A whole array of engagement ring designs is waiting for you out there. Whether you’re the one who’ll wear it or the one who’ll give it, you need to know that, for the most part, the ring’s design rests on its setting.
If you’re the one who’s proposing, you can choose the setting that will best fit your would-be fiancée. Having knowledge of the different ring settings will also help you when negotiating with the jeweller. If you’re the lucky one who’ll wear the ring, you’d know how to take care of the ring better if you know how it’s set.
Some of the most common and reliable settings jewellers can offer you are prong, tension, bezel and pavé. Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some details about each setting to help you decide which engagement ring to choose.
It’s the most popular setting for engagement rings today. Perhaps, it’s because it highlights the diamond or whatever stone is used. You’ll see this on solitaire rings – prongs or small “claws” are used to suspend the stone above the band.
Four prongs are used to hold traditionally cut diamonds. In some cases, like for the marquise cut, six prongs are needed. The prongs should be small enough to allow more light to pass through the stone in different directions and let the diamond sparkle as much as it could.
The prong setting does make a ring look romantic, very feminine and elegant. However, it usually is as delicate as it looks. The prongs’ hold on the diamond can become loose, making the diamond fall off or causing damage to the diamond.
Extra care is needed when wearing a prong-set ring as it can snag on your clothes or your hair. It’s not recommended for someone who does active work everyday. On the other hand, having the stone suspended above the band makes the ring easier to clean than one with a pavé or channel setting.
This is another ring setting that works beautifully with a nice piece of diamond. Using a compression spring in the metal band, the stone is placed in between the two sides of the metal band. It’s suspended like you’re holding the stone up at the tips of your two fingers. Because it’s “floating,” the maximum amount of light is let through the diamond, making it sparkle even more than in most prong-set diamond rings.
Tension setting depends on strength to make a well-crafted ring. You need to have a strong gem that can withstand the compression of the metal. Aside from diamonds, other hard stones that work best and look good in a tension-set ring are sapphires and rubies.
The metal also needs to be a tough one. Titanium is highly recommended for tension setting. Its strength gives the ring durability while maintaining its elegance. The jeweller doesn’t need a lot of titanium to hold the stone, so the band can still be as lean as you want it.
If you’re thinking of platinum or white gold, you might have to choose another type of setting for your engagement ring. Platinum and white gold, while not impossible to use for tension-set rings, are soft metals. The band would have to be thicker than if you use titanium or even stainless steel.
The face of the stone doesn’t protrude from the band here. It doesn’t catch your hair or any thread from your clothes. It’s not ideal, though, for active people since the stone isn’t well-protected.
One factor that makes people think twice about ordering a tension-set ring is that resizing is quite difficult, but not impossible. So, if you’re someone who wants to present it in a surprise proposal, you have to be sure that it’s a perfect fit.
If you’re looking for durability and simplicity, together with elegance, a bezel-set diamond ring would be a nice symbol for your engagement. In a bezel setting, the metal band surrounds the stone and continues to a thin rim on its face. Because of this surrounding solid rim, the stone is secure and the ring lasts longer.
Compared to the prong, the bezel gives you a smooth finish to your ring. The ring won’t snag on your clothes, and the diamond is quite impossible to be dislodged from the band. This is why if the intended wearer has an active daily routine, the bezel would be the perfect choice.
You’ll usually see bezel setting used for round or brilliant-cut diamonds. But it also looks good on other cuts like princess, pear and radiant.
If you choose bezel setting for your diamond engagement ring, it’s best to use good-quality platinum or white gold for the band. Unlike in a prong or tension setting where the whole focus is on the diamond, bezel is about the whole ring, including the metal band. Also, the platinum or white gold rim will make the diamond look larger than it really is. Yellow gold or other coloured metal bands will emphasize the size of the diamond, usually causing the stone to appear smaller than its actual size.
If you want the best of both worlds, you can go for a half-bezel setting. The rim goes around the stone only partially. The diamond is more secure than having it suspended on prongs, but also gets a good amount of light passing through it, making it more brilliant than in a classic bezel setting.
If you just adore diamonds and sparkles, a pavé will amaze you. Pave is the French word for “paved,” because the whole ring appears to be “paved” with diamonds smaller than the featured stone. The small stones are either depressed in the band or set on micro prongs, so the stones can appear flat or domed.
It’s the technique used mainly to execute intricate ring designs. It makes the whole band, or at least half of it, appear to be made of diamonds. It’s often used to highlight a bigger diamond in a princess or brilliant cut set in prongs. The centre stone doesn’t have to be fancy as the pavé setting already makes it grand. However, for those who prefer ornate rings, the centre stone is done in a halo setting with micro pave-set diamonds around the featured stone.
Aside from being more expensive than other setting types, pave is a less secure type of setting diamonds in jewellery. Extra care needs to be done so the precious piece will last.