Different Types of Solitaire Diamond Engagement Rings
Congratulations! You decided to purchase a diamond engagement ring. You know exactly what you want: a ring with one diamond in the middle. We call this a ‘solitaire’ diamond engagement ring. Because the diamond is on its own – it is solitaire. Solitaire rings are perhaps the most popular diamond engagement rings out there. But did you know there are a lot of different options to choose from within the category solitaire diamond rings? It helps a lot to know what you like and what you do not like beforehand. Let me explain the differences to you. To avoid you will no longer see the wood for the trees.
In general, there are three different solitaire diamond engagement ring settings. These are: prongs, bezel and tension settings. Within these three, you also have different options, which I explain later in this article.
Prong settings are the most popular settings. It means that the diamond stays in place by small “claws”. We call these claws “prongs”. The prongs extend from the base of the ring and they are attached to the band. These slightly bent tips clasp the diamond to hold it in place. For round diamonds, we most often use four or six prongs. But sometimes, people prefer a different amount of prongs. For other diamond cuts, the ideal number of prongs can be different.
Six prongs – the Tiffany setting
Perhaps the most famous example of the solitaire diamond engagement ring is the so-called Tiffany setting. This iconic ring setting has six minimalistic prongs that raise the diamond above its band. The design is more than 130 years old. It stems from 1886. Mr. Tiffany, from Tiffany & Co., was so pleased with his creation that he attached his name to it. We also call this kind of rings “six-prong solitaire engagement rings”.
Four prongs – classic setting
The name already reveals it already: a solitaire setting with four prongs. This design is not much younger than the Tiffany setting. The six prong setting was designed to show off the diamond as much as possible. However, four-prong settings do this even more because there are two prongs less to “block” the view. Another difference between four and six prong rings is the way the diamond appears. Six prongs make a diamond look round. While the same diamond can look more square in a four prong setting. It is a matter of taste which one you prefer.
Pros & cons of prong settings
Pros: The main benefit of a prong setting is that the diamond in it reflects an amazing amount of light. That’s why prong settings are all-time favorites for engagement rings. Another benefit of prong settings is that they are relatively easy to clean by yourself.
Cons: Prongs can twist, loosen or warp. They can snag on clothing or hair. Especially if a prong is a bit loosened over time, it can do some damage. Therefore, it is very important to have your ring periodically checked professionally. The risk of losing a diamond because of a loosened prong is greater with four claw rings than six-clawed ones.
Another popular style for solitaire diamond engagement rings is the bezel setting. This setting is completely different from the pronged one. A bezel is a single ring of metal around the entire girdle of a diamond. In other words: a gold band covers the widest part of the diamond all the way around. We also affectionately call this type of setting a “donut setting”. Sounds a lot sweeter, don’t you think?
Pros & cons of bezel settings
Pros: Because the metal goes all the way around, a bezel is probably the most secure setting of all diamond rings. This means you are less likely to lose your diamond. But also that there is less risk to damage the diamond. Another pro is that the diamond looks bigger and whiter than it would in other settings.
Cons: Probably stating the obvious here when I tell you a bezel covers more of the diamond than any other setting. You do not see as much of the diamond in a bezel setting as in a prong setting. Because the rim of metal covers a larger part, there is less light to reflect in the diamond. Ergo: your diamond sparkles less.
Tension settings hold the diamond in place by pressure rather than prongs or bezel. This ring setting has an opening; in this opening fits a diamond. Both the left and right side of the opening exert pressure onto the diamond. In both sides of the metal are tiny groves fit around the diamond’s girdle. The tension is a minimalist ring. It is perfect for women (and men!) who prefer a ring without any fuss. The diamond appears to float in midair. The ring’s smooth, sleek lines give it a contemporary look and feel.
Pros & cons of tension settings
Pros: The light that passes through the diamond reflects dramatically. This setting allows more light to pass and reflect which equals more sparkle. Another advantage is that tension settings allow designers to be more creative. Therefore, you are sure to have a unique looking ring that looks exactly how you want.
Cons: Usually, a tension ring is created after it is bought. That is because – in contrast to the other settings – tensions are hard to resize. Therefore, it is also quite a risk to buy a tension setting solitaire diamond ring without her knowledge.
More options for prongs, bezels, and tensions
As I briefly mentioned, within the three types of diamond solitaire rings, there are a few variations. These can apply to one or more settings. We have the Compass, Basket, Cathedral and Bypass.
The compass setting is a variation on the classic four-prong style. Instead of the “box placement”: top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right, the prongs are slightly turned. The prongs align to the cardinal points of a compass. That’s why some people refer to compass settings as “north south east west rings”. Some people prefer a compass styled ring to a box setting because it makes the diamond appear more round. But this is just a matter of personal taste.
The compass can be applied to:
– Four-prong settings
What’s in a name… The basket setting ring looks a lot like the original prong setting. Because just like in the classic design, the prongs extend from the base of the band and keep the diamond in place. But in addition, it also has horizontal bands that connect and secure the prongs. Together they form a base for the diamond to lay in. We refer to this ensemble of lines as a basket setting or simply a wire basket. This kind of setting reduces the exposure of the diamond to knocks and bumps. Its higher durability makes this setting perfect for those with a busy lifestyle or work with their hands a lot. This setting covers the diamond a bit more. Therefore, the stone sparkles a little less compared to the classic design.
The basket can be applied to:
– Four-prong settings
– Six-prong settings
– Compass settings
This setting features a band that rises up to around the same level as the middle of the diamond. This way, it mimics the graceful arches of a gothic cathedral. The cathedral style makes the ring look more elegant. It highlights the (center) stone and adds a little height to the ring. We call cathedral settings also “tulip styled” settings sometimes. Because from the sides, the arches can look like a tulip as well. The cathedral settings lend themselves for several expansions. It is easy to add a halo or a diamond pave for example.
The cathedral setting can be applied to:
– Prong settings
– Bezel settings
– Tension settings
Last, but certainly not least. One of our favorite variations is the bypass setting. We also refer to it as the setting with a twist. Bypass rings have bands that overlap and part, rather than one continuous strap. The popularity of this type of solitaire ring setting dates all the way back to the Victorian era (around 1830). But to this day it is still a very beloved design. If you want to surprise your girl with a ‘classic with a twist’, a bypass ring is the way to go. Most of the times, we combine bypass settings with prong settings. However, they fit to practically every setting. One of the main downfalls of this setting though is that it is not stackable with other rings.
The bypass setting can be applied to:
– Prong settings
– Bezel settings
– Tension settings
– Basket settings
Is the perfect ring a combination of different elements?
It’s hard to say which solitaire diamond engagement ring is the best one. All styles have their own unique appearance and pros and cons. One last piece of advice I can give you is that all our ring settings are safe and keep your diamonds in place. Provided that you let a professional check them on a regular basis.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of what you like and what you don’t like. Still, it can be tough to find that perfect ring; especially online. That is why our diamond consultants are standing by to provide you with personal advice. They help you to find the ring that meets all your requirements and – not entirely unimportant – your budget.
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