What are settings?
Engagement ring settings are the focal point of the traditional engagement ring style. They are also usually positioned in the top centre of the ring rail, and are the mechanism that holds the centre stone.
Engagement ring settings are the MOST important part of the engagement ring because of 2 main reasons:
- They hold the centre stone, hopefully, securely- centre stones are usually the most valuable part of the engagement ring.
- They protect the centre stone from damage- yes, diamonds are the hardest material known to man, but they can break.
Even though engagement ring settings are indisputably the most important feature of an engagement ring, settings are often mounted onto the ring as an afterthought!
Here are 3 areas I’ve seen, where certain engagement rings fail, when it comes to the main setting:
- The centre diamond is set too high
- The settings are too thin and weak
- The settings don’t suit the wearers lifestyle
1. Engagement Ring Settings too High
Ever heard of the saying “that’s a real sweater catcher”? How about the horror stories some poor husbands/fiancées have to share about the time his wife’s/fiancées ring slashed flesh from his face…
A diamond that is set too high becomes the weapon of mass destruction… not only on its environment, but on itself! We’ve all heard stories of times when a ring gets caught and the wearer keeps going. This is serious stuff. We are not all the Queen of England. We can’t all be in a safe everyday environment or in a lifestyle that affords high mounted diamonds. Most of us work, either at home or away, and most of us are quite active. More often than not, a high mounted setting is a bad idea. Be aware. Be warned.
A diamond that is set too high also wears out prematurely because it is subject to more wear and tear.
A diamond that is set too high can “sweater catch” to the point where the setting loosens and the diamond slips out… often undetected for hours!
A diamond (or other stone) that is set too high can break! Yes, even diamonds can chip and break.
2. Engagement Ring Settings that are too Weak
Imagine spending the rest of your life constantly looking at your finger to make sure the diamond is still there? What a pile of stress. Make sure, before you buy your engagement ring, that you look closely at the setting and ask these questions:
- How much metal is on top of the stones edge holding the stone in place?
- If it uses prongs/claws, do the prongs widen out as they drop below the stone, making for strong prongs?
Weak engagement ring settings will wear out prematurely, bend and loosen off the stone easily and cause you anxiety. Make sure your engagement ring has substantial settings!
3. Engagement Ring Settings that don’t Suit your Lifestyle
There are lots of different ways to set your diamond. I will show you pictures of several ways. Each has its benefits, but each is not necessarily a good match to your lifestyle.
Bezel settings are VERY secure. There is lots of metal over the top of the stones edge making it nearly impossible to loosen off. Full bezels totally encircle the stone and they also protect the stones edge (it’s weakest part) from chipping or breaking. Half bezels or ” tension set” can be equally as good, provided they don’t expose the stones edge to possible harsh contact. They are especially handy when showing the world the laser engraved serial number- if it has a Certified Canadian Diamond
Bezel settings are best for any lifestyle; good for doctors, nurses, vets, hygienists and dentists…. anyone who wears gloves as a profession. They don’t “sweater catch” or attack fiancées!
Flush Mount or Gypsy Set
These settings are the strongest and most secure. They totally protect the stone because the stone is sunk into the metal surface, but are difficult to make the whole ring look nice. They work best for accent or side stones.
Claw or prong Settings
These are the most common and the cheapest to set and manufacture. If done right, they can pose no problems, but if done poorly, they will be problematic and even dangerous.
- Make sure the prongs are stable. This means if they are tall, they must have a structure under them that offers strength to the setting.
- Make sure they are strong. This means they must not be thin or delicate. Remember, they are the only thing holding your expensive “rock.”
- Make sure, especially as you wear the engagement ring, that the tips (that are bent over the edge of the stone) are thick. As you wear them down, or if they are manufactured wrong, they will be thin and break off… causing the stone to fall out.
Prong tips can be easily repaired and built up; however, you are the one ultimately responsible to do something about it. Don’t buy an engagement ring with weak prongs or tips!