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Do you want your gemstone sparkle or glow? What is important to know about high & low profile engagement rings

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If you are quite puzzled, how the shine of your diamonds is related to the ring height, you can be sure it really matters. After reading this guide you will know what your jeweler means by saying “bezel” or “pavé” and how understanding the difference between them can help you to find the engagement ring of your dream.

The information below will be especially useful in case you hesitate between two or more rings: after reading you will be able to guess all the pros and cons of a certain ring setting just by looking.
What is the ring setting
You will hear the definition “ring setting” according to a ring when a jeweler or a salesperson asks you about your favorite ring style. A ring setting means the way by which the stone is set into the head of the ring. The setting type may be one of the most important factors how your ring will visually appeal to you and others.
Over time, jewelers developed many ways to set a stone into a ring body. Some of these ways became very popular and many people recognize them at a glance. However, people usually discuss the 4 C’s of a ring stone: Cut, Color, Clarity & Carat weight. And only some of us realize how important the setting is. If an incredible diamond will sit in a bad setting, you won’t have the full impression of its beauty or sparkle. Otherwise, the perfectly matched setting can reveal all the advantages of the small delicate stone.
Just compare these two rings. Though in general the stones of them look alike, the setting type of one makes the ring look brighter and bolder.
Besides, the ring setting affects:
  • the price of the ring: some settings require from a jeweler more meticulous work;
  • how the ring will fit you, if it will be comfortable for everyday use or not.
It’s really important to understand which setting type a ring has. Besides 4 C’s, the setting is one of the deciding factors by which you can choose your perfect ring.
Why it’s important to know whether your ring setting is low or high 
Every, absolutely every setting type can appear in 3 heights or in other words profiles: low, standard or high. 
Look at these one setting rings in different profiles. Guessed where the highest profile is?
There are no exact measurements to define a height. Setting profiles — it’s more about visual appearance than about accurate measurements.   
Then, how will you understand if a ring has a low or high, or standard profile? Three options: 
  • Just ask your jeweler or a salesperson.
  • Look at a ring from its side view and check the distance between the tip of the stone and the base of the ring. If the space is big, it’s with a high probability a high setting ring or at least standard. A low setting ring will not have much space. 
  • Look at how it appeals visually to you. Is it tall or rather low and smooth? Does it sit close to your finger? If yes, you deal with a low profile engagement ring.
Why it’s important to understand the profile of a ring: it’s directly connected to how your ring will appear to you and which grade of wow factor it will have. Down you find other not immediately obvious benefits & downsides of high  and low profile engagement rings.
  • High profile rings especially with a big center stone are very appealing and give the impression that the stone is larger than its actual size and has more sparkle. 
  • A high profile ring can be paired easily with a wedding band, especially if you need two rings to sit close to each other. Usually, it’s enough space beneath the center stone to put a wedding band right next to a high profiled engagement ring. 
  • High profile rings are very popular. The classic high profiled prong setting by Tiffany & Co. is for decades the most popular ring style in general. 
  • A high profile ring is extremely sensitive to your lifestyle and the conditions in which you wear it. It can get caught on tools, snag work gloves, or scratch other people. Besides, the centerpieces of the ring need to be handled carefully so that they will not accidentally be knocked against a hard surface. 
  • Low profile engagement rings in comparison to high profile ones may look rather decent than show off. Logically, larger flashy stones need a higher setting, so you probably will get a smaller stone for your low profile ring. However, for those who search for something classy and elegant, it will be a perfect choice. 
  • Low profile engagement rings are more comfortable for everyday wear or in a career that requires intense use of hands such as, for example, healthcare. 
  • Low profile engagement rings are safer and more resistant to accidental damage: you can easily wear your favorite cashmere sweater or do housework without taking the ring off. 
How to recognize easily a ring setting type & understand its profile 
As you now know, near all ring setting types can come in any of the profiles: in high, low, or standard. But some types tend to be rather high than low, and vice versa. 
So, let us focus on the most popular ring setting types. You will also learn which of these setting types usually appear in a low and which in a high profile.
Bezel setting 
The word “bezel” originally derived from an Old French word “besel” which since the 1610s meant “groove by which a stone is held in its setting” or in other words a frame or a rim for a gemstone. This frame of metal connected to the ring body holds a stone in its place. As you see, the bezel setting is one of the oldest methods of setting a stone into jewelry. It was very popular during Medieval times until the late 19th century and was back in fashion in the 1990s.
Antique bezel ring with glass from Roman Empire and a modern opal bezel ring 
The bezel setting is usually a low profile setting and displays all the benefits of this type, as well as downsides. 
  • The stone is held securely in the bezel setting so that you can be quite sure it will not be easily damaged or scratched. That’s why the bezel setting is the best for fragile stones such as opal, as also as diamonds which in this setting can not be dislodged easily.
  • Following the above said, you can wear your bezel ring practically every day and by any kind of activity starting from housework to motorcycle races :). 
  • Still, it’s widely discussable that the bezel setting may partly hide the beauty of a stone by covering its edges with a metal stripe. However, the setting works well with round cut stones making them look bigger than they actually are. Here you can only rely on your own taste and skill level of your jeweler.
Pavé and micro-pavé setting 
The word “pavé” (pronounced as pah-veh) originates again from a French term and means “to pave”. This setting type you recognize easily as the surface of a ring will be paved with tiny sparkling stones along the band resembling a paved road. 
A family heirloom pavé ring from the 18th century, Metropolitan Museum
The most notable jewelry with pavé design we have from the Georgian era. At that time, jewelers used this technique for numerous kinds of jewelry, not only for rings. It was time-consuming and expensive work because every tiny stone had to be pronged with even more tiny metal prongs or beads to make him hold in place. But in the end, the result was worth it: a customer had a sparkling band of subtle refined elegance. Nowadays, technologies changed this method and a microscope is used while setting a micro pavé. Micro pavé illuminates the surface of the jewelry, making it appear thinner and more delicate.
Usually, you will find a pavé setting combined with other setting types like bezel or prong. But if we talk about an “only pavé setting” ring, we usually mean a low profile one. From this, you can already understand that a pavé setting is quite comfortable for an active lifestyle but there is a risk that tiny stones will fall out. Be sure you work with an experienced jeweler to ensure your pavé settings are well done.
A ring with a brilliant combination of prong and pavé settings
Besides, pavé settings require regular and delicate cleaning because the dirt can get trapped in many nooks and crannies on the surface of the ring.  Lastly, pavé setting rings can be very hard or impossible to resize if stones cover most of the surface of a ring. So, it’s better you get your ring size totally right to avoid any post-changes.
Specifically, a pavé setting can make the center stone of a ring appear larger and enhance its sparkle, sometimes up to 20% than its original size.
Prong setting or claw setting
While a pavé setting features micro-prongs to hold tiny stones on the ring surfaces, a prong setting uses bigger metal prongs to hold a stone in place or several stones next to each other. These metal prongs can be a minimum of two or more.
It’s a classic diamond prong setting ring with six symmetrical prongs
This setting is probably the most appealing because it displays the center stone from all the sides leaving him almost free from the metal. It puts a stone on a pedestal letting it sparkle and shine when the light passes through it. 
Most variations of a prong setting referred to the number of prongs used. The classic Tiffany style, for example, has six prongs creating a very symmetrical circular look. Four-prong designs are also very common and are particularly popular on smaller stones that otherwise may look overwhelmed with more prongs.
As you can guess, the prong setting is rather a high profile type (although it may be some variations) and has, accordingly, all the features of a high profile ring. 
  • It perfectly highlights and accentuates the center stone making him appear larger and more prominent. 
  • But such rings if high set may snag on furniture, clothing, and other materials. 
  • Besides, it’s like a pavé setting requires time and effort to clean because of crevices. 
  • And lastly, to avoid a potential risk of loss or damage to the center stone don’t buy a poorly designed ring with low-quality prongs. For a good quality ring, it will be enough if you will examine it periodically to make sure the prongs are still tight and your gemstone is secure.
There are numerous other setting types but mostly all of them have this or that similarity to these 3 main type settings. 
Compare these two ruby rings where the stone of the first one is additionally raised by two metal arches
For example, in a cathedral setting, the diamond is not only held with prongs but raised up by two arches that resemble a cathedral building. It makes the stone higher than a standard prong setting. Still, both of these settings use prongs.
Another example is a channel setting in which smaller stones are set in a row into the band of the ring creating a small sparkling “road” of stones. It has a visual similarity with a pavé setting. Also, both these types are more commonly used for side accent stones than center stones. 
A channel setting (on the left) is considered to be a safer setting because stones are held in place not by beads or prongs as in the pavé setting ring on the right 
Now, when you already have quite an idea about the benefits & downsides of main ring types and can approximately tell one from another, we are moving to the last very exciting point. 
How to choose which ring setting will fit you
Which ring setting will fit you, depends on many factors. Here we tried to sum up the ideas just to make your choice easier. Ask yourself these questions:

Do you want a bold sparkle or a calm glow of the gemstone in your ring?

High profile rings will display the stone in your ring in all its glory and brilliance. It’s a perfect choice to make a statement with your ring or to amaze others. 
Low profile engagement rings are great for expressing a refined sophisticated elegance. The stone in a low profile ring will add a delicate accent to your look.

Do you plan to wear your ring every day or for special occasions?

Low profile engagement rings are ideal for everyday wear. With a low set ring, you can perform almost any activity including working in medical gloves, and so on. Such rings won’t require frequent examination of the conditions as well as a frequent cleaning. 
Your high profile ring probably won’t be totally suitable for some activities. Besides, the risk of scratching or losing a gemstone in such a ring increases. With a high probability, you will wear this ring mostly on special events.

Do you want to appear classic or rather out-of-the-box?

Though this question seems not directly related to the ring setting types it still matters. Some setting types are just more traditional than others and retain their popularity over the years, such as, for example, Tiffany-style settings for engagement rings.
If you dream to wear a ring in design that is approved by thousands of brides over the years, pay attention to classic high profile settings such as a cathedral or Tiffany like six-prong solitaire settings. These settings are also popular among our custom made engagement rings. We always make sure that a ring designed by us in one of these settings will ideally fit the client. 
If you are a creative person and like to add your personal vision to your jewelry, the best option is to create a personally designed custom ring. In the process of creation, you will understand which design and setting — low or high, or maybe something between — will fit you most. You can decide about the height of the ring and add any other feature in order to make your ring more original.
More about the creation process with us you can read here.

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Sergey Green

Sergey Green

I went from being an entrepreneur in my early 20s to being a wedding photographer, and now back to an entrepreneur. It's always about passion and true feelings and emotions for me. I'm creating a family legacy, pieces of history. Not just a ring.

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