Before you buy diamond jewelry, you will need to decide how you want the stones in it to be mounted as well as what design the piece should have. Let’s see what choices you have for the setting and style of a diamond jewelry piece.
Diamond Jewelry Settings
The choice of setting for diamond jewelry is important because the setting is the structure that holds the stones in place, and their safety depends on how securely they are attached to it and how protected they are against accidental hits.
Prong settings are very popular for diamond jewelry. This type of setting is relatively simple to make and easy to maintain.
The good thing about prongs is that they do not conceal much of the surface of the diamond they are holding. This is not the safest setting, however, and it should be monitored regularly for worn-out, bent, or broken prongs, which can make it easy to lose your stone.
Bezel settings hold diamonds by encircling them with bands of metal. The bezel setting is safer than the prong setting. However, bezels leave less of the stone visible.
Channel settings hold diamonds in channels of metal and can usually be found along the bands of rings. This setting is very safe, but it hides most of the surface of the diamonds. Channel settings also tend to be hard to clean.
Pave settings are made up of small diamonds attached to the piece’s surface by tiny droplets of metal.
Pave diamonds are nice to look at, but you should be careful with such pieces of jewelry because their stones can easily be damaged by accidental hits.
Before buying jewelry with pave-set diamonds, you should inspect it for damaged prongs (the metal droplets) and loose stones.
Invisible settings hold diamonds in a framework of metal that is not visible from the top of the jewelry. Invisible-set diamonds should be worn with caution because they can fall off if your piece of jewelry gets hit or bumped.
Styles of Diamond Jewelry
Some of the important style characteristics of diamond jewelry are the number of diamonds it has, their size and shape, and, if you are selecting a ring, the design of the band (more specifically, its thickness and width).
Let’s see what options you have for each of these factors:
Number of Stones: One or Many Diamonds
How many stones your diamond jewelry has is one of its important features. You can select a piece with one diamond only, or you can pick one with more stones.
One thing to keep in mind is that, all else being equal, a piece made with smaller stones will cost less per carat compared with another of the same total carat weight but with bigger diamonds, or even with only one stone. This is because bigger stones are rarer and cost more per unit of weight.
If you choose a model with a center diamond and side stones around it, make sure that all of them are of the same color grade. Otherwise, the difference in color could make the diamond cluster look patchy – some stones will look darker and others brighter.
Diamond Shapes and Cuts
Diamond shape refers to the general form of a polished stone, while cut refers to the number, shape, and arrangement of its facets.
The classic round brilliant is one of the most popular diamond cuts. What makes it a preferred choice over other cuts is that its proportions are designed to maximize the stone’s brilliance.
The oval diamond cut is also popular. Some cuts with derivative shapes are the pear cut, which is basically an oval cut with one sharp end, and the marquise cut, which has an oval shape with two pointed ends.
The group of rectangular cuts includes the princess cut, which is one of the cuts most in demand after the round cut.
Other rectangular cuts are the radiant cut, which has truncated corners, and the cushion cut, whose corners are rounded.
The emerald cut and its square equivalent, the Asscher cut, are also popular, although they don’t have as much brilliance as the other rectangular cuts mentioned above.
The trilliant cut (also referred to as trillion cut) has a triangular shape. This cut is often used for side stones, but it can also be seen in center diamonds.
Thick vs. Thin Diamond Bands
If you are selecting a ring, it is important to consider how thick its band is, for a couple of reasons:
First, along with the type of metal used, band thickness is one of the factors affecting how hard it would be to resize the ring. Thicker bands can be hard to work with, especially if they are made of a very hard metal.
Second, how thin a band is determines how quickly it will wear out or how easily it will bend. This is especially true if the band is made of a softer metal such as yellow gold.
Wide vs. Narrow Diamond Rings
Rings with bands that are too wide can make it hard for you to move your finger. Bands that are too narrow, on the other hand, can bend or break easily.
Bigger vs. Smaller Diamonds
It is important to consider the size of the diamonds in relation to the size of the jewelry they are attached to.
Bigger diamonds attract more attention, but you should make sure that the jewelry piece is big enough for them. Otherwise, the piece may not be well balanced and move easily when you wear it.
Smaller diamonds are cheaper per carat, but you should make sure that they are not too small for their setting. Otherwise, they will be loose and may fall off the mounting.
Where to Buy a Diamond Ring?
For diamond rings, we highly recommend James Allen (read our review) because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before having it set in a ring.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).
Also read our Diamond Buying Guide and check out our selection of eye-clean diamonds that we've vetted for quality.