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Understanding Diamond Settings
The prong setting is one of the most common stone settings for engagement rings, used in both contemporary and vintage pieces. A prong setting comprises three to six tiny claws around a baguette, circular, oval or square setting, creating an enclosed basket for the diamond. Prong settings are favoured since they allow more light to hit the various cut facets on the stone's surface, giving off a fiery brilliance unmatched by other styles. Modern rings tend to feature four or six prongs; four being the preferred option for optimal aesthetics, and six for the security of the diamond. Be aware that six prongs can sometimes dwarf small stone, particularly if accented on either side with stones of slightly smaller size.
A channel setting is essentially an uninterrupted series of round or square stones running part way around the circumference of the ring. They are generally of equal proportion, and do not feature the metal separators common with vintage pieces. Channel settings allow far more light to pass through the stone sequence, giving them a similar brilliance and shine to those often found in prong settings.
Bezel settings tend to enclose a single stone, affording far more security than any other stone setting. This shallow style is also popular since the setting creates the illusion of a far larger stone, therefore buyers can compromise on the stone carat, and perhaps spend a little more on the mount.
Clean, contemporary and minimalist, tension settings are becoming inherently popular among modern brides to be. Rather than an enclosed solid setting, tension rings tend to feature an open 'gap' in which the diamond sits, thus creating the illusion of a floating stone. This setting sometimes referred to as a “spring” setting, as the structure of the ring itself is designed to exerts pressure on both sides, force closing the gap around the diamond. Some engagement rings may have tiny grooves added behind the stone to minimise the risk of damage to the culet.
Pavé settings are unique in that they are the only recognised stone setting to incorporate smaller stones within the actual mount or band of the engagement ring. These stones are usually tiny accent diamonds, embedded to surround a much larger stone, or add elaborate detailing to a mount. Pavé is an intricate setting technique whereby tiny diamonds are inset into a series of concave impressions on the surface of the metal. These impressions are usually achieved by manual stamping. Once in place, each stone is secured with minute pins or small beads. This style of setting is referred to as “Pavé”, since the aesthetic effect achieved is akin to paving, or a halo. For contemporary results, diamonds of different sizes are often used to achieve the appearance of multiple textures.
It's so easy to become preoccupied with the many styles and settings available that you overlook the most obvious indicators that could help to refine your choice. If you're tasked with the challenge of selecting a ring without your intended knowing, your best bet will be to opt for something that ties in with her general style. Does she prefer vintage jewellery styles to the chunky statement pieces currently in fashion? Perhaps she incorporates certain elements of style from a particular era or time in history? If so, she might well appreciate a vintage style with a traditional prong setting that best shows off her diamond sparkler. Conversely, if she's a lover of Art Deco, clean lines or minimalism, a three-stone style with a bezel setting will be right up her street!