How to Choose Your Engagement Ring Setting
As anyone shopping for an engagement ring may be discovering, there's much more to an engagement ring that meets the eye. A lot of thought goes into the details that you may have never previously considered. One of these details is the engagement ring setting, which is the way the diamond is attached to the metal band or shank. The setting is essentially a cradle for the diamond, or the metalwork that holds the diamond in place.
Types of Ring Settings
The setting of an engagement ring shouldn’t be confused with the engagement ring style, which refers to the overall design and form of the ring. An engagement ring's setting is just as important a point of consideration however, as it can completely change the appearance of the stone. The ‘perfect’ ring setting largely boils down to your own personal tastes, the shape of the stone, and your daily activities or lifestyle. For this reason, it's best to be fully informed about the different types of setting, so that you're equipped with enough knowledge to make a decision about which setting is best for you.
Below, we'll delve into two types of setting that engagement rings most commonly fall under: claw and bezel.
what is a CLAW SETTINg?
The claw setting (sometimes referred to as the ‘prong’ setting) is the most classic and well-known engagement ring setting. In a claw setting, the stone is held tightly in place by tiny slivers of metal (usually either four or six) which wrap around the stone to hold it in place - these are the ‘claws.’
The claw setting is loved by many for its timeless look and versatility, as it supports a large variety of diamond shapes and carat weights. The number of claws in this setting vary depending on the shape of the diamond. For example, in order to protect the corners of the stone, four claws are most commonly used when setting a princess cut diamond. Some also opt for six claws as opposed to four for extra security.
This setting elevates the diamond, making it more prominent and allowing a lot of light to pass through the stone. A claw setting by nature also uses a minimal amount of metal to secure the stone, leaving the diamond open to light and allowing for maximum brilliance, in comparison to alternatives such as the bezel setting.
“Diamonds are cut to allow light to refract and bounce around within the stone,” explained Katie Spencer-Jones, one of our talented jewellery designers. “Because the metal in a bezel setting surrounds the stone, it blocks a lot of that light out. So the diamond will still sparkle, but not quite as much as it would with a claw setting.”
Though the exposure of the stone is an attractive feature for aesthetic purposes, it's worth noting that claws can snag, and care must be taken when wearing a ring with this setting particularly by those with a more active lifestyle. For this reason, we recommend getting your engagement ring checked by a jeweller once a year at minimum to ensure your stone is still secure - which is why we offer complimentary checks every 6 months with each purchase, as part of our aftercare service and lifetime guarantee.
That being said, engagement rings with a claw setting are by far the most popular of all settings and make for the vast majority of our engagement ring sales. Most famous engagement rings use a claw setting, and they make up the vast majority of celebrity engagement rings.
claw setting advantages
- Allows the most light to hit the stone from all angles, resulting of light to hit the stone for maximum fire and brilliance
- Can be used to set diamonds and other precious gems of all shapes and sizes
- Keeps the gemstone secure
- Timeless and classic
claw setting disadvantages
- Although professional jewellers will always set your ring securely, it's important to remember get your ring checked and tightened and the claws tightened if needed
- A diamond of a smaller carat size may appear smaller when six claws are used as opposed to four
WHAT IS A BEZEL SETTING?
Also known as the 'rubover' setting, the bezel setting is sleek, modern, and make a perfect option for those wanting a more unique diamond ring. In this setting, the diamond's exterior is encased by metal, virtually eliminating the possibility of damage to the stone.
The increased security the bezel setting offers can make it an attractive option for those with an active lifestyle or those with hands-on occupations such as doctors, nurses, chefs and construction workers. Round brilliant diamonds are most commonly used in this setting, but a skilled jeweller will be able to set a diamond of any shape.
Although diamonds set this way will sparkle, because this setting does not allow light to hit the diamond from all sides, the brilliance of the diamond will be reduced when compared to a diamond in a claw setting.
bezel setting ADVANTAGES
- Can be used with diamonds and other precious gems of all shapes and sizes
- The most secure engagement ring setting available
- Makes for a unique and modern engagement ring option
bezel setting disAdvantages
- The diamond is encircled by metal, which reduces fire and brilliance
- Due to the nature of the setting, the diamond can appear smaller than it actually is
Now that we’ve defined the differences between the claw and bezel setting, let's take a look at some of the most popular ring settings from each category.
POPULAR ENGAGEMENT RING SETTINGS
1. CLAW SETTING/SOLITAIRE
The most popular engagement ring style combined with the most popular engagement ring setting: name a more perfect match than that. The claw setting was designed for single-stone, or solitaire, rings. The lack of any other metalwork or gemstones allow the centre stone to be the main attraction.
This solitaire engagement rings is a true classic and a constant amidst shifting engagement ring trends, famed for its timeless appearance, and a favourite among those who like to keep it simple yet sophisticated.
2. bezel setting
This setting gives your engagement ring a uniquely sleek appearance. As we've discussed, in a bezel setting, the stone’s perimeter is held in place by metal, meaning the sides are not exposed and only the face of the diamond is visible. Because the amount of light hitting the diamond is limited, the brilliance of the stone is reduced, but that doesn't make this modern engagement ring option any less eye-catching!
Because of how secure this setting is, it may be a desirable option for people with a more active lifestyle.
3. TIFFANY setting
This 6-claw setting was patented by its namesake in 1886, and designed to maximise the amount of light passing through the stone.
The claws in the Tiffany setting "lift the diamond off the band and into the light, allowing it to sparkle and take centre stage," says Tiffany & Co. chief gemologist Victoria Wirth Reynolds.
Though it amplifies a stone's beauty, the prongs on a Tiffany cut ring are set higher than usual by nature of its design, so it's important to get it checked regularly to make sure the diamond remains secure.
4. CATHEDRAL setting
A cathedral set ring is a claw set ring with a twist.
This setting also features two 'cathedral' arches which connect the band to the claws and hold the centre stone in place. This adds extra height to the stone and can make it appear larger and more prominent, along with all the other benefits of the claw setting.
5. PAVé Setting
The pavé setting (pronounced pah-vay, originating from the French verb ‘to pave’) is an excellent way to maximise your diamond’s sparkle even further.
With this setting, the shank of the ring is lined –or paved– with tiny accent diamonds, typically less than 0.1 carats, either all around or half-way around the band. Each pavé diamond is securely set using tiny prongs that are virtually invisible, as opposed to the larger prongs that hold the centre stone. The effect is one of continuous, brilliant sparkle that can be seen from all angles.
6. Split Shank Setting
The ‘shank’ is another word for the band of the engagement ring.
Split shank engagement rings have their shanks split in two, the effect being two shanks originating from the stone and negative space on the sides on the diamond.
Split shank engagement rings commonly also feature a pavé setting.