A huge range of engagement ring setting styles have evolved over the years, with some acquiring the status of timeless classics whilst others remain more unusual but no less stunning.
In the context of engagement ring design, the term "setting" is used two different ways. Often it is used to describe the overall style of an engagement ring (for example, a solitaire setting, meaning a ring set with a single stone), and at other times it is used to describe the specific technique by which a diamond or gemstone is secured to the ring (for example, a claw setting).
|Examples of engagement ring setting styles||Solitaire|
|Examples of diamond and gemstone setting techniques||Claw setting|
Bezel or rub-over setting
Grain or bead setting
Cut down setting
Gypsy or flush setting
In this article, we explore all the main engagement ring setting styles and setting techniques for you to consider to help you find your perfect engagement ring.
Most popular engagement ring setting styles
Engagement ring styles can go in and out of fashion, much like clothing styles. What was once popular years ago may be less popular today, and what is popular today may be less popular 50 years from now.
At Ingle & Rhode, we offer a large selection of beautiful engagement rings in a wide range of styles and settings. You will find both the most popular styles as well as unique engagement rings. And if you can't find exactly what you're looking for within our collection, we also offer a bespoke design service.
Below we examine the most popular engagement ring styles: traditional and timeless, modern, vintage, diamond halo, diamond shoulders, Art Deco, nature-inspired, and romantic.
Traditional and timeless
Solitaire engagement rings (set with a single stone) are a very traditional setting style and continue to be amongst the most popular designs for engagement rings today.
Amongst solitaire rings, the most traditional and popular setting method is claw setting, with the diamond held in place, most often by four or six claws.
Our Giocoso design is a beautiful example of a simple four-claw solitaire setting:
Another consideration with solitaire rings is how the diamond setting is connected to the band. Where the band splits at the top to create "shoulders" that support the sides of the diamond setting, this is known as a "cathedral setting."
Our Serenade design is a perfect example of a classic six-claw solitaire ring with a cathedral setting:
Three-stone engagement rings, or trilogy rings, are a classic design style traditionally found with claw settings. Our Diamond Trio rings are a great example:
Modern engagement rings tend to be minimalist in style but can still be very striking, often with bold geometric designs. Typically they will not feature large numbers of small diamonds, instead making more of a show of the precious metal.
Bezel or rub-over settings are a very old and traditional setting technique for diamonds and gemstones, whereby the gem is secured by a thin rim of metal around the stone, but when applied to a minimalist engagement ring design such as our beautiful Minuetto ring, can create a very modern look.
Rings that secure the diamond through tension or faux tension settings are also a great example of modern engagement ring design, like our striking Enigma engagement ring setting:
Vintage engagement rings have soared in popularity over the last ten years, inspired by jewellery designs from bygone eras. If you browse through Ingle & Rhode's vintage engagement rings, you will see engagement ring designs inspired by the most popular vintage eras, such as the Victorian era (1837 – 1901) and the Edwardian era (1901 – 1915).
These rings are typically ornate in design, often set with many small diamonds in a halo around the centre diamond and sometimes around the sides of the band as well. Further detail may be added to the metal around the small diamonds in the form of milgrain, whereby tiny ridges are added to the metal setting edge.
Traditionally, these small diamonds would have been held in place by small grains or beads of metal, which is why this method is known as grain setting (in the UK) or bead setting (in the US).
Our Appassionata setting is a great example of a vintage style engagement ring, with grain set diamonds in a halo and on the shoulders and with milgrain detail:
If multiple rows of small diamonds are grain set closely together, this is known as pavé setting, from the French for "paved".
In recent years, the term pavé (and micro-pavé) is often used to refer to any setting of small diamonds (not necessarily grain set, and often just in a single row). Indeed, an increasingly popular setting technique for small diamonds, often referred to now as pavé, is cut down setting (which has a number of variants, such as fishtail setting and castle setting). These setting styles make more of a show of the small diamonds by minimising the metal visible around the stones.
Our La Stravaganza is a wonderful example of a vintage-style ring with cut down set small diamonds:
If you're looking for something a little more understated, then a halo engagement ring might be more your style. As the name suggests, halo engagement rings retain the small diamonds around the centre stone but keep the band plain, such as our extremely popular Capriccio setting.
Likewise, if you'd prefer to keep the small diamonds on the shoulders and lose the diamond halo, then our Aria setting (with tapered, grain set shoulders) or our La Boheme setting (with straight, cut down set shoulders) could be ideal.
Art Deco engagement rings are inspired by a movement that had its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s and draw on an eclectic range of design influences, including futuristic geometric configurations, Cubist art, and the flora and fauna of Asia and Africa.
Bespoke engagement ring settings
If you're looking for an engagement ring setting style or era not found above, we'd be delighted to create a bespoke design just for you. You can browse our gallery of previous bespoke engagement rings for inspiration and take advantage of our bespoke design service.
Nature-inspired engagement rings
Typically featuring vines, leaves, and/or floral patterns, nature-inspired engagement rings have been popular for hundreds if not thousands of years, and nature-inspired engagement rings remain amongst the most popular of our bespoke commissions.
You will find that some nature-inspired engagement ring styles also fall under the Art Deco style category, as the Art Deco movement was heavily inspired by nature. Likewise, the vintage jewellery periods of both Victorian and Edwardian engagement rings often featured foliage and floral themes.
Romantic engagement rings
Often featuring fluid lines, like curls and ribbons, romantic engagement rings are another very popular theme for bespoke engagement rings. A flower setting, where the centre diamond is being held up by a flower-shaped basket, is another traditional setting found under romantic ring styles, with the flower most often resembling a rose or lotus.
How to find your engagement ring setting style
Many people have an idea of what they're looking for when they start to shop for an engagement ring. Often they will have been sent images by their partner of rings they've seen online! However, just as many people still start the process a little unsure which engagement ring style to go for. Whatever position you're in, we'd be delighted to guide you through the process to find or create the perfect design for you.
Do your research
You can begin by throwing the net wide, searching online for inspiration from a wide range of different ring styles to ensure you've considered all the main options. But once you've done this, you'll need to start honing in on what's right for you or your partner.
If your partner hasn't given you any hints, a good place to start is to look at their existing jewellery for a sense of their design preferences. And if they don't own much jewellery, then consider their personality, interests and style of dress.
Choose a precious metal
Once you've narrowed it down to a preferred style, you'll need to decide which precious metal you would like your ring to be made from. We've written an article that explains the difference between platinum vs. gold rings, but if you simply prefer the colour of yellow gold or rose gold, then it is a fairly easy decision. However, if you're looking for a white precious metal, then we've also written an article explaining the main differences between platinum and white gold.
Work to your budget
The cost of an engagement ring setting will be determined by the size and complexity of the design. A more substantial design that will require lots of precious metal will be more expensive than a delicate design. Likewise, a design featuring lots of fine details or that incorporates lots of small diamonds will be more expensive than a simple solitaire setting.
If you're an active person or someone that uses your hands for a living, a delicate ring or one with a large prominent diamond is not going to be the most practical choice. This doesn't mean you mustn't choose a particular ring setting style, but you should take your lifestyle into account. Carefully storing your engagement ring instead of wearing it during physical activities will minimise the chances of damage.
What style of engagement ring is most popular?
Simple four-claw and six-claw solitaire engagement rings remain the most popular style, and in 2022 we've seen huge demand for delicate four-claw settings in 18ct yellow gold set with oval diamonds. Other hugely popular engagement ring setting styles include halo engagement rings and trilogy or three-stone engagement rings.
What style of engagement ring is timeless?
Solitaire engagement rings are the most timeless of all engagement ring setting styles. This design classic is also the oldest style of ring setting, and although, over the years, many different solitaire designs have evolved, they all retain the basic principle of being set with a single diamond or gemstone.
What part of a ring is the setting?
The ring setting is the precious metal element of the ring, composed of the shank (the band) and the head (the top, where the main stone is set). The design of the head will vary depending on the engagement ring style you've chosen and the diamond or gemstone setting techniques used for the ring.
There are a huge number of engagement ring setting styles and setting techniques for you to consider in your search for the perfect engagement ring – from timeless classics to more unusual and unique engagement rings. If you're unsure which engagement ring style is the right choice for you or your partner, start by browsing a wide range of engagement ring styles online before narrowing down on your preferred style or styles. We'd be delighted to help you with this, and our jewellery experts have many years of experience advising clients on finding the best engagement ring setting style for them, so please feel free to get in touch if we can be of assistance.