[intro] For many one of the best things about a diamond ring is the simplicity. There are only two big decisions to make before you get down to the specifics of choosing the actual ring and that is price and style, including the diamond ring settings desired.
In the world of jewellery and the craftsmanship that entails, one can very much determine the other. To understand why is to look closer at style and all that comprises – the size and cut of the diamonds, the precious metals used and the settings they are bound together in. [/intro]
This article is designed as a guide to the basics of diamond ring settings, to help you make an informed decision and not be blinded by technical terms when surrounded by the twinkling lights of the jewellers shop.
Firstly, there are only four primary settings used for setting diamonds and then a wide variety of variations therein. These are: Prong, Bezel, Tension and Melee.
Diamond Ring Settings Explained
Perhaps the most common setting for diamonds, the prong allows maximum light in whilst securely holding the stone in place. 4, 5, 6 and even 8 prongs are used. Ideal for a solitaire diamond the prong setting shows off the diamond brilliantly, although often the profile is high, meaning it stands away from the hand and can get caught on or scratch things, which may not be practical for everyone.
Variations: X-prong or trellis, W-prong, common prong, tiffany style and cathedral setting
The Bezel and half bezel are very secure settings. Although they do not let in as much light as a prong setting they are still ideal for a solitaire and they feature the stone beautifully and can tend to have a more modern look. They also have the advantage of not getting as dirty and the more streamline effect means they tend on to catch on things like prongs are prone to.
Variations: Half bezel, halo bezel
The tension setting is a very modern way of setting stones using lasers to set the tension in the metal band exactly so as to hold the stone in place. Only suitable for very hard stones such as diamonds and sapphires, the tension setting can be used to create very modern, creative and unusual designs. Be warned though, because of the nature of the setting the band cannot be altered or resized since this would involve cutting the band and breaking the tension. Because of this tension set rings do not make the best heirlooms since rings rarely fit future generations exactly.
The term Melee setting is representative of a whole collection of various and often intricate setting techniques, often used on rings that feature smaller stones or smaller stones encircling one, two or more larger diamonds. Taken from the French meaning ‘mixture’ these techniques are used to display diamonds side by side. The names are very often suggestive of the style for example, Channel set rings contain smaller diamonds set side by side in a channel, Bar Channel set means that a small bar of metal sits between each stone within the channel, Pave should look like a brilliant pavement of shimmering diamonds and so on…
Channel Setting, Bar channel, Pave Setting, Bead Setting, Cluster Setting, Flush Setting, Ballerina Setting
The object of all good diamond settings twofold:
1. To hold your precious stone securely in place, regardless of the rigors of daily life that it may be exposed to.
2. To allow as much light as possible to enter your diamond in order to display it at its maximum effect.
Needless to say these two things are not at first mutually compatible.
No setting in infallible
It is important to get your diamond ring checked every so often by a jeweller. An expert eye can detect any damage or weakness within a setting and hopefully avoid the horror of losing the stone. No setting however is flawless, so it’s a good idea to keep your proof of purchase and any subsequent valuations in a safe place along with your insurance details.
Depending on the price of the ring, separate insurance is very rarely required, home and contents cover should be adequate. However if you have a collection of valuable jewellery, it may be advisable to take out a higher value home policy. These policies, for example the Highworth Insurance product, can be purchased online and covers individual items up to £25,000.