When buying an engagement ring you usually think about the famous four C’s (Cut, Clarity, Colour and Carat) But one factor which many people do not consider is the type of setting used on a ring. But what is a ring setting? In this article we’ll look at a few of the most common settings found on a range of different rings.
A claw setting, also referred to as a prong setting, uses three or more finger like claws to securely hold a gemstone in place. It is one of the more common settings found on engagement rings, especially solitaire rings, and can be found on simple and complex ring designs.
A head setting is a type of setting that is created separately from the ring’s band. Many rings can accommodate this setting and they are usually made up of 3 to 6 claws. Some of the advantages of this setting is that you can get it made in a different precious metal; for example, a white gold head setting on a rose gold band. They are also fairly easy to get replaced after the claws have worn down. It can accommodate one or more gemstones and be either plain or intricately designed.
A bezel setting is an unbroken rim of precious metal that fully surrounds a gemstone and holds it firmly in place. It was one of the earliest types of settings to be used and it is still quite popular today, with many modern designs still featuring it. It is also one of the more complex settings to create that requires more labour and time to make – compared to a simple claw setting.
A channel setting is where a row of gemstones is set within a channel where their edges are tucked beneath a groove cut into the channel’s side walls. In this type of setting, the gems do not protrude from out of the channel and have a relatively smooth feeling when you run your fingers along them. The benefit of such a setting is that the gems will not easily get caught on clothing.
An inlay setting is generally used with softer or non-faceted gemstones – such as opal and malachite. A gemstone is effectively embedded into a pre-cut trough on ring’s surface. Usually the ring will first be cast and polished, with room/troughs for the gemstones, before being handed over to a lapidary (a stone cutter). The lapidary will take the chosen gem, cut it, polish it and set it to fit the design.
A pavé setting (pronounced pah-vay) comes from the French word for paving. It is quite a fitting name because the gemstones are laid together, barely touching each other, like paving stones. A great advantage of this setting is that the design can incorporate curves. A jeweller can easily make the gems go around curves, a straight line or cover an entire rounded surface.
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