Whether you're choosing a diamond solitaire, a ring with a number of stones, or an open-work lattice ring in which the diamonds flow along the lines of the setting, the way the stones are held in the setting is an integral part of its design. Each setting technique creates a look that is part of the overall style of the ring. You may like one ring rather than another simply because of the setting technique used. With many kind of settings available we have listed the common ones we use in our stone jewellery.
A prong setting is the one most often used to hold a solitaire. A prong setting puts the emphasis on the diamond and not the metal supporting it. The purpose of any setting is to hold the diamonds securely in the mounting and at the same time allow light to enter the diamonds for maximum brilliance. This is obviously a delicate balancing act. The more metal used to hold the diamonds, the more secure they are; the less metal used, the greater the chance for the diamond to reflect light. Very thin pieces of gold or platinum (the prongs) are used to hold the diamond securely in place. The diamond may be raised high up above the shank, to give it a larger, more important appearance, with only a suggestion of metal showing. In such a setting, the prongs are attached to the central setting of a ring, known as the head or basket. Each prong extends upward and outward from the head, arching over the diamond to form a secure grip.
The prong setting can also be found in a few variations. One such variation, called the V-prong setting, functions on the same basic concept, but it uses prongs which, when viewed from above, appear to be curved into a V-shape.
Another variation on the prong setting is called the common prong. Here, the metal wire is grooved at the top, and is used to hold two gemstones by their side (girdle). This technique is used to give a close side-by-side gemstone relationship without the metallic interference of too many prongs.
A bezel setting is a collar of precious metal that wraps around the diamond. The bezel is attached to the top of the ring and stands up above it, adding height and another dimension to the setting. Although solid bezels have a very traditional look, the bezel may be 'split' into two sections, arcing around just part of the diamond. This is called a half bezel.
Channel setting is used to set round diamonds. Setting round diamonds into channels leaves small spaces closest to the metal bars of the channel. By choosing round diamonds, the designer creates a clean line of stones, yet one with greater brilliance than is possible with baguettes. Channel setting is also used when there is no center stone at all. The placement of baguettes around an entire band is a beautiful choice for a wedding band, one that goes well with a matching ring set with a diamond solitaire. A variation of the channel set is called the bar channel. Here, the metal plates rise to top level of the stone, and so are visible between the stones. This gives a slightly different visual effect, and can be very striking if the contrast between the metal and the stone is significant.
When the surface of a ring appears to be covered with tiny diamonds, the technique is called Pavé which means paved. It's an apt name because the surface looks a bit like a very pretty street paved with cobblestones. Tiny diamonds are placed in small holes that have been drilled out of the ring shank. On a band that does not taper across the top, each diamond should be exactly the same size. The diamonds are placed in rows, but in such a way that they fill as much of the space of the surface as is possible without actual touching. The more precisely cut the diamonds, the better the final appearance of the ring. Diamonds laid out in such a way that the entire surface of the ring looks like a glittering carpet of gems
The term "micropave" refers to a technique of setting small diamonds ("melee") or colored stones in multiple rows over the entire surface of a jewelry piece with a precision that is only possible using high magnification. The main difference between micropave and pave is that stones used in micropave are smaller and are set using a different technique. Unlike regular pave, where stone sizes can vary in order to fill the space, micropave achieves that same result by using stones of a uniform size that are offset from row to row creating a honeycomb-like pattern.
The beading technique is used on a ring in which the diamonds are spaced slightly apart. In this instance the gold work is much more of a statement and a design element. These beads, larger and more prominent, may be engraved or decorated. The diamonds may also be slightly larger in size. By varying the size of the stones and the size of the beadwork, the designer creates a totally different look.
The cluster setting is another variation on the theme of choosing a ring with a number of smaller diamonds. There are cluster rings with the stones arranged in the form of a stylized flower, or those done as an abstract arrangement of stones. Cluster rings are usually multi-level, with considerable height above the hand. The arrangement of stones can be quite open and airy looking, or it may be more tightly arranged. The choice is a matter of taste, but the shape of the finger can also play a role in making that choice.