Which Setting fits your Style?

Diamonds are magnificent, beautiful, stunning.  The adjectives are endless.  But without a setting to thrust your diamond into the spotlight it would just be a loose diamond, valuable of course but no fun to show off.  There are many types of diamond settings.  Some are more popular for diamond wedding rings while other settings are more popular for use in diamond necklaces or pendants.  Here we have compiled a list of the different types of diamond settings, starting with the most common.

Prong Setting

The prong, or claw, setting is the most popular for several reasons.  It uses the least amount of metal to hold a diamond, allowing for the most light to reach the stone.  Diamonds are beautiful because they shine and the more light that reaches the diamond the more brilliance.  The prongs are also the easiest setting to make and in turn the least expense.  Prongs are by far the most popular for diamond engagement rings however they are used in all types of jewelry.  Diamonds can be set with 2 prongs, 3 prongs, 4 prongs or 6 prongs.  A shared prong setting is the term used when several diamonds are set side by side and sharing the same prongs.  A v-prong is used with the pointed shapes, like the Pear Shaped Diamond, Marquise Shaped Diamond, Heart Shaped Diamond, Trilliant Shaped Diamond and the Radiant Cut.  A v-prong setting is used to cover the fragile corners of these stones; the V shape allows for better protection.

Learn more about Prong Set Engagement Rings, Prong Setting for Diamond Earrings

Bezel Setting

This is one of the oldest types of diamond setting and is making a comeback, now actually considered by many a modern look.  With a bezel the diamond is held in place by a rim, or collar.  The metal is bent over the diamond and it works with any shape.  This setting is considered one of the best to protect your diamond from falling out because it grips the stone all around as well as protects it from scratches and chipping.  A few other advantages: the bezel can hide imperfections and it makes diamonds appear larger.  A bezel comes in several variations including open bezel, half bezel or semi bezel.

Learn more about Bezel Set Engagement Rings, Bezel Set Diamond Pendants

Channel Setting

This setting fits the name perfect.  Two pieces of metal form a channel which holds several diamonds in place.  The stones are basically suspended in the groove created giving the appearance that they are floating.  Like the bezel setting, the diamonds are well protected in a channel setting since none of the edges are exposed.  This setting is most commonly used with Round Brilliant Cut diamonds but can also be used with other Diamond Shapes : Princess Cut, Oval Shaped Diamond, Baguette Cut, Emerald Cut.  The channel setting is basically a U shape.  Each stone is usually notched into the setting but sometimes a single groove is cut in each channel of metal which serves to hold all of the diamonds in place.

Learn more about Channel Set Engagement Rings, Channel Setting for Diamond Rings, Channel Set Diamond Earrings

Pave Setting

The streets are paved with diamonds.  The pave setting is used with small stones and gives the appearance that the surface of your jewelry is covered with diamonds.  The term pave comes from the French word, meaning paved or cobble-stoned.  The diamonds are placed inside impressions in the metal and held in place with small beads or prongs.  When very small stones are set the term micropave is often used.

Bead Setting

The bead setting is basically the same as the pave setting with one difference, the diamonds are set slightly apart from each other.  However, the term pave set is also used with rings that have diamonds set apart from each other.  So basically the terms have become somewhat interchangeable – bead & pave.  One common use of this setting is with diamond wedding bands.  The bead setting has a few other less common names: bead and bright, grain setting or threading.  The term star set is also sometimes used when a line of stones are formed with the bead setting.

Tension Setting

Don’t stress out, this setting is perfectly safe.  A tension setting is when a diamond is held in place by two pieces of metal.  The metal basically holds the diamond with pressure or tension.  You may think this is a very unsafe way to set a diamond.  What you may not know is that inside the setting are small grooves which help hold the girdle of the diamond in place.  The tension setting is quite modern and has been growing in popularity.  To learn more about the diamond girdle, visit: anatomy of a diamond.

Burnish Setting (or Flush Setting)

The diamond in this setting is set just below the surface of the metal creating a very subtle look.  Similar to the bezel setting, small holes are drilled and each diamond is sunk into the metal band until they are flush.  Metal is then pushed around the stone, using a rubbing tool, until the surface is super smooth.  A special burnishing tool is used to give a shiny finish to the metal around the diamonds.  You may hear the term burnished metal, which refers to the shiny, glass like finish that the metal has around the diamond.  This type of setting is very contemporary.

Learn more about Burnish Set Wedding Rings

Invisible Setting (Aka Illusion Setting)

Be sure that the diamond is still visible, it’s the setting that is the illusion.  The invisible or illusion setting is most often used with colored gem stones but can be used with diamonds.  It is used for square shaped stones which are put close together like bricks.  The illusion is that you cannot see any metal, creating a carpet of stones.  The setting is done underneath in the pavilion of the diamond.  A groove is created that clicks each diamond into a channel.  This setting is similar to pave but has less metal work showing and offers more brilliance.  This is a stunning setting but very expensive and comes with a high risk or diamonds falling out.

Bar Setting

A type of channel setting, using bars instead of channels to hold the diamonds.  Imagine 5 diamonds and between them you put a bar of gold.  So basically 2 diamonds are held together by the same bar – sharing the bar.  The ladder of sorts used to hold the diamonds creates a different effect than the channels of metal used with the channel setting.

Setting or Style?

Some terms are used for settings which are actually better referred to as styles.  For example, the cluster setting.  A cluster setting is when smaller diamonds are mounted closely together, in a cluster, often around a larger stone.  The cluster setting however uses most often prongs to hold the diamonds in place.  It might be more accurately called the cluster style.  The cathedral setting is the same idea.  Another example is the ballerina setting, which is when a center diamond is set with two side stones, giving the appearance of a ballerina’s tutu.  Again, this setting usually uses prongs as well and might better be called the ballerina style.

There may be some less commonly used settings which we have not listed.  If you have questions about other settings, Mazal Diamond Creative Director Stefano Nicoletti would love to hear from you.  Just click on Ask Stefano on the left side of the page.  If you find something interesting we’ll post it and give you credit!

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