By Devorah Isenberg , Thursday, December 01, 2011 6:23 AM
If you are in the market for an engagement ring or wedding band, chances are you’ve started looking around at rings on your friends, coworkers, and others you come in contact with, trying to learn more about what styles are out there and which setting typemight best suite your needs. You may have noticed a popular style on engagement rings and wedding bands where a single row of small diamonds on band is held in place between two narrow bars of metal. This setting is called the channel setting, and it is increasingly popular for bridal jewelry because of its security, durability, sleek profile and stylish look.
The channel setting is achieved by setting a row of small diamonds or gemstones, called melee, into a band that has been formed into a U-shape, with two higher sides and a deep channel in the middle in which the stones rest securely. The stones are held securely on two sides by small notches on the inside of the channel. Almost the entire stone is displayed to the eye and the stone is held securely despite the lack of conventional prongs.
In most channel settings, no metal is used to separate the stones within the channel, creating the look of a flowing, continuous diamond surface. Small princess cut diamonds are ideal for channel setting as they fit flush against one another without gaps. Sometimes, however, small beads of metal will be incorporated into the channel setting, adding the extra level of stone security that is necessary for some diamond shapes. In some channel settings, the bars of metal that run along the sides of the ring are prominent and play a major role in the design of the ring; in others, they are narrow and unobtrusive, primarily serving a utilitarian purpose.
Engagement rings often utilize channel settings as a decorative element on the ring band adding interest to the center stone, which is usually secured with a more typical prong setting. However, wedding bands, anniversary bands, and other eternity-style bands are often entirely based upon the channel setting design, with rows of alternating diamonds and colored gemstones, multiple channels, and other innovative twists on the channelsetting design.
If you like sleek styles and designs with diamonds set right up against one another without prongs, the channel setting is for you. If you like the look of “invisible” settings but are concerned about maintenance and repair of that specialty setting type, consider a design using multiple channels instead.
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