An engagement ring typically consists of two basic elements that need to be chosen: the gemstones (almost always a diamond) and the engagement ring settings. When choosing between different engagement ring settings, there are always certain factors that the buyer needs to keep in mind in order get the best possible value in financial terms as well as an appropriate visual and structural match between the jewels and the setting.
There are several different types of settings that are commonly used for engagement rings. Three of the most popular of these are channel settings, pavé settings, and prong settings.
There are subtle differences between the three that make a difference with regard to how appropriate each is for use with certain types of diamonds.
Channel Engagement Ring Settings
The channel setting is one of the most popular choices for engagement ring settings as well as for wedding rings. With a channel setting, the ring usually features one large diamond in the center itself, sometimes raised or incorporated in a prong setting, in addition to a series of smaller diamonds placed in lowered channels along the band of the ring, which give this type of setting its name.
It’s generally thought that the best diamonds to use in a channel setting are those that are square in shape, rather than round. Square diamonds such as the princess cut look very good inside the channels, whereas round diamonds can sometimes leave too much of the channel exposed. The channels can be long enough to accommodate a large number of diamonds – in some cases the channels actually go all the way around the ring – or short, housing three or four small diamonds.
If you’re interested in purchasing a channel-set engagement ring, you will have to be prepared to invest in several diamonds.
Pavé Engagement Ring Settings
Another popular choice for engagement ring settings is the pavé setting. Pavé settings can actually be found in many different types of jewellery, especially pendants, but pavé-set rings are also very common.
The pavé setting makes use of a large number of smaller gemstones, usually diamonds in the case of engagement rings.
One of the great things about pavé settings is that they can often comfortably accommodate several different diamond shapes. In fact, for aesthetic purposes it is often recommended that you use at least two different diamond cuts in a pavé setting. From the buyer’s perspective, this can be a positive, as it means that it’s not really necessary to limit the search to just one cut.
Prong Engagement Ring Settings
The prong setting is the most popular of the standard engagement ring settings. The prong setting usually involves a basic band, at the center of which is a diamond solitaire which is raised slightly and held in place by prongs (usually four). This is the simplest, most understated, and perhaps the most elegant of all engagement ring settings.
Prong settings offer a number of advantages over other types of settings. Their most commonly cited advantage is affordability. Prong settings, mainly because they require only a single diamond, are much more affordable than, for example, pavé settings. These type of engagement ring settings are also relatively convenient, and easy to care for and clean.