Engagement ring buying guide:

Designing and deciding on the perfect engagement ring is an exciting, yet sometimes daunting process. From the diamond’s shape to its carat weight to the setting you choose, there are many aspects to consider.

1. Solitaire/Prong

The most common and classic ring setting is called a prong setting. A prong is a little metal claw that grips the diamond tightly, holding it in place. Prongs can be rounded, pointed, flat, or V-shaped (the latter being the most common for princess-cut diamonds).

Most prong settings feature either four or six prongs; with the former, you can see more of the diamond, but the latter is more secure. A benefit of this setting is that there is a minimum presence of metal so that there’s more diamond to see and more light that can pass through the diamond, thus adding to its brilliance.

Pros of a Solitaire/Prong Setting

  • Elevates the diamond, making it more prominent and noticed

  • Enables significant light to pass through the diamond—increasing the stone’s brilliance and fire

  • Complements and supports a variety of diamond Shapes and sizes

  • Simple to clean and maintain

  • Offers a classic, timeless look


Cons of a Solitaire/Prong Setting

  • Can snag on clothing, furniture, and other materials, especially if high-set (a lower-set prong may be best for those with an active lifestyle)

  • May loosen with wear (we recommend having the prongs inspected at least every two years to ensure the stone remains secure)

Top 7 engagement ring settings to help with your decision:

2. Pav'e

The pavé setting, pronounced “pa-vay,” comes from the French word “to pave,” as in paved with diamonds. By closely setting small diamonds together with minimal visibility of the tiny metal beads or prongs holding the stones in place, the effect is one of continuous sparkle.

The jeweler typically drills holes into the ring, carefully places the diamonds into the holes, and finally forms tiny beads, or mini-prongs, around each diamond to secure them into the holes.

This setting is also known as a bead setting and in the case of especially small stones, may be called a micro-pavé setting. Diamonds are said to be pavé-set when they are as small as .01-.02 carats and any smaller than that would be called micro-pavé.

Pros of a Pavé Setting

  • Highlights the center stone

  • Magnifies the ring’s overall brilliance with side stones

  • Provides extra sparkle to a lower-set or less sparkly center stone

  • Can be designed in a modern or vintage style


Cons of a Pavé Setting

  • Sizing and resizing can be quite difficult if the ring is pavé set around the full band

  • Although highly unlikely, minimal risk of losing side stones exists

3. Three-Stones/Side stones

The three-stone setting is a versatile setting that can be used for engagement, anniversary, or any occasion. The three stones, set closely together, are said to symbolize the couple’s past, present, and future.

These stones can either be all the same size or, as is often the case, the center stone is larger than the two side stones. The most popular diamond shapes for this setting are the round brilliant cut and the princess cut.

It’s possible to personalize this setting with colored side stones, such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds (see photo below), or other birthstones.

Pros of a Three Prong Setting

  • Maximizes on sparkle and brilliance

  • Allows for multiple larger stones (including ones of different colors)

  • Enhances the appearance of the center stone when paired properly with side stones

  • Provides an opportunity for personalization and color contrast

  • Can achieve a greater surface area of gemstone than a singular setting

Cons of a Three Prong Setting

  • Requires more cleaning and maintenance than a single stone design

  • When paired poorly, the two side stones can overpower or distract from the beauty of the center stone

4. Tension

The tension setting uses pressure from the metal band to secure the diamond. The diamond appears suspended between the two ends of the ring.

Pros of a Tension Style Setting

  • Holds the diamond securely in place

  • Offers a more timeless look than a tension setting

  • Involves less maintenance than prong settings

  • Allows significant light to pass through the diamond, enhancing its brilliance and fire


Cons of a Classic Tension Setting

  • Often difficult and costly to resize

  • May cause a small diamond to look smaller, especially when a thicker metal is utilized

  • Although highly unlikely, if an extreme pressure from an outside force strikes a tension setting, there is a possibility the stone could become loose

5. Vintage

Many of the antique/vintage styles are designed to fit specific time periods of jewelry fashion, such as Art Deco, Edwardian and Victorian-era styles. Often these rings feature intricate detail work such as filigree and milgrain.

Filigree is a kind of delicate metalwork that solders together tiny metal beads or twisted threads of metal to the surface of the jewel. And milgrain engraving is a type of embellishment added to antique style rings to give them that “antique” look of tiny balls of metal decorating the sides of the band and the crown of the ring.

Pros of a Vintage Setting

  • Radiates with plenty of character and charm

  • Unique and intricately built

  • Enhances the beauty and prominence of the center stone when well-designed

  • Can be crafted to match a time period or personal style preference


Cons of a Vintage Setting

  • May require more cleaning and maintenance due to intricate design and crevices

  • If designed poorly, the setting may distract from the beauty and sparkle of the stone

  • If choosing an antique vintage setting—different than a new ring of antique design—extra time will be needed to ensure it is secure and well-maintained

6. Halo

he halo setting refers to the placement of diamonds or other gemstones in a concentric circle or square around a center stone. The halo setting makes the center stone appear larger—a great option to boost the appearance of a small diamond—and it increases the overall sparkle of the ring.


A halo setting, then, can be a way to save money on a smaller-carat diamond while not sacrificing the overall appearance of the ring. In addition, adding a halo of colored gemstones or setting the halo diamonds with a different color metal can make for a contrast in colors.


Halos are often paired with pavé bands but could certainly stand on their own with a simple unadorned band. And as the name implies, a double halo setting consists of two concentric circles of gemstones that encircle the center stone.

Pros of a Halo Setting

  • Boosts the appearance of a smaller carat center diamond

  • Enhances overall sparkle due to surrounding stones

  • Securely holds and protects the center stone

  • Supports and complements a variety of Diamond Shapes

  • Contrast can be built with a halo of colored metal or gemstones


Cons of a Halo Setting

  • Tiny side stones may become loose

  • Resizing can be difficult depending on the number of side stones that line the band

7. Chanel set

The channel setting is a secure way to set smaller diamonds in a row into the band of the ring, making a metal channel of sparkling stones flush with the shank.

The diamonds, or other gemstones, are set closely together into the grooves of the channel and decorate the sides of the band or the entire band. This setting is also popular for wedding bands or stackable rings that feature only smaller stones and no center stone.

Pros of a Channel Setting

  • Securely holds the diamond and protects it from outside forces

  • Enhances the ring’s sparkle with side stones along with the band

  • Achieves a sharp design without losing stability

  • Unlikely to snag on clothing and other materials


Cons of a Channel Setting

  • Tends to require more time and effort with cleaning (dirt can become trapped in the channels)

  • Can be challenging to repair and resize due to numerous channels (it is possible the channels will become bent or misaligned, or that the side stones will loosen during the repair process)

  • May hide diamonds slightly more than prong settings

4C’s of the perfect engagement ring

When choosing an engagement ring for your partner, you’ll certainly encounter the 4 C’s: Cut, Color, Clarity and Carat. Each of these elements plays a role in a diamond’s overall beauty. The C’s are each graded on their respective scale, helping to evaluate their quality level. Standard terminology and grading are used in the industry, though it does vary from entity to entity. The most reliable labs are the GIA and AGS. We recommend gaining a certificate from either lab for every diamond you consider purchasing.Understanding the basics of the 4 C’s and their grades is helpful when purchasing a diamond.

The most important aspect, though, is how the diamond appears overall to you.

To continue reading about the diamond's 4Cs read our detailed guide here.


Precious Metals

The metal you choose for your setting should depend mostly on appearance, but also on longevity and cost. The four main types of metal used for engagement ring settings are white gold, yellow gold, platinum and rose gold. To learn more about the differences between platinum and the three types of gold, read our detailed guide here.

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The articles were written by:

Guy Tsur Online Private Jeweler