Choosing the Setting & Ring Metal
The setting for the ring fulfils two main purposes:
a) Securely fixes the diamond to the finger.
b) Lets the light enter the diamond for maximum sparkle.
The ring of metal is known as the band. The part of the ring that holds the diamond is known as the crown.
Style of Setting
The main types of settings are:
- Prong Set - This is the recommended way to set an engagement ring diamond. The prongs allow the maximum amount of light to enter a stone from all angles. This helps make the diamond look more brilliant and can even make it appear larger.
- Bezel Set - This is a popular setting for active adults who want their diamond to sit low on their hand and to avoid snagging on objects.
- Channel Set - This setting style is most frequently used for wedding and anniversary bands. The setting protects the girdle of the diamonds and provides a smooth exterior surface.
- Invisible Set - Diamonds with slits are placed into a frame with ridges to hold them in place. No metal appears between any stones.
- Pavé Set - The round stones are patterned very closely together and the only metal visible is what is actually used to hold the stones in place.
Your fiancée will be wearing the ring everyday for the rest of her life while driving, opening doors, working, doing housework and so on. The setting should be robust enough so that she doesn’t feel like she needs to take it off to do everyday tasks.
Some settings are “hot” right now because of current trends of fashion. Bearing in mind she will have it for the rest of her life (unless she wants to get it reset) a setting that is classic or traditional will stand the test of trends and time much better.
The setting should match the type of hands that she has. If she has long, slender fingers a slender band will look more in proportion to her hand. If she has short, squat fingers a fatter band will be in proportion to her hand.
If your girlfriend is an active “get her hands dirty” type, a tougher metal such as platinum or titanium will be more suitable so any knocks her hands take don’t mark the ring.
The three types of metal commonly used for setting engagement rings are:
- White Gold
- Yellow Gold
Titanium is a fairly new development in engagement ring metals.
Platinum is a silver-coloured metal that has gained popularity in recent years. Because it is harder than gold, it is much more durable. While a 24-karat gold ring will actually bend fairly easily, platinum is much more robust. It wears better than gold because it can be polished up without wearing much of the platinum off and
doesn’t tarnish as easily so doesn’t need polishing as often.
However, it is more expensive than gold because it is actually rarer. It is also harder to polish.
It is a great option if your fiancée wants a silver-coloured band. It is particularly good for very clear diamonds because it does not give the diamond a yellow hue like yellow gold does.
If your beloved has any skin allergies then platinum is also a good option as platinum has hypo-allergenic properties. That is, it will not irritate her skin.
Generally the platinum used in rings is stamped “PLAT 950” and is 95% platinum mixed with 5% of another metal.
Yellow gold is a traditional colour for bridal jewellery, be it engagement or wedding rings.
Your fiancée might only wear yellow gold coloured jewellery and thus want a gold setting to match her other jewellery.
The yellow of the metal makes a diamond look more yellow and so it is a better metal to select for diamonds that are more yellow on the diamond colour scale.
Pure gold is far too soft to use in rings by itself so it is always alloyed with another metal to make it stronger. 24 karat gold refers to pure gold but the more commonly used 18 karat gold is stronger. 18 karat gold is 75% gold alloyed with 25% of another metal. A common metal to alloy gold with is copper.
9 karat gold is 37.5% gold with another alloy of 62.5% and can be a good option if you have over spent on the diamond and wish to rein in some of the cost of the band. Yellow gold is more common than platinum and thus cheaper. However, because it is soft is tends to dent and scratch quite easily and will need more regular polishing. Regular polishing will also wear a gold ring more quickly than a platinum ring.
White gold is gold that has been alloyed with a cool-coloured metal such as zinc.
This is a better coloured band for a clear diamond because it doesn’t reflect as much of a yellow hue as yellow gold.
White gold is similar in price to yellow gold and has the same wear properties also.
This is a relatively new material for making engagement rings out of. It is a darker metal than platinum but very, very strong. It is also hypoallergenic. While it isn’t nearly as rare as gold or platinum, it is more difficult to craft as it is so hard so the price usually reflects this.