The Beginner’s Guide To Ring Setting
An engagement ring is one of the most special pieces of jewellery anyone will ever own so before you jump into buying one, you should do some research on the various styles of ring settings. It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the various different types of settings and the terminology used so we’re going to make things easy for you.
Here is the beginner’s guide to common ring setting styles and why someone might choose each. Believe it or not, they are not all just for aesthetics but each setting has a more utility reason for looking the way it does. Let’s start with the basics!
The Prong Setting
The prong setting was developed by Tiffany & Co. in the 19th century and is the most common and popular type of setting to this day. It is characterized by thin metal prongs extending from the base of the ring and holding the diamond in place by resting on its top edge. This setting style anchors the center diamond securely in place while raising it above the rest of the ring, creating that raised profile that is so popular.
Most prong styles are referred to by the number of prongs used, a small difference that can drastically alter the look of the ring. For someone with an active lifestyle or small children, the prong setting, especially one with a high profile, can snag too easily on clothing or other materials.
The Bezel Setting
The bezel setting, second in popularity to the prong setting, is admired by most. The bezel setting encircles the center stone in a metal rim, or collar that extends slightly above the top surface of the stone. It can be full, in which the metal completely encircles the stone, or partial, in which the collar cuts away and reveals part of the stone’s side profile. It is one of the safest and protexted environments for your stone, making it perfect for anyone with an active lifestyle.
A bezel setting is custom made for the stone it will hold so it is most secure. Another benefit to the bezel cut is that it provides a sleek and modern look to a ring, highlighting it’s size but can hide portions of a flawed or diamond used from a family heirloom. One of the only downfalls of the bezel setting is the entrance of slightly less light, causing the diamond to potentially sparkle a little less.
The Tension Setting
The tension setting is a fairly new yet bold and modern look for a ring. It is as stated – the tension of the band is what holds the diamond in place, and because of the accuracy involved making the spring-loaded band, it is almost exclusively made after a diamond has been purchased. The diamond is set in small grooves cut into the sides of the ring shank, so it appears to float in midair between the sides of the shank and because of the pressure this setting can only be made with relatively hard stones.
Keep in mind, the tension setting can not be resized after it has been purchased because the tension has been calibrated exactly to fit the stone. Although the tension setting is very secure, it can be damaged if the ring suffers a blunt impact.
The tension-style setting is a look-a-like setting in which the tension setting can be achieved with a hidden metal base making it more secure and easier to maintain.
The Melée Setting
The word melée is an elegant word that derives from the french word meaning “mixture” and refers to the elaborate and numerous styles of smalls stones that can embellish an engagement ring. It is also often referred to as “diamond setting”, which distinguishes it from simple solitaire settings or three-stone settings.
The center stone in a ring is secured with one of the three styles described above, but the small stones of a melée have their own settings styles that can drastically change the appearance of the ring.
- Pavé Setting
The pavé setting is achieved by closely setting small diamonds together with minimal visibility of the tiny metal prongs holding the stones in place to which the effect is a continuous sparkle. This setting can also be referred to as the bead setting or the mirco-pave setting.
- Channel Setting
In a channel set ring, diamond accents are placed in a “channel” formed by two walls of metal. Indents or grooves on both of the walls hold the diamonds safely in place. This creates an uninterrupted line of diamonds and is most popular on eternity bands.
- Shared Prong Setting
In a shared prong setting, each stone one set of prongs with the stone next to it. With less visible metal, light can pass through the stones more readily and easily which allows them to sparkle at their brightest.
- Flush Setting
A relative of the bezel setting, the flush setting places stones directly into the band so they are “flush”.This creates a sleek look without sacrificing the elegance of a diamond- embellished band. Very secure and also easily to clean.
This is just the beginners guide, but you’ll also hear terms such as halo setting which describes the setting of stones in a circle/square around the center stone, the cathedral setting in which much like the arches of a church, the stone is held up by arches, and the bar setting in which stones are set between vertical bars of metal.
It may seem like a lot to remember and there are many of relatives to these settings, but when you simplify it down to a few categories you should be able to navigate the market a little easier – especially if you carry around this guide with you!
Remember, things that are more raised and prominent are for easy living, while stones that are secured and closer to the band will be better for a more active lifestyle. But really, all that matters is that they love it! So shop wisely, and shop with sentiment.
References: Diamond Setting Guide by Whiteflash, Jewelrynotes.com, Diamonds.pro