The Engagement Ring Settings Guide – Which one to Choose?

Looking for the perfect engagement ring setting?

Are you all bewildered by terms such as Halo, Pavé and Channel Set?

Halo Ring Setting Pavé Ring Setting Channel Set Ring Setting

(All pictures are courtesy of James Allen)

Luckily, ring settings are much easier to understand than diamonds. I have compiled a complete guide of all engagement ring settings with all pros and cons. After reading this you will know all about ring settings.

If you want more information particularly on ring metals please read my article on engagement ring metals.

The Solitaire Ring Setting

The Solitaire Ring Setting is the most classic ring setting for an engagement ring. The reason is quite clear: There is no other ring setting that draws a viewer’s eyes so much to the center stone. There is nothing distracting from the beauty of the center diamond. Combined with its simplicity this is what makes the solitaire ring setting so hugely appealing.

Solitaire Ring Setting(Go and check out a huge variety of Solitaire Ring Settings here)

Solitaire ring settings belong to the so-called prong-settings. Prongs are little metal claws that keep the diamond in place. Prongs are so popular because they allow for a maximum amount of diamond exposure to the viewer’s eye. Thus, more light is able to pass through the diamond and get reflected back to the viewer. Prong settings are therefore able to get the largest amount of bling bling out of a diamond.

There are different amounts of prongs to be found in solitaire ring settings. There are 4-prong ring settings and 6-prong ring settings:

4-Prong Ring Setting 6-Prong Ring Setting

The advantage of a 4-prong ring setting is that the diamonds gets exposed to more light and thus sparkles a little bit brighter than a diamond in a 6-prong ring setting. A 6-prong ring setting holds the diamond more secure however. In case of a very strong impact onto the ring a 6-prong ring setting is more likely not to lose the diamond. Such incidents are very rare, though.

One thing to bear in mind for solitaire engagement rings is the fact that the thinner the ring band the larger the diamond appears:

Comparison of a thin and thick solitaire engagement ring settingYou can clearly see that the diamond on the left ring setting stands out more because of the contrast to the thin ring band. If you truly want to make the diamond appear very lage you should go for a wedding band with a thickness of of 1.8mm to around 2.2mm.

The solitaire ring setting remains the most popular engagement ring setting and is the right fit for anyone wanting to send a powerful and simple message of commitment.

The Pavé Ring Setting

Pavé ring settings are called “pavé” because they are paved with smaller diamonds. These diamonds are put directly next to each other without any breaks so that the impression is created that the ring setting is made out of diamonds. This creates quite an extra amount of sparkle.

Pavé diamond engagement ring Three Row Pavé Ring Setting

(Check out more Pavé Ring Settings here)

Diamonds in pavé ring settings are inserted into smaller holes within the ring metal and are held in place with mini prongs.

The advantage of a pavé ring setting is the fact that  the entire ring creates much more flashes and sparkle. This can be used to give extra sparkle to diamonds that are less sparkly.

The disadvantage of a pavé ring setting is the fact that the mini pave diamons can distract slightly from the beauty of the center diamond.

In the end though, pavé ring settings are just a matter of taste.

Please be aware though that a resizing of a pavé ring setting that is entirely covered with pavé diamonds is much more difficult to do than with a pavé setting that is only halfway paved:

A Completely covered Pavé Ring Setting is difficult to resize later on Halfway paved Pavé Ring Setting

If you want to make sure that you get the correct ring size check out James Allen’s Ring Size Finder. It’s a great way to accurately measure the ring size of your girlfriend before buying an engagement ring. Alternatively, James Allen will also send you a ring sizer for free (within the US)!

The Channel Set Ring Setting

The Channel Set ring setting is actually very similiar to the Pavé ring setting. At first glance, you might even have difficulty differentiating between the two.

In a Channel Set ring setting there are also smaller diamonds set into the band of the ring. This creates a visually appealing channel of small diamonds that create more overall glitter and sparkle for the ring:

Channel Set Engagement Ring Channel Set Engagement Ring with a princess shaped channel

 (Go and check out more Channel Set Engagement Rings here)

The smaller diamonds are placed into the ring’s channel groove. The diamonds are not held in place with prongs but with a thin metal strip.

This design tweak makes the smaller side diamonds get on the same level as the ring band. No diamond or prong is standing out of the ring band.

This contributes to Channel Set engagegment rings being more durable and less likely to get entangled in a piece of clothing.

Therefore, the Channel Set ring setting is preferrable to Pavé ring settings for people with very active lifestyles and lots of movements.

The channels of a Channel Set engagement ring are usually filled up with either round cut diamonds or princess cut diamonds. On the picture above you can see round cut diamonds on the left and princess cut diamonds on the right.

The advantage of having princess cut diamonds within the channel is that there will be no gaps within the channel. This will ensure that every spot of the channel is covered with a diamond so that it sparkles even more.

But whether you prefer to have round cut diamonds or princess cut diamonds embedded into the channel groove is entirely up to you and a matter of taste!

The Sidestone Ring Setting

Sidestone engagement ring settings consist of a center diamond that is usually accompanied by two or even more smaller sized diamond next to the center diamond.

Sidestone scalloped shared prong engagement ring Sidestone Engagement Ring with a pave swirl

 (Go and check out more Sidestone Ring Settings here)

The side stones provide more sparkle and brilliance to the overall engagement ring. Unlike Pavé ring settings or Channel Set ring settings the side diamonds are more distinctive and bigger.

One drawback of sidestone ring settings is however the fact that they distract more from the center diamond.

A sidestone ring setting usually comes with a round cut center diamond or a princess cut center diamond.

The Three-Stone Ring Setting

The Three-Stone Ring Setting is basically just a particular version of the Sidestone Ring Setting. As the name already indicates a Three-Stone Ring Setting consists of three stones. This is the center diamond that is flanked by two other precious stones.

The sidestones are usually other diamonds or sapphires:

Three Stone Round and pave set diamond engagement ring Three Stone princess shaped blue sapphire engagement ring

(Go and check out more Three Stone Ring Settings here)

The sidestones in a three-stone ring setting can look blended together with the center diamond. This creates an even flashier effect with more brilliance.

However, the downside is that the center diamond can appear smaller to the eye than it really is. This is also the main rule in three-stone ring settings: The smaller the side stones the larger the center diamond will appear:

Comparison-Three-Stone-Ring-Setting and Solitaire Ring Setting

The picture above is an extreme example comparing a Solitaire ring setting to a Three-stone ring setting.

If you are like most people the diamond on the Solitaire ring setting will appear larger to you than the diamond on the Three-stone ring setting. Likewise a diamond flanked by two smaller side stones will appear larger than a diamond flanked by two larger-sized side stones

The Tension Ring Setting

The tension ring is a very modern ring setting. The special thing about it is the fact that no prongs are used to hold the diamond in place. Instead, the diamond seems to be floating in the air:

Twist tension engagement ring setting White and Rose Gold Pavé diamond twist tension engagement ring setting

(Go and check out more Tension Ring Settings here)

A tension ring setting uses the tension of the ring setting to keep the diamond in place. A diamond in a tension ring setting is pushed against from two sides so that the diamond is gripped very firmly.

Of course the diamond is not put beween the two ring setting ends just like that. At the exact spot where the diamond touches the ring setting jewelers will cut tiny grooves so that the diamond sits firmly between the two poles.

Now, I know that many people think that the tension ring setting looks very insecure and the diamond cold easily fall out. In reality, the opposite is the case though! The diamond is held in place even firmer than a prong ring setting could ever do! In fact, the tension ring setting might even be considered among the top of the most secure engagement ring settings.

A huge advantage of a tension ring setting is the fact that you get to see nearly 100% of the diamond. But this also means that the diamond shape and diamond cut are more important in a tension ring setting than in any other ring setting. Usually, round cut diamonds, princess cut diamonds and emerald cut diamonds are the best choice for a tension ring setting.

A disadvantage of tension ring settings it that they are very difficult to resize. It is not difficult to imagine why. While it is possible to resize tension ring settings it will usually cost much more money.

Now, tension ring settings should not be confused with tension-style ring settings. Tension-style ring settings are ring settings in which the diamond is held in place by a metal band that surrounds the diamond. Other than that it looks exactly like a tension ring setting:

Tension style spiral solitaire engagement ring settingThe advantage of tension-style ring settings is that they are easier to produce and therefore cheaper than real tension ring settings. Furthermore, tension-style ring settings are even more secure than tension ring settings. But that should not be a reason to buy a tension-style ring setting because tension ring settings on their own are already secure enough.

All in all, tension ring settings are the right choice for anyone who wants something modern that really stands out from the crowd! You can bet that people will talk about such a ring and consider it a pretty bold choice!

The Halo Ring Setting

A Halo ring setting consists of a center stone that is completely surrounded by smaller diamonds in a concentric circle. The smaller diamonds contribute to the center diamond appearing much larger than it really is! Furthermore, the overall sparkle of the center diamond is heavily enhanced by the surrounding diamonds.

Triple Row Pave Halo Engagement Ring Falling Edge Halo diamond engagement ring

(Go and check out more Halo Ring Settings here)

A huge advantage of the halo ring setting is that the overall sparkle of the entire ring is largely increased! Furthermore, the diamond appears larger in a halo ring setting. This is why it is a a particularly good idea to set particularly smaller diamonds onto a Halo ring setting. They will appear larger than they really are and you can save money on carat weight!

Many Halo ring settings are paired with Pavé bands to maximize the overall flashy appearance. Halo diamonds on plain bands look great, too!

Lately, there are also many Halo ring settings with sapphires surrounding the center stone. Apparently for such Halo ring settings the visual appearance of the center stone does not get enlarged. However, a nice contrast is created which adds an additional layer of fascination to the ring:

French Blue Sapphire Halo Engagement Ring Blue Sapphire Pave Halo Engagement Ring

All in all Halo ring settings are a great choice for anyone who wants to have the maximum amount of sparkle around a diamond ring and something really catchy.

Conclusion of the Ring Settings Guide

If you have difficulty choosing a ring setting for an engagement ring please read my post on how to design an engagment ring. It will make you consider the taste of your girlfriend more closely.

All in all, there is no ring setting that is superior to all the other ring settings. It is a matter of taste!

Go and check out the huge variety of James Allen ring settings. This will surely give you some inspiration about which ring setting to choose!

All about ring settings

If you have any question about a particular ring setting or how it interacts with a diamond please leave me a comment or write me a mail!