Jewelry Guide

Your complete guide to engagement ring settings

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Your complete guide to engagement ring settings

At some stage in your quest for an engagement ring, you will have to make the decision of what setting to choose. Bearing in mind that the diamond or gemstone you’ve chosen is probably the most eye-catching aspect of the ring, it makes sense to ensure that you choose a mounting that will hold it securely while showing off the stone to maximum capacity. Beauty and security are the two main factors that will influence your decision, but as you will see in the discussion that follows, there’s usually a trade-off between the two. It will be important to find that happy point of equilibrium that works best for your stone of choice.

What is the engagement ring setting?

The ring setting is that part of the ring that holds the stone securely in place. Many people confuse the setting with the ring style or design, which refers to the overall appearance of the ring. Below is a rundown of the most widely used ring settings, together with their pros and cons:

  1. Prong Setting – the traditional lookAll you need to know about the engagement ring setting and styles

Prongs are basically metal pins whose edged tips clutch on to the stone to keep it in place. The prongs work like your fingers when you’re holding on to something that’s more or less as big as the size of your hand.

Ring settings typically have four to six prongs. The more prongs added, the more secure the stone will be but visibility and light reflection can be stifled. In the same way, the fewer the prongs, the lower the security but higher the visibility and light reflection.

An engagement ring with a prong setting will emphasis the diamond and make it appear to protrude into the air. However, this may cause the diamond along with the setting to catch on objects such as clothes or hair or worse on hard objects. This can be an issue especially if you are wearing the ring on the dominant hand.

Tiffany engagement ring setting

  1. The Tiffany Setting

This is a type of prong setting that was created and trademarked by Tiffany & Co. It has six prongs designed to create maximum light reflection and therefore to enhance the diamond’s brilliance with the least amount of metal obstructing the diamond. Just like the ordinary prong setting, it shares the same advantages and disadvantages when it comes to the safety of the stone. It is generally seen as the world’s favorite engagement ring setting!

  1. The Bezel Setting

In this type of setting, a metal is wrapped around the stone to keep it in place. If you imagined the ring without the stone, this setting would look like a crater. There are two types of bezel setting:

Full Bezel Setting Bezel engagement ring setting

This wraps the stone’s entire circumference. While this is one of the safest setting options out there, it may not suit someone who wishes the stone to be more prominent.

Partial Bezel Setting

This setting leaves the sides of the stone uncovered which means the stone is more visible. However, the safety of the stone might be compromised. Unlike the prong setting where the prongs are positioned to create a balanced grip around the stone, this level of balance might not be sufficiently secure. If a great amount of force hits the stone at its side, there is a greater possibility of damage to the stone.

  1. The Tension Setting

The name itself indicates what type of setting this is. Here, the metal of the ring is positioned in such a way as to use tension or pressure between the two ends of the band to hold the stone and secure it in place. If you think about it, it is like picking up a bead with tweezers. The right pressure and the right angle must be achieved and maintained to squeeze the bead and keep it from falling. That’s how the tension setting works.

The process is a bit tricky as the jeweler needs to ensure that the bands are carved out to match the exact dimensions of the stone. This entails more cost from labor and needed expertise. Compared to the prong or the bezel setting, tension setting looks more unique and stylish but definitely less secure and so the wearer should take extra care.

  1. The Halo Setting

With this setting, smaller diamonds or other gemstones surround the center stone, forming a halo around it. The halo adds more sparkle to the center stone thereby enhancing its brilliance.

Although maintaining and cleaning a halo setting can be tricky, one great benefit of a halo setting is that you can play around with the price of the stones to cut cost as smaller stones will be much cheaper compared to one single big stone.

  1. The Cluster Setting

Similar to the halo setting, the cluster setting also involves several stones although here they are crowded together to form a cluster, taking the place of the center stone. You can choose similar sized stones crafted together to create the illusion of one big stone. Just like the halo setting, cleaning or maintaining the cluster setting would require more effort.

  1. The Cathedral Setting

In this setting, the stone is mounted high above the ring and has an imposing, important appearance like a towering cathedral. At least, that’s how we see it! The center stone is usually held with prongs or in a bezel held up high by arches of metal connected to the shank. The stone, especially when it’s a diamond, is magnified but the disadvantage here is that the stone may be get caught on objects.

  1. The Channel Setting

The channel setting consists of a row (or two rows) of stones held within a groove carved in the band of the ring. You can opt to have a center stone as well or keep it simple but stylish with just the diamond-encrusted channel.

The disadvantage of this setting is that cleaning the stones may pose difficulty as they are embedded into the channel. Resizing can prove to be difficult as well as this could damage or deform the channel.

  1. The Bar Setting

This setting is somewhat similar to the channel setting in that the stones are lined up in a row. However, here rather than there being a groove for the diamonds to be placed within, the stones are secured by a metal bar between them. This is not only aesthetically pleasing but also holds the little stones securely. The bar setting is a popular choice for wedding rings and does not require a big center stone.

Although the channel setting is somewhat more secure, the bars give better visibility to the stones and allow for easier cleaning. Resizing can be done but can be tricky.

  1. The Pave Setting

Pronounced ‘pavei’ after the French word for ‘paved’, this setting features very small diamonds. The stones are attached into tiny holes drilled into the band and are kept in place by tiny metal droplets that serve as little prongs. Pave settings would uniquely complement a bigger diamond center piece and the tiny closely-knit diamonds themselves exude an interesting and unique appeal.

The disadvantage, however, of this setting is that some of the tiny stones may loosen up over time and may get dislodged or lost from their holes. Resizing can be hard too when the security of the stones highly depend on them being held tightly in their place.

  1. The Flush Setting

Also called the ‘gypsy setting’, here the stones are nested perfectly or flushed into the metal of the ring. The type of stones you wish to have are totally up to you. Generally, it is difficult to have a very large stone flushed into the ring, so smaller stones are a better choice for this setting. 

The security that this setting offers make it the best option for people who lead active lifestyles but the setup of the stones decrease their visibility and affect the overall brilliance of the diamonds.

  1. The Invisible Setting

This is a unique setting where stones look like they were born with the ring, like they’ve always been there without the need to attach them or keep them in place, thus the term ‘invisible’ setting.

JamesAllen Engagement Rings

What holds the stone in place is a metal construction hidden beneath them. In order to ensure that the stones are protected from falling off, this construction will need to be inserted into the stone through grooves made into the stone. This can affect the price of the stone in case they need to be appraised for reselling. However, considering that most engagement and wedding rings are meant to last a lifetime, this should be of little concern.

Generally, the stones are secure although it greatly depends on the quality of work done by the jeweler. Lastly, with this type of setting, the stones are less visible thereby affecting how they can play with the light.

  1. The Vintage or Antique Setting

Under the umbrella of vintage or antique settings are a variety of settings. There are some common features of vintage rings. This setting often includes milgrain or “millegrain” elements which are small metal beads embellishing the edges of the ring. Another popular design that this setting may include is the filigree where threads of metal give the ring an antique look. Most common vintage setting styles are Victorian, Edwardian, Art Nouveau and Georgian era styles. This is a great option for people who are in love with the romance of the past!

If you are confused about all the different settings of engagement rings, recap by going through the summary below! Remember that in addition to ring settings, you will also have to consider ring designs and styles.


Table of advantages and disadvantages of different engagement ring settings

Ring Setting




  • Diamond is given prominence
  • Allows for maximum brilliance
  • Works great with diamond solitaire rings
  • The prongs may catch on objects
  • The stone is exposed to knocks
  • The prongs may get bent or deformed though time causing the stone to fall off


  • Stone is securely held
  • Safer than most settings
  • Suits an active lifestyle
  • Stone is less visible
  • Less sparkle as amount of light hitting the stone is minimized
  • Emphasis is on the metal as much as the stone


  • Unique and intriguing setting
  • Had a modern and trendy look
  • Emphasises the stone as well as setting
  • The design entails higher cost as molding the band to the perfect dimension requires expert artisan skills
  • Less secure than most other settings as the stone can slip out of place


  • Center stone’s brilliance is accentuated by the halo of smaller diamonds
  • Overall brilliance of ring is increased
  • The price of smaller stones is cheaper
  • You can use a smaller center stone as the small diamonds conceal this fact
  • The cleaning and maintenance can be tricky
  • Some stones in the halo may get detached over time


  • More stones means more brilliance
  • Small stones clustered together can create the illusion of a bigger diamond
  • The price of smaller stones is cheaper
  • The cleaning and maintenance require more effort
  • Some stones in the cluster may fall out over time


  • The diamond is elevated high and given more emphasis due to the arches of this setting


  • The stone is exposed to knocks and damage
  • Setting can catch on objects


  • The stones are held securely in place
  • The placement of the stones is a unique design in itself
  • Cleaning the stones will be tricky as they will be embedded into the channels created in the ring band
  • Resizing will prove difficult

Bar Setting

  • Considerably secure
  • More visibility of the stones as compared to those in a channel setting
  • Cleaning the stones require more effort
  • Resizing will be tricky but doable


  • Greater sparkle
  • The price of smaller stones is cheaper
  • Resizing will prove difficult
  • Some stones may fall out over time

Flush Setting

  • High security for the stones
  • Ideal for people leading an active lifestyle
  • Less visibility of the stones
  • Emphasis is more on the band

Invisible Setting

  • The seamless design is unique and gorgeous
  • The stone/s looks larger in this setting
  • Less visibility of the stones
  • Requires great artisan skills to keep the stones in place
  • Stones may fall out over time, which means more labor cost
  • Grooves or holes may need to be made on the stones and affect the latter’s appraisal

Vintage Setting

  • The old fashioned design gives a unique feel
  • Designs can be sophisticated and stunning
  • The intricate details could mean more artisan skills which entail more cost




Jewelry Guide