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Which Ring Setting is Right for You?

Feb. 19 2014
There are many different engagement ring settings to choose from. If you want to create the perfect ring, read on to find out more.

A day out with L last weekend naturally ended up with us visiting a few jewellery designers and talking about engagement ring settings. We have both been doing our homework on different settings but wanted a comprehensive summary of options available to us.

We both had to admit, although L was not quite as willing to admit that she had overlooked this important element as much as I had, that the engagement ring setting had taken a back seat to choosing the gemstone.

Chatting to one of our designers, he made it very clear that there are some standard engagement ring settings that we can use as a base and then tweak to suit us. He also told us to bear in mind that the setting refers to the way the chosen stone or stones are held onto the ring and whether we know it or not, can make the difference between whether we love a ring or hate it.

He gave us a really useful list that L and I took to the pub and pored over while indulging in homemade pie and chips and a well-earned beer. I have outlined what we learned below:

The Prong setting

The prong setting style is one of the most commonly used engagement ring settings and the one we see everywhere. The stone is the key here and not the ring band. The prongs, which are very delicate wires of gold and platinum, hold the diamond in place and can be designed either to be a visible feature forming part of the ring design or to be slightly more discrete.

Prong setting ring by Susan Peires

Prong setting ring by Susan Peires

Looking at this setting, it was obvious that the arrangement and angling of the prongs varied and could be chosen by us or left to the jeweller to decide based on the size and shape of the stone.

The Bezel Setting

A bezel engagement ring setting is the one that L’s friend at work chose for her ring. It involves arranging a precious metal around the diamond as a sort of collar, effectively wrapping the diamond and holding it in place. It is also possible to use a half bezel, which splits the bezel in two, meaning it envelops only part of the diamond.

The Channel setting

A channel setting is an engagement ring setting suited to round diamonds. Definitely exuding a sleek and elegant appearance, it is easy to see how this setting enhances the brilliance of a round centre stone. If we were to choose a ring with no central stone then this setting would also be a good choice.

Channel setting ring by James Newman

Channel setting ring by James Newman

On top of this, a channel setting protects the stone, ensuring that none of the edges are uncovered. L laughs at this as she goes a little crazy when she catches a ring in her hair or on one of her favourite jumpers.

The Pave Setting

A pave setting technique gives the appearance that the surface of the ring is covered in numerous little diamonds. It literally means ‘paved’, which is appropriate given that the finished surface looks as if it is paved with cobblestones, or in this case, diamonds.

Tiny diamonds are secured into holes that are drilled into rows, which cover as much of the surface metal as possible. Not all jewellers offer Pave engagement ring settings, as it is a time-consuming and laborious process requiring a highly skilled jeweller. One of our Favourite Designers, Jessica Poole, is one of those micro pave maestros. Have a look at her beautiful examples of pave engagement rings here.

The Bead Setting

The multiple diamonds in the bead setting are widely spaced, giving the metal band much more of a design feature. The large beads can be arranged differently, be of varying size and can be engraved or decorated, allowing the ring to be perfectly customised.

Medium eternity yellow gold brilliant diamonds by James Newman

Medium eternity yellow gold brilliant diamonds by James Newman

This engagement ring setting offers the opportunity to feature intricate filigree patterning or elaborate millgrain carving similar to those seen on vintage or antique rings.

The Cluster Setting

A cluster setting can be used differently depending on the desired appearance of your ring. This is a definite possibility for those people looking for more of a bespoke look to their ring. We love the idea of having a cluster engagement ring setting arranged in the shape of a flower or just placed as a unique focal pattern.

From pictures we have looked at, the way you choose to organise your cluster setting can also have an effect on how it looks on the hand. A more open design will offer a lengthening effect on the fingers, while a more closed design directs eyesight toward the whole hand. Wow, I did not realise how much there was to learn about engagement ring settings.

The Flush Setting

Perfect for the more subtle ring, the stone set into a flush setting is sunk into the ring so that it sits at around the same level as the band. Although you may be told that this setting does not allow enough light to the diamond and therefore dulls its brilliance, this setting has become increasingly popular. L believes that this is due to the understated feel it gives the ring as well as the increased security of the stone within the setting.

The Ballerina Setting

We both have a laugh at the name of this engagement ring setting that comes from the ‘tutu’- like appearance of the tapered baguettes arranged around a centre stone, that form a flared out skirt effect. The ballerina theme can be taken even further by arranging baguettes in rolling curves, that give the appearance of a tutu skirt in motion. L asked me not to make any jokes about her very short-lived ballet career, that I believe ended when she was four. I obliged.

We looked at each other once we had read the guide and L grinned. The choice seemed endless and we had not even chosen a stone yet. Were we to choose a stone before the setting or was it best to choose both together?

We decided that was enough for that day, ordered another tea and a fudge cake to share and settled into a relaxing Sunday afternoon treat.

Designers who love to experiment with settings

Karlin AndersonLondon
Stepan TerteryanLondon
Sophie BreitmeyerLondon
Mia ChiccoLondon
Joy and Chris PoupazisLondon