Once you’ve selected a stone for your ring, the next thing you’ll need to do is choose from a selection of engagement ring settings. Although the stone can account for up to 90% of the cost of the ring, the setting is what defines its look and showcases the stone in the most fashionable of ways. When shopping, be sure to check out a variety of other rings, even those you might not like, just looking at the settings, not the stones. You may be inspired from doing so!
Remember the Wedding Band
When shopping for engagement ring settings, never let the addition of a wedding band stray far from your thoughts. (An engagement ring may represent a promise but the wedding band ultimately outranks it in significance, and will likely be worn every day.) While the traditional method of wear has been to stack the two, not everyone wears the rings together. If you do, you can always customize a band to fit or wear the engagement ring on the right hand and/or just for special occasions.
Purchase Your Rings Together
One way around this whole issue (and save time and money in the meantime,) is to buy an engagement ring and wedding ring set together. A set will include an engagement ring and a woman’s wedding band (duo) or an engagement ring and his-and-hers wedding bands (trio). The advantage of these sets is that the woman’s engagement ring and wedding band fit together perfectly and also look good separately, while sharing cohesive design elements. You can save as much as 50% off the overall cost of engagement and wedding jewelry by purchasing a set, rather than buying the rings separately.
Regardless of whether or not you are buying a set or building an engagement ring from scratch, every aspect of that ring, from the stone, to the metal, and down to the mounting should be chosen with your lifestyle and budget in mind. The choices are endless, from a simple solitaire to a number of stones and combination of settings on the same ring. Luckily, it’s relatively easy to reset your stone, or even add stones, depending on your particular budget and lifestyle.
The Prong Setting
This most common type of engagement ring settings involves three to six “claws” or prong settings that hold a stone firmly in a metal “head” or “basket”. Prongs can be pointed, rounded, flat, or V-shaped, and serve as “pockets” for a square stone’s corners. When deciding between four and six prongs, know that four prongs show more of the diamond, while six prongs are more secure, but can almost obscure a smaller stone. If you have a heart, marquise, or pear shaped stone, be sure its points are cradled in a V-shaped prong for protection. Flat prongs are recommended for emerald-cut stones.
The Tension Setting
This is a design in which the compression-spring pressure of the shank holds the stone firmly in place. The minimal interference of metal can give the impression that the stone is “floating”. Only extremely hard stones such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies can withstand this type of required pressure. The only drawback is that this type of setting can be difficult to resize later.
The Bezel Setting
This is comprised of a metal rim with edges that fully or partially surround the perimeter of the stone.
The Channel Setting
Popular for wedding bands, this setting sandwiches a row of stones (with no metal separating them) between two horizontal channels for part or all of the ring.
The Bar Setting
This setting can also be applied around some or all of the ring, but instead of channels holding the stones, thin vertical bars of metal between stones secure them firmly in place.
The Pave Setting
The French word for “paved”, a pavé setting (pronounced “pah-vay”) involves three or more rows of several small stones fitted into holes that set them level with the surface of the ring. Surrounding metal — white gold or platinum for white stones so as to be unnoticeable — is then raised to form beads that secure the gems. The setting can be flat or domed.
The Gypsy Setting
Popular for men’s rings, this setting sets the stone “flush” into a hole in the ring so that it does not protrude at all. The ring’s metal is then pressed and hammered around the stone’s perimeter to secure it.
No matter what you select, stay true to your style and what you like. Trends come and go, but choosing what looks best on you will last a lifetime! See all our engagement ring settings here.