what are the different ring settings explained by London jeweller Maya Magal

The style of ring setting you choose is an important thing to consider when looking for a ring that carries a special meaning. The perfect ring setting can bring the metal, cut and gemstone into a gorgeous harmony. In fact, it might just be the element that draws you to one particular design over another. Knowing your personal taste might help during the ring choosing or designing process. 

But, what exactly is the difference between a bezel and prong setting, and how does a flush setting differ from a pavé ring setting? Our experienced jewellers and designers are here to help! We've created a guide to the most popular ring settings and what you need to know about them. We'll talk you through the history of ring settings, some general facts and what effect they can have. If it's ring settings information you're after, you're in the right place.
Whether it is for an everyday ring or an engagement ring setting, here are some of the styles we adore:
What is a prong or claw ring style setting? by Maya Magal London

Prong setting 

The prong setting is the most common type of ring setting, and it’s usually paired with the solitaire setting. A prong is a thin piece of metal, like a claw, which grips the diamond or gemstone tightly and secures it in place. A prong can be v-shaped, pointed, or rounded. 
Generally, a prong setting will have 4 or 6 prongs which securely hold the diamond onto the ring. A four prong setting allows for more of the diamond to be seen which adds to its brilliance. A six prong setting is slightly more secure.  
Prong settings promote a timeless, clean look. They will complement any diamond shape, and are easy to clean and maintain.  You may have to get the prongs inspected every few years to make sure they are still secure.
Many of our grey diamond and one of a kind rings feature prong settings, 4 small prongs holding the beautifully unique stones in place. 
solitaire ring setting by Maya Magal London Jewellery

Solitaire Setting

A solitaire setting is one that holds a single stone and no others on the ring. This creates a clean look with one gemstone taking centre stage. It is a classic look that has been around for centuries. The sleek design provides a simple beauty which complements every outfit and occasion. A solitaire ring setting will also support many different diamond shapes and can be personalised in regards to the band thickness. A solitaire setting will elevate the diamond, allowing light to reach it and showcase its brilliance and fire. They are also easy to clean, and can provide an uncomplicated, timeless look.

bezel ring setting by London jeweller Maya Magal

Bezel setting

A traditional setting, the bezel setting sees the stone encased in a thin metal rim custom-made to hold the stone in place. The bezel setting provides protection for the centre diamond and gives the ring a sleek, modern appearance. Bezel settings can be made in solitaire style, or can feature other stones either side of the main stone or along the shank. 

If you're after an elegant and timeless design featuring a bezel setting, have a look at our brand new Heirloom Collection, including a set of beautiful solitaire rings made with salt n pepper diamonds, emeralds and sapphires!

solid gold cluster rings by Maya Magal London

Cluster setting

A cluster setting refers to a cluster of stones tightly set together in order to appear like a larger diamond. Cluster rings usually feature round diamonds. This is because smaller diamonds are easier to find in the round shape, as well as being easier to group together to make other shapes. The cluster setting may produce a smaller cost, because there's no need to search for a larger diamond of higher clarity.  

Cluster rings often have an antique look, and form a geometric shape from smaller diamonds. Having a cluster ring means the smaller diamonds complement each other and add to each other’s sparkle. The cluster ring is usually chosen in order to achieve a more unique look, rather than the more popular solitaire ring. We love cluster settings for engagement rings as you can combine the traditional diamond with a birthstone to elevate the personalisation. 
pavé ring setting by London jeweller Maya Magal

Pavé setting 

The pavé setting shares a lot of similarities with the channel setting. The main difference is that the jeweller will most likely drill holes into the band or shank in order to place the diamonds in. Then mini prongs of metal are formed to hold the stones securely in place. The effect is one utterly stunning. This setting can be used on a band which features a larger central stone, or it can be used along the whole band. The pavé setting is a popular one for eternity or promise rings where  a large feature stone is less expected than in engagement rings. 

Our Contoured Band with Diamonds is a gorgeous example of the pavé setting. Its contoured shape makes it distinctly individual and the diamonds add a touch of magic. Elegantly designed with a row of 7 sparkling diamonds carved into a 9ct solid gold ring, this conversation starter will be a unique piece to add sparkle to your personal collection. 
solid gold flush setting rings by Maya Magal London

Flush setting 

The flush setting means the diamond sits into a drilled hole within the ring or shank. This setting is unsuitable for softer stones because the metal is hammered around the stone. The name flush means the diamond does not protrude from the ring and sits flush with the metal. This is one of the best ring settings if you are looking for a secure ring which won't snag. However, the embedded design does reduce the amount of light the diamond is able to reflect.

The flush setting is a popular choice for men’s wedding bands because they are a subtle way to add a bit of sparkle. You can add multiple diamonds to a flush set ring to add the wow factor, or keep it understated with just one. They are also a great option for any precious metal, which means another way to personalise your jewellery. This functional yet beautiful setting offers peace of mind because the diamond is unlikely to fall out or loosen. 

Our  Heirloom Collection is full of beautiful, elegant and timeless designs featuring the popular flush ring setting.

three stone rings by Maya Magal London

Three stone setting

The three stone setting is really a ‘says what it does on the tin’ setting: three stones set closely together. The three stones supposedly represent the past, present, and future. This symbolic meaning makes three stone settings a great option for an engagement ring.  

The three stones can be the same size, however, it is popular to have a slightly larger central stone. They are usually more expensive than solitaire rings, after all, you are getting three gemstones in place of one. They are a great way to add a personal touch. Perhaps have a couple’s birthstones on either side of a central diamond. Or choose the coloured gem of your anniversary month. Whatever the significance, a coloured gemstone can add that personal touch which makes a ring extra meaningful. The three stone setting also works great with any precious metal, and any diamond shape. They also still allow a high amount of light that can reach the stones, therefore the setting doesn’t take away from any brilliance or fire within the diamond. 

ring style settings by Maya Magal London
Next to these popular ring settings that are featured in a variety of Maya Magal designs, there are some others you might come across...

Antique or vintage ring setting

The vintage or antique ring setting usually refers to rings with intricate detail within the metal work of a ring. They are designed to resemble rings and jewellery of a past era, some of them will be genuine antiques, others will have been designed to replicate a past style. Intricate metal work along rings is called filigree, which is the process of coiling and bending tiny threads and beads of metal into ornate patterns. Other rings may include the metal work called milgrain, which is the delicate edging of tiny holes or bumps along the borders of a design.

These techniques help a ring to appear vintage or antique, because those techniques were popular in pre-modern rings. An antique or vintage setting is a great way to have a unique ring with character. They are available with most diamond shapes and may feature other smaller gemstones to add to the ornate design. While at Maya Magal we don’t specialise in antique or vintage rings with stones, we do love the etched look of these rings. Maya has designed a beautiful collection of etched jewellery

Tension setting 

The tension setting is a unique setting where the diamond appears as if suspended between the sides of the band. They make rings look sleek and modern. Not to mention they are a fantastic conversation starter. Jewellers calculate the exact dimensions of the diamond and cut tiny grooves into the sides of the band or shank. The diamond is then placed in and literally held in place by the pressure of the band pushing into the sides of the stone. Because there is not much metal surrounding the diamond or stone, the light can reach it more easily and therefore this setting really showcases the brilliance of the diamond. Although the tension setting may look precarious, they are very safe and secure. Almost any diamond shape works with the tension setting too. So, if you’re looking for something different, this ring setting could be right up your street.

Tension style setting

The tension style setting mimics the tension setting but the diamond is set properly into the band rather than held by tension. This provides some more security for the diamond, while creating the same sleek, modern effect. 

The tension style setting is usually less expensive to make than the tension setting. They’re also less complicated to make and resizing may be easier. They usually feature a prong or bezel setting at the side underneath the diamond.

Channel setting

The channel setting sees small diamonds in a row set into a groove or channel within the ring band or shank. This setting is another great snag-free design. Since there are no prongs securing the diamonds in place, channel rings are unlikely to get caught or snag. A channel setting is similar to a pavé setting but uses thicker metal to secure the diamonds into the band. A channel setting can look great either side of a central stone, or as the main feature of a ring, sitting around the whole band. These are often used as promise or eternity rings, or as anniversary gifts. A channel setting will add style and sparkle to your ring, drawing more attention than a plain band. They’re also a great way to add some drama to a smaller central diamond. 

Eternity band 

An eternity band is not technically a setting per se and more of a style of band. The eternity name refers to the ‘eternal’ presence of stones which are found along the entire band. Often given as eternity or promise rings, the precursor to an engagement ring. They are usually cheaper but still have a special effect. 
This ring can be worn alongside a wedding band or engagement ring, and therefore you can coordinate the style with those rings. The endless circle of diamonds symbolises eternal love. For a sweet alternative to the classic eternity ring, our Gold Pavé O Ring is simply stunning.

Halo setting 

A halo setting is what it sounds like. A ‘halo’ of stones in a concentric circle around a central stone. This setting can make the central stone appear larger and brighter and is usually used with diamonds. They are usually paired with a pavé setting to make the diamonds appear to go on and on. One of the most famous halo setting rings is the one currently worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton. The ring was previously worn by Princess Diana. It features a large sapphire surrounded in a halo of smaller diamonds. The ring is reportedly based on a sapphire brooch owned by Queen Victoria. 
The halo diamonds will boost the ring’s overall brilliance and sparkle, will complement a variety of diamond shapes, and are highly customisable. 

Cathedral setting 

The cathedral setting involves arches of metal holding up the stone. The cathedral can be set with prongs, bezel, or tension because it is the arches above the shank that characterise this setting, rather than how the diamond is held. The cathedral setting is a unique style, with a refined beauty and impressive design. The arches add a certain height which may help the central stone to appear larger, as well as being simply elegant enough to do without extra diamonds or fancier settings. 

Bar setting 

Bar settings secure diamonds separately with vertical metal bars on two sides of the diamonds. This leaves ample space for light to pass through the diamonds so they are still sparkly and bright. Bar settings are similar to channel settings but they leave the diamond exposed on two sides. A bar setting will make a ring into an impressive stacking band, anniversary or wedding band. They have a simple symmetrical beauty and a stunning yet secure effect. They can of course be used on a band featuring a central stone to add more sparkle. 

Split-shank setting

Again this is more of a style than a setting. The shank of a ring refers to the band or the part that goes round your finger. In a split-shank style this band splits in two separate metal links to the stone. This can add a fluid delicacy to a ring, with sophistication and symmetry. They help to create focus onto the central diamond by almost pointing you to it. They also add the option to have smaller diamonds set along the split shank, or ornate metal detailing. The split shank will complement many different diamond shapes so it is a great versatile option. The split shank style is a simple way to add something special to your ring.

Infinity engagement ring setting 

An infinity ring setting is a unique pattern made of two interlinking bands in a figure of eight style shape. This showcases the infinity shape on the metal shank, which symbolises eternity and forever love. The infinity setting can be made for any gemstone or diamond shape. The curved shape leads the eye to the central stone and adds some extra brilliance to an engagement ring. Smaller diamonds can be added to the infinity shape in a pavé setting to add some extra sparkle to this already unique design.

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ring settings by London jeweller Maya Magal

Maya Magal Rings

At Maya Magal, we know how meaningful and important a piece of jewellery can be. Rings in particular can hold a special significance. That's why each and every one of our solid gold rings is mindfully handcrafted by our team of jewellers in our London workshops. These unique designs are made in 100% recycled gold using unusual, conflict-free and responsibly sourced gemstones and diamonds. If they aren't a bespoke or one of a kind piece, they are crafted in small, limited amounts so no one else will have a ring quite like yours! 

At the moment, we’re loving grey diamond rings because of their unique colour. We’re also a fan of smaller stones, featured in our beautiful gemstone rings collection and in our promise rings

Looking to buy a ring but not sure of your ring size? Our handy Ring Sizing guide has everything you need to make sure the ring you buy fits just right. It also has some tips for finding out somebody else's ring size if you are planning a special surprise.

If you’re after something a little more special, either for yourself or a loved one, then why not get in touch for a complimentary consultation. We can get you started on your bespoke experience and help you design a beautifully unique solid gold ring. You can see some of our bespoke stories here to discover what our skilled jewellers can do. With each bespoke piece we make sure to capture the personality of the wearer, and make sure their bespoke ring truly is one-of-a-kind. What are you waiting for?
November 25, 2021

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