Ring Guide: Finding the Perfect Setting and Metal
You have selected the perfect diamond; the next step is to find the perfect setting and metal! Diamondwave.com offers an array of classic and contemporary solitaire settings, three stone rings, engagement and wedding rings with side stones and more. Our settings come from the top manufactures in the world. Below is a guide that explains the differences in metal and settings. Also view Precious Metals for more information.
Engagement Ring Metal Types
The purity of gold is measured in karats, which should not be confused with the term carat, used to measure diamond weight. The higher the karat, the greater its gold content and price. The K number specifies how many parts, by weight, of pure gold is contained in 24 parts of the alloy. Gold jewelry should always be stamped with the karat mark, either 18k, 750 (European marking for 18k), 14k, 585 (European marking for 14k), or 10k. In addition, to assure its quality, the piece should be stamped with the manufacturer's trademark or country of origin.
The decision between 14k and 18k is a matter of personal preference. 14k has the advantages of added strength, but lacks higher gold content and beauty of the rich yellow color found in 18k, which is a softer gold.
White gold is alloyed with nickel, copper, and zinc--and while it looks similar to platinum, it has a vastly different content. To give white gold its white luster, in the final process of manufacturing white gold is rhodium plated. Rhodium* is a shiny, white metal, which is quite hard and durable; however, over time the rhodium plating may wear away, revealing the slightly yellowish tint of the underlying metal. To keep white gold looking its best, it may require rhodium re-plating every 12 to 18 months, depending on wear.
*A hard, durable, silvery-white metallic element that is used to form high-temperature alloys with platinum and is plated on other metals to produce a durable corrosion-resistant coating.
Platinum is considered the "new metal" - it is rare and pure. Platinum is generally 95% pure; it is sometimes mixed with a small amount of iridium and ruthenium to add strength. Platinum is stamped PT = 950 (95%) or PLAT=900 (90%) in the United States to indicate that it is platinum. Platinum's purity makes it hypoallergenic and ideal for those with sensitive skin. Platinum jewelry doesn't fade or tarnish and keeps its look for a lifetime. Precious metals can scratch and platinum is no exception. However, the scratch on platinum is merely a displacement of the metal and none of its volume is lost. When this happens, take your piece to a qualified jeweler to have it re-polished to a high gloss look. Platinum is the most popular and expensive metal available today.
Palladium offers many of the same desirable characteristics of platinum but at a much lower price. It is as white as platinum and whiter than white gold. Palladium is lightweight, hypoallergenic, easy to finish and polish, it does not require rhodium plating, (like white gold), and is one of the whitest of all metals. Palladium is one of the "sister" metals of platinum and shares many of the same unique characteristics and physical properties of platinum.
Ring Setting Types
The prong setting is the most commonly used setting for a gemstone ring, and especially for a solitaire diamond ring. A metal tip or bead actually touches the stone and holds it into place. This setting is usually a four-prong setting which shows more of the diamond or a six-prong setting offers a tight secure fit for the diamond. This particular setting allows the maximum amount of light to enter the stone from all angles. The prong setting can hold larger diamonds more securely.
A bezel setting is an extremely secure one, however the outer edge of the gemstone is completely covered making the diameter of the gemstone appear slightly smaller. A bezel setting involves the diamond or other gem being set within a metal rim that encircles the sides of the stone and extends slightly above it. Bezel rings can have straight edges, scalloped edges, or can be molded into any shape to accommodate the stone.
A channel setting is the art of mounting a diamond or gemstone in a channel, in which two walls of metal hold a diamond or gem so it appears suspended in a groove. The diamonds stream in a continuous row and no metals are used as a separation between them. A channel setting is a popular choice when looking for an engagement and wedding band set.
Pave is a type of setting where a number of small stones are set together. It literally means paved with diamonds. Small stones that encrust the surface of the band give the appearance of a solid diamond band instead of a metal one. This setting uses only tiny beads or prongs to hold the stone in place, which minimizes the appearance of the metal and makes the stone look much larger. A pave setting complements round or princess shaped stones the most and because the setting adds the necessary brilliance to the stone.