Tine setting vs. aperture setting
Engagement rings, yes all rings, come in a variety of settings. Traditionally, the “Big Two” settings were prongs and bezel.
Both attitudes are materially and visibly different and both fulfill very different roles. Some cuts go better with one or the other, as do different diamond weights.
But what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
What is a tine setting?
The prong setting is actually the most common type of ring setting. In its simplest form, there are 4 metal pins that are evenly spaced around the diamond and hold the stone in place like a claw.
There are several variations of the basic prong setting, such as the 6 prong and Tiffany settings. The Tiffany socket also has 6 prongs, but is a Tiffany & Co patented socket with distinctive shaped prongs. It is also common to see rings with 8 prongs.
What is an aperture setting?
The steady rest adjustment works fundamentally different from the tine adjustment. Instead of using a claw-like action to secure the stone in place, a bezel is a single metal ring around the entire circumference of the diamond.
The metal is usually the same as the rest of the ring, such as platinum or yellow gold.
The advantages of tine adjustment
A prong setting should show as much of the diamond as possible. The thin prongs hide very little and let the maximum amount of light both in and out of the diamond. This provides more brilliance and fire than usual with a bezel setting. The diamond itself takes on a “raised” appearance as the setting lifts the stone over the shoulders of the ring.
Most types of cuts are suitable for a tine setting, although cuts with well-defined corners such as square, emerald, or asscher are less common in tine settings.
A tine adjustment is also very easy to clean. There are far fewer places for dirt and grime to get, and when they do, they are easier to remove.
Tine settings are timeless. The main reason the setting is so popular is how much of the diamond is visible.
The advantages of a bezel setting
The metal ring around the diamond in a bezel setting protects it from possible damage. If the stone suffers an impact, it is much more likely that the ring will take the blow and leave the diamond undamaged.
A bezel is very secure, possibly the safest of all types of settings. Since the bezel is usually above the diamond’s ring, the stone is held firmly in place all the time.
A bezel setting is very elegant and looks modern. In addition, because of its closed circular nature, the bezel itself is less prone to damage.
Low-seated rings (also known as low-profile rings) usually tend to set the bezel.
The disadvantages of tine adjustment
Despite its popularity, the prong setting design is prone to damage. It also means that more of the diamond is impact resistant, and this requires a lot more care to avoid chipping.
The nature and construction of the prongs entangle each other. Clothing is a real threat to a tine mount as it can be damaged if it gets caught. It is not uncommon for stones to be lost without the wearer noticing until it is too late.
Tines can also loosen through wear. Again, this is not always obvious until it is far too late and the diamond is gone.
The disadvantages of a bezel setting
It’s a simple fact that you won’t see as much of the diamond in a bezel setting as you would in a claw setting.
Having more diamonds below the aperture line means that less light is reflected back towards the viewer.
Rings with bezel settings generally look a bit more voluminous than rings with prong settings. There is definitely a decrease in overall smoothness.
Tine setting vs. aperture setting
As with many things in life, there is no “best” in this comparison. The advantages of the tine and steady rest settings far outweigh the disadvantages. It really depends on your personal preferences and the attractiveness of the ring in question.
The great thing about both settings is how different they are. This allows for a clear separation between the visual characteristics of each one and can result in the exact same stones appearing completely different in two different settings.
If you want to wear your ring all the time, a bezel setting is definitely an advantage from a purely safety point of view. A bezel setting ring is much less likely to damage or lose a diamond than a claw setting. However, you have that stunning 5 carat diamond and you want to show it off, right? In this case, a tine adjustment will do just that. You need to be a little more conscious of what you are doing while wearing the ring, but as long as you understand that, a prong could be the perfect choice.
The only real advice is to look at both settings. Compare engagement rings with similar stones in both the prong and bezel settings and see which one appeals the most. It’s a bit like choosing the puppy that is running towards you. If you know, you just know.
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