Spend or Save on My Engagement Ring Setting VS Diamond?

When choosing an engagement ring, it is likely that a diamond will be the star of the show. Durable, rare and possessing a beauty that is entirely unique, it is easy to see why we choose these sparkling gemstones to mark the most significant moments in our lifetime. However, choosing the best possible setting for your loose diamond is the key to a sparkle like no other.
Side stones, open crowns, elegant lines…the features of a high-quality setting are endless and bring additional levels of beauty and points of interest to your engagement ring. The right setting can be a personal expression of your own tastes and personality, adding a flair to a traditional piece of jewelry that makes it entirely your own. Although a high-quality diamond is a thing of beauty, it can be entirely lost if it is in a sub par setting.
If you are wondering whether or not to spend or save on your engagement ring setting, this guide will outline the impact that settings have and the best way to choose a setting within your budget without sacrificing quality.

The Simple Solitaire

Ritani 1RZ7242 Tulip Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring
Ritani 1RZ7242 Tulip Cathedral Solitaire Engagement Ring
Something that we often hear from our customers is that they are looking for a ‘simple, classic solitaire’. In truth, there can be huge differences in solitaire settings, both structurally and aesthetically. For example, if we take a look at the gorgeous Ritani tulip solitaire (pictured above) we can see some of the features that are expected of a high-quality setting. The cathedral style is perfectly balanced and allows plenty of light to reach the diamond. The prongs are doubled up, giving extra support to the central stone and the band is solid, crafted from either 18k gold or platinum. The result is a setting that looks effortless and sleek, but is in fact working hard to bring the best out of your diamond.
Vatche 1505 Inara Solitaire Engagement Ring for Princess
Vatche 1505 Inara Solitaire Engagement Ring for Princess
This Inara solitaire by Vatche is another example of a beautifully crafted, simple setting. The additional diamonds beneath the crown is an example of the level of detail that comes with a high-quality setting.
Our Advice: Choosing a simple setting can be a great way to save on your engagement ring setting, however it is still essential that even the most basic settings have been made by masters in the field of jewelry making. Not only can a cheap setting compromise the durability of the ring (we will look closely at this later on) but it will not have the level of perfect balance and detail that a diamond deserves. Look for sleek, elegant settings crafted from 14k or 18k gold or platinum.

Halo/Detailed Setting

A. Jaffe ME2053Q Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
A. Jaffe ME2053Q Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
A halo brings a beautiful sparkle that perfectly frames your central diamond. From dainty and delicate settings like the A.Jaffe design (pictured above) to the most decadent and extravagant works of art like the Verragio setting (pictured below), there are many forms that a halo can take with each bringing a whole new aesthetic to your diamond.
Verragio ENG-0424CU Split Claw Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
Verragio ENG-0424CU Split Claw Halo Diamond Engagement Ring
Any setting featuring additional diamonds or intricate designs are extremely unforgiving. Cheap settings use low quality diamonds in their melees, shared prongs and sometimes even glue to hold the stones in place. These shortcuts affect the durability and the beauty of your engagement ring setting and rather than enhance your central diamond, they will dull its sparkle.
Our Advice: When it comes to complex settings such as halo and side-stone designs, it is always better to spend, rather than save, on your engagement ring. In a cheap setting your diamond will lack the security which is essential to a piece of jewelry that is intended to be worn every day. Losing stones, warped bands and uneven or misaligned gemstones are just some of the issues that can occur when you scrimp on a detailed setting. If you are looking for an engagement ring with diamond accents on a modest budget, we suggest you take a look at our collection of Tacori engagement rings. Their rings are expertly made to a high-quality finish and are at a great price point.


One of the most important features of an engagement ring setting is its ability to withstand the test of time and keep your diamond secure. This quite simply comes from high quality materials, trusted designers and skillful bench workers. An engagement ring is made to be worn, and you should do so without concerns of losing a diamond or damaging the metal.
All of our settings are finished to the highest standards, so even the modestly priced rings will tick the all the boxes when it comes to beauty and durability.


Ritani 1PCZ2488 Double French-Set V Diamond Engagement Ring for Princess
Ritani 1PCZ2488 Double French-Set 'V' Diamond Engagement Ring for Princess
When it comes to choosing a metal, you should first consider color. If you are looking for the romantic blush of rose gold or the warmth of yellow gold, quality and karat will have a huge impact on these metals.
The karat expresses the purity of gold (with 24k being pure gold). The purity of the gold will also affect the color. Higher purities will result in a more intense color whereas lower purities will be more subtle. We recommend 14k or 18k gold for your engagement ring – purer gold is much softer, less pure gold will have less color (and in some cases can cause allergic reactions) so 14k and 18k is the most suitable for your jewelry.
If you like white metal, you have a decision to make on whether to spend or save on your metal choice. White gold is a popular option for engagement rings, but where budget allows many people choose platinum. Platinum is the most durable of all the metals and does not thin over time. As it is naturally white, it does not need to be rhodium plated (as white gold does). In the long run, choosing platinum will save you time and money as it will not need to be re-plated. Over the years, platinum develops a unique patina that many people enjoy, however if you prefer the high-shine, polished finish you can have your jeweler polish the ring to bring is back to its gleaming glory.

Should I spend more on my diamond or my engagement ring setting?

This is a question that we get asked a lot and the answer really depends on what style and size engagement ring you are looking for. In our experience, most customers will spend more on the diamond; it is, after all, the star of the show!
The most important thing is quality. For example, someone working with a $5,000 budget for their diamond could have a large, 2.00ct round brilliant diamond of a low color grade that is likely to be highly included and lackluster, or they could select a 0.90ct high quality diamond with a stunning sparkle. The same is true for settings.
Finding the perfect engagement ring is about a balance and fluidity between the diamond and the setting. Rather than sacrificing one or the other, it is about getting the best possible quality within your budget.
For many, an engagement ring is the most important piece of jewelry that they will own. It is important to choose a quality setting that will showcase the extraordinary assets of your diamond. This doesn’t have to mean spending a fortune – a well-made, simple setting can be a thing of beauty – but it does mean choosing wisely, particularly if you are looking for something a little more detailed.

Exploring Lab Diamonds: An Affordable Alternative

As we've delved into the complexity of choice between allocating more budget to the engagement ring setting or the diamond itself, a third contender emerges in this decision-making process: lab-grown diamonds. These man-made marvels offer an exciting modern alternative that may significantly impact how you juggle your budget for that perfect engagement ring.
Lab Created Diamond
Lab Created Diamond
Lab diamonds are real diamonds. They share essentially the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as natural diamonds. The main difference lies in their origin; one is formed over billions of years beneath the Earth's crust, while the other is grown in a lab over weeks.
What makes lab diamonds an exciting prospect for modern couples is there more affordable price tag, often 70-80% less than their natural counterparts. This lower cost doesn't signify lower quality; on the contrary, our lab diamonds display the same levels of brilliance, fire, and scintillation as the finest earth-mined diamonds.
Why is this significant when considering the spend-or-save conundrum? Well, with lab diamonds, you can achieve the same stunning sparkle but at a fraction of the price. This leaves more room in the budget to indulge in a dream designer engagement ring setting without compromising on the diamond's size or quality.
Whether to allocate more of your budget to the engagement ring setting or the diamond is a deeply personal decision, often guided by personal style and budget. However, lab diamonds present a new avenue to explore, offering the opportunity to balance the quality and size of the diamond with the artistry and craftsmanship of the setting, without straining your budget. They may well be the smart choice for those seeking the perfect blend of style and affordability.

Be Inspired By Our Designer Engagement Rings

Find the perfect Designer Ring for your special diamond by clicking the links below, and let us build the ultimate ring for the love of your life!