5 Popular Types of Engagement Ring Settings—Plus the Pros and Cons of Each
These are the pros and cons of different types of engagement ring settings—and how to choose the right one for your ring.
It’s natural for an engagement ring’s center stone to be the center of attention—but the ring setting is a key design element, too, since it affects everything from the price tag to how much light reaches that sparkler. (Figuring out ring size is another step.) Ring setting refers to where the diamond—or other center stone—sits on the ring’s band, or shank, and how exactly it’s secured in place.
You may know your stuff when it comes to diamonds (hello, 4 Cs), but it’s worth brushing up on different types of engagement ring settings, too—these two ring details go hand in hand, after all. With a little help from Brilliant Earth, a leader of ethically sourced bridal and fine jewelry, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of the most popular types of engagement ring settings, from prongs to pavés and everything in between.
See our chart, below, for a side-by-side comparison of popular types of engagement ring settings, or read on for a picture, description, and explanation of the pros and cons of the most popular ring settings.
Popular types of engagement ring settings
Prong or solitaire setting
Prongs are the little claws or arms that reach up and around the edges of the diamond to hold it in place. This type of setting uses anywhere from three to six prongs (depending on the diamond size and shape, and the wearer’s preference) to secure the stone.
Pros: Perfect for a solitaire (or single) diamond (the most popular engagement ring trend at the moment), a prong setting allows for the most light exposure from all angles—giving the center stone maximum sparkle factor. It’s a clean and timeless ring setting that works for almost all stone shapes, easily accommodates a wedding band, and may cost less due to its simple design.
Cons: Gemstones set with prongs tend to be elevated, which showcases the stone, but might not be your first choice for an everyday ring (i.e. an engagement ring), especially if you’re active and worry about hitting your ring on things.
A halo engagement ring features a larger center stone hugged by a circle, or halo, of smaller accent diamonds. “Halo settings can come in a range of styles, including a single halo, two (or more) halos, or a distinct floral or scalloped design,” according to Brilliant Earth.
Pros: A halo is one of the best ways to get more bling for your buck. This type of setting offers the illusion of a larger center stone without the price tag. The accent stones also add some texture and dimension to a solitaire stone.
Cons: A low-sitting halo can make it more difficult to find a wedding band that sits flush against the engagement ring. If you’re obsessed with having a halo, but want to avoid this issue, look for a ring designed with a higher-set diamond and surrounding halo.
The name for this setting literally comes from the French word “paved,” because a pavé ring looks like a road paved with teeny-tiny diamonds.
Pros: A pavé setting elevates a simple band to into something extra special. Many people upgrade their engagement rings with a pavé of some kind after an anniversary or other marriage milestone.
Cons: With diamonds set into the band, resizing a pavé ring can be more difficult than a plain band. Brilliant Earth also points out that engagement rings featuring such little diamonds can require more maintenance. You might be making more trips to the jeweler for cleanings and inspections than you would with a solitaire ring.
Three-stone (or side-stone) setting
This setting—famously favored by Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex—consists of a center diamond flanked by two (sometimes smaller) side stones, either diamonds or other precious gemstones.
Pros: The sheer number of stones allowed by this type of setting means more room for creativity. Sapphires, rubies, or emeralds make for beautiful additions to this multi-stone setting. It’s not just for looks, either: Three-stone rings are said to symbolize a couple’s past, present, and future.
Cons: The accent stones may steal the limelight from the center diamond or make it appear smaller than it really is. It can also be tricky to find three diamonds of identical (or even near-identical) color and clarity. You may need to select a higher color or clarity center diamond if you’re aiming to perfectly match the two accent diamonds (and usually the higher the color and clarity, the more expensive it is).
Instead of holding a raised diamond in place with prongs, a bezel setting wraps the center diamond snugly in a metal rim that either completely or partially covers its sides.
Pros: This setting is ideal for anyone with a very active job or lifestyle (nurses, doctors, gym rats), but is also popular in general for its modern, minimalist appeal. The simple setting creates a perfectly smooth edge and keeps the gem extremely secure.
Cons: Bezels cover more of the diamond’s girdle and sides, so you’d need to splurge on a larger diamond for the same visual effect as a prong setting. Skip a bezel if you’ve always wanted to flaunt a diamond from all sides.