Most people concentrate on the center stone of their engagement rings and forget about the ring setting.
The style or setting of the ring contributes to the practical appearance of the ring as well as the light return of the center stone.
There are several types of settings that you can have for your engagement ring that if you are not in the jewelry industry you may not know. Halo, solitaire, and Tiffany are the commonest settings.
However, there is much more to an engagement ring setting than you may see.
We shall tell you all you need to know about ring styles and settings and we hope that get to know what you did not know. Let’s look at all that.
In this Guide
- Engagement Ring Settings & Styles
- 1. Tiffany Setting
- 2. Bezel Setting
- 3. Crown Setting
- 4. Tension Setting
- 5. Solitaire Setting (Prong Setting)
- 6. Channel Setting
- 7. Halo Setting
- 8. Pavé Setting
- 9. Micro-Pavé Setting
- 10. Cathedral Setting
- 11. Bar Setting
- 12. Twist Setting
- 13. Basket Setting
- 14. Flower Setting
- 15. Flush Setting
- 16. Three Stone Setting
- 17. Vintage/Antique Setting
- 18. Cluster Setting
- 19. Eternity Band Setting
- 20. Shank/Split-Shank
- 21. Infinity Setting
- Choosing the Right Engagement Ring Setting
Engagement Ring Settings & Styles
1. Tiffany Setting
Tiffany setting first came into the jewelry market in 1886, before then, bezel settings were the commonest for engagement rings. Tiffany is a solitaire setting that was created by one of the largest jewelry companies called Tiffany’s.
The prongs used in a Tiffany setting are usually small and do not cover the edge of the diamond. The metal band is a bit raised and ends just below the diamond. The setting looks like a claw that holds the diamonds firmly in the band. The band is plain but sometimes can also have pave or micro pave stones.
As time passed, the Tiffany name started being used to refer to a setting style. During my time at Kay Jewelers, our solitaire settings were either cathedral or Tiffany band style. This was a marketing ploy that led to Tiffany releasing a statement about counterfeits.
The tiffany replicas are weaker than those originals from Tiffany. I once saw a tiffany style stating that got knocked off and the head detached from the band.
You may be forgiven to think that the Tiffany settings may snag because of their prongs. This can only happen in cases where the prongs need to be re-tipped. It is good to make sure that you are up to date with maintenance.
- Common setting
- Requires less metal
- Diamonds secured by many prongs that are V-shaped
- The more the prongs the more the style snags
- Counterfeits exist in the market
RECOMMENDED: Tiffany Engagement Ring Settings
2. Bezel Setting
Bezel settings were the original kinds of settings when stones started to be placed in rings. Bezel settings were the only known settings until Tiffany came up. In a bezel setting, there is a metal that covers the whole diamond girdle such that you can only see the diamond’s crown.
Various settings can be used for engagement rings today, but the bezel setting remains the most common setting used. Bezel set rings are not popular because of the less metal, it is because of the additional protection they have for the center stone. It is the perfect setting choice for jewelry for children, nurses, or anyone who lives an active lifestyle.
This setting can hold different diamond shapes; it is not limited to particular shapes. However, a bezel setting costs more than other settings because of the careful craftsmanship and metalwork required.
- Offers extra protection for the stone
- Appropriate setting for active lifestyles
- Not likely to snag
- Reduces diamond brilliance
- Expensive craftsmanship
RECOMMENDED: Bezel Setting Engagement Ring
3. Crown Setting
This is a vintage style of ring setting. It is named crown because when you hold it in profile view, the prongs resemble a crown. Estate jewelry and heirlooms are the most popular pieces that use crown settings. Jewelers use various embellishments and styles in crown settings. Crown settings can be used together with other settings like Tiffany and cathedral.
The crown look is just a style, so it is possible to find the same crown style in other settings. You will find vintage and milgrain details in most crown settings.
With a crown setting, you do not have to worry about the diamond at the center since the claw look makes it secure. Because of the crown design, the crown setting is hard to clean since the dirt or lotion accumulates under the crown.
- Pretty unique
- Common antique design
- Holds diamonds securely
- Dirt gets trapped in the crown
RECOMMENDED: Crown Engagement Ring Settings
4. Tension Setting
A tension setting is a unique and striking style that can be used in both wedding and engagement rings. With a tension setting, the diamond looks like it is floating in the air. The prongs cover the diamond girdle all around.
There is a huge misconception that tension settings make the wearer feel like the diamonds on the ring are not secure. Although it appears as if the diamonds are floating, it does not mean that they actually are. The prongs that go around the sides of the diamond make it very secure regardless of how the diamond is suspended.
The security of the diamond is further supported by the metal goes around half the girdle instead of using one prong to hold the girdle.
The disadvantage with tension settings is that they are likely to chip. Diamonds are known not to chip easily, but if the right amount of pressure is applied around the culet, they can chip, so remember that.
Tension Style Setting Engagement Ring
Tension settings are normally included in solitaire settings and there can be several variations. The plain band makes the tension style in your diamond or gemstone ring stand out.
Another kind is the cathedral tension that features a plain band too. The cathedral tension setting style focuses more on the metal and bars found under the center stone and therefore can be either tension or cathedral setting.
If the tension setting you have has diamonds or other stones on the band, it will probably have a wave or twist design that makes the diamonds curve around the center stone, the top, and bottom. I had a tension ring called a tornado ring.
- Can well fit with other setting styles
- Returns light from all directions
- Many diamonds in one setting may cause distraction
- Rare to find a band that matches
RECOMMENDED: Tension Engagement Ring Setting
5. Solitaire Setting (Prong Setting)
Most jewelers prefer the solitaire setting for engagement rings and feature a plain metal band. The metal band is normally made of precious metals like sterling silver, platinum, or gold. The most common metal is gold with the majority solitaire ring being in 14K white gold.
Solitaire settings come in different styles and can be combined with other styles too. The most common setting styles that can be combined with solitaire are cathedral and Tiffany. Both these settings have prongs that pop up from beneath the diamond and hold the edges to protect the diamond and increase its lifespan.
Solitaire settings always include a diamond as the center stone. Where there is a cluster or halo that is not a solitaire. In general, solitaire settings have a plain band and are a good choice if you want the diamond to stand out.
If you prefer a solitaire setting with a plain band, you must choose a diamond that has high-quality grades, after all, people will notice the center stone. The diamond must follow all the 4Cs. If you must, then sacrifice the carat weight before color, clarity, or cut.
- All the attention is on the center stone
- Solitaire setting can fit any band especially for a wedding jewelry
- Can hold different kinds of diamond shapes
- Requires diamonds to be high grade
- Susceptible to chipping
- May not look good on thin fingers
RECOMMENDED: Solitaire Engagement Ring Settings
6. Channel Setting
The channel setting features small diamond stones that line up close to each other in a channel. If you look closely at the ring, you will see that the channel is engraved in the setting which forms a small pocket where the diamonds are attached close to each other as opposed to holding them inside a prong.
RECOMMENDED: Where to Buy Diamond Engagement Rings
The channel setting becomes more secure if it has a back on which the diamonds can be set against. Round diamond cuts and several other fluid shapes of a diamond may not be very secure in a channel setting.
A princess-cut diamond would be the best shape since there will be no spaces left between the diamonds inside the channel. Princess cuts are secure on all four corners. If you are searching for a ring setting that is new, this is it, and it has become very popular for engagement rings.
- Best and secure design for princess cut diamonds
- Does not snag easily
- Beautiful design
- Widely used setting
- Not suitable for most diamond shapes
RECOMMENDED: Chanel Setting Engagement Ring
7. Halo Setting
Searching through the fine jewelry collection of most jewelry shops today, you will find that the halo setting is the most common. Fancy diamond shapes like Asscher and marquise adopt the halo setting, the best being cushion cut diamonds like the Neil Lane engagement rings.
A halo setting has diamonds or any other gemstone all around the center stone. These surrounding diamonds make the ring appear bigger, which makes them the best choice for small center diamonds. While some people like that, others say that this is too much addition that distracts attention from the center stone which is supposed to be standing out.
- Makes a small center stone look big
- Looks good with a variety of diamond cuts
- Diamonds add extra protection for the center stone
- The halo itself is not protected
- Detraction from the center stone
RECOMMENDED: Halo Setting Engagement Ring
8. Pavé Setting
The word “Pavé” is French for paved. This kind of setting describes a ring style where tiny diamonds are put close together such that they create a paved path that shows little metal. Pavé setting is the best option if you like a small center diamond that gives a lot of sparkles.
The stones used to set pave setting are very small such that it is difficult to set them properly to avoid being knocked as you go about your daily activities. This means a Pavé setting does not offer adequate ring security.
The disadvantage with this setting is that it needs frequent cleaning since the crown of each of the small diamonds keeps accumulating dirt. Furthermore, they are not suitable for people who live an active life.
- Has different styles
- More diamonds shown than the metal
- Too tiny stones that can fall out easily
- High-level maintenance (cleaning)
RECOMMENDED: Pave Setting Engagement Ring
9. Micro-Pavé Setting
The pave settings can be designed in different styles including v and U-shaped styles. There are scalloped pave settings that have gaps that are U shaped. The diamonds are lined up inside the U crevice. There are also styles that have V-shaped fissures cut in the metal. Micro-pavé settings are used more in engagement rings together with traditional pave settings. Scalloped pave rings are not very common.
The diamonds lined together in micro-pave settings are even smaller. The diamonds used in this setting are usually in chip form or diamonds which are less than .01 carat.
RECOMMENDED: 1.5 Carat Diamond Ring Price
If your budget cannot fit a higher large carat weight, this is the setting for you as you can still enjoy a diamond engagement ring that sparkles to attract attention. The only downside is that the diamonds are held in metal and are therefore not secure enough to withstand everyday wear.
- Costly for expert craftsmanship
- Less expensive for smaller diamonds
- Too fragile
- Little fire since the diamonds are shallow
RECOMMENDED: Micro Pave Engagement Ring Setting
10. Cathedral Setting
You will hear the term cathedral, you most likely will hear about solitaire too. Apart from solitaire, you can also combine side diamonds or halo setting with a cathedral setting too. In a cathedral setting, there is an additional metal used to build a bridge that will be used to raise the diamond on the shank, giving it something similar to a cathedral shape.
Cathedral settings have been in the jewelry industry for as long as we can remember, they are traditional styles that need more metal and extra skills to build. Because of these characteristics, they carry a high price tag, even higher than Tiffany setting rings.
A cathedral style ring is a perfect choice of setting for people with big fingers since their width comes in bigger millimeters. This large millimeter also makes the ring last longer.
The fact that diamonds sit so high makes the ring not suitable for people in the nursing or hairdressing professions.
- Looks better when a ring jacket is added
- Focuses attention to the center stone
- Several diamond shapes fit in
- High cost because of additional metals
- Raised setting is not favorable for some professions
RECOMMENDED: Cathedral Engagement Ring Settings
11. Bar Setting
A bar setting is one of those settings you will not find displayed in the jewelry shops easily. You will find a bar setting used to support side stones that may be either trapeze or baguette-cut diamond shapes. This kind of style makes the diamond side stones secure and makes your stone high profile.
A bar setting is also used to describe how the center stone is a solitaire or a ring that features plenty of diamonds in the metal band. Bar settings are unique just like tension settings, you can find two metal bars that hold the diamond (that can be round brilliant or another shape) in place.
This kind of setting is susceptible to getting snagged easily since the metal strips have flat ends. If you buy this kind of diamond engagement ring setting, you have to be extra careful. The setting can also chip easily because the diamond girdle stays exposed.
- Diamonds in the bars have a good light return
- Metals bars provide extra security
- Can snag easily because of flat edges
- Chips easily
RECOMMENDED: Bar Setting Engagement Rings
12. Twist Setting
Twist settings display the style of the band and not the prongs. Most fine jewelry shops use unique twist settings for their children. Twist settings can be designed in different styles with either small or big diamond chips. Initially, twist settings were meant to be unique, but they became common faster than expected.
This setting works best with round cut diamonds since they are easier to arrange in a straight line. If you do not like round cut diamonds, you will also not like twist setting diamond engagement ring.
There are twist setting rings known as braided twist settings that have the metal twist running around the band. If you like the twist setting, you are better off getting the one that has the bottom half of the shank straight.
The downside of this style of setting is that it can prove hard to find a band that matches it if it comes without one. The other problem is that it is a hustle to resize since the jeweler may not be able to solder, replicate, or cut without damaging the ring.
- Looks unique
- Protects the diamonds
- Comes in different styles
- Resizing issues may arise
- Matching bands not found easily
RECOMMENDED: Twisted Engagement Ring Setting
13. Basket Setting
In a basket setting, there are many prongs that hold the center stone right under the diamond to create a basket of prongs. In most cases, the prongs can be or 6 or the basket illusion to be created. This kind of setting provides unparalleled security for the diamond. It is the setting that keeps shaking and not the diamond itself.
Basket settings offer the best security, but they underperform in terms of diamond brilliance. The metal prongs that run from the culet to the crown cover some parts of the diamond. This means that all the light that enters the diamond and gets refracted is obstructed by the prongs. A setting with 4 prongs may be the best option since some of the light gets optimized.
- Very secure setting
Best setting for
- stone rings
- Perfect for persons who want a low profile setting
- Setting with 6 prongs obstruct the light return
RECOMMENDED: Basket Engagement Ring Setting
14. Flower Setting
In a flower setting for an engagement ring, the center stone is solid but features nicely arranged metal work around it that resemble flower petals. The center could also be surrounded by a halo setting with small stones or sometimes a freeform halo setting.
The good thing about setting is that it is appealing to the eye and protects the center stone by acting similar to a halo setting. This kind of setting creates more attention if you combine white diamonds and other fancy colors.
Flower settings are known on the negative side for having small stones that are likely to fall out. This means they need careful handling when cleaning.
- Cute flower design
- A bit affordable
- Good pick for colored diamonds
- Hard to clean
- Tiny stones mat fall out
RECOMMENDED: Flower Setting Engagement Ring
15. Flush Setting
Flush settings resemble a bezel setting since the diamond sits flush in the metal. While a bezel setting will lie over the diamond, the flush meets the diamond right at its edge.
Flush settings are also called hammer or gypsy style setting and can be worn by both men and women. Most engagement rings do not use flush settings and you will not find them in jewelry stores. They are mostly used in wedding rings.
That is not to say that you will not find flush setting engagement rings in the market, they are there and you will also find them in a variety of designs. The common designs are ones that feature metals that meet the diamond in different directions and ways. There are those that will spin around the diamond and still remain flush with it. A flush setting is very protective of the diamonds held in.
- Secure diamonds
- One of a kind
- Comes in various styles
- Very rare
- Metalwork makes it expensive
RECOMMENDED: Engagement Ring Flush Setting
16. Three Stone Setting
Stepping away from the common one stone at the center, the three-stone setting is a good alternative for an engagement ring. Most three-stone settings are used as anniversary rings but the message it carries can bring about a memorable proposal, just like some of the best proposal songs.
All three diamond stones can have similar carat weights or two can be of lesser weights than the center stone. This setting also comes in different diamond shapes but the most common will come in princess or round cut engagement rings.
Three stone setting carry some degree of sentimental attachment with one of the stones representing the past, another the present and the remaining stone representing the future of the love you share. Most of three stones settings are white gold and are high, although you can also find ones which are low set.
Between yellow gold and rose gold three stone settings, you are more likely to find yellow gold more easily. In addition, this setting is made using platinum metal which is very rare in a local jeweler’s shop.
- Many diamonds increase the brilliance
- Timeless design that never goes out of fashion
- Several large stones
- High setting can be knocked around easily
- Difficult to clean
RECOMMENDED: Three Stone Setting Engagement Ring
17. Vintage/Antique Setting
A vintage setting is a mixture of a band and a prong style. Aside from this, the setting can also be referred to as vintage depending on the kinds of embellishments added.
A true vintage ring is determined by how long it has been worn, the period can be 20-70 years for it to be really true. The common vintage details include milgrain and filigree.
Filigree is made by the jeweler creating standalone metal pieces and beads and creates an intricate design out of them. The designs are then soldered on the ring. On the other hand, in the milgrain design the jeweler uses a knurling tool to create little indents in the metals. Some jewelers may even choose to add beads to the metal design. Milgrain is a word adopted from French to mean one thousand grains. Milgrain styles are also intricate.
Antique rings are always estate pieces or heirlooms that are passed from one generation to another. How long the ring lasts in most cases depends on the level of maintenance. The precious metal used and the jewelry itself no matter how expensive they are does not guarantee durability.
Furthermore, if the ring has managed more than 50 years of retaining most of the qualities, it means it has really been taken care of and you have to keep up with it. You have to maintain the frequency of prong re-tipping and rhodium plating. Apart from these measures, you need to also observe safe storage in a secure jewelry box. When you do all these, the diamond setting retains its vintage look.
- Unique style
- Very beautiful
- Details make it hard to resize
- Fragile setting
- Does not sparkle a lot if the diamonds are old
RECOMMENDED: Vintage Setting Engagement Ring
18. Cluster Setting
In a cluster setting, the jeweler puts small diamonds compacted together to appear like one big diamond. When looking for engagement rings in commercial jewelry shops, you are going to find a cluster setting in many of the engagement rings. Zales and Kay Jewelers are among the stores that stock this kind of ring style.
Many people prefer cluster settings because the small diamonds do not require a high clarity grade and the diamonds can have grades that are quite low.
Most cluster settings come in round cut shapes that create flower or sunburst shapes, although you will find other geometric shaped clusters too. You will also find “quads” which are princess cut clusters that use small diamonds. The small princess diamonds are put close together so seamlessly that a faint line separates them. You can also find cluster setting as center stones and a halo setting around them.
The downside of cluster settings is that the diamonds are too small that you will not need to buy them in high grades. For example, if you have an ideal cut diamond for a center stone, you will achieve the most brilliance out of it. On the other hand, if you replace that with 5 small stones, the sparkle will be nothing like that from the ideal shape center stone.
The other drawback is that the diamonds are so tiny that they can drop at any time if the ring is not handled with care.
- Vintage style
- Diamond grades are low
- Likely to be repaired often
RECOMMENDED: Engagement Ring Cluster Setting
19. Eternity Band Setting
Similar to a three-stone ring setting, the eternity has sentimental attachment too. This setting represents the eternal love that exists in a married couple; the ring makes it even more emotional by adding diamonds to the metal band. The eternity band is appealing to the eye and is better for wedding and anniversary bands.
Eternity bands are aesthetically appealing given the way light is reflected from all its angles. However, other people think that when the diamonds are many, they take away the attention from the center stone. Eternity ring settings come in various styles including twist, banded, vintage vine, among other styles.
Like me, you are probably wondering why this setting is in the market with all the impractical style. Rings that have diamonds or gemstones all around are not appealing, the stones start falling off one after the other, even the simplest tasks can make them fall.
Eternity bands are not the best ring options to wear every day especially if the stones are too tiny.
- Sparkles from every direction
- Degree of sentimental meaning
- Come in various styles
- Many jewelers find it hard to size
- Diamonds prone to falling
RECOMMENDED: Eternity Setting Engagement Ring
Unlike most engagement ring style that describes the prongs, the shank describes the style of the band. A shank refers to the metal band found on the ring. A split shank on the other hand is when the shank divides into two and back into one at the bottom.
A split shank looks good since it allows the ring to have enough space for encrusted diamonds or additional metalwork. The bands ate also wide enough which makes the ring durable and reduces the chances of the shank breaking. Split shanks are used in both traditional and modern ring settings.
A split shank works by using the same concept as lines when designing the interior. The angles where the splits meet create a path to the center stone. This kind of design makes the shank setting look very appealing. The only disadvantage is that this ring style needs frequent maintenance. Lotions and dirt can get trapped in the split, which means you will have to clean more often.
- Unique setting
- Used in modern and vintage rings
- Has wider surface area
- Needs frequent cleaning
- Hard to find a bad that matches
RECOMMENDED: Split Shank Engagement Ring Setting
21. Infinity Setting
The infinity setting has features of both split shanks and eternity styles. Looking at the ring closely, you will notice the shape of the infinity symbol displayed on the metal shank. The entire infinity shape can be repeated around the shank just like the eternity style or it is on half of the shank like a twist style ring. Infinity shape rings have over the past years gained popularity in the jewelry industry.
RECOMMENDED: Best Infinity Engagement Rings
Most of the infinity settings you will find in the market have shanks with tiny encrusted diamonds that glitter when light enters the diamond. Jewelers use any diamond shape to create infinity settings but the cushion and round cut are the commonest and cushion halo settings too.
The infinite ring has a curved shape that directs the eyes right to the center stone. Infinity also carries some degree of sentimental meaning; it creates the feeling of forever and eternal love. It is associated with the feeling that the love you share with your partner will go on infinitely. If you fantasize about the kind of wedding with horses and a carriage, this is the kind of setting that you need.
On the negative side, cleaning an infinity ring is a bit difficult, just like it is with other intricate designs like twist and split shanks. If the setting has an infinity eternity band, sizing becomes hard.
- Romantic setting
- Draws attention to the center stone
- Various styles
- Needs to be cleaned often
- Sizing is a hustle
RECOMMENDED: Infinity Engagement Ring Setting
Choosing the Right Engagement Ring Setting
With a myriad of engagement ring settings and styles at your disposal just like discussed above, it may be difficult to choose the right one. Of all the above styles, which do you think suits your hand better? No pressure to choose now. Let’s look at a few things you need to consider.
Before deciding, here are some tips to help you when selecting the right setting.
If you intend to wear your ring all day, every day, you should be looking at an engagement ring setting that can withstand the day to day pressure from activities you carry out.
The ring styles that are likely to chip or get damaged from routine technical jobs include high-set cathedrals, open-back channels, eternity rings, and twist settings that have diamonds or gemstones on the twist.
The best settings that can very well suit daily activities are prong, flush, and bezel settings. A ring that has many prongs is more secure. But you will need to re-tip them after some time or they will start to snag.
The metal used in the setting should be durable too. You will find more rings in 14K gold. If you are going the gold way, just make sure you do not go higher than 18K. Sterling silver and platinum are good choices too. Sterling silver is good, but not too good to be used in an engagement ring. Platinum is the best because it is the strongest metal, but it also carries the highest price tag.
2. Shape Of The Diamond
Before picking the ring style you want for your engagement ring, make sure you have a diamond shape in mind ready. The most common shapes you will find are cushion cut, princess cut, and round cut. The shapes notably used in engagement rings are fancy shapes like marquise, emerald, and teardrop or pear.
It is important to pick the diamond cut before the setting because not all shapes are suitable for all settings. If you decide to take a pear or marquise shape, you will need a setting that will offer maximum security like a crown, halo, or bezel setting. This is because these two diamond shapes are pointed.
From a long time ago, people would wear a wedding band together with an engagement ring. Settings like infinity and twist will prove hard to find a matching wedding band, especially if it does not come as a set. The easiest settings for which you can find matching wedding bands are pave solitaire and channel settings.
As you are shopping for the engagement ring setting, you would also like to have a wedding band that is complimentary so that there is no confusion. For example, you cannot combine a channel setting with a vintage wedding band. The vintage style band would look very pretty when put against a round-cut solitaire setting that is set in rose gold. When picking a wedding band to match your engagement ring, remember less is more. The wedding band should not overpower the engagement ring.