What Are The Different Types of Engagement Ring Settings?
When it comes to selecting or customizing the perfect engagement ring, there’s so much to consider, whether you’re about to get engaged, or recently got engaged but haven’t yet chosen a ring. You might also be looking to upgrade or reset an existing engagement ring with a brand-new engagement ring setting. You’re ahead of the game if you already have a diamond shape or cut in mind as that will help guide you to the type of engagement ring setting that will complement it, keep it secure, and reflect your personal style. You can further narrow your search for the perfect setting by knowing the metal you want (e.g. yellow gold, white gold or platinum).
But what exactly is an engagement ring setting? It technically refers to the part of the ring that is gripping the diamond (more on that below) and is also sometimes referred to as the “mounting” or “mount.” The primary function of an engagement ring setting is to protect the center stone from damage and secure it in place.
The best engagement ring settings also showcase the beauty of the center stone, perhaps by lifting it high above the finger to catch the light or by adding extra sparkle with the presence of side stones or all-over diamond details.
How do you decide? Browse, browse, browse. And try on a bunch of settings to get a feel for how they look on your finger and speak to your individual taste (i.e., do you want something minimalist and lowkey or something super glitzy and glamorous? There are a gazillion versions of both aesthetics and everything in between.
Given that there is an abundance of options to choose from, landing on a style will come down to a mix of personal preference and (of course) budget. Definitely try to ballpark what you want to spend—in general, the more accent diamonds there are in a setting, the more expensive it will be. So, if you’re a less-is-more type it may be to your benefit!
When evaluating different settings, you’ll also want to consider your daily activities. If you constantly work with your hands, you may not want a ring that sits high on your finger due to the likelihood of it getting bumped or scratched.
The most efficient way to narrow it down? Tell your local jeweler the look you want and how much you want to spend. A reputable and experienced jeweler can easily identify the best option based on your budget, lifestyle, desired stone shape and more.
For a sense of the possibilities, read on for our overview of the most common engagement ring settings. Pretty soon your dream design will be right at your fingertips.
As the most popular engagement ring setting, a prong setting is designed for single-stone or “solitaire” rings designs. The Tiffany setting is the defining example of a prong setting, consisting of six (or sometimes four) prongs placed at intervals around the diamond. The beauty of a Tiffany or generic prong setting is that the diamond sits high above the finger, unencumbered by excess metal, where it attracts light from all angles to maximize the stone’s brilliance. Prongs can be claw-, V-, talon- or square-shaped and due to their simplicity, simple prong settings are among the most affordable available.
For this setting, the diamond is surrounded completely by a metal border, firmly anchoring the center stone and preventing it from damage. For those who work often with their hands or worry about the diamond getting dinged or scratched, a bezel engagement setting is known to be the style that offers the most security and protection. Also, its sleek, modern vibe is a favorite among couples with a clean-lined (versus ornate) aesthetic.
From the French word for "paved" (think: a road paved with gemstones), a pavé diamond engagement setting involves rows of super small diamonds (known in the jewelry industry as melee) with no visible prongs for a look that delivers all-over, 360-degree sparkle. A pavé setting offers extra sparkle without detracting from the center stone’s beauty, whether the diamonds decorate the band of the ring or the whole shebang for the ultimate ultra-glam look.
Another popular setting is the halo, which typically includes a center diamond surrounded by a row of smaller accent stones, which creates the illusion of “big look” for less. Some couples amplify this effect with halo engagement ring styles that have double or even triple rows of diamonds; for an edgier look, a smaller round diamond can be framed by a halo that takes an altogether a different shape like cushion, octagon or hexagon.
The hidden halo setting “hides” below the center stone, often looped around the base of a diamond like a collar or along its outer edge, visible only in profile. The subtle presence of these tiny stones is a special, unexpected detail that adds a fun surprise element while delivering just the right amount of extra sparkle.
Adding elegant height to your engagement ring, the cathedral setting has two metal arches that extend from each side of the band to prop up the center diamond, which is further secured by prongs or a bezel. This setting effectively elevates the stone to a perch high above the finger, and the arches can be a vehicle for decorative filigree or diamond accents for a richly detailed, architectural appearance.
Although a popular way to set diamonds in a wedding ring, you’ll find that channel-set diamonds decorate the bands of many settings. Here, a row of diamonds is securely sandwiched between two metal retails, producing a smooth and streamlined look. More good news: Since the gems are not separated by prongs, beads, or bezels, this style is less likely to snag clothes.
Here, a group of small diamonds is configured in a geometric shape or floral pattern suggesting the appearance of one big center stone. Many modern-day cluster settings borrow their designs from vintage or antique engagement rings. It’s a cost-effective choice as multiple small diamonds are less expensive than a single center stone.
The three-stone engagement ring setting features a larger center diamond flanked by two side diamonds. Often, the center stone is set higher than the others to accentuate its presence. A symbolic setting that has stood the test of time, the three stones are meant to represent a couple’s past, present and future.
Toi et Moi
For some, two stones are better than one, and this unique setting (doubles down on the sparkle. Toi et Moi, French for “you and me,” has been a favorite since the 18th century and symbolizes two souls uniting as one.
Once you find the engagement ring setting that perfectly captures you and your partner, make sure you get it insured by a reputable jewelry company like Jewelers Mutual. Obtaining personal jewelry insurance through Jewelers Mutual is an affordable option and covers loss, damage and mysterious disappearances. You can receive a jewelry insurance quote in just 30 seconds by clicking the button below. No personal information is required.