Engagement Ring Settings
Picking the right engagement ring style is as important as selecting the center stone — it can define the entire effect. When choosing a ring, consider look, budget, and the wearer's personality. All Four Mine styles are available in 14-karat or 18-karat white, yellow or rose gold, as well as platinum. Many styles can be made with nine different center diamonds. The more popular diamond shapes — such as round, princess and cushion — are available in the most setting styles, but even less common shapes like heart, pear and marquise come in a range of settings that can match any wearer's style.
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Stone Setting Styles
Diamonds and gemstone accents can be set in a variety of ways, each with a different look. When setting the ring, craftsmen can use one or combination of the following techniques. All have been refined over time to ensure they're secure.
Channel-set diamonds are suspended uniformly between two borders, creating the look of floating diamonds uninterrupted by metal prongs. This elegant look is used in many traditional engagement rings, particularly princess-cut and round accent diamonds.
In this style, accent diamonds are set closely together with small beads of metal holding them together. This draws attention to the diamonds and their sparkle, minimizing the look of the metal. Jewelers must work with high precision to set stones with this technique; lasers are often used to produce a flawless result.
This style sets accent stones within a band in which each pair of stones are held by the same prong. Minimizing metal elements ensures that light hits the diamonds, enabling them to sparkle. It also creates a tighter, more uniform look.
This setting style encloses diamonds within a border, holding the stones securely in place and adding an attractive design element. Bezel-set rings are common for both men and women and have a classic appeal.
A bar setting holds diamond accents in place with bars of metal on either side. This secure setting style is typically used for baguette-style diamonds for three-stone ring styles or eternity bands.
A flush-set diamond is enclosed completely by metal. The top of the stone is visible, with the rest is set within metal, creating a smooth surface. This setting style is used commonly within wedding bands and smaller accent diamonds. Flush settings are very secure, but because only the tops of the diamond or diamonds are visible, sparkle is somewhat lower than other setting styles.
This setting style is similar to the pavé setting, with a small, V-shaped cutout underneath each diamond adding another design element. This allows for more light to hit the diamond, as less metal shows on the ring.
In this variation of the pavé setting style, the metal beads holding the accent diamonds have U-shaped cutouts underneath, reducing the look of metal. This pavé style is less common on engagement rings.
Setting Styles in Engagement Rings
So now you know about the different engagement ring styles — how do you choose?
Do you prefer the look of smaller accent diamonds with a minimal amount of metal? If so, consider the pavé styles. If you prefer a balance of metal and diamonds, a channel (or flush) setting will enable you to showcase the beauty of the diamonds in addition to metallic shine. If you prefer a subtle look in which the diamond is encased, a bezel setting is optimal.
Another important consideration is the thickness in millimeter of the band. Certain setting styles can be made with various band millimeter widths, while others require a thicker millimeter. Typically, bezel, flush and bar settings require more metal and slightly thicker bands. While band thickness is based on preference, the rule of thumb is that narrower fingers and smaller ring sizes look best when paired with thinner band widths. Larger fingers look better paired with slightly thicker bands, whether they're set with diamonds or not. Also consider which shape of accent diamond you'd like in your ring or band. Typically, baguette or longer diamonds are bar or bezel set. Micro-pavé, pavé, french pavé and scalloped pavé are set with round brilliant-cut round diamonds.
Consider what other jewelry your partner wears. Does she prefer more metal and less sparkle? Does she have a minimalist, subtle taste? Or does she prefer more sparkle? Overall, all setting styles are crafted to showcase the beauty of the diamond and metal, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder or wearer.