The design possibilities of an engagement ring are limitless, from a solitaire diamond ring to elaborate settings with a myriad of stones. Here is guide to sorting out your claws from your clusters.
The traditional method of setting a stone is by using claws. The 'claws' or prongs reach from under the ring to clasp the stone over its sides. Most jewellers use four or six claws and the design of these plays an important part in the overall look of the ring. Claws are very practical and considered one of the safer ways to secure your stone.
In a bezel setting, the stone is completely surrounded by the metal making it very secure. An alternative to this is the half bezel setting where two sides of the setting are removed. The advantage of the half bezel is that the stone can be seen from the side and its brilliance can shine from above.
Several stones are set in a row inside a channel between two horizontal sides of gold. No metal separates the stones and so the effect is one of maximum sparkle.
In flush-set designs the diamonds are actually embedded into the band itself, often with a prominent centre stone capturing attention. In recent years this setting has become extremely popular.
With tension setting, or floating, the stone is suspended between two ends of the band allowing you to view as much as possible. Be aware this is one of the least secure settings, and you should have it checked regularly.
Stones are held firm by slender vertical bars of metal between them, the effect is one of clean lines and order.
A cluster setting involves several smaller stones being grouped together - often surrounding a larger central stone - to look like one very impressive rock.
In a pave setting the stones are placed close together so as not to show any metal. The stones are in fact held in place by tiny claws - but these are practically invisible.
An 'invisible' set ring is where the stones interlock, usually in a geometric pattern, with no metal showing. The jeweller achieves this by making small cuts inside the princess cut stones so that the gems actually slide into each other.
This is a good choice for brides who have already purchased their stone. It allows you to buy a ready-made band with accent stones that has a space in which your stone may be placed.