has unique requirements from an engagement ring. As the setting also affects the ring aesthetically and has the potential to change the looks of the ring completely, it is natural that different wearers might feel comfortable with different settings. 

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Ring settings are as important as the size, shape, type, and color of the center stone. The setting is important, both functionally and aesthetically. The setting is uniquely designed to keep the center stone secured so that the stone isn’t damaged in any way and stays in its place firmly. Some settings however might be more secure than others but it all depends on the preferences of the wearer. 

Every ring has a setting but whatever style you choose can affect the way a ring looks on your finger. So, it is important to choose wisely by making a more informed choice of rings. 

How to choose the right setting for yourself 

The ideal setting for the ring solely depends on what kind of center stone you are opting for if it is not a diamond, the size of the stone, and your style and preferences. The most common and classic styles include more traditional settings where at least four prongs keep your center stone secure. However, it is advisable to opt for more prongs if the size of the stone is bigger or if it is cut in a unique shape like the pear shape or the princess cut heart shape. There can also be a modification in the prongs to keep the diamond more secure. For example, if you have a pear-shaped diamond, it will have a pointy end. This pointy end is prone to chipping out easily. So, a V-shaped prong can be a good choice to secure the pointy edge. 

If your stone is very big, securing it with only prongs or keeping it too high on the band can again expose the diamond too much and make it prone to chipping and nicking; or worse, falling out. For bigger-sized stones, it is better to opt for something like a halo or a bezel setting so that there is additional support on the sides. You can also opt for a basket setting as it allows the stone to sit low which makes big stones extra secure. 

Another very important factor that should be considered while choosing the right setting is your lifestyle. Different people have different kinds of lifestyles. Some might have a very refined and delicate lifestyle with a lot of patience and attention to carry a delicate setting like traditional solitaire or a classic Tiffany. While some other wearers may have more active lifestyle choices where they have to work frequently with their hands. In such a situation, carrying a center stone that has a delicate setting might end up in a very inconvenient situation for the wearer. This is why a more secure setting like the gypsy, bar or a channel setting can be beneficial. If you have an active lifestyle and want to wear a center stone anyway, opting for a bezel setting can be a good idea. 

If you feel overwhelmed by all these options, fortunately, you do not need to choose for yourself. Most good jewelers and jewelry designers can help you make the right choice by assessing all the factors like the shape and size of your center stone and your lifestyle. And the best part about the settings is that you can combine two or more settings to create more personalized looks and degrees of security. Just like the customization options for the size of the rings, you can also get your setting customized to match your requirements. So, if you are feeling confused, a properly customized ring can not only help you get more satisfied with the style and functionality but it can also make the ring more special for you as it was designed uniquely to sit on your finger. 

Types of popular engagement ring settings

To choose the right setting for yourself, you must know about some of the most popular engagement ring settings. Even though you can always take the help of your gemologist or jeweler to pick the right setting, knowing the pros and cons of each set with the style that it is done is can help you make a more informed decision. 

So here are some of the most popular setting options; 

Prong or solitaire setting

A single diamond is set on the engagement band and is secured through four- or six-prongs; this setting is called a prong setting, more popularly known as a solitaire setting. This setting is one of the most popular among shoppers as a ‘timeless trend’. The design of the ring helps the diamond to shine as it is since there are no other details to be looked at. Since the diamond is alone, it becomes easier to focus on the diamond and admire its beauty. As there’s very little coverage on the stone, this setting facilitates light from all sides of the diamond and makes it look even brighter. As there is also a very limited amount of metal used in the ring, rings with prong settings become the most affordable rings, which might be just another reason for these rings to become so popular.

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Even though trends in fashion come and go, certain things are evergreen and timeless; the solitaire setting is one of those trends. A delicate four-prong setting may help you show more of the stone, meanwhile, the six-prong setting can make sure that the diamond sits securely on the band. However, a six-prong setting might detract from the neatness of a smaller diamond. This setting can be done with different shapes of diamonds like pear shaped diamonds, round diamonds, emerald cuts, and even heart-shaped diamonds. 

Pave setting

The name ‘pave’ comes from the French word for paved. This setting includes tiny stones fitted into the band. The metal of the ring surrounding the center stone is raised so that tiny holes or ‘beads’ are created on the surface. In the holes, tiny stones are fitted in to match the surface level. The small stones give the ring extra sparkle and shine. 

If you are someone who likes extra sparkle in their jewelry, pave can be the perfect match for you as it is an eye-popping design for an engagement ring. The embedded stones make the ring look like a pavemented road of sparkles. Usually, white metal like white gold or platinum is used with white stones for them to be unnoticeable. The small stones only add sparkles to the ring without stealing away the focus from the center stone. 

Cathedral setting 

Cathedral is the best setting for you if you want to accentuate the stone of your ring. It requires you to be extra careful with the stone and ensure that it doesn’t get stuck to your clothes or fall onto a solid surface as there are chances of breakage but many people believe that the elegance that rings with a cathedral setting offer is worth the care. 

This set includes high arcs of the metal to create a shank where the stone can be comfortably fitted into. The stone sits high and becomes the sole focal point of the engagement ring. This setting has architectural elements that make it visually interesting and elegant at the same time. 

Halo setting 

The halo setting is one of the most popular engagement ring settings after the prong setting. The halo setting includes a center stone surrounded by a halo of smaller stones. These smaller stones are usually of the pave accent and add sparkle to the overall ring. The most significant thing about the halo setting is the fact that this setting can make the center stone look bigger and more intense than its actual carat weight. The halo of the smaller stones surrounding the center stone adds sparkle to the surrounding and brings the focus back to the stone at the center of it to make it look prominent and big. 

Halo settings come in a variety of types; from a simple halo of a single line of stones that surround the stone to vintage styles with multiple lines of halos, commonly known as ‘starbursts’. Many jewelers even make extravagant halo settings as there are no rules as to how many halos should be in a setting. 

Tiffany setting 

This setting was created by Tiffany and Co. in the year 1886. The setting typically includes a plain band to show off the beauty of the center stone as much as possible. The stone is fitted in the middle of six long prongs. These prongs allow exposure to a large part of the stone making it look extra sparkly. However, you might have to get your diamond checked yearly to make sure it hasn’t become lost inside the prongs. The size of the prongs and the significantly plain bands in a Tiffany setting is what sets them apart from the prong setting. As this setting is created by Tiffany and Co., the rings with this setting can only be found in that particular store. 

Three-stone setting 

For people who want more extravagant settings, a three-stone setting can be a very good option. Commonly referred to as a martini setting, a three-stone setting includes three stones on a band, securely placed with wither prongs or rims. This setting is popularly done by choosing combinations of white and colored stones. For example, two of the side stones can be colored stones like emeralds or rubies while the center stone is a diamond. Or, the center can be colored while two white stones support it from both sides. Some jewelers also experiment with the sizes of the stones by keeping the center stone bigger and the side stones smaller so that the center stone doesn’t lose its focus even though there are three stones placed in a line. The options are endless. 

However, like any other setting with obtrusive settings with accentuated stones, this setting is also prone to getting stuck in clothes and/or damaged easily. This is why the three-stone setting is not very ideal for daily wear and needs care and attention from the wearer. These days we see the majority of this setting used on stud earrings because it offers a lower profile on your ear, and the prongs are better at showing the shape of the stud, whereas four-prong earring settings can make the studs appear square regardless of their actual cut shape.

Gypsy setting 

A more simplistic approach towards an engagement ring can be taken through a gypsy setting. This setting has a more laid-back style and a very distinct boho vibe. This set includes a band with stones embedded into it. The stones are embedded well into the holes on the surface of the band and after the fitting, the metal around the stone is hammered down to hold the stone even more securely. The stones are not at all obtrusive and thus the ring doesn’t need much care. As the stones are embedded into the band, there is no chance that they might get stuck in clothing. The stone is also more secure in this setting and it doesn’t get worn down or scratched even when you wear the ring every day. The convenience and the carefree vibes of this setting can be a great match for someone who is personally free-spirited. 

Basket setting 

The basket setting may look like a shorter version of the prong setting where the stone sits at a very low level. Unlike a prong setting where the prongs protrude directly from the base of the center stone, a basket setting includes usually shorter prongs protruding from horizontal bands. This arrangement creates a shape like a basket, and the stone can sit comfortably in the basket. As the basket is pretty much enclosed from all sides while the stone sits low inside it, the stone is more secure in this setting than any other. The security of the basket also helps the stone to not get chipped or damaged easily. 

Bezel setting 

A bezel setting is considered to be a modern take of solitaire/prong setting. Unlike any traditionally set rings that hold the diamond in the center with delicate, damageable prongs, the bezel setting includes a metal rim around the center stone. The metal rim keeps the stone extra secure. The rim can also make the center stone look bigger. 

The bezel setting is for shoppers who like modern aesthetics or need more durability. The metal ring saves the stone from any possible chipping or nicking. With the unparalleled security of this setting, it also offers you a sleek and classy style. With the new generations leaning towards minimal and more sleek jewelry than traditional extravagant jewelry, the bezel setting has become very popular lately. 

Bar setting 

The bar setting is signified by the small, thin vertical bars that sit between stones in a series of linearly fitted stones in the band. The bars hold the stones securely and make them unobtrusive. This setting is also a very good option for anyone who wears their engagement ring daily as the stones are quite secure in their place while the unobtrusiveness of the stones avoid any possible tangling with clothes. The bars also spare the stone from any kind of damage, chipping, or nicking. This setting adds some modernity and a contemporary flair to traditional engagement rings. Bar settings can be combined with other settings to create more modern designs and make the settings more secure for the stones. 

Tension setting 

Tension setting is one of the most unique kinds of settings. The stone is held in place with the compression-spring pressure of the shank. As this genius-designed setting offers very little interference from the metal, the center stone sometimes appears to be floating in the middle. The only issue with this setting is that the ring is designed according to the size and placement of the stone, and thus the ring allows much less scope for any kind of resizing. The stone has to go through a lot of tension and pressure which is why only extremely hard stones like diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are used for this type of setting as only these stones can tolerate such levels of tension without any damage or breakage. This setting is ideal for someone who wants something modern but very different from anything else. 

Channel setting 

Channel setting is another type of a very secure setting for any kind of stone. In this setting, a channel is created on the surface of the ring’s band, and between the channel, the diamonds are set securely. Channel settings help the stones become unobtrusive and support the stone from two sides to avoid any kind of wear and tear; making it another good option for people who want to wear their ring daily without much worry.

Can a setting make the center stone look bigger than it is? 

The cost of a center stone can escalate with the carat size, shape, color and clarity of the stone. Simply put, the bigger and clearer the stone, the more expensive it is. Thus, many people opt for smaller stones that can fit within a smaller budget. Luckily, there are setting options that can help you make the center stone look bigger than it is. Because, why not?! To make your center stone look bigger and more intense, you can opt for a halo setting with smaller stones on the outer layer. These smaller stones bring the attention back to the center stone while adding extra sparkle to the sides which can make the stone look bigger to naked eyes. 

You can also opt for a cluster setting like a three-stone setting that can make the ring look bigger on your hand as it will take more space. 

Using a band with a pave setting can help you get the extra sparkle in your finger. Otherwise, combining a solitaire with a subtle halo can increase the shine of your ring and create the illusion of an extra sparkly and shiny ring.  

Conclusion 

 

Not all settings fit every wearer’s styling and functional requirements. But on the bright side, these settings are a very good way to make a solid individual style statement with your engagement ring. The settings can make your ring unique from other rings and bring in the element of extra ‘special-ness’ to your most cherished piece of jewelry. So, make sure to consider the size and shape of the stone, your style, and your lifestyle requirements while shopping for your engagement ring. 

FAQs

Which ring setting is best for round diamonds?

For a round diamond, a four-prong setting can be a good idea if you want most of the diamond to be exposed as it allows more light to reflect from every angle. This can make your diamond look shinier. However, if you want to make it more secure, opt for six prongs. The classic solitaire setting with six prongs tends to overwhelm smaller stones and should only be used with a medium-sized stone. 

What is the best setting for an engagement ring?

There is no single ‘best setting’ for an engagement ring as different people have different requirements, tastes and lifestyle choices. However, if you want to choose from a series of options, you can go for a traditional delicate solitaire setting or a more secure halo setting. 

What setting makes a diamond look bigger?

A pave band setting or a classic prong setting with a hidden halo can make your diamond look bigger. A regular halo setting can also give you the extra illumination on the sides creating an illusion of a bigger, brighter, and more intense center stone.

How much should you spend on an engagement ring?

There is a popular rule that you should spend two months of your salary on an engagement ring. However, spending a good $6000 to $10,000 on your engagement ring can be ideal, though we really can work with your budget!