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The Tension Engagement Ring Setting

Feb. 19 2014
Looking for a visually striking engagement ring setting? A tension setting might be the perfect option.

Pounding away on the treadmill the other morning, I was in my usual daydream mode. Anything to avoid thinking about what I was doing and how I wished I were outside in the fresh air.

Although, looking again at the rain streaming down the windows and thinking about the muddy paths and the icy cold air biting my face, I was secretly pleased I was jogging along in gymtastic heaven.

Five minutes into my run, just when the treadmill started inverting a little to replicate that horrible incline, a rather glamorous lady got on the treadmill next to me. Understanding the typical gym etiquette, we gave each other a cursory nod and then carried on in our own little worlds. I couldn’t help, however, notice her stunning engagement ring that she had obviously forgotten to take off before she came in to work out.

The Tension Setting: a Floating Gem

The setting was like none I had seen in the flesh before and I recognised it only from pictures. It definitely is one of the most visually striking types of engagement ring setting and is known as the tension setting.

Tension style ring by James Newman

Tension style ring by James Newman

This simple yet mesmerising design for an engagement ring setting is made up of an incomplete band that has a gap for the chosen stone. When set between the two ends of the band, the diamond appears as though it is floating, with no prongs holding it in place. I thought it to be simply exquisite.

A Technical Challenge

In this type of engagement ring setting, the stone seems to be held perfectly in place, but there are actually tiny etchings or grooves that are added for the edge of the gemstone to rest upon. The metal setting is spring loaded to exert the pressure on the stone, and therefore make it very difficult to resize, which explains why this type of engagement ring setting is usually made to order to fit the stone that has been chosen.

It soon dawned on me that F and I had been so focussed on the stone we wanted that the engagement ring setting had been relegated to the bottom of the priority list. Looking at this lady’s fabulous ring, I realised that the setting is actually one of the most important parts of the ring. It holds the stone and shows it off to its maximum.

F and I have got to give this particular feature a bit of attention and I vowed there and then to get in touch with a few of the designers we have been talking to to go over our options.

Misnamed Beauty

I smiled as I thought of F’s face lighting up when we discussed the idea behind the tension engagement ring setting. The more I thought about it, though, the more I realised that the name of this ring is actually a misnomer.

In the world of physics tension is a pulling force, not a pushing one. This ring is compressed with a force that pushes the edges of the band around the gem and holds it in place, rather than pulls it. Although I was puzzled, as I am not the authority on engagement ring terminology, I didn’t dwell on it.

The illusion of a floating gem is a beautiful sight to me, even though the look is simple and possibly a little plain.

I was sure though that there were variations on the idea, and I couldn’t wait to do some more research. I imagined a twist tension engagement ring setting, in which the pressure is exerted on the front and back of the stone rather than the sides, and wondered if this would give a more unique look to the whole package.

I just love the physics behind the idea, combined with the concept of having a cosmic ring made to look aesthetically pleasing but equally intriguing.

It wasn’t long before I realised that I had run for 10 minutes more than expected. I need to daydream on the treadmill more often. Leaving the gym, I headed straight for the nearest coffee shop and treated myself to a muffin for breakfast to make up for it.

Designers who love to experiment with settings

Amanda MansellLondon
Mia ChiccoLondon
Joy and Chris PoupazisLondon
Catherine MannheimLondon
Serena FoxSurrey