The setting is what holds the gemstones. The most common are shown above. Some have more than one name, (like Flush set is also known as Gypsy set). Click each setting to see information and examples of that setting style. The Style of the Setting can dramatically change the over all look and feel of a design. With so many styles of setting and endless combinations, this detail alone can transform a design from intricate antique to chic modern. When choosing a setting style, there are some important things to keep in mind beyond aesthetics. Think about your lifestyle: How often you will be wearing the ring, how active and busy you are, and how you care for your jewelry.
For example, someone who goes is very active and hard on their rings may want to steer away from delicate prong styles and more towards low set half or full bezels, while someone who works at a desk and tends to take their jewelry off when playing rough may prefer delicate prong styles. If you like more dainty or delicate designs, then light weight prongs and bead set diamonds may be right up your alley. If you want to see your center stone but feel like you have a more durable setting, a half bezel could be a great choice. If you tend to like clean lines and have concerns about the safety of your gemstone, a full bezel may be the way for you.
What It Is: This most common type of engagement-ring setting involves three to six "claws" that hold a stone firmly in a metal "head" or "basket". Prongs can be pointed, rounded, flat, or V-shaped, and act as "pockets" for a square stone's corners. When deciding between four and six prongs, know that four prongs show more of the diamond, while six prongs are more secure, but can overwhelm a small stone. If you have heart-, marquise-, or pear-shaped stone, be sure its points are cradled in a V-shaped prong for protection. Flat prongs are recommended for emerald-cut stones.
Permits the most light exposure from all angles and therefore maximizes a diamond's brilliance and "lightens up" richly colored gems.
Less metal means less time and money is required than other setting styles.
Allows easy cleaning of the stone.
Holds even the most fragile (soft) gems securely.
Offers less protection to the stone than other styles since most of the girdle (the perimeter of the stone) is exposed.
Can get caught in hair or snag clothing (especially when pulling on a long-sleeved shirt) and panty hose.
High-set prong settings can scratch and hurt other people if brushed against, and are hard to fit in gloves. (Lower prong settings are available and more practical for those on the go.)
What It Is: A design in which the compression-spring pressure of the shank holds the stone firmly in place. The minimal interference of metal can give the impression that the stone is "floating". Knot Note: Only extremely hard stones such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies can withstand the required pressure.
Allows a lot of light into the stone.
Ring is built to fit and difficult to resize at a later date.
Repair options are limited; only the manufacturer can fix your ring.
Less metal means less protection to the girdle of the stone; recommended for less active people or for special occasions only (not everyday wear).
Not recommended for gems other than diamonds, sapphires, or rubies.
What It Is: A metal rim with edges fully or partially surrounds the perimeter of the stone.
Protects a stone's girdle from being nicked or chipped.
Conceals existing nicks or chips on a stone's girdle.
Secures a stone well.
The ring surface is completely smooth.
Metal can be molded to fit any stone shape snugly.
A white metal encircling a white stone can make the stone appear larger.
A yellow gold bezel setting can enhance the color of red or green gemstones.
A yellow gold bezel setting can make a "white" stone such as a diamond appear less white because the yellow tint of the setting is reflected in the stone.
What It Is: Popular for wedding bands, this setting sandwiches a row of stones -- with no metal separating them -- between two horizontal channels for part or all of the ring.
Knot Note: Round stones cost less to set than square or rectangular ones.
Protects the girdle of the stones.
Provides better security for small stones than a prong or pave setting.
The surface is completely smooth and unobtrusive.
A ring set with stones all the way around can be difficult to resize (leave at least one third of the shank unset for greatest flexibility -- this saves money, too)
Not recommended for fragile gems such as emeralds, opals, or tourmalines.
What It Is: This setting can also be applied around some or all of the ring, but instead of channels holding the stones, thin vertical bars of metal between stones secure them firmly in place.
Protects the sides of each stone's girdle.
The surface is relatively smooth and unobtrusive.
Puts a contemporary spin on a classic look.
Leaves the top and bottom of the stone exposed.
The uneven edges of some designs may cause discomfort.
What It Is: The French word for "paved", a pavé setting (pronounced "pah-vay") involves three or more rows of several small stones fitted into holes that set them level with the surface of the ring. Surrounding metal -- white gold or platinum for white stones so as to be unnoticeable -- is then raised to form beads that secure the gems. The setting can be flat or domed.
Gives the illusion of more and bigger diamonds than they really are.
Allows an uninterrupted design flow of varying width.
Not recommended for fragile gems, although the proximity of the stones offers good protection for the girdle of each stone.
The surface is level but not as smooth as a bezel, channel, or gypsy setting.
Beads are not as reliable as other settings for securing stones
Read more: Engagement Rings: Settings 101TheKnot.com - http://wedding.theknot.com/getting-engaged/engagement-rings/articles/engagement-ring-settings-101.aspx#ixzz2f0u2RVSK