Channel settings are a very popular choice for engagement and wedding rings. Let’s take a look at how this type of mounting is made and what its pros and cons are.
What Is a Channel Setting?
A channel setting is a type of mounting in which gemstones are set into a channel made from two metal strips. The stones set in such a way form a row and can run along the entire band of the ring.
Pros of Channel Settings
One of the biggest advantages of channel settings is that the stones in them are very safe.
Since the gemstones are put in a channel, it is not easy for them to fall out.
In addition, they are well protected against accidental hits that may chip them.
No problems with prongs:
Prong settings have their upsides and downsides. One of the issues with prongs is that they can bend and then start snagging your clothes.
Also, with time, prongs wear thin and can easily break, making your stones more likely to fall out.
These issues do not exist with channel settings, which are very suitable if you do work that makes it easier for your ring to catch on things.
Cons of Channel Settings
Hard to clean:
Channel settings do not make the task of cleaning your ring easier. It is tough to reach deep into the channels and clean out the dirt trapped there.
This can be problematic since dirt particles tend to accumulate at the bottom of the stones in the mounting. Often, the best way to clean such rings is to use an ultrasonic cleaner.
Tricky to repair:
Because of their structure, channel settings are also not easy to repair: Any attempt to fix them has the potential to bend the channels if not done properly.
If that happens, then some of the stones may become loose and the channels may not look straight anymore.
Tough to resize:
A problem related to the difficulty of repairing channel settings is how hard they are to resize. To change the size of such a ring, the jeweler often needs to bend it.
In such a case, it is not uncommon for the stones to loosen, and tightening them while making sure the channels are well aligned is a real pain.
That’s why there is a limit to how much these rings can be changed in size, and after resizing, there is no guarantee that the ring will look like new.
Less gemstone visibility:
Because they are surrounded by metal walls, gemstones in channel settings have more of their surface covered by the mounting. As a result, they are less visible than stones set in prong settings, for example.
This issue can be especially noticeable with diamonds, which need light to show their brilliance and may look dark and dull in a channel setting.
Channel Settings Shopping Tips
When buying a ring with a channel setting, make sure the band is the right size, and do not buy if you’re not sure that it will fit. It is worth it to take extra care to avoid the hassle involved in resizing this type of ring.
Examine the setting’s channels carefully. Check for loose stones. Be on the lookout for bent and misaligned channel walls; their edges should be straight and smooth.
The stones in the channel should be spaced evenly. It is OK if they touch each other, but make sure they don’t overlap.
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.