When to buy an engagement setting only
You can buy an engagement setting only, and wait on the stone
Before you know when to buy an engagement setting only, you have to understand what this means. Yes, you know what an engagement ring is and that there is a stone or stones and a band and different colors, shapes and styles. But what is a setting?
The jewelry industry’s word for ‘setting’ is ‘mounting.’ This means before the piece has been set with a stone.
There are a number of reasons to buy only the setting for your engagement ring - knowing, of course, that the jewelry will not be complete until you add the diamond, gemstones or combination of stones. First, you may already own a diamond, whether it is a loose stone that may have been removed from another piece of jewelry - perhaps a single earring that is missing its mate - or one that is a family heirloom and has been handed down "loose." Another reason to buy only the setting is that you have another diamond ring, perhaps one that is out-of-fashion, from which you intend on using the stone. You may also be waiting to purchase the stone at a later date, when you can shop together or when you can afford a larger or better quality stone.
Remember, when you purchase only the setting, you will have to pay a jeweler to "set" your diamond, and usually you will want his/her advice on the style and size of setting that best matches the stone you already have. Remember that you can opt to add gemstones and smaller or complimentary diamonds to the setting in order to showcase the diamond you are planning around.
Here are some diamond setting basics:
When you look at engagement ring mountings you will most commonly see a prong, which involves three to six claws holding the stone tightly in a metal head or basket. Prongs can be rounded, pointed, V-shaped or flat and serve as pockets for a square stone’s corners.
Which should you pick? Six prongs? Four prongs? If you go with the latter (four) more diamond is seen. However, six prongs provide more security but can overcome a small stone.
Those choosing marquise-, heart- or pear-shaped stones should determine that the points are supported in a V-shape prong, which provides protection. For emerald-cut stones, select a flat prong.
Keep in mind high-set prongs can actually scratch a person, snag clothes and get tangled up in hair. Also know that prongs don’t offer as much protection as other styles because more of the stone’s girdle (which is the perimeter) is exposed.
When there is little interference by the shank (which provides the compression-spring pressure or tension holding the stone in place) the stone looks like it’s floating. However, only very hard stones such as sapphires, diamonds and rubies can tolerate the required pressure.
The good thing about a floating stone is light gets into the stone. On the other hand, because the stone is ‘floating,” it has less metal, meaning there is less protection, and might not be a good choice for someone who is very active.
Another aspect of the setting is the bezel, which is the metal rim featuring edges that are either fully or partially surrounding the circumference of the stone.
The bezel safeguards the stone’s girdle, preventing it from being chipped or nicked, and it hides existing chips or nicks on the girdle. It holds the stone securely. The ring surface is smooth and the metal can be made to fit any stone shape snugly.
If the bezel is yellow gold, it improves the color of green or red gemstones. If the stone is white and the metal is also white this makes the stone look bigger.
Be cautious of buying a yellow gold bezel setting because it can alter the appearance of a white stone, causing it to have a yellow tint.
A channel setting means rows of stones are sandwiched between two horizontal channels for all or part of the ring. There is no metal separating the rows. The surface is unobtrusive and smooth and good security is provided for the small stones. A prong or pave setting does not provide as much protection for the stones.
A bar setting can be used around all or some of the ring; however, channels do not hold the stones in place. Instead, thin, vertical metal bars are placed between the stones, securing them. The bar protects the sides of the stone’s perimeter. The surface is mostly smooth and inconspicuous. Some consumers do not like the fact that this style leaves the bottom and top of the stone exposed and the uneven edges may not be comfortable.
You may have heard the term pave setting, meaning a ring where there are three or more rows of multiple small stones fit into holes level with the ring’s surface. The surrounding metal is raised, forming beads that keep the stones in place. You can choose between a flat or domed setting.
The perks of this setting include an unbroken design flow of differing widths and the stones appear bigger than they are. Keep in mind, beads don’t secure the stones as well as other settings. The surface is level but not as smooth as a channel, gypsy or bezel setting.
Know that you know a little or, hopefully, a lot more about settings, venture out to the jewelry store. Find a setting that complements a sparkling stone (or two or three.) Buy something pretty!