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What is a Tension Ring?

By Alina

Marketing and Communications Advisor with a passion for diamonds and a nose for trends. Always happy to share the latest developments in the jewelry business with you.

August 27, 2020

A tension ring or a tension set ring is a jewel that really stands out. It might be for you if you are looking for something else than the traditional solitaire engagement ring with prongs. Or if you want something a bit more exciting than an alliance ring. The tension is definitely a unique kind of (engagement) ring. Let me tell you why.

What is a tension ring?

A tension ring is a ring that contains one diamond or one gemstone. Usually, a diamond is kept in place by prongs or a bezel setting. Prongs grasp the diamond while a bezel hugs the stone all around. You can easily see how the stone is kept in place. But a tension set is neither one of these. In this setting, the diamond or gemstone stays in place by the metal. The two ends of the ring clamp the stone very tightly. Hence the name tension. It looks like the stone is floating in the mid-air.

tension set diamond ring between wedding shoes

Why a tension ring?

The main reason to choose this kind of ring is simply because you love the design. A tension ring is quirky and unique. There are clean, modern, no-fuss designs. But there are also designs with a – sometimes literal – twist. The design can be as modest or as extravagant as you like. All tension set rings have in common that they use compression pressure to hold the diamond in place without any metal prongs.

tension with pavé A tension ring can be as modest or extravagant as you want. How about this tension ring with a diamond pavé?

Pros and cons

Just like every ring design, the tension also has a couple of pros and cons. It is a matter of personal taste whether the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Pro 1: Tension set rings are intriguing

Because of their modern and unique style, tension rings often serve as a conversation starter. People often wonder how the diamond can stay floating in the air without any support. It’s almost like magic.

schaffrath calla ring People often wonder how the diamond can stay floating in the air without any support. It’s almost like magic.

Pro 2: Able to fully appreciate the diamond

A tension ring enables you to see the diamond in full view. Other settings hide the diamond partially to a greater or lesser extent. But a floating diamond can be admired from every angle.

Pro 3: Easy to clean

No fiddling with filth that crawled under a prong for this setting. Because the design of the tension is so simple, it is also very easy to clean and maintain.

Con 1: Hard to resize

A diamond lasts forever – or at least a couple of generations. But as people age, sometimes their finger size can change as well. Usually, this is no biggie. However, the problem with tension rings is that they cannot be resized as easily compared to other settings. Tension rings are crafted and calibrated to exact measurements, based on the size of the center stone. Therefore, resizing this type of ring is quite hard.

Con 2: Big and bulky

Rings with a prong setting can be sweet and slender. But since the metal of a tension ring has another function (keeping the diamond in place) it needs to be more robust. That’s why many tension set rings are a bit bulkier. However, there are also certain designs that like to play with the width of the band.

A tension ring can be big and bulky. Fortunately, there are also slimmer designs nowadays.

Con 3: More expensive

In general, tension rings are more expensive. Because it is such an unorthodox design, it is almost a niche market. It takes a specialized skillset to make this kind of ring and that comes with a certain price tag.

A variation on the tension ring: the tension-style ring

Additional to the tension ring, there is also the tension-style ring. This design looks a lot like a tension ring, but doesn’t hold the diamond through suspension. With the tension-style, the diamond is kept in place by prongs or a semi-bezel. But at first glance, you would suspect it is a tension setting.

The tension-style looks a lot like a regular tension ring, but the diamond is supported a little extra. 

Tension-style settings are easier to make. They also cost less than regular tension rings. Additionally, the tension-style keeps the diamond just a bit more secure in place than a regular tension set. However, this difference is so small, that it doesn’t really matter. Normally, a tension ring keeps the diamond just as well in place as any other setting.

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