Whether you’re choosing a ring for yourself or for your fiancée to be, if the wearer of your engagement ring is an active lady then there are considerations other than just what it looks like to take into account. Durability and practicality are both very important too.
But what do I mean when I say ‘active woman’?
It might be someone who takes part in active sports like mountain biking or weight lifting, someone with an active job like a teacher or a police officer, someone with hobbies like gardening or dancing, or it might just be someone who is a bit of a klutz and likely to subject their engagement ring to some punishment in their day to day life.
In fact, most women should consider the durability of their engagement ring when making their ring choice, to ensure that is doesn’t become annoying and to minimize the risk that it will get damaged.
Constantly removing your ring because you’re worried about it getting damaged makes it more likely that you’ll misplace it, so a practical engagement ring is one that will fit in with your life.
Best engagement ring setting style for active lifestyle
There’s one ring setting style which offers way more protection than any other. One setting style that will stand proud and protect your center stone like a medieval knight shielding a damsel in distress.
That setting style is the bezel setting:
The bezel setting offers a rim of protective metal around the edge of your center stone to protect the delicate edge of the stone from chips. It’s also usualy very low profile, with the top of the diamond not raised high up above the ring band. This means that it’s less likely to snag on clothing, or anything else.
Some people think that the bezel means that diamonds sparkle less, but this isn’t really an issue.
Most of the light that causes a diamond’s sparkle enters the top of the stone and is reflected off the bottom facets and back to your eye.
The fact that a bezel setting restricts light entering the side of the diamond doesn’t affect the light entering the top of the diamond and therefore has minimal effect on the level of sparkle.
Durable solitaire engagement ring settings
If you would rather choose a more traditional pronged solitaire setting, then my recommendation is to choose a solitaire with six prongs, rather than four.
The extra prongs will mean that your center stone is held more securely, which will be especially important if one of the prongs gets bent out of position – the extra prongs will keep the center stone more safe.
Engagement ring settings to AVOID for active women
If you don’t want to go for a bezel setting you can of course choose an alternative, but there are definitely some setting styles to avoid.
‘Cathedral’ settings place the center stone in a raised position, which is great for allowing as much light as possible to enter the diamond from all angles, and the long prongs also looks clean and elegant:
However, the fact that cathedral settings sit so high means that they are much more likely to get caught on things.
If you look at the comparison below, you can see the big difference between the much more practical bezel setting and a cathedral setting.
The long prongs of cathedral settings could also be bent backwards if they are caught on something, resulting in a loose diamond (meaning repair costs) or even a lost center stone.
The other type of setting to avoid is one with many small pavé diamonds:
Pavé settings hold the tiny diamonds in place with very small blobs of metal placed between them:
These blobs of metal can easily be dislodged if the ring is treated roughly, which will result in lost pave diamonds.
Best center stone for an active woman’s engagement ring
Nothing is indestructible, not even Chuck Norris’s beard, and even a diamond can become chipped if it’s hit in the right way.
However, diamonds are still the hardest known natural material and really are the most durable choice for an engagement ring that is going to be worn every day and may be subject to bumps and knocks.
Hardness of natural materials is measured on a scale known as the ‘Moh’s scale’ and diamond sits at the top with a perfect 10 out of 10:
Corundum is also a hard stone and scores a 9.0 on Moh’s scale of hardness – one place below diamond.
However, although they are one place below diamond on the scale, they’re actually around four times times less hard than diamond. Rubies and sapphires are therefore significantly less suitable as a center stone for a women with an active lifestyle than diamonds.
One stone type which is commonly used in engagement rings, but isn’t suitable for a wearer with an active lifestyle is emerald. While emeralds can make lovely center stones for engagement rings if they are well looked after, they’re softer than rubies and sapphires and much softer than diamonds.
This means that much more care needs to be taken with them to prevent them from getting chipped or damaged, and they aren’t really suitable for someone with an active lifestyle.
Best diamond shape for an active woman
When you’re looking for an engagement ring, you want to minimize snaggability (I think I just made that word up) as much as possible.
A big factor in snaggability is sharp points and corners. So, center stones with defined points like the Pear, Marquise and heart-shaped diamonds should be avoided:
Choosing a smoother shape of diamond will reduce the snag factorability considerably and mean that they are less likely to get caught on clothing or be affected by getting knocked – blows will glance off them.
Round or oval shapes, with their gentle curves, are the way to go to make sure that your center stone stays looking great.
Best metal for an active lifestyle engagement ring
Like the center stone options above, different metals have different hardnesses and if the wearer of the ring has an active lifestyle then you want to ensure that it will stand up to every day use.
There’s actually three factors to consider here: hardness, strength and toughness.
What’s the difference?
- Hardness is the resistance to being scratched
- Strength is the resistance to being bent
- Toughness is how likely a material is to break when it is bent
To make sure that your ring is as durable as possible, you really want to ensure that your engagement ring is a combination of these.
If you’re going for a bezel setting then the diamond will be held extremely securely by the rim of metal around the edge of the stone. Its solid construction means that strength and toughness isn’t so important as there is a lot of metal holding the center stone in place.
Your priority therefore should be to minimize scratches. If you’re looking at a white-colored ring then white gold is the one to go for, rather than platinum.
On its own, gold is easier to scratch than platinum, but white gold is gold that has been mixed with other metals (usually copper, zinc and nickel) and then covered by a thin layer of a very hard metal – rhodium.
As long as you keep your engagement ring plated with rhodium (this needs to be done every couple of years, regardless of how careful the wearer is) then you will be doing all you can to minimize scratches.
If you are going for a prong setting then you should choose platinum.
Platinum does scratch more easily than white gold (although platinum scratches can be polished out and aren’t usually permanent), but is also stronger and tougher. It’s less likely to bend, and if it does bend then it is less likely to break.
This is important for prongs as you want to ensure that the prongs stay in their original position and hold your center stone tight.
To sum it all up
If you want to go for the very hardiest engagement ring you can then my recommendation would be
- Bezel setting
- White gold (ensuring that the rhodium plating is maintained)
- Round or Oval shaped diamond
If this setting style isn’t for you then you can definitely choose another, but you should ensure you take into account all of the factors in this blog post to ensure that your ring can survive an active lifestyle and stay looking beautiful.
Round bezel diamond engagement rings
Below is a selection of rings that match my recommendations from my recommended retailers. They’re simple, classic and will hold up to an active lifestyle.
Click through on any of them to find out more.
More ornate bezel engagement ring settings
If you are looking for something with a little bit extra, there are variations on the bezel setting which are quite as stripped back as the designs above.
Each of these still retains the benefits of the bezel, but also allows for a bit more individuality.
Fancy shapes bezel engagement rings
Bezel diamond rings don’t have to be round diamonds – other shapes can work too. However, the key thing is to ensure that the setting doesn’t have sharp, pointed edges.
Each of the settings below has a slightly rounded edge to them, which ensures that the settings won’t get snagged on clothing or dig into anything.
6 prong platinum engagement rings
If you would prefer a pronged setting, then these six prong platinum engagement rings will keep your center stone safe. Click through to compare each one and find out more.