Whether you’ve decided on a diamond or gemstone, the setting of your engagement ring influences the overall design and is a key factor that you will want to consider carefully.
When it comes to diamond settings, people can mean different things, either referring to the overall ring style or the setting that the stone will fit into.
In technical terms, the ring is made up of two parts, the shank (body or band that fits around the finger) and the head or gallery, which is the centre, where the metal sets the diamond or stone in place. As well as securing your stone in place, the setting is an important visual factor in how your stone will look.
A claw setting is the most common engagement setting and looks like small claws that rise up and grasp the diamond, holding it in place while showing the stone off as much as possible. Typically used to hold large centre or multiple featured stones, this setting can also be made to hold smaller stones as well.
Claw settings vary, based on the shape of the diamond. With round shapes, you’ll often see four or six claws that boost a diamond upwards. Both ring settings work well, but the four-claw setting allows you to see more of the diamond. Princess cut or pear shape diamonds will feature claws that take on “V” shapes, designed to protect the sharply angled corners.
The benefit of a claw setting is, it raises the diamond and allows it to disperse light as it is not restricted by any metal. Claw settings create a flash display of rainbow colours that makes diamonds so wonderfully beautiful.
A few things to consider:
Claw settings are not ideal for those who frequently use their hands at work or in their hobbies. Claw settings can snag, scratch and potentially put diamonds at risk of loss or damage. If you opt for this particular setting, you’ll need to take your ring to a jeweller to be examined every couple of years, to ensure the claws are still tight and your diamond is secure.
The halo setting combines the security of a claw setting, with the sparkle of multiple pavé, invisible-set or channel-set diamonds. Popular with celebrities, the halo setting is designed to make the centre stone look more glamorous, feminine and delicate. Halo settings can be round or squared-off on the sides.
For peace of mind, the diamond-encrusted halo adds an extra level of protection for the centre stone, keeping it from knocking or scratching against surfaces. The multiple-diamond setting can make the claw-set centre diamond look larger.
Many halo settings use pavé or micropavé diamonds around the centre stone, so you may encounter a few problems with diamonds coming loose (see the section on pavé below).
This setting is typically used for wedding bands and features a row of diamonds set side by side in a continuous row between a channel of metal. This style can also be used for side stones, accenting a centre stone of a clawed or halo setting.
Channel settings are particularly popular for eternity, anniversary and wedding bands, because the diamonds compliment other rings as the perfect symbol of the continuity of love and commitment. You may come across a channel setting with a bar between each stone, which is known as a bar setting.
Channel settings lock each diamond safely into individual seats in the band, keeping them secure. As the diamonds are set close together, it creates a spectacular sparkle. Unlike claw settings, channel settings are convenient for women with active lifestyles, because they’re set below or flush with the metal, so the diamonds stay protected.
Invisible settings are unique and contemporary, appearing as a sparkling sea of brilliant diamonds. They feature a grid of princess cut or square diamonds that are set side by side to appear as a larger diamond surface.
Invisible-set diamonds are specially designed to give the illusion that the diamonds are not held together by anything. This effect is created by setting the stones from underneath, flush to metal surrounding the diamond’s grid pattern.
Due to the nature of the setting, it’s harder to keep the diamonds in place and if they do come loose, it can be a challenge to find a jewellery repair service for this. It’s best to buy your invisible-set diamond ring from a trustworthy jeweller, and to insure the ring in case of damage.
Pavé diamond rings are a wonderful combination of Hollywood glamour, with a special twist of elegance. This particular setting alludes to both romance and timeless fashion.
Featuring tiny diamonds literally paved onto the metal, this setting offers a subtle sparkle. The technique involves the creation of tiny beads or claws from the surrounding metal to hold the diamonds in place. It’s a sleek and simple setting perfect for a modest woman, who isn’t taken by large diamonds and elaborate styles. “Micropavé” is a term used to describe the use of very small diamonds or gemstones.
Using smaller diamonds brings down the overall weight and cost of the ring and similar to channel set rings, the smooth surface makes it particularly good for women with active lifestyles.
There is a slight risk of diamonds falling out with this setting, so as with invisible and channel settings, be sure you work with a trustworthy jeweller to ensure your pavé settings are properly manufactured, to avoid replacing any diamonds.
When a metal band is formed around the shape of the diamond, it is called a ‘bezel-setting’ – the top of the diamond sits in line with the metal rim. This is considered an old fashioned way of setting gemstones and was popular until the 19th century, however it made a comeback with the fashionable alterative metals in the late 1990’s, and was particularly popular with people who prefer a clean, polished look.
There are two types of bezel settings: a full bezel, which encircles the entire stone and covers 10 per cent of the ring and a partial bezel, which holds two sides of the stone but leaves openings on the other two. With a full bezel setting, only the top of the diamond is visible.
A bezel setting keeps diamonds fully protected and prevents them from snagging on things; ideal for people who play sports or with a hands-on job. It’s less likely to knock against surfaces or scratch other people. Many people also value the bezel setting for its unique and clean, modern look.
It is sometimes feared that you lose some of the shine of the stone as the metal band is wrapped around it. However, all you really need is a well cut diamond in order for light to pass through and exit the top of the diamond to give off a brilliant sparkle.
Engagement ring settings are completely down to personal choice and both style and lifestyle. Before choosing a setting, pay close attention to the type of jewellery they already wear, daily activity and to the most comfortable choice for your partner.