Common Diamond Settings
While diamonds are appreciated in their own right, gem quality stones are commonly affixed to precious metal and worn as jewelry. Setting types may vary according to the overall design, or even the type of jewelry. Some mountings are quite popular, each with their own aesthetics.
Prong settings use thin wires to hold diamonds in place. Additional light is able to travel through the diamond with this mounting, which may increase brilliance. With diamond rings, prong settings typically use four to six wires to hold the jewel in place. Those with prong set diamonds may wish to have the wires tightened from time to time for optimal security.
The cathedral setting is used on rings in conjunction with other mounting styles. Its distinctive feature is its shoulders, or sides of the ring flanking the stone. They rise up from the band to touch the sides of the diamond, further highlighting the jewel. Common variations on the cathedral mount include the height of the shoulders and the degree to which they curve inward or out.
Trellis settings are a variation of the prong mount. On rings, the prongs of a trellis setting extend below the diamond to grace the sides of the band. These prongs crisscross one another, forming a relief decoration. Trellis mounts are most commonly featured on solitaire or three stone diamond rings.
Pave settings refer to the use of multiple tiny diamonds to cover a surface with diamonds. While the jewels are held in place with miniscule prongs, it’s considered its own setting. Micro pave is similar, but uses still smaller gems for a finer impression. With either variation, the prongs may either be molded into the precious metal, or cut by hand from the existing base.
Bezel settings secure diamonds by using a strip of metal to encircle the jewel. The mount is ideal for those concerned about the security of their jewel, as the setting helps protect the gemstone against accidental impacts. Half bezels use two strips to secure the jewel, leaving gaps between the metal. This variant allows additional light to enter the stone.
Channel settings secure multiple diamonds at once. Gemstones of uniform size are placed into a groove carved into the jewelry. Precious metal from sides of the design are pressed over the diamonds, holding them in place. This style of mounting is most often found in rings, either as the primary feature or as an accent.
Unusual Diamond Settings
Some diamond settings are more popular than others. This can have the side effect of other mounts getting overshadowed. When selecting diamond jewelry, it can help to know about available settings and how they influence the look of the diamond. Even those which may not be available may pique interest in the possibilities of diamond jewelry design. Some less common mounts are described below.
Tension settings are specific to rings. The band does not form a complete circle, but has a gap that is filled in by the jewel. Notches are carved into either side of the band to help the stone sit securely. Pressure from the ring keeps the jewel in place. The minimal setting allows large amounts of light to travel through the diamond.
Bead settings use the smallest possible prongs to secure the diamond. Specks of precious metal are carved from the main design, pushed into place over the diamond and polished to resemble a bright bead. The miniscule mounting helps to keep the eye focused on the diamond. Due to the size of the beads, the setting may be suitable for smaller diamonds.
Tube settings use cylinders which are separate from the main design. These findings are hollow, with an interior diameter matching the girdle diameter of the diamond. The jewel is placed inside the cylinder and the entire arrangement is soldered onto the jewelry. When viewed from above, tube settings resemble bezel mounts.
Flush settings get their name for the surface of the diamond being level with the surrounding precious metal. This is accomplished by carving a notch into the design for the jewel to sit inside, and pushing the metal over the edge of the gemstone to secure it in place. The rim may be flattened, or curved to give the impression of a diamond pushed into softened metal. Other variations include completely surrounding the stone, or leaving the sides of the jewel open to light.
Closed back settings have precious metal covering the pavilion side of the gemstone. In earlier periods, before advanced diamond cutting, foil may have been placed inside the closed back to help brighten the jewel. Today’s closed back settings provide extra surface area where designers may place additional embellishment, such as engraved messages.