Bezel-set, prong-set, channel-set, tension-set...the list goes on. But what do these even mean? There are so many stone settings you can choose from when it comes to jewelry, so we’re breaking it down to make it easy for you to find your favorite style:


1.) Bezel-Set

Bezel-set simply means that a diamond or gemstone is secured by metal that is smoothed all the way around its edges. Round bezels are used frequently in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and rings. They’re a favorite among our customers because they don’t have prongs—you can wear bezels all of the time without having to worry about prongs loosening or getting caught on clothing.  

We just got in some amazing bracelets and chokers by POP Diamond Jewelry that feature a .10ct bezel-set diamond in rhodium-plated sterling silver affixed to a braided POP cord. They come in different colors and are such a fun accessory for Spring. For each piece sold, the company makes a donation to charity. Now that’s a win-win!

bezel settings


2.) Prong-Set

Four-prong is the most commonly used setting in earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets, and more. Four prongs hold the stone to ensure it is very secure in its mounting:


prong setting

Opal pendant available on Etsy:


Prongs can be simple, as shown in the above opal pendant, but they can also be more decorative. For example, this vintage engagement ring features a cluster prong design:


prong setting


Also common in rings are 6-prong and 8-prong, and even 12-prong settings (a.k.a. “Crown” settings):


prong/crown set

Created orange sapphire ring available on eBay:


3.) Martini (3-Prong) 

Martini settings feature three prongs that hold a round stone. Using less prongs means that more of the diamond or gemstone will be visible, which is why this setting is commonly used in earrings and pendants where you want to maximize a stone’s appearance. Martini settings are not typically used in rings or bracelets because your hands are almost always moving around, and three prongs won’t secure your stones as much as four prongs.


martini settings


4.) Tension-Set

Tension-set is exactly what it sounds like—the stone is held by the tension of metal. The stone sits in the space between the two open ends of the mounting. This allows you to see the stone in almost its entirety. You can see the culet (the pointed part underneath the stone) which is usually hidden by a mounting. If you want a modern engagement ring unlike the rest, consider a tension set diamond!


tension setting


5.) Channel-Set

Channel-set stones are placed closely together, side by side, with no prongs in between them. The stones form a “channel”, and this channel is held in place by metal that surrounds it. Channel-set wedding bands are especially popular among people with active lifestyles (work, sports, etc.) and are ideal for people who don’t like to take off their rings often, as there are no prongs to get caught on clothing, just like bezels.


channel set

Men’s sapphire and diamond ring available on Etsy:


6.) Pavé   

“Pavé” is the French word for “paved”. Pavé settings feature very small diamonds or gemstones that are set closely together, separated and secured by tiny metal beads that are almost invisible to the naked eye. Because the beads are so small, the piece of jewelry looks like it is actually “paved” with diamonds/gemstones. Pavé pieces sparkle greatly because there are no prongs blocking the stones.


pave set

Pavé diamond heart pendant available on eBay:


7.) Box Head 

Box head engagement ring settings were very popular in the 1930s, 40s and 50s (Art Deco through the Retro eras). Box heads helped make the diamonds look larger, but were favorited due to their unique style that is indicative of the time period. Simple box head rings may just feature a center stone in the box head, whereas others have more diamonds as well as filigree and engraved designs. You can find these types of rings in our Estate Department and our eBay & Etsy shops!


box head

Art Deco diamond box head ring available on eBay:


8.) Illusion 

Illusion settings feature a prong-set diamond with a ring of detailed metal around the stone. This design is meant to make the diamond look larger—hence the word “illusion”. This style is seen in many vintage pieces, like this Antique Deco ring:


illusion set

Antique diamond ring in two-tone gold available on Etsy:


Now that you know the differences, which is your favorite setting? We know, it’s hard to choose! That’s why many pieces feature combined settings—as an example, a four-prong-set diamond engagement ring with a pavé diamond halo and channel-set diamonds on the shank. The possibilities are endless!


If you have any questions about settings, you can call us at (860) 521 – 3202 or visit us:

West Hartford - 65 LaSalle Rd
Old Saybrook - 105 Elm St (Near Stop & Shop)