The Jewelry Insider

July 10, 2010

Diamond jewelry shines even brighter with the right stone setting. Learn about your stone setting choices and select the right diamond jewelry to match your personal style.

Whenever you shop for gemstone jewelry – whether it’s a diamond ring, pearl earrings, a tennis bracelet or a solitaire pendant – choosing the right setting should be one of the biggest factors behind your buying decision. Each setting creates a different “look” and has its own distinct advantages.

To help guide you through the maze of stone settings available in today’s market, here’s a brief glossary of some of the more common ones you’re likely to encounter:

  • Ballerina – A center stone is surrounded by baguettes (small rectangular stones) set side by side in a pattern suggesting a ballerina’s tutu. Most commonly used in rings.
  • Bar – Commonly used in wedding and anniversary bands, as well as necklaces and bracelets. A line of stones are set together, separated by a thin bar between each adjoining stone that holds them in place.
  • Bezel – A setting where the top of the mounting has been pressed over the edge of a stone, completely surrounding it with a continuous metal rim. Can take on any shape to accommodate the shape of the stone. Used in many jewelry categories, including earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings.
  • Channel – A series of small stones are tightly nestled next to one another in a groove, or channel. Most commonly used for wedding and anniversary bands, as well as some bracelets. Provides a smooth, even band of light (or color, depending on the gems used) and excellent stone protection.
  • Cluster – Several smaller stones are set close together – sometimes even surrounding a larger center stone – to create the illusion of one big stone. Most commonly used in fashion items such as rings, earrings and pendants.
  • Flush – A setting where the stone is sunk into a mounting until it is nearly level with the surface. Provides additional protection for larger stones. Most commonly used for rings.
  • Gypsy – Often used in men’s rings. A style where the band is one continuous piece that gets thicker at the top. The top is shaped like a dome, with no prongs and the stone set in the middle. Provides a smooth, clean look.
  • Illusion – A narrow ring of metal surrounds the girdle (outer edge) of a stone, softening its outline and making the stone appear larger. Most commonly used in rings.
  • Invisible – A technique of setting stones close together, often in rows, with the metal that holds them in place hidden underneath. Gives heightened brilliance and a “floating” appearance. A style commonly used for tennis bracelets.
  • Pave – Many tiny stones are set as closely together as possible, to provide a uniform, glittering surface. A popular fashion setting used in numerous kinds of jewelry, including rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and pins.
  • Prong – The most popular setting for engagement rings, particularly larger solitaires. Also commonly used in earrings, pendants and other jewelry categories. Usually consists of four, five or six prongs, or claws, evenly spaced around a stone and securely cradling it in the mounting. Raises a stone high above the shank, placing the emphasis on the stone and making it appear larger. Also allows the maximum amount of light to enter from all angles, intensifying a stone’s brilliance.
  • Tension – A stone is held in place by pressure applied on both sides by the ring itself, creating the illusion that the stone is floating in space. Creates a modern techno-fashion look for rings, earrings, bracelets and necklaces.

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