Types of Engagement Ring Settings

An engagement ring setting is essential to your engagement ring's overall look and feel. It's the foundation that helps to showcase your unique style and complement the center stone you have chosen for your proposal. From traditional styles to modern, custom-designed settings, there are so many options available to you. Let's explore some of the most popular settings, their features, and their unique characteristics.

The setting will determine how well your diamond or gemstone will sit on the ring and its overall appearance. Whether you opt for a classic prong setting or something more intricate like pavé diamonds, consider what kind of symbolism or meaning you want it to convey before selecting a particular engagement ring setting. With so many designs, materials, and price points – choosing the perfect engagement ring setting is an exciting part of your proposal journey. Let's explore some of the most popular engagement ring settings and their unique characteristics.

What Is A Ring Setting?

The way that gemstones are combined with the metal band of an engagement ring is known as its 'setting.' It is most commonly associated with how its gemstones are mounted or held in place. A ring's setting has two key components: the head and the shank (or band). The head includes the gemstones and sits at the top of the ring, while the shank encircles the finger.

Anatomy Of A Diamond Ring

Types of Ring Settings

Engagement rings come in various settings, each offering its benefits and drawbacks. For instance, some may feel light and airy due to less metal used in their design. In contrast, others feature elaborate metalwork for a more intricate look. Some have low profiles for extra durability, while others lift up stones to sit prominently on the finger. There's sure to be a ring setting that matches your personal preference perfectly!

Prong Setting

A prong setting often contains four or six metal prongs that rise above the gemstone from the ring's basket. Prongs are thin, small metal strips extending upward from the band, creating a cone-like cradle to hold the center stone. The diamond is held in position by doing so, and more light may reach the stone.

A big advantage of a prong setting is that it showcases the center stone's brilliance by allowing more light to enter the stone from many angles. Since the stone protrudes from the ring, it tends to get caught on things. Even though this is a big drawback, this setting is one of the most popular settings for engagement rings.

prong setting drawing

Basket Setting

A basket setting also utilizes prongs, but it's differentiated by the addition of horizontal cross-hatching to create a secure cradle for the gemstone. While this offers increased support and security, it also obscures more of the stone's beauty, sometimes requiring it to be raised higher off the band. Cathedral and prong settings are popular for a high-quality larger diamond because they draw attention to the center stone.

basket setting

Cathedral Setting

A cathedral setting is a type of ring setting where the band of the ring splits and rises up to meet the center stone, creating a beautiful and dramatic effect. The raised sides of the band are often adorned with diamonds or other gemstones, adding even more sparkle to the ring. This setting style is named for its resemblance to the graceful arches of a cathedral ceiling.

Trellis Setting

A trellis setting is a ring setting where the band's metal rises up to hold the diamond securely in place. The prongs that hold the diamond are often designed to look like a trellis, with crisscrossing metal bars that add an elegant and intricate touch to the ring. This setting style also allows maximum light exposure to the diamond, enhancing its brilliance and sparkle. Overall, a trellis setting is a beautiful and timeless choice for an engagement ring.

Rose Gold Twist Ring in trellis setting

Bezel Setting

In a bezel setting, the center stone is held in place by a thin metal rim that surrounds the stone. The metal encases the entire circumference of the diamond, providing extra protection and security. This setting style can be either full or partial, with a full bezel completely surrounding the diamond and a partial bezel exposing some parts of the stone. A bezel setting gives an engagement ring a sleek and modern look while offering practical benefits such as added durability and reduced risk of snagging on clothing or other objects.

bezel solitaire setting

Channel Setting

A channel setting is an engagement ring setting with several small diamonds in a metal channel that runs along the ring's band. Two thin strips of metal on either side of the channel hold the diamonds in place, creating a smooth and seamless appearance. This setting style is popular for wedding bands and can also be used for engagement rings. A channel setting gives an engagement ring a sophisticated and elegant look, with the added benefit of protecting the diamonds from damage or loss due to accidental bumps or impacts.

Engagement Ring by Vanessa Nicole
Platinum Wedding Bands

Tension Setting

A tension setting holds the diamond in place by the pressure of the metal band, which wraps around the stone and secures it without prongs or bezels. This setting style gives the impression that the diamond is floating in mid-air, as there are no visible means of support. Tension settings require an exact fit between the diamond and the metal band. They are often custom-made to ensure a perfect match. A tension setting gives an engagement ring a unique and modern look, with the added benefit of allowing maximum light to enter and reflect off the diamond for exceptional brilliance.

Popular Engagement Ring Styles and Design Elements

Pavé Setting

Pavé is a french word for laying or covering over with material. A pavé setting is an engagement ring setting where tiny diamonds are set closely together, covering the band's surface or surrounding the center stone. The diamonds are held in place by small prongs or beads that are barely visible, creating a continuous surface of sparkle and shine. This setting style gives an engagement ring a glamorous and luxurious look, with the added benefit of making the center stone appear larger due to the surrounding smaller diamonds. Pavé settings can be used for both engagement rings and wedding bands.

Micro Pavé Setting

Micro pavé is a unique diamond-setting technique that can add an all-over sparkle to any section of your engagement ring. The outcome is a micro pavé engagement ring that emulates the appearance of being paved with an uninterrupted sheet of diamonds, creating a stunning and glamorous effect. The main difference between the pavé and micro pavé techniques is that micro pavé stones are significantly smaller, with diameters that measure between 0.7 and 1.2 millimeters. It requires exquisite craftsmanship to execute flawlessly, but with a skilled micro pavé specialist, the effect is dazzling.

Micro Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring

Halo Engagement Ring Setting

A halo setting is a center diamond surrounded by a circle, or "halo," of smaller accent diamonds. The center stone sits atop the center of the surrounding smaller diamonds, creating a beautiful and dramatic effect. Halo settings can be designed in various shapes, including round, square, oval, pear, and more. The smaller diamonds surrounding the center stone add extra sparkle and radiance to the ring, making it appear larger and more luxurious. This style has become increasingly popular due to its stunning appearance and versatility with diamond shapes and sizes.

radiant cut diamond in halo setting

Seamless Halo or Zero Gap Halo Ring Settings

A big flaw in most halo settings is the gap separating the center stone from the surrounding diamond accents. It tends to make the overall ring's quality look poor. A skilled diamond setter will create a ring that closes that gap so you can't tell where the diamond ends and the accent stones begin, giving it a seamless appearance. You can learn more about how to get seamless halo settings here.

seamless halo ring vs halo ring setting

Double Halo Setting

A double halo ring setting is an engagement ring design with two concentric circles, or "halos," of smaller diamonds surrounding the center stone. The first halo encircles the center diamond or gemstone, while the second one surrounds the first. This creates a stunning and dramatic effect, making the center stone look larger and more brilliant. This ring-setting style has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its luxurious appearance and ability to make any diamond or gemstone stand out.

double halo cushion cut engagement ring

Three Stone Engagement Ring

A three-stone engagement ring style is a type of design that features three diamonds or gemstones set in a row on the ring's band. The center stone is usually larger than the two side stones, creating a stunning focal point for the ring. This engagement ring style is often chosen because it represents a couple's relationship's past, present, and future. It can also symbolize other meaningful concepts such as friendship, love, and fidelity.
Three-stone rings can be designed with different diamond shapes and sizes, allowing customization to fit individual preferences and styles. This ring style has become increasingly popular due to its elegant and timeless appearance.

three stone diamond ring with rubies
three stone diamond ring - Lucy's 30th Anniversary Ring

How to choose the right engagement ring setting

Choosing the engagement ring setting for that milestone moment in your life can be an exhilarating yet overwhelming experience. After all, it's an important decision that will symbolize your love and commitment for years. So how do you choose the perfect engagement ring setting? Here are some tips...

1. Start with the center diamond. The diamond's shape or cut, carat weight, and quality will set the stage for other future decisions.

2. Consider Your Lifestyle – Consider how active you and your partner are to determine the durability of the engagement ring setting. If you're involved in activities that could potentially damage the ring, such as sports or manual labor, opt for a low-set engagement ring setting or one that's more secure, like a bezel setting.

3. Think Long Term – Don't forget that engagement rings last a lifetime, so consider the long-term outlook of the engagement ring setting. Choose an engagement ring with a timeless style that won't go out of fashion soon!

4. Customize It – Purchasing an engagement ring is also an opportunity to customize it with detailing that's unique to you and your partner. Consider adding engravings, filigree designs, or accent stones for a truly one-of-a-kind engagement ring.

Customize a ring - Vanessa Nicole Jewels
custom antique engagement ring

5. Also, consider a custom made engagement ring. Working with a master diamond setter like Vanessa Nicole will help you consider all of these factors so you can get the highest quality ring that your partner will adore for a lifetime.

Where To Buy Engagement Ring Settings Only

Many jewelry retailers will sell you a setting only; you can even find some on Etsy. Before buying ring settings from these sources, consider that you must find someone with expertise in helping you find and set your stone into the setting. It needs to be done correctly. If the setting may not match the size and shape of the center diamond, there can be gaps in the design, and it won't look seamless. There is also the danger of the diamond coming loose.

If you have a solitaire stone and are looking for a setting, consider contacting Vanessa Nicole. She is a master diamond setter who can help you create the perfect setting to showcase your diamond and match your style. You can check out her reviews here.


What is the most popular setting for an engagement ring?

Solitaire or prong settings are classic and have been popular for decades because of their simplicity. Pave, and Halo settings have become extremely popular in recent years because of their glamorous and luxurious look.

Is 4-prong or 6-prong better?

A 4 prong setting is a more classic and traditional option. It allows for more of the diamond or gemstone to be visible, as fewer prongs cover the stone. This can create a more open and airy appearance while allowing more light to pass through the diamond, enhancing its brilliance.
On the other hand, a 6-prong setting provides additional security for the diamond or gemstone. The extra prongs help hold the stone in place and reduce the risk of it becoming loose or falling out. However, having more prongs covering the stone can reduce its visibility and make it appear slightly smaller.

What is the average cost of an engagement ring setting?

The average cost of an engagement ring setting can vary depending on a few factors, including the type of metal used, the complexity of the design, and the number of diamonds or gemstones included in the setting. A simple setting can run about $1,000. Whereas a more elaborate setting with additional diamonds or gemstones could cost anywhere from $2,500 to $5000 or more.

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