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Most Popular Engagement Ring Settings (Pros & Cons)

Posted by Emma Davison on Jan 31, 2018 1:45:58 PM

Are you confused about the different engagement ring settings? Would you like to know the difference between a claw and a bar? Or perhaps you want to compare a tension setting and a rub over?

Choosing an engagement ring can be tough. From the diamond’s cut and colour, to the ring style and metal type, choosing the best engagement ring is a complicated process.

More than that, you want your engagement ring to be your partner's dream. Try googling 'I don't like my engagement ring', and you'll find lots of people who feel guilty about disliking their engagement ring... we want to stop this from happening to you!

In this article, we are going to discuss the differences between ring settings. We have used our expert Burrells knowledge to explain what setting options are available to you and which will suit your needs and lifestyle. After all, the perfect engagement ring should last you a lifetime.


Popular Engagement Ring Settings

While there are many different styles and trends available to us today, we’re going to focus on the most popular engagement ring settings. They are:

  • Claw Setting

  • Rub-Over Setting (Bezel)

  • Tension and Tension-Style Settings

  • Bar Setting

Now, let’s take a closer look to find out the differences between them...


Claw Setting

The claw setting is a classic and popular choice. Thin metal claws extend from the base of the ring and hook over the diamond to secure it. This setting is effectively a basket which carries your stone. You can choose between four, six or eight claws.


Pros of the Claw Setting

  • There are a variety of claw styles to choose from. The claws can be rounded, flat, pointed or even V-shaped. Moreover, a claw setting is suitable for all diamond shapes.
  • The claws take up a relatively small amount of the diamond’s surface area, and in turn, this allows maximum light exposure. And what is the best thing about maximum light exposure? Brightness and sparkle, of course!


Cons of the Claw Setting

  • The claw setting is not as safe as some other settings (for example rub-over).
  • As with most pieces of jewellery, especially engagement rings that are worn on a daily basis, the metal claws in a claw setting can wear thin over time. If the claws are not checked regularly (we recommend every 6 months) and re-tipped or replaced when needed, there is more chance that the stone could come out of the setting entirely.
  • As claw settings can vary in height, it is worth remembering that the higher the claws, the more likely the wearer is to knock them or catch them on fabric.


Extra Information about the Claw Setting

One of the most popular variations of the claw setting is a 'Cathedral Setting'. This design uses gentle arches (which are reminiscent of cathedral architecture) as well as claws to hold the diamond in place.

Rub-Over Setting

Also referred to as a 'bezel setting', the rub-over setting is another popular choice for engagement rings. For this setting, a band of metal encircles the diamond, creating a metal rim.

A rub-over setting creates a sleek and understated engagement ring design. Consequently, this setting may be a good option if your partner opts for a more pared-back style.


Pros of the Rub-Over Setting

  • The rub-over setting is another popular choice, but this time because of its durability. Without a doubt, the rub-over offers maximum protection and security to the diamond it holds. Therefore, rub-over is an excellent choice for someone who is particularly active with their hands.
  • A rub-over setting can also make your diamond appear larger than it is. As a rub-over setting frames the circumference of the stone, the metal reflects some of the diamond's sparkle. However, this illusion very much depends upon the choice of metal used for the setting. For example, a white metal such as white gold or platinum is the most effective.
  • Additionally, this choice of setting is also suitable for any shape of stone.


Cons of the Rub-Over Setting

  • The disadvantage of a rub-over is that it doesn’t allow as much light to enter the stone. Unfortunately, less light equals less sparkle.
  • This setting collects more dirt than other settings do, requiring more regular cleaning.
  • This setting is not easy to resize.


Tension Setting

The tension setting is a contemporary style, which provides the illusion of suspension. The diamond sits within the band of the ring itself, appearing to float in mid-air.

The metal band of the ring acts as a clamp to hold the stone securely in place, usually with small etchings/grooves that create a shelf for the gemstone's edges to rest.

The sides of a tension setting tend to be quite substantial, which creates a bold look. Such boldness is excellent if you are looking for an engagement ring that makes a statement.


Tension Setting Pros

  • The tension setting allows the diamond to have a lot of light exposure, increasing the stone’s sparkle and shine (brilliance).
  • This setting requires less maintenance than a claw setting


Tension Setting Cons

  • Firstly, as a tension setting physically suspends a diamond, the diamond has less protection than some of the more traditional designs. Any accidental knocks, as well as everyday wear, can weaken a tension set diamond. If you have a tension set diamond, it is essential to have regular inspections done. Checks can help to prevent your diamond from becoming loose.
  • Secondly, tension settings make it complicated to adjust the size of an engagement ring. If you would like to purchase a tension-set diamond ring, then initially sizing the ring correctly is paramount.


Extra Information about the Tension Setting

It is also possible to buy engagement rings with 'tension-style' settings. These settings maintain a similar look to the classic tension setting but incorporate an additional piece of metal which surrounds the diamond. This additional piece of metal keeps the diamond even more secure.

Bar Setting

The bar setting is similar to the channel setting; the diamond is secured between two vertical metal bars. Two sides of the diamond are left exposed, allowing more light to reach the stone, thus creating more sparkle.


Bar Setting Pros

  • The bar setting allows you to see more of the diamond than a channel setting does (due to less metal)
  • The bars in this setting make it very secure
  • Sparkle is amplified due to the stone being more visible


Bar Setting Cons

  • The bar setting is not as secure as the channel setting
  • The diamond is quite exposed in a bar setting and unfortunately this increases the risk of possible damage
  • Resizing a bar-set ring can be challenging and costly

So Which is the Best Engagement Ring Setting for me?

Here at Burrells, we understand that every aspect of an engagement ring can alter depending on personal choice. Despite this, here is a general recap of the kind of style that each setting can provide:

  • Claw Setting - Classic, sophisticated, and delicate.
  • Rub-Over Setting - Understated, sleek, and sturdy.
  • Tension and Tension-Style Settings - Contemporary, bold, and unusual.
  • Bar Setting - Dazzling, streamlined, and versatile.

When choosing an engagement ring, it may be useful to consider each setting style against your partner's style, while also thinking about how durable you need the ring to be.

We hope that this blog has given you a better understanding of the different diamond settings available. If you would like any more assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can also make an appointment to speak with one of our fantastic staff members in store, who will be happy to help you.



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Engagement and Wedding


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