Choosing a diamond for your ring is not easy but is also not the end of your shopping. The next step is to pick the right mounting for your new stone. Let’s take a look at the most important factors you should consider when selecting the best setting for your diamond.
Type of Setting
The kind of setting you pick for your diamond can greatly affect how big the stone will look.
In general, settings that cover a significant part of a diamond will make it appear smaller, whereas those that allow more of the stone to be seen will make it seem larger.
Also, the more of your diamond a mounting covers, the less light it lets enter your stone, and as a result, the diamond will have less brilliance and its flaws may become more visible.
For example, bezel settings hold stones in place by encircling them with metal strips, concealing a good portion of the diamond.
Channel settings also have a similar effect and tend to make stones set in them look smaller.
Prong settings show more of the diamond, but this really depends on the number and shape of the prongs.
Mountings with six or more prongs, or those with V-prongs, tend to make diamonds less visible. Four-prong settings, on the other hand, make your diamond as visible as possible and are the best choice if you want to underscore its size.
When choosing a setting, keep in mind that there is a tradeoff between a stone’s visibility and its safety. Settings covering your diamond with more metal tend to be more secure, but they also make stones look smaller. Settings that show more of your diamond also expose it to more direct hits that may cause it to crack.
Similar to the type of setting you choose, the size of the mounting also has a bearing on how prominent your diamond will be. To achieve a balanced look for your ring, you should pick a mounting with the carat weight of your diamond in mind.
Make sure the mounting is not too large, thick or wide for the diamond. Otherwise, the setting will overpower the stone, making it look disproportionally small.
On the other hand, if your mounting is too small for the size of your diamond, the ring will look out of proportion, and the result will not be pleasing to the eye.
A related problem with a diamond that is too big for its mounting is that the top of the ring will become too heavy, causing the entire piece to be out of balance and to shift on your finger.
In sum, there should be harmony between the size of the setting and that of the diamond: The mounting should be just big enough to make the stone stand out while underscoring its beauty.
The color of your diamond is another dimension on which you should match your stone to its mounting. Sometimes, it is good to have contrast, but it should be of the right kind: The setting should make the white color in the diamond stand out, not bring out any yellowish tints the stone may have.
So, how should you apply this rule?
If your diamond is colorless or nearly colorless, have it set in a white setting, e.g. one made of platinum or white gold.
Yellow gold would make the stone look tinted, but if you are set on this metal, you can minimize the additional coloring by getting a mounting that holds your stone with white prongs (made of white gold or platinum), not yellow ones.
If your diamond has some yellow tints that are somewhat noticeable, don’t have it set in white or you will make the yellow color in the stone stand out even more. This is when a yellow gold setting would be a good choice: It will bring out the white color of your stone instead of its yellow tints, which will blend with the mounting’s color and become unnoticeable.
To underscore the shape of your diamond and make your ring look appealing, choose a mounting shape that complements that of the stone set in it.
For example, if your diamond is round, set it in a mounting that also has round and curved shapes.
If, on the other hand, you have a square stone, pick a mounting that has a more angular design. In general, avoid mounting-stone combinations where these two elements’ shapes do not look compatible.
Of course, deciding on this aspect of your mounting is entirely up to your personal taste, and you can get creative with the design of the setting. Just make sure that when the mounting and the diamond are combined, they look aesthetically pleasing to you.
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.