Glossary of Engagement and Wedding Ring Settings
Whether you're a future bride preparing for a fast-approaching proposal or simply nailing down what you want your someday engagement ring to look like, the setting is a solid place to start. While many choose their diamond shape first, it's important not to overlook this just-as-important aspect of ring shopping. After all, your setting determines exactly how that dreamy gemstone of yours is presented, making it arguably the most personalized part of your ring.
The following setting glossary, however, doesn't apply to just engagement rings. Often, the terminology overlaps with that of wedding bands, which means you'll be just as prepared when you're choosing your engagement ring's companion sometime down the road. You'll run into pavé and micro pavé settings when you're shopping for both, for example. While there are several that are typically reserved for bands alone—take the bar setting, for example—it's best to familiarize yourself with every ring type, just in case. You never know when something unexpected is going to catch your eye. And you'll want to be able to put a name to the face.
Being able to recognize and visualize ring settings is even more invaluable if you're in the process of designing a custom engagement ring. This way, you'll be able to see a ring you like and turn into something you'll love—just by swapping the setting. Here, a complete guide to the nine most common engagement and wedding ring settings. They'll help you dream for the future or prepare you for the proposal that you know is right around the corner.
The earliest method of setting gemstones into jewelry, the bezel setting features a gemstone surrounded by a thin, flat piece of metal.
Brilliant Earth "Sierra" Engagement Ring, $1,700, brilliantearth.com
Micro pavé refers to any little, closely set stones. Think pavé, but even tinier.
Blanca Monrós Gómez "Victoria" Solitaire Engagement Ring, $10,285, twistonline.com
Stones in this particular setting receive the most light and, therefore, sparkle the brightest. The reason? Small metal claws—four to six prongs are most common—raise the diamond subtly.
Blue Nile Studio French Pavé Diamond Crown Solitaire Engagement Ring, $7,704, bluenile.com
Several small, often asymmetrical diamonds flank a larger center one in a cluster-style ring.
Bario Neal Cluster Diamond Ring, from $4,693, bario-neal.com
Gypsy rings' stones are sunk into holes, so they are flush with the surrounding metal's surface.
Loren Stewart Diamond Baby Cigar Band, $405, lorenstewart.com
Most commonly seen in wedding rings, a bar-set band uses metal bars to separate each stone.
Harry Winston Bar-Set Round Brilliant Diamond Wedding Band, from $11,800, harrywinston.com
Adjacent diamonds share prongs in this setting, which means less metal and more diamonds.
A.Jaffe Shared Prong Contour Diamond Wedding Band, from $1,660, ajaffe.com