14 Popular Engagement-Ring Settings and What They All Mean
There's a lot to think about when you're getting engaged, but the first thing that comes to mind for many people is the engagement-ring style and setting. You want your ring to be truly reflective of your personality, and you'll need to consider the gemstone, the cut, the metal, and the band setting — all that for just one ring. Because everything works together — a band can complement a gemstone, and vice versa — it's helpful to explore all your options so you can create a beautiful, cohesive ring that's perfect for you. As exciting as they are, engagement rings can be a little overwhelming, which is why we've compiled all of the setting options and styles ahead. If you haven't decided on a gemstone yet, choosing your favorite setting can be a great place to start.
Ahead, you can learn about the resurgence of the toi et moi (or multi-stone) ring, which many couples utilize to incorporate both of their birthstones as a way to symbolize their union. You'll also be able to distinguish a pavé band from a channel ring, the latter of which is actually beneficial in that it is less likely to snag on your clothing but still features all the sparkle and shine. Finally, you can admire some really unique aesthetics you might not have considered, such as the tension setting, which can help you achieve a floating center stone, or the burnish setting, which nestles stones within the metal, thereby protecting them sufficiently.
Scroll to brush up on the engagement-ring setting and style basics, then check out some of the most iconic celebrity engagement rings to date, from Hailey Bieber to Beyoncé.
— Additional reporting by Sarah Wasilak
What Is a Prong Setting?
The prong-setting engagement-ring style is the most common and popular engagement-ring setting. It usually features three to six small metal prongs that secure the center stone to the band.
What Is a Tiffany Setting?
Tiffany & Co. developed a specific six-prong engagement-ring setting to maximize the light on the diamond. While every Tiffany setting is a prong setting, not every prong setting is a Tiffany.
What Is a 3-Stone Setting?
Just like it sounds, the three-stone engagement-ring setting style features three center stones. Typically, the middle stone is a large diamond, flanked by two smaller diamonds or other gems.
What Is a Pavé Setting?
Pavé comes from the French word "to pave," because in a pavé engagement-ring setting, the band of the ring appears paved with diamonds. For the pavé setting style, smaller stones encircle the entire band.
What Is a Channel Setting?
Similar to the pavé setting, the channel engagement-ring setting features smaller diamonds all the way, or some of the way, around the band. In the channel setting, the diamonds are enclosed by thin layers of metal, known as the channels. Because the stones are enclosed by metal, this setting isn't as likely to snag — however, it can be more difficult to clean.
What Is a Bezel Setting?
A bezel engagement-ring setting features a metal rim that protects the perimeter of the gemstone and only exposes the crown, or the top. Its modern look, durability, and compatibility with an active lifestyle (no snags!) make it a popular choice of ring setting.
What Is a Tension Setting?
The tension engagement-ring setting uses opposing directions of pressure to hold a stone so it appears suspended in place, almost like an optical illusion. This style gives the center stone extra sparkle because of its minimal coverage.
What Is a Burnish Setting?
In the burnish engagement-ring setting, smaller stones are nestled within hollows in the ring's band. It's similar to the bezel setting, but the stones are completely flush with the metal, which makes them well-protected. This style is also referred to as a flush.
What Is a Cathedral Setting?
Named for its tall, graceful arches, the cathedral engagement-ring setting elevates the center stone off the band. This setting offers lots of variety, as the center stone can be set with prongs, bezel, or tension — as long as it's elevated from the band, it's still considered a cathedral setting.
What Is a Halo Setting?
In the halo engagement-ring setting, the center stone is surrounded by smaller stones. This adds sparkle and draws more attention to the center stone, and some jewelers suggest it as a way to make a smaller center stone seem larger.
What Is a Split-Shank Setting?
The shank refers to the metal band of the ring that encircles your finger. So in the split-shank engagement-ring setting, the band splits into two bands at the top half of the ring. This style has some similarities to the cathedral setting, except the entire band is splitting, and it doesn't elevate the stone as much.
What Is an Infinity Setting?
Designed to symbolize everlasting love, the infinity engagement-ring setting features two intertwined bands designed in an infinity-sign pattern. The bands can cross once or multiple times for a beautiful, symbolic ring.
What Is a Cluster Setting?
The cluster engagement-ring setting places multiple smaller stones together in the center of the ring to resemble one larger center stone. This look adds dimension and texture, can be customized to form a certain shape, and offers a lower-cost option with the same big impact as a single large stone.
What Is a Toi et Moi Setting?
While it's having a modern resurgence in the bridal world, the toi et moi engagement-ring setting dates back to the 18th century, when Napoleon Bonaparte proposed to Joséphine de Beauharnais with a diamond and sapphire ring. Translating to "you and me" in French, the ring features two stones set side by side on a single band and has become popularized by the likes of Emily Ratajowski and Megan Fox. While it can be used to symbolize two people coming together, many couples also incorporate their own birthstones in this way.