The Engagement Ring Settings Guide – Which one to Choose?

After the great realization that you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, the next steps become a bit more strategic. You’ll be deciding on the perfect diamond and the unforgettable proposal. But in between these steps is another factor that deserves much-needed attention – the ring setting!

Different Engagement Ring Settings


(All pictures are courtesy of James Allen)

When you’ve spent days sculpting the diamond 4Cs to your liking, it can be tempting to just go with the most common setting. The diamond is the star anyway, right? Although that’s a hundred percent true, a superb ring setting can boost the beauty and sparkle of a diamond. It holds not just the stone but the entire look of the engagement ring!

        • Halo Ring Setting
        • Pavè Ring Setting
        • Channel Set Ring Setting

There are many kinds of settings out there, but I’ve collected the essential ones for you. Luckily, they’re much easier to understand than diamonds. And this comprehensive guide is all you need to better understand the pros and cons of the top engagement ring settings today.

The Solitaire Ring Setting

Solitaire Ring Setting

It’s the classic ring setting for an engagement ring. The reason is quite clear: There’s no other ring setting that draws the viewer’s eyes so much to the center stone. Nothing’s distracting from the beauty of the diamond. Combined with its simplicity, this is what makes the solitaire ring setting so appealing!

(Go and check out a massive variety of Solitaire Ring Settings here!)

Solitaire ring settings belong to the prong settings. And prongs are the little metal claws that keep the diamond in place. They’re so popular because they allow for a maximum amount of diamond exposure to the viewer’s eye.

This means more light is able to pass through the diamond and get reflected back for us to see. Prong settings are therefore able to get the largest amount of bling out of a diamond!

These are the two types of prongs:

        • 4-Prong Ring Setting

          4-Prong Ring Setting

        • 6-Prong Ring Setting

          6-Prong Ring Setting

The advantage of 4 prongs is the diamond gets exposed to more light and thus sparkles a little bit brighter than a diamond in a 6-prong ring setting. Although, the latter keeps the diamond more secure.
In case of a strong impact onto the ring, a 6-prong is more likely to not 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 setting

You can clearly see that the diamond on the left stands out because of the contrast to the thin band. If you truly want to make the diamond appear larger, you should go for a ring with a thickness of 1.8mm to around 2.2mm.

The solitaire ring setting remains the most popular and is the right fit for anyone wanting to evoke a powerful symbol of commitment in a simple yet elegant design.

The Pavé Ring Setting

Pavé Ring Setting


The Pavé is called as such because they are paved with smaller diamonds. These tiny sparklers are put directly next to each other without any breaks to create the impression that the ring setting is made out of diamonds. And this produces extra sparkle!

Diamonds in pavé ring settings are inserted into smaller holes within the ring metal and are held in place with mini prongs. The disadvantage is that the mini pave diamonds can slightly distract from the beauty of the center diamond.

In the end, pavé ring settings are just a matter of taste. Please be aware though that resizing a pavé that’s entirely covered with diamonds is more challenging than with a setting that’s only halfway paved:

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

The Channel Set Ring Setting

Channel Set Ring Setting

This one is actually very similar to the Pavé ring setting. At first glance, you might even have difficulty telling the two apart! In a Channel Set, there are also smaller diamonds set into the band of the ring. This creates a visually appealing channel of small diamonds that provides greater glitter!

The smaller diamonds are placed into the ring’s channel groove. The difference is that the stones aren’t held in place with prongs but with a thin metal strip. This design tweak makes the smaller side diamonds appear on the same level as the ring band. Meaning, no diamond or prong is sticking out!


It makes the ring more durable and less likely to get entangled in a piece of clothing. Therefore, the Channel Set ring setting is preferable than Pavé for people with active lifestyles.

On the picture above, you can see round cut diamonds on the left and princess cut diamonds on the right. The pro in having princess cut diamonds within the channel is that there will be no gaps. This will ensure that every space is covered with a diamond, making it sparkle even more!

But whether you prefer round cut diamonds or princess cut diamonds embedded in the channel groove is entirely up to you!

The Side-Stone Ring Setting

Side-Stone Ring Setting


Side-stone engagement ring settings consist of a center diamond that is usually accompanied by two or even smaller sized diamonds next to the center stone:

The side stones provide more brilliance to the overall engagement ring. Unlike Pavé or Channel Set, the side diamonds are more distinct and bigger. They usually come with a round or princess cut center diamond. One drawback of this type of ring setting is that they also take away from the center stone.

The Three-Stone Ring Setting

Three-Stone Ring Setting


As the name already implies, a Three-Stone Ring Setting consists of three stones and is basically just a particular version of the Side-stone Ring Setting. In this ring, the center diamond is flanked by two other precious stones. The side stones are usually other diamonds or sapphires:

The good thing is that the side stones blend with the center diamond well and creates a flashier effect! However, the center diamond can appear smaller to the eye than it really is. But do take note that the smaller the side stones, the larger the center diamond will seem:

Comparison Three-Stone Ring Setting and Solitaire Ring Setting

If you are like most people, the diamond on the Solitaire ring setting will look larger to you than the one on the Three-stone. Likewise, a diamond flanked by two smaller side stones will seem more significant than a diamond flanked by two big side stones.

The Tension Ring Setting

Tension Ring Setting

Deemed as the new kid on the block, the tension ring is a modern setting. The special thing about it is no prongs are used to hold the diamond in place. Instead, the diamond seems to be floating in the air!

It’s called as such as it uses the tension of the ring to keep the diamond in place. The center stone is pushed from two sides so that the diamond is securely gripped. But that’s not it! At the exact spot where the diamond touches the ring setting, jewelers 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 unstable and the diamond could easily fall out. In reality, it’s the opposite as the diamond is held much steadier! In fact, the tension ring setting might even be considered among the most secure engagement ring settings.

A huge advantage is 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 setting than in any other setting. And usually, round cuts, princess cuts, and emerald cuts are the best choices. The con is that they are difficult to resize. You can imagine why! While it’s possible, it will usually cost much more money.

Tension style spiral solitaire engagement ring setting

Now, tension ring settings should not be confused with tension-style ring settings as the latter are settings that have an additional metal band surrounding the diamond.

They’re easier to produce and therefore cheaper than real tension ring settings. Though the tension-style is actually more secure, that shouldn’t be the sole reason to buy a tension-style ring setting because tension ring settings on their own are already stable enough.

All in all, tension settings are the right choice for anyone looking for a modern twist. You can bet that people will talk about it and consider it to be a pretty bold choice!

The Halo Ring Setting

Halo Ring Setting on Finger

Surrounded by smaller diamonds in a concentric circle, the center diamond appears much larger! Furthermore, the overall sparkle is heavily enhanced by the embracing diamonds.

Here’s a trick: Set a smaller diamond in a halo ring setting to make it seem bigger than its actual size and save money on carat weight!

Many Halo ring settings are paired with Pavé bands to maximize the flash. Halo diamonds on plain bands look great, too! Lately, there are also a lot of Halo ring settings with sapphires encompassing the center stone. While the center diamond doesn’t appear larger, a nice contrast is exhibited which adds a 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 those on the hunt for maximum amount of sparkle!

The Takeaway

James Allen Engagement Ring Setting

No ring setting is superior to the other. It’s all matter of taste! So, go wild or go back to basics! Your final choice will not just showcase the diamond that you oh-so-carefully picked, it will also resemble a hint of her character, and a peek at who she is!

All about ring settings

If you still need help, please read my post on engagement ring metals and how to design an engagement ring. Just some meaty content that will let you in on her tastes on a deeper level! While you’re at it, check out James Allen’s huge variety of ring settings. This will surely spark inspiration!

Should you have any question, please leave me a comment down below or write to me.

My advice is always free! 🙂