A solitaire engagement ring is a timeless classic ring style that you would be proud to own. This is one of the most popular ring settings you will find in the jewelry market.
Solitaires have a single stone and many people like the way this stone is accentuated.
Solitaire engagement rings have quality cut center stones that attract attention everywhere you go. There are many different styles of solitaire, not just the common one that has a plain metal band.
Because of the single stone, you have to make sure that you keep in mind the 4Cs when selecting the center diamond. The 4Cs are the factors that determine the diamond quality. When you understand the diamond’s color, clarity, cut, and carat, it becomes easy to determine the solitaire engagement ring that is perfect for you.
Let’s jump right in!
In this Guide
What is a Solitaire Setting for Engagement Rings?
Of all the settings used in diamond engagement rings, solitaire is the most popular. The first-ever solitaire diamonds to be created had either fancy-shaped or round brilliant cut diamonds. The diamond shape of choice would be put in a plain metal band which in most cases would be white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold. In most jewelry stores, you will find the solitaire in white gold.
Solitaire refers to the kind of style and not the ring setting itself. Solitaire settings come in different styles for engagement rings, diamond pendants, and diamond earrings.
The setting is called solitaire to mean that there is only one diamond or gemstone placed on the ring. When it comes to engagement rings, a solitaire setting is also known as a prong setting.
Prongs are small claw-like tips that surround the diamond stone with 4 or 6 prongs. There are several prong styles, each designed to securely hold the diamond in place.
Is Solitaire the Best Setting for Engagement Rings?
A solitaire ring is the most popular ring setting for engagement rings, but it is not exactly the best choice for everyone. There are many benefits you stand to enjoy if you buy a solitaire ring but there are also some shortcomings that may be deal-breakers too.
- Best setting choice for drawing attention to a single stone
- There are a variety of options to match a wedding band
- Affordable setting
- A myriad of prong styles
- Look good with any diamond shape
In a solitaire setting, there is only one center stone that attracts all the attention. There are no other diamonds on the sides to detract onlookers. Most people prefer this setting for engagement rings because of the way they focus on the center stone.
The plain metal band makes the setting multifunctional as it can work with almost any wedding band or diamond shape. If you prefer the knife-edge solitaire style, you will still get a great look with an infinity wedding band.
Normally if you combine wedding bands and engagement ring styles, they may give off a busy look for the ring. This is not what you get with solitaire; with it, you get a balanced and gorgeous look.
Solitaires may look simple and plain to the eyes, but they can have a lot of variations. You can choose either a cathedral solitaire or Tiffany solitaire setting among many other options. The tiffany setting pops up from below the ring to form a basket appearance.
The true Tiffany is created and owned by the parent company Tiffany, but you will find its duplicates in the market. Cathedral solitaire on the other hand has a metal stripe that surrounds the ring shank top but below the diamond. Both the cathedral and Tiffany are high-profile set ring styles.
Apart from these two, you can also go for prong styles or prong baskets for your solitaire ring. The band can also be split shank or twist shank.
Solitaire is the cheapest engagement ring setting you can find, provided it does not have excess platinum or gold. This low cost is friendly as it makes it easy for you to use the remaining portion of your budget to pick a high-quality grade diamond.
- Center stone has to be high quality in terms of grades
- Color grade must be high
- Not a variety of styles found in the stores
- Many of the settings are high profile
Like most other ring settings, solitaire too has the bad side. These negative aspects will help you determine whether this is the ring setting you desire or not.
The biggest disadvantage is also the biggest advantage. Sounds confusing, right? The single diamond is what attracts all the attention to the ring and because of this; the diamond will need high grades. If your soon-to-be partner has large fingers, a center diamond with a large carat weight is going to be inevitable. The thin band that is below the single diamond appears small. A wider band will not help as it makes the stone look even smaller.
I suggest that you go for a center diamond that is at least ½ carat for solitaire setting. Carat weight that is below that will make the diamond look weird.
Remember, as the carat weight increases, so do the color grade and clarity grade. This is almost automatic to make the diamond look pretty.
Keep in mind that the solitaire has only one ring and you have just that one stone to maximize the ring’s appearance. You have to make the most out of it when it comes to diamond color and clarity with that one stone since there are no side stones to detract attention.
If you prefer shopping for solitaire engagement rings from brick and mortar stores, do not be surprised if you find only duplicate Tiffany and cathedral styles. Most of these stores only have a limited range of solitaire styles. I recommend you go shopping in reputable online jewelry stores. In most of online shops, you can set your diamond in a metal band that is filigree, twist, milgrain, or etching.
You can also find such options of adding embellishments to your ring at local family-owned jewelry stores or a local jeweler who can customize the ring. Thankfully, we have a list of online diamond retailers here that you can trust.
Most solitaire settings are high profile, meaning the likelihood of snagging is increased as time passes by. You are also most likely to keep bumping the ring into objects as you go about your daily routine.
Solitaire setting rings need a little more than the normal care for other settings. You may not be aware of how many times you unconsciously knock your ring every day, whether you are doing office work or manual labor.
Solitaire vs Other Popular Ring Settings
Solitaire is the most common ring setting in the market. However, there are other settings that can be compared to it in many ways. Let’s look at the comparison between solitaire and other diamond shapes.
Solitaire Vs Halo Setting
- Solitaire accentuates the center diamond
- Solitaire costs less
- Halo center stones need not be large
- Halo settings do not get caught on fabric
- Solitaire sets are high profile
- Solitaire appear small
- Small stones in halo settings likely to fall out
- More diamonds in halo make it more expensive
One great advantage of a solitaire ring is that all the attention is directed to the center stone, unlike a halo that has several stones.
If you are going to be very keen on the diamond grades, keep in mind that high grades of your center stone will be lost in the glitter if you settle for a halo setting.
RECOMMENDED: Guide to Halo Setting Engagement Rings
Solitaire settings carry one of the cheapest price tags since they are made using precious metal only. The price of halo settings is usually high because of the extra diamonds and the metal band.
The halo setting features very small diamond or other stones that are likely to fall out compared to solitaire prongs which hold the diamonds safely in place.
If you want a ring that will look big on your fingers, go for a halo setting since it has an additional metal ring around the diamond. Solitaire sets look smaller than they actually are.
When it comes to chipping, solitaires chip easily because they are set high. You are more likely to find low-set halo rings in more jewelry stores than low-set solitaire rings.
Tip: One of the best ring settings you can find is a mixture of both halo and solitaire. The ring features a plain metal (solitaire) with a low set halo diamond at the center.
Check out this pretty ring from James Allen.
Solitaire vs Bezel Setting
- Solitaires have better brilliance and light return
- Solitaire rings are cheaper
- Bezel settings offer more diamond protection
- Bezel settings are better at hiding inclusions and blemishes
- Solitaire feature a high set diamond which makes them likely to get loose
- Solitaire diamonds are not very safe and may end up being damaged
- Bezel settings have a lot of metal that interferes with their sparkle
- Bezel styles are limited when it comes to engagement rings
A bezel setting encloses a diamond stone inside a metal casing. This makes the diamond grades and especially light performance less noticed. A solitaire setting allows a lot of light to pass through the diamond from different angles and thus the diamond sparkles a lot.
The additional layer of metal in a bezel, coupled with the low setting protects the diamond more than if a solitaire is used. A solitaire diamond pops out with some of its edges exposed between the prongs. This makes a solitaire ring prone to chipping, but the risk increases if pressure is applied to the diamond.
While solitaire settings a variety of styles, a bezel setting is standard. However, you may need to go to an online diamond store to get the different styles of solitaire settings. Solitaire settings are very common but you can still have a ring that is customized to your personal taste.
Best Place to Buy Solitaire Engagement Rings
The fact that solitaire engagement rings are very popular, it is quite easy to find them in any jewelry store. Most customers prefer purchasing these rings from corporate stores like Zales and Jared.
In the recent past, many jewelry lovers are turning to online shopping for their favorite pieces. Stores that have registered high traffic include Blue Nile, James Allen, and Whiteflash. Let’s look at each of them and what they have to offer.
When you think about buying jewelry online and especially a diamond engagement ring of any style, you should think about James Allen. This should be your first step because they have a variety of different ring settings and styles and also stock the best quality diamonds at great prices.
Their loose diamonds inventory is so wide that you can get several diamond shapes as well as colored diamonds of your choice. More interesting is you can choose either real diamonds or ones manufactured in the laboratory.
The solitaire setting is all about that single ring. At James Allen you get the opportunity to choose a loose diamond according to the 4Cs which are color, carat weight, cut, and clarity. To add on, you will view the diamond you pick up close and personal to see if there are any inclusions.
You get to do this easily by using their 360 diamond viewing technology that is available for all their loose diamonds.
With this technology, you will see all the blemishes and inclusions in the diamonds and where they are placed exactly before you buy the diamond. Different clarity of diamonds will have the inclusions in different places, this is important.
As you choose your diamonds, you can also narrow them down to diamonds graded by GIA or AGS. Unlike many other stores, James Allen has diamond grading reports from AGS and GIA. I suggest you don’t dare buy a loose diamond that does not have an AGS or GIA grading report.
One great thing about James Allen is that they make your shopping experience hustle-free. Their customer service team is available /7 to answer any and all questions you may have about diamond grades and grading reports. There are also gemologists on stand-by for direct communication. Once you pick a diamond, they ship to you regardless of where you are located in the world.
The truth is the diamond experts at James Allen know more about diamonds than any other staff in other jewelry stores. They always advocate for a transparent diamond purchasing process and helping purchase a diamond of your choice. It is your right to pick the diamond you want carefully without too much pressure put on you. While the salespeople in megastores will push you to buy a diamond so that they reach their goals, James Allen will not.
After buying a ring from James Allen, you get a lifetime warranty and a free return. The lifetime warranty covers routine repairs and resizing for the ring you bought.
RECOMMENDED: James Allen Complete Review
Apart from James Allen, you can also find high-quality solitaire setting diamond engagement rings at Blue Nile. Here you also get to view some of the loose diamonds in 360, though not as close as James Allen.
Blue Nile has managed to build a reputation over the years and has gained an enviable position among the legitimate jewelry stores where you can buy engagement rings.
They also stock a large collection of loose diamonds featuring different shapes. Apart from a wide selection of loose diamonds, the store has a variety of diamond ring settings too. If you’ve always wanted to own a 4K rose gold milgrain solitaire ring, Blue Nile is the place to shop. They also boast a large number of positive reviews from customers.
Blue Nile does not only concentrate on offering you a smooth diamond purchasing experience but also helps you sell the diamond you have. They have a special program for diamond reselling. For jewelry insurance, you are covered too through a partner. They also offer opportunities for customers to upgrade their diamonds.
Blue Nile customer service makes sure all your questions and concerns are addressed before you check out of their website.
Whiteflash is another great online store from which you can buy different kinds of solitaire setting rings at cheaper prices than you would in a physical jewelry store. In this online shop, you will find diamonds that have the best brilliance since this is what the vendor focuses on.
The best solitaire setting you will get from Whiteflash is their patented A Cut Above collection. You can rest assured that any diamond you pick from this collection will have the best brilliance. Although their diamond collection is not as huge as that of James Allen or Blue Nile, they still give you a chance to view the loose diamonds.
The diamonds with very high brilliance at Whiteflash can be viewed using 360 video technology. Below is a princess cut diamond from Whiteflash’s A Cut Above collection.
RECOMMENDED: Review of Whiteflash and their Jewelry
Whiteflash boasts of having a team of gemologists who are trained by AGS and GIA. These are the best places anyone can get diamond and jewelry education in the world.
Because of their education, you can shop confidently at Whiteflash knowing very well the information given to you is accurate and that you will not be under any pressure to purchase. Unlike staff at megastores, the Whiteflash staff does not work to meet sales goals at the end of the day; you can rest assured that you will get honest diamond advice.
Not yet decided about the purchase? Let your diamond expert know and leave the diamond on your wish list, you will come later to complete the purchase when you have decided.
In addition to their glittering diamonds and highly trained staff, you will get several other benefits if you shop at Whiteflash.
When you shop once and return subsequent times, Whiteflash provides you with a customer loyalty program.
When it comes to warranty, this online store has a one-year service plan waiting for you. This plan takes care of all routine metal works including ring resizing, prong re-tipping, stone tightening, and rhodium plating for white gold metals.
At Whiteflash, you will also get your jewelry insurer by an insurer that they have partnered with and you also get offers to trade in diamonds. Although this warranty may not be as good as that offered by James Allen, it is better than that of Blue Nile.
You can buy your solitaire engagement ring from any of these online jewelry vendors without worrying about diamond quality and prices. They definitely carry better quality and cheaper diamonds than stores like Kay or Jared.