A Comprehensive Guide to Understand Different Gemstone Setting Styles

Written by YGH


Posted on July 05 2024

A jeweler adjusting a prong setting on a ring, with loose diamonds and other rings visible on the work surface.

Welcome to our star-studded walk through the world of gemstone setting styles! If you're on a quest to find the perfect piece of jewelry, understanding the different ways a gem can be perched on your precious metal of choice is crucial. But what exactly is a gemstone setting? Simply put, it's the method used to secure a gemstone onto a ring, a pair of earrings, a bracelet, or a necklace. This isn't just about keeping your stone from falling out-it's also about maximizing its beauty, sparkle, and longevity. There are many setting styles which will bring you confusion, and that's what this blog aims to do-to offer you a comprehensive guide to understand different gemstone setting styles.

Prong Settings

Prong settings are like tiny metal fingers that grip a gemstone in place on a piece of jewelry. The prongs are like the arms of a little chair that the gemstone sits on. This style of setting is the classic choice for engagement rings, especially those with a single, large diamond. The prong setting enhances the brilliance of the diamond. It allows the diamond to shine and catch the eye from all angles.

Pros and Cons

Prong settings are a popular choice because they really let the stone shine and make it look bigger. Their simple design means light can hit the gem from all angles, making it sparkle a lot. They're also pretty versatile - almost any size or shape of stone can fit into a prong setting.

But, there are a few downsides to keep in mind. Those little metal bits that hold the stone in place? They can get caught on your sweater or hair, which is annoying and can also mess up the setting if one gets bent. Plus, if the prongs are set too high, they can poke your finger easily.

Classifications of Prone Settings

  1. Four-Prong Setting: Think of it as the classic, minimalist chair with four legs for your gemstone. It's got enough support to keep the stone safe and really shows off the rock's beauty. Plus, because there's less metal, more light can get to the stone, making it shine bright.
  2. Six-Prong Setting: It's extra secure, so if you've got a big, fancy diamond or a precious stone, six prongs help make sure it won't go anywhere. And although it covers a bit more of the stone, it still lets plenty of sparkle out.
  3. Double-Prong Setting: Here's where it gets stylish - each corner of the gem has a pair of prongs instead of just one. It looks chic because it gives the illusion that the gemstone is being held by elegant little pinches, adding a touch of class and detail.
Four-Prong Six-Prong Double-Prong
Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings

    Bezel Settings

    A bezel setting is like a metal hug for your gemstone. This type of setting wraps around the stone with a metal edge and holds it in place. It can pair well with an emerald or moissanite, protecting its vulnerable edges from chipping, and frames its sparkle in a really modern, clean way. These gems are different from each other - emeralds are classic and luxe, but they can be a bit delicate; moissanite, on the other hand, is tough, shiny, and more affordable than diamonds.

    Pros and Cons

    The good stuff about bezel settings? They're safe and secure; no prongs mean your gem won't pop out unexpectedly. And because there aren't any sharp edges, you won't be snagging it on your favorite sweater or scratching your partner by accident.

    The not-so-great part? Well, bezel settings can hold back some of the light that makes a gemstone shine its brightest. Your stone might not twinkle as much as it would with, say, a prong setting that lets light in from all sides.

    Different Types of Bezel Settings

    1. Full bezel setting: A full bezel setting completely surrounds the gemstone with a metal rim, offering maximum protection.
    2. Partial bezel setting: Also known as a half-bezel setting, this style leaves the sides of the gemstone exposed, allowing more light to enter while still providing a secure hold.
    Full Bezel Partial Bezel
    Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
    Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings

      Pavé Settings

      Pavé settings involve small gemstones, set closely together with minimal visible metal, creating a continuous sparkle across the jewelry piece's surface. You can see this type of setting frequently used in engagement rings, as it adds extra sparkle to the band of an engagement ring, complementing the larger center stone. Try to pair a pavé setting with gemstones like alexandrites, opals, or agates, and set it on a rose gold band, magic happens, as the warm hue of rose gold contrasts beautifully with the cool sparkle of pavé.

      Pros and Cons

      These settings have some practical perks. The main advantage is maximum brilliance - you get a whole lot of shine for less since smaller stones cost less than big ones. They can also make a thin band look wider without beefing up the metal.

      On the flip side, pavé settings can be high-maintenance. Dirt loves to crash the sparkle party, hiding between the stones. And because the gems are small, they can be prone to popping out if they're not maintained properly.

      Classification of Pavé Setting Styles

      1. Micro-Pavé: Tiny gems packed tightly together create a continuous shimmer. The setting is so fine that the metal is almost invisible.
      2. French Pavé (or Fishtail Pavé): Gems are set with metal notched beneath them, making a 'V' shape pattern that enhances the stone's visibility and sparkle while keeping an elegant metallic touch.
      3. U-Cut Pavé: With metal cut into 'U' shapes between each gem, this style maximizes light exposure from below, boosting the brilliance of the stones.
      4. Flush-Set Pavé (or Burnish-Set Pavé): Stones are set flush with the surface of the band, held in place by the surrounding metal without any prongs, for a smooth, contemporary finish.
      Micro-Pavé French Pavé
      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
      U-Cut Pavé Flush-Set Pavé
      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings

      Halo Settings

      A halo setting has a big stone in the middle and a cute entourage of smaller stones circling around it, making the star of the show look even bigger and super sparkly. Halo settings can be used in wedding bands to add extra sparkle and complement the engagement ring.

      Pros and Cons

      Halos are great because they make your main stone look massive (who doesn't love a bit of an optical illusion?) . A halo setting is meant to enhance the center stone with added size and brilliance at an affordable cost. If the center and accent stones are of two different colors, then the halo setting throws more attention toward the center stone to have it pop with colors and brilliance dependency.

      Here's the rub, though: while you might save cash on a smaller central diamond thanks to the halo's magnifying powers, the overall price tag can still singe the wallet a bit more than simpler styles like a solitaire. Why? Because those halos need more metalwork and more tiny gems, which means more time at the jeweler's bench – and more time equals more money.

      Common Halo Setting Style

      1. Single Halo: Just one circle of those twinkling stones around the center. It's classic, not too over-the-top, and amps up the size of the main gem without going full Vegas.
      2. Double Halo: Think more is more? The double halo has two layers of gems around the middle stone. This one's got all the glitz for people who want to go big or go home.
      3. Hidden Halo: The undercover agent of halos. It tucks the extra sparkle underneath the main stone. You don't see the bling from above, but from the side, it's a sweet surprise.
      Single Halo Double Halo Hidden Halo
      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings
      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings

      Tension Settings

      Tension settings use the tension of the metal band to hold the gemstone in place, creating a unique, modern appearance. The gemstone appears to be suspended between the two ends of the metal band, with no additional prongs or bezels. You'll need a stone that can handle the stress – literally. Hard gems like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies often do well, but softer stones might crack under pressure.


      One of the major attractions of tension-set rings is their contemporary flair and the way they enhance the gem's brilliance by allowing light to interact from all angles. And due to the absence of prongs, these rings are often easier to maintain.


      Yet, their avant-garde allure comes with a few drawbacks. Not only are they typically more expensive due to their complex manufacturing process, but it's also challenging to find jewelers who can resize them or make adjustments, limiting future modifications.

      A tension-set ring with a single diamond appearing to be suspended between the two ends of the metal band.

      Channel Settings

      Channel settings feature gemstones set into channels within the metal band, creating a smooth, flush surface. This setting style is commonly used for wedding bands and eternity rings.

      Pros and Cons

      The channel setting's design ensures comfortable wear and eliminates the inconvenience of gems catching on clothing or hair.

      However, adjusting the size of a channel-set ring can be a complex task, often deterring resizing efforts. Additionally, not every gemstone is suitable for this kind of setting; it demands particular cuts and sizes. To preserve its luster, regular and meticulous cleaning is required, as debris tends to accumulate in the channels, dulling the stones' sparkle over time.

      Engagement Rings Gemstone Settings

      Channel Settings vs. Pavé Settings

      The confusion between channel setting and pave setting often arises because they both involve embedding small stones close together to create a continuous strip of brilliance. The primary difference between channel settings and pave settings lies in how the gemstones are secured and displayed. In a channel setting, gemstones are nestled between two parallel metal walls that form a channel; they are held in place by the lip of these walls, which slightly overlaps the edges of the stones. This results in a sleek and protected row of gems without visible prongs, giving the appearance of a smooth, uninterrupted surface. In contrast, a pave setting features gemstones that are set directly onto the surface of the metal and kept in place with small beads or mini prongs. These beads are soldered to the metal around each stone, separating them distinctly. Pave settings typically use small, round diamonds that are not touching, but set very closely together for an all-over shimmering effect, accentuating the sparkle of each individual stone.

      Flush Settings

      Flush settings are known as gypsy settings or burnish settings, and their key feature is that the stone sits "flush" with the surface of the jewelry, meaning it doesn't protrude. The nature of flush settings means that they are best suited for hard-wearing stones, such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, because these stones can take the pressure required to set them.


      They are low-set and can be quite strong with the surrounding metal offering a lot of protection. This not only gives rings a clean and contemporary look but it also means there's less chance of the setting catching on clothing.


      The big disadvantage is that, because the gem is set within the metal, the amount of light coming through the sides is limited; this can dull the sparkle a little. The craftsmanship required for flush settings is intricate since it involves precise cutting and finishing to ensure the stone fits perfectly into the metal.

      A channel-set ring with alternating blue sapphires and diamonds, creating a smooth, flush surface.

      Cluster Settings

      Cluster settings bring together a variety of gemstones to make something that really stands out. They aren't too picky regarding stones – they're pretty inclusive. If you want to add some color, why not throw in a moissanite? Moissanites are nearly as tough as diamonds and will keep your cluster sparkling. For something with a bit of mystery, how about moonstones or alexandrites, which change color depending on the light?


      Cluster settings are renowned for their striking appearance, as the collective shimmer of closely-set stones offers a grand visual impact. They provide a cost-effective alternative to larger single stones, delivering a bold look without a hefty price tag. The flexibility in design allows for a variety of unique, custom arrangements that can cleverly give the impression of a much bigger central gem.


      Their elaborate designs, while beautiful, can attract grime and necessitate careful cleaning routines. Additionally, the abundance of stones increases the maintenance needs, with more frequent inspections required to ensure all gems remain securely in place. If damage does occur, the complexity of the setting can make repairs both challenging and expensive, particularly when matching new stones to the original ones

      A heart-shaped ring with a cluster setting, featuring numerous small diamonds set closely together, creating a continuous sparkle.

      Choose Your Gemstone Setting to Secure the Shine!

      With so many dazzling gemstone setting styles, finding the perfect one to showcase your precious gem is an exciting journey. Whether you're drawn to the spotlight-stealing brilliance of a prong setting or the sleek embrace of a bezel, the right setting can elevate your gemstone to celestial heights. Don't wait anymore; discover your ideal setting style, and let your gemstone shine in all its glory!