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Diamond Ring Settings
Whether you're choosing a diamond solitaire, a ring with a number of stones, or an open-work lattice ring in which the diamonds flow along the lines of the setting, the way the stones are held in the setting is an integral part of its design.
Each setting technique creates a look that is part of the overall style of the ring. You may like one ring rather than another simply because of the setting technique used.
Prong Settings
A prong setting is the one most often used to hold a solitaire. A prong setting puts the emphasis on the diamond and not the metal supporting it. The purpose of any setting is to hold the diamonds securely in the mounting and at the same time allow light to enter the diamonds for maximum brilliance.

This is obviously a delicate balancing act. The more metal used to hold the diamonds, the more secure they are; the less metal used, the greater the chance for the diamond to reflect light.

Very thin wires of gold or platinum (the prongs) are used to hold the diamond securely in place. The diamond may be raised high up above the shank, to give it a larger, more important appearance, with only a suggestion of metal showing.
In such a setting, the prongs are attached to the central setting of a ring, known as the head or basket. Each prong extends upward and outward from the head, arching over the diamond to form a secure grip.
The ideal prong tapers to a rounded point. The prongs should be placed at the key points of the diamond, typically at four corners or at four, five or six points evenly spaced around the stone - this diamond setting offers security without interfering with the stone's brilliance.
The prong setting can also be found in a few variations. One such variation, called the V-prong setting, functions on the same basic concept, but it uses prongs which, when viewed from above, appear to be curved into a V-shape. The right angle of the wire is cut to allow the corner of the gem to rest and be held by the wire.

V-prongs are generally used for diamond shapes with points - such as the corners of the square Princess Cut or the tip of the pear shaped diamond. The v-prong provides additional protection to the points which are often thin, fragile, and subject to chipping if left exposed.

Another variation on the prong setting is called the common prong. Here, the metal wire is grooved at the top, and is used to hold two gemstones by their side (girdle). This technique is used to give a close side-by-side gemstone relationship without the metallic interference of too many prongs.
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Bezel Setting
A bezel setting is a collar of precious metal that wraps around the diamond.
The bezel is attached to the top of the ring and stands up above it, adding height and another dimension to the setting. Although solid bezels have a very traditional look, the bezel may be 'split' into two sections, arcing around just part of the diamond. This is called a half bezel.

This simple change suddenly opens up the setting and gives it a totally modern look. The technique may also be used on a fancy cut diamond - with an arc of precious metal around the wide curve of a pear shape and another, V-shaped section of precious metal embracing the narrow end.

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Channel Setting
Channel setting is also used to set round diamonds. Channel setting offers a sleek, elegant appearance, though the end result is a very different look.
Setting round diamonds into channels leaves small spaces closest to the metal bars of the channel. By choosing round diamonds, the designer creates a clean line of stones, yet one with greater brilliance than is possible with baguettes. This also offers a less restrained look, and may be more suitable when a ring has a round center stone.

Channel setting is also used when there is no center stone at all. The placement of baguettes around an entire band is a beautiful choice for a wedding band, one that goes well with a matching ring set with a diamond solitaire.

Channel setting protects the diamonds extremely well. None of the edges are exposed, and so they are not subject to hard knocks or general wear and tear.
A variation of the channel set is called the bar channel. Here, the metal plates rise to top level of the stone, and so are visible between the stones. This gives a slightly different visual effect, and can be very striking if the contrast between the metal and the stone is significant.
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