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You have a million-and-one questions to answer when you pick out a diamond engagement ring: How many carats do you want? Do you want to add accent diamonds? What color gemstone?
But there’s also another question you probably haven’t considered: Do you want a low setting engagement ring or a high setting engagement ring? (You’ll also see these called low profile engagement rings and high profile engagement rings.)
The high setting vs. low setting engagement ring decision can seem pretty confusing, but it’s easy to decide when you learn the differences between the two.
While it might not seem like a huge decision, this simple element can impact things like stone durability, wearability, and overall sparkle. But don’t fret, in this helpful guide, we’ll fill you in on everything that you need to know so that you can feel confident in your decision.
As you’re picking out your perfect engagement ring, you have a lot to consider. Most people know to think about details like ring style, center stone shape, the 4Cs, and precious metal when shopping for their engagement ring, But there’s one very important detail that many people overlook when picking out an engagement ring: their setting profile.
An engagement ring’s setting profile is, essentially, how high it comes off your finger. A ring’s setting profile will fall into one of two categories: high or low. Whether a ring is high set or low set will affect not only the look of your ring, but also how comfortable and practical it will be to wear.
Since your engagement ring’s setting profile can affect both style and wearability, you should carefully consider setting profile before you choose your engagement ring. To help you do just that, below, we’re going over everything you need to know about high and low set engagement rings.
A ring with a high set profile means that your featured diamond or gemstone will sit high, giving your ring more of a wow factor. You can look at a ring from its side view to see whether it’s set high or set low. If the featured stone protrudes higher than your finger, that’s a high profile. The benefits of a high setting engagement ring are that the gemstone will stand out more and appear to have more brilliance to it.
While that’s a good thing, especially for those of you that love to flash bling all over the place, it also makes the gemstone more vulnerable to potential damage, such as scratches and dings. High set rings with a center stone are more likely to snag on clothing too, which can be super annoying during sweater and stockings season.
High set rings often have prongs that are long and curve elegantly upwards. They can accommodate a longer girdle on the featured stone, which makes them ideal for diamond engagement rings that sport large rocks. The larger the rock, the more room you need in the setting profile.
A gemstone or diamond ring with a low profile setting means that the stone is lower, flush with the metal. If you turn the ring to the side, you’ll notice the featured gemstone sits down low, and when wearing it, it is nestled snugly against your finger. This low setting is great for women with active lifestyles or that are required to use their hands a lot in their careers. It’s also a good choice for people in the healthcare industry, who have to put on rubber gloves frequently.
However, there are some sacrifices made for such convenience. A low setting also means that your beautiful gemstone doesn’t sparkle as brightly or have quite the same brilliance as its high profile counterpart. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a beautiful engagement ring, but if you like flashy, you won’t get it with a low profile setting.
As we established above, yes, a high setting can make a diamond look bigger. This is especially true if you pair a high setting with a thin ring shank or band. However, if your stone is 0.5 carats or less a high setting can emphasize the small size of the stone so keep this in mind if you’re trying to create an illusion of a larger diamond.
If high profile rings aren’t you’re style but you still want to create the illusion of a larger stone don’t fret. There are other ways to trick the eye. When it comes to engagement ring designs, try a glamorous halo setting. In halo engagement rings, several accent stones encircle the center stone resulting in a piece that looks larger-than-life. Alternatively, a three stone engagement ring setting can create the same effect. In this design, a center gemstone is paired with two side stones for extra sparkle.
Another element to consider within your engagement ring setting is metal. While white gold or silver is traditionally believed to enhance the appearance of one’s center stone by reflecting a diamond’s size this isn’t necessarily true. The Gemological Institue of America(GIA), said it this way, “The logic seems sound until you consider that a rose gold or yellow gold band could serve as a dramatic counterpoint to the diamond, making it look bigger. So a white metal band is not a foolproof solution.”
By now you’re getting an idea of which style you prefer. Below are the most common settings for high profile and low profile engagement rings.
One of the most common of all engagement ring settings, the stylish prong setting is versatile pairing nicely with many diamond shapes. In this style, the center stone is held in place by either four or six prongs. Four prong settings allow for more white light return, while six prongs offer more security.
Similar to the prong setting is the trellis setting. Somewhat vintage in appearance, rings in this style consist of four prongs weaved together in a cross pattern, securely holding the diamond in place.
If you’re looking for something sophisticated, try a classic cathedral setting. In this design, the gemstone is mounted above the shank of the ring where it’s held in place by metal arches.
A fan-favorite across the board, the classic solitaire setting is a minimalist’s dream. In this style, the center stone is held to a sleek metal band using claw-like prongs in a basket setting. Solitaire engagement rings offer maximum brilliance and are easy to maintain. What’s more, this style is rather affordable since there is only a single gemstone in play.
A bezel set engagement ring is ideal for those who want to keep their center stone as safe and secure as possible. Bezel Setting engagement rings consist of a ring of metal that holds the stone in place. However, the encasing metal does slightly cover the edge of the stone resulting in less brilliance than you might find in other engagement ring settings.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a low profile engagement ring setting that will turn heads try a tension style setting for your forever adornment. In this unique design, the gemstone is held in place using the bands of the ring itself. The diamond looks as if it’s floating between the two bands creating an ultra dazzling look as light easily passes through the stone.