For many of today’s couples, a simple but emotional ritual often marks the pledge to spend forever as a pair. One offers the other an engagement ring, a symbolic gesture understood to imply undying love, passion, and commitment.
Once both parties agree to become engaged, they might connect to their rings sentimentally. The ring may feel imbued with the sweetness of the bond between the couple, reminding them of cherished, essential qualities of their relationship. With such a weighty role in the couple’s story, choosing the perfect engagement ring setting may feel like no small task.
There are many different engagement ring settings to choose from, each with its own unique style and personality. Finding the right setting will highlight the beauty of the diamond and ensure your ring will truly shine.
Engagement Ring Settings, Defined
Today’s engagement ring settings often feature a sparkling diamond. Whether a colorless, fiery diamond or another beautiful gemstone, or even a pearl, one piece will often take center stage. By contrast, the wedding ring is often more plain. Wedding rings specifically are often chosen to compliment the engagement ring as a plain band in a matching metal or a band with diamonds flush with the band, exchanged on the wedding day itself. Engagement rings can even be purchased as part of a set, together with a simple band.
Whether you choose to follow tradition is entirely up to you. Engagement rings are marketed for both women and men, so many striking styles exist, and a “setting” could refer to both the actual seating of the stone in a piece of metal that sits above the band or the shape of the entire band around the stone.
What to consider with engagement ring settings?
Don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. Keep these simple ideas in mind as you shop for a setting with the most beautiful aesthetic appeal to you.
On your finger, does the ring sit high up or closer to the digit? A higher ring, such as one in a cathedral setting, could result in more snags, whereas a closer setting, or one in which the stone sits flush with the setting, as in a polished bezel or burnish/flush setting, could help keep the stone from snagging and protect it from dings.
For the most luminous ring, you should clean it every year or two, but some settings will naturally require a bit more detailed attention. A channel set ring, for example, with stones set side by side with nothing between them and held in place by the top and bottom of a band, may need more attention.
Budgets matter. Some studies even show that a less expensive wedding can bode well for marital longevity. Want to save money on a smaller rock, but make it seem bigger? Surround that central stone with smaller stones, as in a pave, cluster/halo, or side stone setting. The smaller stones will naturally make that central stone appear larger to the eye. Sunburst ring settings lend their vintage flair to this effect, too.
On the other hand, a larger band or sides of the band can make a stone appear smaller, as with a twisted band or tension engagement ring setting.
Types of Engagement Ring Settings
We’ve compiled a quick field guide to orient you toward the perfect engagement ring setting. Remember that there are infinite styles to choose from, but we’ve focused on a few of the most popular styles couples seek out today.
The classic and chic prong setting is designed for a stunning single stone and features small arms that will wrap around your central gemstone's edges to secure and protect it. The prong setting can sit low or high on the finger and should be checked periodically to ensure it has not loosened.
Fully or partially surround your stone with metal, which protects it and holds it in place, and you’ve got a bezel setting. This gleaming setting provides a sleek look, but may allow less light to hit the stone, affecting an otherwise fiery rock.
Think of a narrow water channel to get a sense of what a channel setting means. The channel travels along the ring's body in this engagement ring style. Rows of stones are set in a sandwich between two pieces of metal. The channel leaves no space between each stone. Instead, the stones touch.
Most often, the precious stones are visible when the ring is viewed from above on the wearer. However, in some rings, the channel may be turned so that the gemstones are laid in the north or south portion of the ring versus on the widest part of the band visible from above.
This sophisticated setting can require more effort to clean because dirt can get lodged between the stones in the channel. It will also hide the diamonds in the channel a bit more. However, the channel can make a center diamond look much bigger.
In the pave style, tiny glistening diamonds cross the band from east to west, sitting flush with the outline of the band itself. However, remember that you could include more than one row of pave stones in your engagement ring for even more sparkle. This style uses tiny prongs which reflect light and add to the shine.
This beaming style is a great way to enhance the look of the center stone with a circle of smaller stones around it. A simple ring of stones can do the job, but so can a glamorous double ring. As with channel settings, you are not limited to one stone for this design. You might opt for baguette cuts or smaller pave stones. Both arranged strategically can also allow a vintage sunburst effect.
This style is one in which the central stone is flanked, either by two other diamonds or by an arrangement of stones to highlight the beauty of the main stone. Perhaps stones arranged in a leaf pattern make you smile, or maybe two smaller red rubies give you the happiest feeling. Shapes for the side stones are limited by your imagination.
A breathtaking option, bar settings include a thin metal bar positioned between each diamond or stone. This eye-catching and elegant configuration can gorgeously showcase smaller or larger stones.
In a magical tension setting, the stone looks like it’s floating, suspended in the air.That’s because it’s set with compression using spring tension, giving a ring a modern look.This setting works best for harder gemstones, including diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. Remember that using a thicker metal piece can make a main stone look smaller.
These romantic settings feature a band that splits and each piece interweaves or twists around itself, creating a beautiful romantic effect. The split shank may incorporate a vine motif and include dainty, smaller stones too. Twisting can also create a wider band, which may look great with a larger center stone.
This bewitching ring setting echoes the design of a cathedral ceiling with a metal arm that comes off the ring shank itself and arches to meet the diamond, leaving a little triangular window between the diamond setting and the ring's body when viewed from the side. When compared with a classic prong setting, this ring will push the central stone higher on the finger and might make it seem larger.
Choosing the Best Engagement Ring Setting For You
You’ve got options! It may come down to the stone you choose. For a princess cut stone, you may opt for a prong setting to protect those corners, but there’s no rule that says you can’t sink the stone into a lovely bezel setting. For an emerald stone, the options are more varied, including a prong, bezel, halo, pave, and three-stone or side stone setting.
The “three months salary” rule suggesting an appropriate budget for your engagement ring is certainly one place to start, but it in no way ties you to any rule. Today’s modern couples are creating their own traditions and rules, so there is no wrong way to go about choosing an engagement ring, especially if it speaks to you. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend in some cases but don’t rule out other stones as centerpieces or accents in the ring for your betrothed.
Whether your eye pulls you towards flashing, glamorous rings or unique but subdued styles, remember that you can purchase or design your engagement ring setting.
At London Gold, the best ring is the one you love, and our stylists and designers love working one-on-one to help curate and guide your journey to a memorable ring. Schedule a time to work with us, explore our engagement rings online, or stop by one of our three Arizona stores in Scottsdale, Arrowhead, or Chandler.