Engagement Ring Cathedral Settings: The Pros and Cons

Engagement Ring Cathedral Settings: The Pros and Cons

Wondering what pros and cons lie ahead if you pick a cathedral setting for your engagement ring?

Well, this is the right place for you. This comprehensive guide will take you through:

diamond ring with cathedral setting

  • Is cathedral the best ring setting for your engagement?
  • Difference between cathedral setting and Tiffany setting and other settings
  • The most preferred jewelry store to buy cathedral setting engagement ring
  • Tips for saving money when shopping for a cathedral setting
  • And a lot more

If you have a fiancé who enjoys a lot of attention, a cathedral is what you are looking for. You will fall in love with how the metal lifts the center stone to reflect a lot of light and draw attention to it.

Searching for a cathedral setting for your engagement ring?

Here is a list of the best place to shop.

  1. James Allen (best prices and value)
  2. Blue Nile (best collection)
  3. Clean Origin (best for synthetic diamonds)
  4. Whiteflash (best shapes and cuts)

Any diamond shape can look gorgeous if put in a cathedral setting. You can choose from a variety of setting styles including cathedral tension and simple solitaire. Cathedral setting engagement rings are all over the jewelry market but landing on the best piece can take you some time.

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Cathedral settings have room for extra details like engravings or leafy designs to be added in the metal, making the setting look very stylish and beautiful. Some rings will even have melee diamonds or baguette styles. A cathedral setting will always attract attention whenever you go.

However, is this exactly what you are looking for? In this article, we point out exactly what it feels like to own a cathedral setting engagement ring so you can decide if it is the right setting for you and your soon to be spouse.

Let’s get started.

What is Engagement Ring Cathedral Setting?

In the jewelry market, the cathedral setting is popularly known as the ring style used for solitaire settings. In this setting, the two sides of the shank raise the diamond simultaneously while the metal bridge joins each of the sides below the head of the diamond.

This setting is designed to look like a cathedral building. The setting is high profile because of the way the center stone is presented. The cathedral setting features a metal band that can be embellished, polished, or simple.

There are several styles that come with a cathedral setting. The design features lines that criss-cross to create a modern geometric appearance. The setting may also feature additional metal dots to give a vintage milgrain effect. Other jewelers prefer filigree designs.

Most cathedral settings will have a halo and pave settings too. If these two are not your thing and you prefer a more bold setting, then a channel set cathedral will work better for you. All in all, a cathedral setting boils down to what you prefer as an individual. Below are some of the cathedral setting variations.

cathedral setting

Should You Buy an Engagement Cathedral Setting Ring

There are several cathedral setting styles in the market that it can be difficult for one to pick the right piece. So, how do you know if a cathedral setting is the right style for you?

A cathedral setting has unique features that make it stand out. Some of these features may not put a cathedral on top of the bar. Let us find out if the cons of cathedral are deal-breakers.


  • Draws attention
  • Extra room to add details to the ring shank
  • Popular and easy to find
  • Available in many styles


  • More costly
  • Wears out fast

Round engagement ring

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Cathedral vs Tiffany Setting

Both tiffany and cathedral ring styles are used in solitaire engagement rings. Tiffany setting gets its name from the legendary Tiffany fine jewelry retailing company that has over the years become a brand. There are various Tiffany styles for settings but the initial style was a patented design.



  • Cathedral sets are less likely to snag
  • Engravings on a cathedral set look beautiful
  • Tiffany setting secures the diamonds more
  • Tiffany settings never go out of function


  • Cathedral settings are not exquisite
  • It is hard to clean a cathedral setting
  • Tiffany is more expensive
  • The heads of a Tiffany are weak

Both Tiffany and Cathedral settings use prong setting, and this makes them susceptible to snagging. The susceptibility is even worse for Tiffany since it uses more prongs than an average cathedral.

You can also find cathedral settings with as many prongs as a Tiffany only that the latter has only one ring style. A true Tiffany has no ring style variations, unlike a cathedral which has many options.

The ring shank for a cathedral setting engagement ring is thicker than a Tiffany setting. If you are the kind of person who likes to personalize a ring, that may not be possible if the shank is thin. With a Tiffany setting, the shank is not as thick enough to allow for an engraving. If Tiffany is true, it will not achieve this advantage.

The Tiffany setting by virtue of the many prongs will eventually start to snag, but the diamond’s security is not compromised. In a Tiffany set, the center stone is held high and they stand no chance of being knocked.

With a Tiffany setting, you do not have to worry about your center diamond falling off like it would with other high set styles. Tiffany is among the oldest names in the jewelry industry and has very unique and classic ring styles. Their name was made even popular by the movie titled “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. if your fiancé is too much into romance, you should be thinking about buying a Tiffany setting engagement ring.

Tiffany’s enjoys rich history like popular jewelers such as Harry Winston and Cartier. Having a Tiffany engagement ring as part of your jewelry collection is like being part of history, which makes the piece even more appealing.

A cathedral setting has a few disadvantages that you may not find in a Tiffany setting. For instance, there are low-profile cathedral settings that have simple bands although they are few. The majority of the cathedral settings you will find are high profile and interwoven.

These settings are complex, not elegant, they will not look good on you if your fingers are small or delicate. The complexity arises from the metal bars that are combined with either milgrain or pave diamonds make it hard to clean this ring. However, once you manage to clean, they attract a lot of attention.

Tiffany being a brand means the price tag is going to be high. With its fascinating rich history and never-out-of-fashion story, this ring setting will charge a premium price.

The same concept is applied to the price of Asscher cut diamonds, even if they cost less than other shapes of diamonds. The price is not exactly what the ring is worth, but what they make from it. There are other Tiffany ring settings in the market which are cheaper but almost identical to a true Tiffany.

While most customers will take this option, buying an almost-identical tiffany setting does not guarantee the same center diamond security as from a patented Tiffany. The near-identical setting will have weak claw prong heads making them break off easily.

Cathedral Setting vs Bezel Setting

Bezel and cathedral may have totally different features but may feature the same profile in some styles. Although there are distinct differences in these two ring settings, each has its own good and bad sides. Let’s see their comparison.

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  • Cathedral settings look bigger
  • Cathedral rings draw attention to the center stone
  • Bezel settings are exceptional
  • Bezel settings do not require the diamonds to be high grade


  • Cathedral settings start to wear and tear quickly
  • Cathedral rings snag
  • Bezel settings cover the center diamond
  • Bezel setting rings are not eye-catching

Cathedral Setting vs Bezel Setting

When you put a bezel ring against a cathedral, the cathedral appears very big because of its geometric shape. The cathedral setting usually creates a tower for itself that puts the center diamond up to the front and at the center.

Whether you pick a low or high set cathedral, you will still catch more eyes than a flat bezel setting. A high set cathedral always looks bigger because of the frame that narrows up. Such a setting is good for small diamond shapes like round and marquise.

Cathedral settings are usually a dime for a dozen but bezel settings are great for individuality. Although the bezel rings may not have many styles, they are definitely different from most other rings. They do not really stick out but will surely catch many eyes.

Another great advantage of bezel settings is that you do not need high-grade diamonds for your center stone. Color, clarity, and carat weight can be kept low. Of course, you will have to go for an eye-clean diamond but it will not be noticed in a bezel setting. This means the entire bezel setting ring will be affordable.

Unlike cathedral settings, the bezel setting is low and therefore does not get knocked easily. Due to their high setting, the cathedral rings wear out faster. They can be knocked around while you go about your daily activities. The more you bump into things knowingly or unknowingly, the more the ring wears and eventually, the diamonds will drop off.

The other disadvantage of a high setting like a cathedral is that the prongs will need to be re-tipped more often. Just from the daily tasks, the prongs wear out and become rough when you touch them.

The rough prongs can be caught on fabric easily and hence start to be pulled little by little. You can solve this problem by buying a ring made of platinum or one that has a platinum head.

The bezel setting has a metal rim that goes around the girdle of the diamond causing it to obstruct some of the light that enters the diamond. This makes the stone look a little smaller.

If you like a princess-cut diamond, the bezel is not the best setting, that will be too much metal. The low setting and smaller look do not make the bezel set stand out. You are better off going for a cathedral since it is bold.

Where to Buy Cathedral Setting Diamond Engagement Rings

Engagement rings with cathedral settings are quite common in jewelry stores and you can find them in just about any shop. If you want a unique cathedral ring, you may have to search far and wide, away from a local jewelry store.

Several fine jewelry shops have cathedral settings in their inventory but they all look the same. Most of them will come in form of embellished halo and solitaire rings that have prong settings. To step away from these common cathedral settings for your ring, you may have to go shopping from online jewelry stores.

I know online shopping is a bit of a risk but it comes highly recommended. If you are still 50-50 and would rather stick to local shops, I suggest you go to family-owned jewelry stores or to a jeweler that can build you a ring from scratch.

James Allen

James Allen is the best online shop that you can buy the cathedral engagement ring setting of your choice. They are not only the best but have a variety of cathedral settings that you will end up liking all.

They have a 360-degree view technology that makes it easy for you to look at each of their loose diamond closely to see if they have any blemishes. With this technology, you can view the diamond characteristics and also identify any inclusions regardless of which among the 10m shapes of diamonds you want. Each of the diamonds comes with a grading report that you can see upon request.

There is a diamonds expert team on standby at James Allen to answer all the questions you may have about the grading reports or any of the 4Cs that make up the diamond grade.

What you will like about James Allen is the level of honesty in the diamond advice they give you and how reliable their information is. They achieve this through their staff who are committed to their work since they are not paid on commission. The customer service staff is available to cater to you 24/7 to give you unbiased information.

James Allen has a clear understanding of how the diamond buying process can be. They know that some internet purchases can be a scam. For this reason, they find many ways to involve you in every step needed to create your own ring.

With James Allen, what you see is what you get. They will provide you with a lifetime warranty for the cathedral setting ring you buy. The warranty takes care of all the regular maintenance needed as well as one free resizing in the first year. They even have selected few Jared stores that you can get these services from.

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14K White Gold Cross Over Trellis Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring

Blue Nile

If you have been searching for the best online jewelry stores, you must have reached Blue Nile. Blue Nile is an online jewelry retailer that is famous for its wide collection of loose diamonds, several ring setting styles, and also jewelry made from other gemstones.

Like James Allen, you can also choose diamonds here depending on color, carat weight, cut, and clarity. They may not have as many diamonds as James Allen but their choices are more.

They also have the 360-degree view technology to help you choose diamonds but it is not available for all the diamonds in their selection.

The diamond rings at Blue Nile are mostly yellow gold and rose gold, which is rarely found in jewelry shops down the street. Most of the brick and mortar jewelry vendors stock cathedral solitaire engagement rings in white gold.

Apart from the common cathedral solitaire setting, Blue Nile has a myriad of different styles of cathedral setting coming in infinity, halo, and triple stone settings for engagement rings. The selection is so wide that you cannot fail to find one to add to your collection.

The greatest downside with Blue Nile is their warranty. They provide their customers with a manufacturer’s warranty that covers any flaws that may arise from the process of ring designing, if not possible, they will get you a new ring. On the other hand, if your ring needs routine maintenance such as shank reshaping, polishing or cleaning, you are on your own.

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Infinity Twist Micropavé Diamond Engagement Ring


Whiteflash is another jewelry shop that sells its pieces online and is known for having high-quality diamonds in their inventory as well as settings. They even have a patented collection identified as “A Cut Above” which has only the best diamonds when it comes to brilliance.

Whiteflash goes a few steps ahead when it comes to diamond views, they have an idealscope image that enables you to see how light passes through the diamond and also provide ASET.

The staff at Whiteflash are highly trained by GIA and most of them enjoy the American Gem Society membership. They are always ready to answer any burning questions you may have about any of the 4Cs of diamonds, diamond brilliance, or anything to do with their ring settings. Since they are GIA graduates, you can rest assured that the information given to you is reliable.

This jewelry store has a wide collection of cathedral engagement rings including those from famous designers and their own designs. They have cathedral designs from designers like Ritani, Verragio, and Vatche.

Unlike what you will find in many jewelry shops, Whiteflash does not have a pre-set center stone on their rings. The cathedral style ring settings they have come with matching wedding bands.

Whiteflash offers a warranty to their customers through a year service plan. In the one year, the warranty will take care of re-tipping prongs, tightening stones, rhodium plating for white gold rings, resizing the ring up or down, and all the other routine metal works.

When the first year comes to an end, you will get these repairs out of pocket. If you are getting to the end of the year and you have not utilized the plan, I suggest you do so, so that you have a new-looking ring.

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