Securing a diamond, gemstone, pearl or other stone in place on a ring, jewelry settings come in a variety of forms - from functional to decorative. When choosing a jewelry setting it's important to understand the differences in terminology as well styles.
Bezel settings hold a diamond or other gem inside a metal rim that has a collar that encircles the entire stone as well as extending above it slightly. These collars may stretch around the entire circumference of the diamond or around just a portion of it. For those who are concerned about choosing a setting that will hold a diamond securely, the bezel is a safe choice, especially for those who lead an active lifestyle. This is a good choice for those who engage in sports regularly or enjoy outdoor activities. Bezel settings also protect the edges of a diamond and hide small chips.
Another popular choice for diamond rings is the channel setting, which accurately describes how gemstones are placed in a metal channel. For instance, diamonds in a channel setting flow together in a continuous row as there is no metal to separate them. Especially popular with the getting-wed crowd, diamond channel settings are a beautiful choice for wedding jewelry. Wedding sets might include an engagement ring with a princess cut diamond in the center and flowing diamonds in either side. The wedding band, decorated with channel-set diamonds then sits nicely below the engagement ring when worn on the ring finger.
Developed in France two centuries ago, the invisible setting features grooves in the stone's girdle which slip into a metal frame below the surface. As the metal cannot be seen, it appears as if the stones are sitting side by side, creating an illusion of a floating surface of solid gems. The invisible setting is an effective technique used by jewelers who want to make a diamond appear larger in engagement and wedding rings.
The lovely pave setting, French for the word "pavement," describing the look of cobble stones laid close together. Each diamond is carefully chosen for size and cut and artfully placed tightly together with numerous other small diamonds. The gems are held separately by tiny beads of the setting metal. The technique of clustering tiny diamonds creates a dazzling effect at an affordable price.
The most commonly used setting for rings, the prong setting is especially beloved for the solitaire engagement ring. Inserted into three or more metal prongs, the setting forms a base that acts like a basket to hold the diamond. The ends of the prongs are slightly bent over the stone, resting against the crown. These prongs might be fashioned into a V shape, oval points, or some other decorative shape.
The traditional prong setting holds a solitaire diamond snugly in place with six prongs at an average height so the ring does not extend high above the finger. Tall prong settings, however, are designed to elevate the diamond high above the finger for a dramatic effect. The challenge with this setting is that it can easily snag on clothes and is not a recommended style for those with active lifestyle. The four-prong setting is used to allow more light to enter a diamond, producing that extra sparkle we so love. For instance, used in an eternity ring style, this setting creates additional light to bounce back to the naked eye, creating a dazzling effect.
When diamonds share a prong, the diamonds are held by two prongs on each side. The technique allows a maximum amount of light to enter the diamonds, giving off the appearance that the stones are set side by side with nothing between them.
A protective prong setting is useful with, for example, a pear-shaped diamond or gem. An extra prong is added at the tip for extra protection. V-shaped prongs are also used with pear-shaped gems to protect their pointed ends.
Some prong settings are not only functional they also serve a decorative purpose. For example, a brilliant-cut diamond set in place with a decorative prong setting might feature two sets of prongs. The first set reaches over the edge of the stone to secure it while the second set of prongs reach up along the other side of the diamond to form the image of a heart underneath its edge when viewed from the side.
When choosing a ring with a prong setting, make sure the stone is held firmly in place and does not wobble inside the prongs. Very thin prongs may eventually break. Prongs should offer enough contact with the stone to secure it safely in the ring. Prongs should also hold the stone evenly. As prong settings are relatively easy to make, they are a less expensive route than more intricate settings. Stones set in prongs are usually easier to clean as well.
Lewis Jewelers is proud to carry the full line of Pandora Jewelry. Pandora bracelets, Pandora charms, and Pandora beads are only a part of the collection. For more information, Lewis Jewelers, 2000 West Stadium Blvd., Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48103, 877-88-LEWIS or visit the website.