Jeweller’s Jargon – understanding jewellery settings and shapes

Jul 28, 2021

Maybe you like diamonds that are shaped like hearts. Or maybe you like them to be ‘kinda rectangular-y’. Either way understanding jewellery settings and having a bit of knowledge about the names of the different types of jewellery settings and shapes for gems can be a real benefit when trying to find the PERFECT engagement ring or wedding jewellery. Knowing the different varieties of jewellery settings and shapes will also mean you know exactly what is available to you!

Starting with some basic stuff will help, so to begin with we have a ‘setting’. This is what we call a piece like a ring, pendant or other jewellery item that is created to hold a gem. Once the gem has been ‘mounted’ the piece is then referred to by its actual jewellery name. Oh, and by the way, the actual way that the gem is held is also called the setting.

Gem Settings

This is probably one of the most popular settings, and you will have undoubtedly seen settings like this. It is really versatile as it can be used to seat a wide variety of types of multi-faceted gems. Essentially it is 4 or more tines or prongs poking up out of the piece. Prong settings allow light into the stone which is perfect for multi-faceted gems. Prong settings can also become ‘shared prong’ where the prongs are sited between two or more stones.

In a channel setting, the jeweller will create a channel in the piece that they are creating. In a ring, this may be used to create a line of gems around the whole ring. A little spot for each gem will be marked into the channel. Once the gems are all in place, the sides of the channel are hammered down to hold the gems in place.

We’re sure you’ve likely heard of Tiffany’s the diamond company; well the Tiffany setting is a prong style created in 1886. This jewellery setting style sets even more space between the gemstone and the piece allowing even more light into the stone.

Possibly one of the oldest jewellery setting types, this kind allows the gem to sit flush with the piece. Embedded fully into it. Only the ‘head’ (the ‘top’) of the gem will be visible.

In a bezel, the gem is encircled in a metal band. It typically seen as one of the more secure settings for gemstones although it doesn’t necessarily let as much light into the gem as other settings may do.

Gem Shapes/Cuts

Cushion (antique)
This is effectively a square with very gently rounded corners. It has a shape vaguely like a sofa cushion, hence the name and is quite an old but still very popular shape.

Looking down on the emerald from above, it looks like a rectangle with gently rounded corners. The shape can look quite flattering on the finger due to its length. It obviously gets its name as it was originally used for Emeralds because they have quite a high chance of chipping when being cut although this is now very popular for diamonds too! Kim Kardashian has one!

Quite an obvious shape.

A relative of the ‘brilliant’ cut, this shape is designed to trying to give maximum sparkle. It is quite like a pointed oval. Again, the elongated shape is quite flattering on the finger.

This gem cut is shaped rather like an egg. Again, this is relative of the brilliant cut giving this an especially sparkly finish. Princess Diana wore an oval, which has now been given to Princess Kate by Prince William.

This is a super popular square version of the brilliant cut with a wonderful sparkle. When cutting a stone into a princess, it actually keeps a lot of its weight as not much of the gem has to be cut away to create it. This means the gem will typically have a higher karat than a round cut of similar size.

At Rings by Design, we specialise in completely bespoke jewellery. No matter how big or small the budget we are here to create the perfect expression of your love. We offer Face to Face consultations in the North East.  We also offer a completely unique national service for creating bespoke ‘shape around’ rings so you can have a wedding band that fits snugly with your engagement ring wherever you live. No matter your needs, tastes or budgets get in touch to see how we can make your dreams come true.

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