What Setting is Best for Round Cut Engagement Rings?

One of the first decisions to make when searching for the perfect engagement ring is the center stone. Within this decision, there are several key questions to ask yourself:
  1. Do I want a diamond or a gemstone?
  2. What color stone do I want? (Both gemstones and diamonds come in many colors)
  3. What shape stone do I want?

If you answered that you want a round stone, then you’re in the right place. The following guide will help you determine the best style of engagement ring to perfectly complement your round center stone.

It’s true that the most popular choice for a center stone is a round brilliant cut diamond (RBC for short), with approximately 60% of people polled noting that they chose a round diamond for their engagement ring. The RBC diamond is likely the most popular stone because of the unbeatable light performance. With 58 facets, it reflects light from various angles and creates unparalleled brilliance and sparkle–making it the most sought-after. The symmetrical shape of the round cut is also said to symbolize eternal love, further adding to its allure.

It’s certainly a beautiful, classic choice and there are almost endless options for setting a round stone in an engagement ring. A crucial aspect of the overall ring's appeal is the setting in which the diamond is placed. The setting not only keeps the diamond secure, but also enhances its beauty. There are many options in engagement ring styles to take into consideration when selecting the setting for your RBC diamond, so let’s dive right in.

The Solitaire Engagement Ring:
The solitaire ring is the most popular of all engagement ring styles, whether you have a round or alternative shape center stone. It is elegant and timeless, with a “less is more” approach. The solitaire ring allows the diamond's exquisite beauty to take center stage. It is called a solitaire because the diamond is set alone (solitary) in the center of the band. The solitaire setting showcases the diamond's brilliance in its purest form, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate simplicity and tradition. If you have any concerns about choosing a particular engagement ring style that may be currently trendy, a solitaire is a safe bet, as it will never go out of style. It also gives you versatility when choosing wedding bands, as typically any stackable band will fit well with a solitaire engagement ring.

If you've opted for a solitaire engagement ring, selecting your center stone becomes even more important because it is the main focus of your ring. Refer to the 4C’s for guidance on how to select your center stone. 

If you’re concerned about a solitaire engagement ring not having enough flair, there are plenty of ways to make the ring more unique to your specific style. There are many different styles of engraving that can be added to your ring, such as floral, art deco, or geometric. There are also different metal finishes that can make the entire surface (or just select areas) stand out. Such finishes include, sandblast, satin, hammer, or florentine. Another option similar to engraving is called filigree, where there are open carved areas of metal that add great detail and a vintage-like style. Milgrain, which is fine metal beading of (typically) the edges of the ring, is another vintage addition you can consider.

This leads us to the topic of the actual setting style, of which there are many different options.

1. Prong Setting: Prong setting is timeless and very popular among most engagement rings. This comprises a setting in which typically four or six prongs (pieces of metal that hug and wrap around to the top of the center stone to hold it) secure the stone in place at the top of the band. These prongs are an ideal way to set a round stone, since they do not cover much of the stone itself, allowing maximum light exposure to enhance its brilliance. This also allows for easy access when cleaning your ring. A four-prong setting is a classic look that provides plenty of protection for your stone, while a six-prong setting may provide additional protection for larger diamonds.

  • Single prongs- single prong settings have one piece of metal per prong.
  • Double prongs - double prong settings have prongs that have been split to be two pieces of metal as they curve over the top of the stone. This is mostly for aesthetic purposes as opposed to security.
  • Claw prongs - claw prongs come to a point to look almost sharp as they hold the stone. This does not affect the security of the stone, but accomplishes a more modern look.
2. Bezel Setting: Bezel setting offers a contemporary look where the stone’s girdle is completely surrounded with a circle of metal. This is a very secure way to set your stone because it’s not exposed and therefore will be more difficult to chip if your ring is accidentally damaged. The bezel setting is an excellent choice for those with active lifestyles or professions that involve frequent hand use, such as doctors or nurses. One downside to the bezel setting is that less light enters the stone, which may reduce the brilliant appearance of your stone. With a bezel setting, it’s also important to think about the color of metal you’re choosing. Since the stone is completely encircled, the color of the metal will reflect into the stone, so a D color diamond (colorless) may appear slightly yellow if you choose yellow gold.
  • Full bezel - the metal completely encircles the diamond.
  • Semi-bezel - the metal encircles part of the diamond, while leaving part of it exposed. For examples of this, see the Escape or Aerial setting.

The Halo Engagement Ring:
The halo engagement ring has become trendy in the past 10 years or so and almost every designer has several in their bridal collection. If you step into most jewelry stores, there will be at least a dozen halo designs to choose from. The halo setting features a circle of smaller diamonds or gemstones surrounding the central RBC diamond. Since there are additional diamonds set near your center stone, this setting style magnifies the main stone's brilliance and creates the illusion of a larger, more substantial diamond.

There’s no rule that states you have to stop at one halo only. There are many engagement ring designs that feature multiple circles of halos around the center diamond. They can all be diamonds or you can mix up the style with different gemstones. Also possible is the addition of different shaped diamonds. While it’s not as simple to accomplish, a skilled jeweler will be able to design a halo of oval diamonds, for example, to complement your RBC diamond center.

There are also designs that mimic a halo, or a semi-halo, which is when diamonds are set partially around the center stone, but don’t form a complete circle. Check out Scintillate for an example of this style.

The diamonds within the halo itself can also be set with different setting styles.

  1. Channel - the diamonds will be held between two “channels” of metal, without prongs.
  2. Pave with wall - the diamonds will be held with small prongs, but also with a wall of metal on either side. This can minimize the amount of light that enters the diamonds, but can increase the security of the stones.
  3. Pave without wall - the diamonds will be held with small prongs only, without the wall of metal on either side. This leaves the diamonds more exposed to possible damage, but increases the light reflection. Within either type of pave setting, the prongs can be single prongs or double prongs (which we previously covered), or shared prongs (when two diamonds side by side are secured with the same prongs).

Three Stone Setting:
Three stone rings can serve different purposes–engagement or anniversary. For either occasion, it can beautifully show off your round brilliant cut diamond. Once used mostly for anniversary gifts due to the symbolism of representing the past, present, and future of a relationship, three stone rings have transitioned into some of the most unique engagement rings in today’s market.

Your RBC diamond can be flanked by two diamonds of a similar cut, color, and clarity for a seamless look, or you can mix it up by setting diamonds or gemstones of different shapes and colors. This is a great way to customize your ring to your personal style, all the while keeping the traditional round center stone.

When it comes to diamonds, the round brilliant cut is the queen, and as such she should be adorned with a beautiful setting to properly showcase her beauty. Whether you choose the traditional solitaire, the more modern halo, or a unique three-stone ring, there are plenty of ways to keep your diamond safe while also showing off your personal style. Essentially, the perfect setting for a round brilliant cut diamond is an interpretation of your love story. This setting will simply enhance your diamond, which has been selected to be a visual representation of your love, as a symbol that will endure for generations to come.