Updated January 24th 2017.
Bezel engagement rings are the second most popular setting style out there, behind the all-conquering solitaire. The defining feature of bezel engagement rings is a metal frame that surrounds the edge of the center stone, securely holding in place. They’re actually the oldest setting style, due to their simplicity and how easy they are to manufacture.
But that’s not to say they’re old fashioned. Many bezel settings look sleek and modern, and their blend of elegance and practicality are the perfect balance for a lady on the go.
On this page we’re going to look at:
- What’s good about bezel engagement rings
- What’s bad about bezel engagement rings
- A range of bezel setting styles
By the end of this page you should have a great idea of what your different options are when it comes to bezel engagement rings and hopefully have some inspiration to help you choose too.
What’s good about bezel engagement rings?
The biggest advantage that bezel engagement ring settings offer is their practicality and the protection that they offer the central stone of a ring. Although diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring material in the world – even harder than ‘Under Siege’ era Seagal, they can still be damaged if they are mistreated, particularly along the thin edge that separates the top half of the diamond from the bottom half, known as the ‘girdle’.
Bezel settings wrap around the girdle, giving the ultimate protection from ever coming into contact with another hard surface that could damage it.
Related to protection is the security that bezel settings offer. The stone is held securely, with the edges of the girdle set into a small channel inside the setting, with the top lip of the metal folded down around the top ‘crown’ of the stone, locking it in place. This holds the stone in place much more securely than the comparatively flimsy prongs that are used in many other setting styles.
For someone who uses their hands throughout the day, whether they’re a nurse, kindergarten teacher, gym instructor or any other profession where they are going to come into contact with people or equipment, this is a huge bonus.
A huge benefit of a bezel engagement ring is a result of its simplicity: bezel settings tie with solitaire settings as the least expensive settings style.
While other setting styles use more precious metal or feature additional diamonds to support the main center stone, the simple design of the bezel means that a relatively small amount of valuable raw materials are required
Bezel settings are also simple for jewelers to make, meaning much less skilled workmanship and man-hours are needed to create them. While a halo pave setting may have 100 tiny diamonds which all need to be set by hand, with prongs formed and bent into place to keep the tiny stones safe and secure, the bezel setting is much less labor intensive to create.
Bezel vs. halo setting:
18k White Gold: $800
14k White Gold: $600
18k White Gold: $1,950
14k White Gold: $1,680
Choosing a less expensice ring setting means that there is more budget available for other parts of the ring e.g. you could go for a larger, or higher quality center stone, or upgrade the precious metal used. Or you could put the money towards anything else you fancy – your wedding, upgrades on your honeymoon flights or an awesome bachelor party / bridal shower.
What’s bad about bezel engagement rings?
The main negative that is often given about bezel engagement rings is that because they wrap all the way around the side of the center diamond, they stop light entering the side of the stone, making it sparkle less.
This criticism isn’t really legitimate though – almost all of the sparkle that you see in a diamond is as a result of light entering the top of the stone, reflecting off the inside and then exiting back out of the top to your eyes.
As long as the bezel doesn’t reduce the amount of light that is entering the top of the diamond, the impact on the sparkle should be minimal. It’s therefore important to ensure that no part of the top ‘table’ of the diamond is covered by the bezel. As most jewelers are aware of the effect that reducing the amount of light that enters the stone would have, this is quite unusual, but you just need to be aware that you want as little of the actual diamond as possible to be covered by the bezel.
The halo bezel setting offers a great balance of glamour and security.
Sold on gold?
If you’re planning on going for a yellow gold bezel engagement ring, then one thing you need to be aware of is how the color of the metal will be reflected into the center stone.
All yellow gold settings affect the colour of diamonds to a certain degree, making them appear more yellow (or ‘warmer’, in jeweler’s lingo) than they really are. Bezel settings are more likely to show this trait than most other settings due to the amount of yellow metal that surrounds the diamond.
What it means is that if you’re planning on going with a yellow gold bezel ring, then it’s not worth going for a center diamond that scores really highly on colour grade. A stone that is graded a D, E or F will look much warmer than it really is, meaning that you will have spent more than you needed to without a difference from a G-color stone being visible. G is as high as you should go – any higher and you will be wasting your money.
Bezel engagement ring settings
Due to the constraints of the bezel setting, there is slightly less choice with the bezel setting styles than some of the other ring settings, but there is still a good amount of choice out there.
I’ve selected a few examples below to give you an idea of what is out there, but it is by no means a definitive list. Click through on the links to see more options for each of the setting styles.
Check out round this solitaire bezel engagement ring at Blue Nile.
The beauty of the bezel setting is that its simple design can be used with any number of diamond shapes. Choosing a shape other than a ’round brilliant’ diamond can be a great way to get the most bling for your buck as other diamond shapes are usually less expensive on a per carat basis.
Each of these bezel rings is available from James Allen, who are the best choice online to buy a ‘fancy’ shaped diamond engagement ring from, due to their high quality images which allow you to judge the level of shape and cut quality of each diamond.
See more rose gold bezel engagement variations here.
Check out this ring and other bezel ring options at Ritani.
View this pavé bezel engagement ring on Blue Nile
This example has 63 diamonds set into the halo and each of the arms of the split shank to ensure that it catches the light and sparkles brilliantly from any angle.
Making sure that the two work together is one less thing for you to worry about when you’re planning your wedding, which is definitely a good thing!
Check out this bezel setting wedding set at Whiteflash, my recommendation for if you want the highest quality diamond possible.
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