Engagement Ring Styles and Settings That You Need to Know About

The Bottom Line

Your choice of engagement ring is extremely important and personal. The first step is to determine the kind of diamond that you need to buy. But then there are dozens of different style ring settings to choose between.

A good way to get an idea of what you like is to look at the recently purchased rings on James Allen and Blue Nile.

Our guide to Engagement Ring Styles

Are you confused about all the different engagement ring styles? Do you need simple explanations of what they all mean? If so then you’ve come to the right place. Our guide will take you through all of the must-have engagement ring styles for 2018.

Prong and Solitaire Settings

The most common setting is a prong setting. This is a tiny metal claw that grips the diamond and holds it in place. The prong can be round or pointed or even flat.

Most prong settings will feature four or six prongs. You can see more of the diamond with four but the diamond is more secure with six. The best thing about it is that there is a minimum of metal so there is more diamond to see. More light can also pass through the diamond, making it more brilliant.

Pros of a Prong

  • Raises the diamond and makes it more prominent
  • Increases the amount of light that can pass through the diamond
  • Works well with a variety of diamond shapes
  • Is easy to clean and maintain
  • Is a classic look

Cons of a Prong

  • It can snag on loose clothing or furniture, even more so if it is high set
  • It can loosen over time

Tiffany Setting

Back in 1886, Tiffany & Co. created a six-prong solitaire setting that maximized the light on the diamond. This has come to be known as a Tiffany setting. You can get very close to a Tiffany setting at any jewellery store, but it will never be the proper version as this has been trademarked by Tiffany.

Pros of a Tiffany Setting

  • Increases light reflection
  • Works with a variety of carat sizes and shapes
  • Easy to maintain
  • Is a classic look

Cons of a Tiffany Setting

  • Can snag on clothing or furniture
  • The diamond can loosen over time

Bezel Setting

This is the second most popular setting because it provides a modern look and is suitable for those with an active lifestyle. Rather than use prongs, the bezel setting holds the diamonds in place with a thin metal rim.

Bezel settings can be full or partial. Full settings completely surround the diamond, whilst partial settings leave the sides of the diamond open. With a bezel you don’t have to worry about the ring snagging.

Pros of a Bezel

  • Provides greater security for the ring
  • Is sleek and modern
  • Doesn’t snag
  • Protects the diamond
  • Is easy to clean

Cons of a Bezel

  • Hides more of the stone
  • Provides less reflection and brilliance

Tension Setting

This setting is so names for the tension of the metal band that secures the diamond. With this setting, it looks like the diamond is suspended between two sides.

Lasers are used to calibrate the exact dimensions of the diamond so that the jeweler can cut tiny groves into the band. This means that the diamond is held by the pressure of the brand pushing into the sides of the stone.

They look similar to a diamond suspension setting but are cheaper and easier to create. They also add additional security since they use a prong or bezel setting to anchor the diamond.

Pros of a Tension

  • Secures the diamond in place
  • Offers a great look
  • Enhances light reflection
  • Looks stylish and modern
  • Requires less maintenance than other settings

Cons of a Tension

  • Hard and expensive to resize
  • Can cause smaller carats to look even smaller
  • A stone can fall out if the ring is struck by a significant force

Tension Style Setting

You can mimic the tension style mentioned above but have a band using a bezel setting to hold it in place.

Pros of a Tension Style

  • Secures the diamond
  • Looks timeless
  • Less maintenance required
  • Increases the light that passes through the diamond

Cons of a Tenson Style

  • Hard and expensive to resize
  • Diamonds can look smaller than they are
  • Diamond can fall out if struck by significant force

Channel Setting

With a channel setting, smaller diamonds are set into the band of the ring, in effect making a channel of diamonds.

The diamonds are set close together and used to decorate the sides of the band or the entire band. This is also a popular setting for wedding rings and for other rings where there is no center stone.

Because of the lack of prongs, this design ensures a snag-free offering.

Pros of a Channel

  • Holds the diamonds very securely
  • Enhances a ring’s beauty with diamonds on the side of the band
  • Offers different design with more diamonds without losing stability
  • Won’t snag on clothing or furniture

Cons of a Channel

  • More effort is required when cleaning
  • Difficult to repair because of the channels
  • Can hide diamonds more than prong settings

Pave Setting

This setting, pronounced “pa-vay” comes from the French for paved. It is also what the French refer to cobbles streets as. Jewellers can achieve a continuous sparkle by setting small diamonds next to each other with minimal visibility.

This is achieved by drilling holes into the ring and carefully placing the diamond into the holes. Mini-prongs are used to hold the diamonds in place.

This setting can also be called a bead setting or a micro-pave setting if the stones are particularly small. When diamonds are .01 to .02 carats in size, the setting is pave. Any smaller and it becomes micro-pave.

Pros of a Pave

  • Raises the profile of the main diamond
  • Increases the ring’s brilliance
  • Increases sparkle
  • Offers a modern design style

Cons of a Pave

  • Resizing is tricky
  • Stones can be lost on the side although this is unlikely

If you choose a pave setting the size of the ring should always be confirmed early on to avoid future problems.

Halo Setting

This setting refers to the location of diamonds in a concentric circle (or square) around the center stone. In effect, they created a halo ring around the main diamond. This can have the effect of making the main diamond appear larger. As such, it is a fantastic way to increase the look of a small diamond.

If you’re looking to save money without losing appeal, the halo setting could be the solution for you. You can also contrast the diamond by having a halo of colored gemstones or by setting the halo with a different colored metal.

Halos are commonly paired with Pave bands, but that’s not to say they can’t stand on their own. You can even have a double halo whereby you have two circles of gemstones around the main diamond.

Pros of a Halo

  • Improves appearance of a small center diamond
  • Increases sparkle
  • Holds stone securely
  • Works well with a range of diamond shapes
  • Can offer contrast

Cons of a Halo

  • Stones can loosen over time
  • Resizing is difficult

Cathedral Setting

This is one of the most classic and elegant settings. The setting is so called because it takes inspiration from the arches of a cathedral, and uses arches of metal to hold the diamond in place.

The Cathedral can be set with a range of settings described above, such as prongs, a bezel or tension. That’s because the main feature of this ring is not how the diamond is held by how it is mounted.

Again, this is a good setting for smaller diamonds as the arches make the stone appear larger.

Pros of a Cathedral

  • Improves look of center stone
  • Offers a unique design
  • Center stone is securely held
  • Adds height
  • Makes stone look larger

Cons of a Cathedral

  • At risk of snagging
  • Less strealined
  • More effort is required to clean
  • At risk of detracting from stone’s beauty

Bar Setting

Diamonds can be set between vertical bars of metal. This is similar to a channel setting, but while a channel encloses the diamonds on the side, a bar setting leaves diamonds exposed on two sides. A flexible setting, it can be used on its own or to compliment a center stone.

Pros of a Bar Setting

  • Improves visibility of diamonds
  • Works as a stackable ring
  • Holds stone securely
  • Increases sparkle

Cons of a Bar Setting

  • Less secure than a Channel
  • Difficulty resizing
  • Stones are less protected so more likely to chip

Flush Setting

This setting, which is also known as a Gypsy Setting, places the diamond in a drilled hole allowing it to sit flush with the band.

Metal is then hammered around the diamond to hold it in place. As such, this isn’t suitable for softer stones and should only really be used for diamonds to avoid cracking the gem.

This is a popular choice for wedding bands, particularly for men who want a diamond but don’t want it protruding from the ring.

Pros of a Flush

  • Offers the highest security possible
  • Looks sleek and polished
  • Delivers peace of mind
  • Best protection you can get
  • Is incredibly functional

Cons of a Flush

  • Stone’s visibility is limited
  • Light is restricted from passing through the stone
  • Won’t catch attention (this could be a positive for some)

A Three-Stone Setting

This versatile setting can be used for any occasion. This is an incredibly meaningful stone since the three stones signify the couples past, present and future.

Typically, the center stone is larger than the other two. But they can also be the same size. Most diamond shapes are suitable, but the most popular are round brilliant cuts and princess cuts.

Pros of a Three Prong

  • Maximum sparkle and brilliance possible
  • Multiple large stones possible
  • Improves appearance of main stone
  • Opportunity for personalization
  • More gems to surface area ratio

Cons of a Three Prong

  • More cleaning required
  • Badly designed or chosen stones can take away from center stone’s beauty

A Vintage Setting

Many engagement rings are designed to suit the style of the times. That’s why you can have Art Deco style rings, Edwardian Style rings or Victorian style rings. These will typically feature intricate detailing.

This includes filigree, which is a type of metalwork that solder tiny metal beads through threads of metal. It can also include milgrain, an engraving method that adds tiny balls of metal to the sides of the band.

Pros of a Vintage Setting

  • Has buckets of charm
  • Unique
  • Increases beauty of center stone
  • Matches a particular time period or style

Cons of a Vintage Setting

  • Usually requires more cleaning
  • Can detract from beauty of stone

Cluster Setting

This style “clusters” stones together so that they look like a single large diamond. The design can include a center stone or all stones can be the same size.

Pros of a Cluster

  • Gives the impression of a bigger stone
  • Gives a unique look
  • Usually lower in cost than an equivalent single stone
  • Crafted to any shape
  • Complements smaller hands

Cons of a Cluster

  • Mor work required to clean
  • Small stones can loosen over time

Eternity Band

This isn’t a setting, it is a style of band. They are often used as wedding rings, but can be given on anniversaries or birthdays, or any other occasion.

The name comes from the “eternal presence” of diamonds around the ring. These rings come in channel, bezel, flush or prong settings.

Pros of an Eternity

  • Sparkle circles the finger
  • Adds personality to simple bands
  • Pairs well with other rings on same finger
  • Range of styles available
  • Holds diamonds securely

Cons of an Eternity

  • Difficult to resize
  • Routine cleaning required

Shank Setting

The shank is the band of the ring that encloses the finger. A split-shank is one where the ring splits into two seperate bands that surround the finger.

Pros of a Shank

  • Unique appearance
  • Additional surface area
  • Makes the center stone more eye catching
  • Can be modern or classic

Cons of a Shank

  • More cleaning required
  • Less streamlined

Picking a Ring Setting

The setting of your ring is the foundation of its entire design. That’s why it is so important. Choosing your setting is usually a personal choice that depends on what you like the look of and what you do every day. Some settings are better for those who are more active, even if other settings look better. You should also think about how you will maintain and clean the ring.

Don’t forget to find your ring size, either!

Choosing a setting is the first step. The next is to choose a diamond that compliments that setting and is well supported. The various cuts are explained on the home page.