It's a piece of jewelry that you'll wear every day for the rest of your life, so choosing an engagement ring style you love is important. The setting will define the style of the ring as well as determine the diamonds you can select. It's not always easy to narrow down your choices, but familiarizing yourself with the types of settings will help you compare them and select the best engagement ring for your lifestyle and budget.
Select a stone shape: Diamond shape doesn't determine the setting, but it can play a big part in the setting you choose. Knowing which diamond shapes you prefer will help you when choosing among engagement ring settings.
You can learn more about diamonds, read about which stone shapes flatter your hands, and shop by stone shape in our diamond buying guide.
Types of settings: It's a good idea to consider a variety of ring settings before selecting the right one for you. Many rings feature a combination of a few types of settings, so you don't necessarily have to narrow it down to just one preferred style.
Prong settings: This is the most common setting because it holds gems safely and allows for lots of sparkle. The prongs are like little claws that hold the stone in place, and the number and placement will be determined by the shape of the diamond, but the typical stone will have four prongs holding it in place. A traditional diamond solitaire ring usually has a prong setting.
Pave settings: Pronounced "pah-vay," this setting can give you an elaborate ring on a budget. Multiple rows of small stones are set close together and level with each other, so they give the illusion of a larger stone.
Bezel settings: Just like the bezel on a watch, a metal rim surrounds the whole stone in this setting. The bezel can conceal some of a stone's imperfections and make it appear larger, so you can choose a lower-price diamond without sacrificing style. The rim is often a circle, but you see them in other shapes, too. You may see them with one diamond, or you may see bezel-set rings with several smaller stones in a row, each encased with an individual rim. This type of setting is very contemporary.
Channel settings: This setting is popular for wedding bands or around the side of a ring. Multiple small diamonds are placed next to each other to create a continuous row. The diamonds can be round or square. The gems may encircle the entire band, or they may just be on the band's front, which is less expensive and allows for resizing. In the popular halo ring, a bezel-set or prong-set center diamond is surrounded by a circle of channel set stones.
Bar settings: Similar to the channel setting but with a bit more contemporary style, small diamonds are in a row but they have small bars of metal between the stones to keep them in place.
Consider a bridal set: If you want to be able to wear your wedding band and engagement ring together every day, you'll want to shop bridal sets. These rings have settings that work together, and then you can keep wearing both meaningful rings all the time. And with so many available, you'll still be able to get the style you want in a set.