Solitaire engagement rings are undoubtedly the most popular style of ring out there.
In fact, in a recent survey by theknot.com, over 25% of the respondents had received a solitaire ring, and 53% of them had received a round brilliant diamond.
Solitaire rings are popular for a couple of good reasons.
The first is that it’s classic, classy and elegant design, which lets the center stone take pride of place with no distractions.
The second is that they’re extremely well-priced, which means that there is more budget left for an incredible center stone.
We’re going to look at:
- What’s good about solitaire engagement rings
- What’s bad about solitaire engagement rings
- A range of solitaire setting styles
By the end of this page you should have a great idea of what your different options are when it comes to solitaire engagement rings.
What is a solitaire engagement ring?
Technically, a solitaire setting isn’t called a solitaire setting at all – in the jewelry trade they’re known as ‘prong settings’, referring to the 4 or 6 prongs that hold the center stone in place.
The word ‘solitaire’ refers to any piece of jewelry where a single diamond is used – this could be a ring, earrings or a brooch. But, most people refer to prong ring settings as solitaire, so to avoid confusion that’s what we’re going to do here!
Solitaire settings use thing metal prongs to hold the center stone (usually a diamond) high in place above the ring band:
Most prong settings feature either four or six prongs and try to strike a balance between prongs that are unobtrusive enough to allow the diamond to catch as much light and sparkle as much as possible, but also ensure that the stone is held securely and won’t come loose and possibly become lost.
What’s good about solitaire engagement rings?
Solitaire diamond rings are well-priced
A huge benefit of a solitaire engagement ring is a result of its simplicity: solitaire settings are comfortably the least expensive settings style.
While other setting styles use more precious metal or feature additional diamonds to support the main center stone, the elegant and simple design of the solitaire means that a relatively small amount of valuable raw materials are required
Solitaire settings are also simple for jewelers to make, meaning much less skilled workmanship and man-hours are needed to create them. While a halo pave setting may have 100 tiny diamonds which all need to be set by hand, with prongs formed and bent into place to keep the tiny stones safe and secure, the solitaire setting just has the main 4 or 6 prongs to get right and then bosh – that’s it.
Solitaire vs. halo setting:
18k White Gold: $850
14k White Gold: $600
18k White Gold: $1,950
14k White Gold: $1,680
By saving money on the setting style, you could focus more of your budget onto other parts of the ring e.g. by plumping for a higher quality metal – platinum instead of white gold – or by upgrading the center stone, either in size or quality. Or, you could be sensible and put any money you have saved by choosing a simple setting towards your wedding or your honeymoon.
Solitaire settings allow a diamond to sparkle to its best potential
Another advantage of solitaire settings is that the prongs cover only a very small amount of the stone. This means that as much light as possible can enter the diamond, maximising its brilliance and sparkle.
Some ring settings completely enclose the sides of the stone, preventing light entering, which reduces the amount of light which can then be reflected by the stone into your eyes – reducing the sparkle.
Solitaire settings are flexible and can suit any diamond shape
The solitaire setting is also extremely flexible. While some other ring settings may only be suitable for specific diamond shapes, the solitaire setting will look great with any stone shapes, including the shapes that aren’t used so often e.g. pear, heart or marquise.
Solitaire diamond settings are worry-free
Lastly, prong settings are easy to clean and maintain. While with more complicated settings you need to check that the tiny diamonds in a halo or pave setting are still secure, and none are coming loose or have even been lost, with a solitaire setting you just need to check the prongs very occasionally to ensure that they are holding the center stone safe.
What’s bad about solitaire engagement rings?
Solitaire settings can snag on clothing
Solitaire settings put the diamond front and center and raises it up above the ring band:
While this is great because it brings focus to the diamond, it can also be a disadvantage – particularly if the wearer has an active lifestyle.
The high profile of the ring can mean that it is more likely to snag and get caught, either on objects or on hair and clothing.
Some diamond shapes can make this more likely, too. Heart, marquise and pear shaped diamonds each have at least one sharp point
Solitaire settings can leave a diamond exposed
Solitaire settings also don’t provide as much protection to the edges of stones as some other setting styles. While the bezel setting surrounds the whole of the ‘girdle’ of the diamond (the rim around the edge of the stone), the solitaire setting leaves the girdle expose, apart from on the sections with the prongs.
Although diamonds are extremely hard, this just means that they are resistant to being scratched. The thin girdle around the middl of the diamond is still vulnerable to chipping.
With normal day-to-day wear this shouldn’t be anything to worry about, but if the wearer is particularly active then a setting that it is worth considering a setting that will offer more protection. A bezel setting adds the ultimate in security without adding any extra cost.
Solitaire engagement ring settings
There’s a huge amount of variety available in the solitaire setting, from subtle differences in the shape of the ring band to tiny diamonds hidden underneath the main stone. Each setting is also available with pretty much any shape of diamond and in several types of metal, to add even more variety.
This list below is by no means definitive, but it’s a representation of just some of the variations of solitiare setting that are out there. Click through a ring to find out more about it, or to see the other options at each of the retailers.
Four prong solitaire diamond rings
Timeless and elegant, the classic 4 prong solitaire engagement ring highlights the center diamond and allows it to sparkle to the very best of its ability. This ring has a gentle curve to the ring band and a relatively low-profile setting, to reduce the likelihood that it will get snagged.
Six prong solitaire diamond rings
The 6 prong solitaire setting is sometimes called the ‘Tiffany setting’, as it was a style that was originally created by Tiffany & Co. in 1886. Today, many jewelers offer a 6 prong setting, and by buying smartly and not going for the brand name, you can get a much more impressive ring, rather than just a turquoise box.
Rose gold solitaire diamond rings
Rose gold engagement rings offer a classic and elegant alternative to white and yellow gold. Although it’s definitely the least common type of gold, rose gold’s popularity has increase hugely in the past 10 years as people realise that it offers an unusual and stunning combination.
Princess cut solitaire diamond rings
Princess cut engagement rings are currently the second most popular style of ring for a couple of reasons – they’re very nearly as sparkly as round brilliant diamonds, but they’re almost always priced much lower.
Palladium solitaire diamond rings
Palladium is still an uncommon choice for engagement rings, but it’s an absolutely fantastic option – full of all of the benefits of platinum, but almost always with a significantly lower price.
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