A Guide to Bezel Setting Rings: Basics, Styles + Advice

Bezels: bold, beautiful, and brawny...

If you’re searching for a new ring, consider giving the bezel setting a try. The bezel setting is one of the oldest ring styles still in use, providing timeless appeal with modern flair. How one styles this setting makes all of the difference, and you can create several different looks with just one ring. This secure setting even guarantees unparalleled protection from dents and scratches.

Example of Bezel Setting Ring

📈So why has the bezel setting seen a resurgence in popularity, and what makes it so special? In this article, we will discuss:

  • The origins and anatomy of the bezel setting
  • Different bezel setting styles
  • Bezel setting pros and cons
  • Advice on shopping for a bezel setting
  • The best places to buy bezel settings online

Basics: What is a bezel setting?

While the bezel setting may seem like a modern, inventive style, its history is rather extensive. Originally known as the “rubover” setting, bezel settings are arguably the oldest ring setting still used today. It was even the favored ring setting of ancient Roman, Egyptian, and Byzantine jewelry!

The term “rubover” refers to how bezel settings were initially created. Jewelers shaped a hole or slot into a ring band and inserted a gemstone. From there, the sides of the hole would be “rubbed over” to create a thin strip of metal around all edges of the stone. While this is the style typically found on antique bezel settings, modern versions have a cleaner, stylized look.

Bezel settings consist of three main components: the band, the center and/or accent stones, and the bezel. The band can be stylized or plain, but its primary function is to hold the bezel and stone in place. There can be multiple stones or one center stone on a bezel setting, depending on the wearer’s preferences. Bezel settings are ideal choices not only for diamonds and precious gems but also cabochon or “non-faceted” stones that are much softer.

Finally, the bezel is a ring of metal that encircles each stone. The bezel securely holds each gem in place, providing the ultimate protection against snags, scratches, or chips. It’s incredibly helpful with fancy shaped stones, as they tend to have points that must be protected.

Bezel Setting Rings in Platinum With Heart-Shaped Diamonds

While bezels offer the best protection of the ring setting world, they do affect sparkle. Later, we’ll discuss how bezel settings can drastically affect a stone’s fire, brilliance, and scintillation.

Overall, bezel settings are a versatile fashion choice that can be as bold or understated as the wearer chooses. Bezel setting engagement rings are becoming more popular, but the bezel itself is finding newfound love in all areas of fashion.

Next, let’s look at a few popular style options for bezel settings.👇🏻

Are there different bezel setting styles?

Although the bezel setting has fewer designs than the typical solitaire settings like prong and cathedral settings, there are still plenty of options to choose from.

By switching up the bezel, jewelers can create entirely new pieces that carry their own personality. Take a look at these popular bezel setting styles to figure out which one is right for you:

Full bezel vs. Partial bezel

The traditional bezel setting encircles the entire center stone and any side stones in metal. However, there are several other ways a bezel can surround a stone to provide a different look.

Some designs only use a partial bezel setting or “semi bezel”, which embraces half or two sides of the center gem. A few variations of the partial bezel are knot bezels and tension bezels that perfectly blend the bezel and tension settings for more light and excellent protection.

Partial Semi Bezel Ring With Emerald Cut Diamond Stone
Partial bezel ring

While full bezels are the safest design for a wearer with an active lifestyle, semi bezel settings are ideal for anyone who craves the modern bezel look without limiting light refraction. This emerald cut bezel setting offers a beautiful half bezel with plenty of light for added sparkle.

Solid base vs. Hollow base

The base of a bezel setting can be solid or hollow, and the color of the center stone often decides which one a designer will use.

For colorless stones, such as diamonds, a hollow base is perfect for allowing more light into the setting for extra brilliance. However, for colored stones, solid bezel settings are typically used to enhance the richness of the gem’s color. 💡By controlling how much light enters and exits the stone’s base, designers can optimize how a gem’s color is perceived.

While the bezel setting is notorious for limiting displays of light within diamonds, there are plenty of ways to alleviate this issue with the right base. Try an open back bezel setting to achieve almost as much light as a prong or cathedral setting.

Band and bezel details

To add personality to your piece, consider spicing up your band or bezel.

Bezel setting bands can accommodate the same customization as any other setting, including accent stones, milgrain, and more. Or, try a band with unique accent stones, such as this floral design. Similarly, the bezel itself can be ornate, with milgrain and accent stones becoming increasingly popular. The bezel setting is no longer limited to just a metal band around a center stone!

Bezel setting wedding bands are a wonderful way to add detail to a simple engagement ring. Consider one with individual bezels for each stone or even one with diamonds set within the band.

Bezel settings vs. Other solitaire ring settings

So what sets the bezel style apart from other ring settings?

In short, the bezel setting’s heightened security protects center stones above the rest, but it does have some limiting traits. Here are a few ways the bezel setting differs from other popular designs:

Prong Setting

While the prong setting offers more light refraction for a bright sparkle, the bezel setting provides superior defense for those who live an active lifestyle or tend to snag their jewelry.🏄‍♂️ Diamonds may appear larger and brighter in the elevated band of a prong setting, but a bezel setting can hide imperfections much easier due to the extra band of metal.

Similarly, bezel settings can support lower color grade diamonds rather easily, whereas the prong setting requires a moderate or high-quality gem. If you want a variety of wedding bands to choose from, prong settings will have more options than bezels, which sit lower and may not accommodate all wedding band styles.

Cathedral Setting

Similar to the prong setting, the cathedral setting beats the bezel when it comes to fire, brilliance, and scintillation. Stylistically, the sweeping metal arches of a cathedral setting offer a more classic appeal, which is a far cry from the modern, industrial look of the bezel setting.⛓

The gemstone also sits even higher on a cathedral setting, meaning smaller diamonds appear larger when compared to the secure bezel setting. Finally, bezels offer a lower profile, meaning there will be much less damage to your diamond than if it is set in a cathedral piece.

Halo Setting

Though the halo and bezel designs share a common goal of surrounding the center stone, they do so in different ways. While bezel settings offer a more modern appeal, halo settings are great for those who prefer a more vintage or glamorous look.

Halo settings also have more accent stones to provide sparkle, whereas a bezel setting looks somewhat plain in comparison. But, the extra diamonds in a halo means more opportunities to lose a stone and require costly repair. Plus, depending on the amount of accent stones in a halo or the metal used in a bezel, these two settings can have very different price points!

Tension Setting

Tension and bezel settings could not be more different!🤪

The tension setting optimizes light return for a more brilliant shine, whereas the bezel setting values function over form and protects the center stone. A tension setting is much riskier than a bezel, but it’s also much easier to clean for those who have a hard time doing so. These two settings are practically opposites, so make sure you know what you value most when shopping either style!

So, would you choose a bezel setting ring?

While bezel settings may have a few drawbacks, the positives far outweigh the negatives for some buyers based on their lifestyle.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the bezel setting:

Pros

  • The bezel setting offers a modern, sleek appeal for those with a more contemporary style.
  • Because of its low profile, the bezel setting is ideal for wearers with active lifestyles, such as nurses, teachers, retail workers, etc.
  • The added metal encircling the center stone provides superior protection from snags, dents, scratches, chipping, etc.
  • The thick bezel hides imperfections easily, so you can purchase a lower quality diamond and save a bit of money in the process.
  • Bezel setting rings look great with any other style of band, ring, etc. Mix and match your favorite pieces with a bezel setting to create a one of a kind look.

Cons

  • Depending on the metal used to craft the setting, bezel settings can cost more than the average solitaire design. This means the bezel setting is also more expensive to repair. However, repair is much less frequent with a bezel, so it evens out!
  • Because the bezel setting prioritizes security, it does not have the optimal light refraction necessary for sparkle, and your diamond may not shine as brightly as it could in another setting.
  • Bezel settings can require more cleaning, given the larger contact points between the bezel and the center stone. However, surface cleaning is not difficult and can be done at home.
  • In some cases, the extra metal of the bezel can make center stones appear smaller than they actually are. The circumference of the stone may look bigger, but the actual table of the diamond may seem small since it’s encased in metal.
  • Bezel settings have fewer wedding band options, as it is tough to create a wedding band that will sit flush beneath the bezel.

Our advice for choosing a bezel setting ring

So how can you ensure you choose a bezel setting that shows off your personality?

Compared to the plain bezels of history, there are tons of ways to enhance the look of your ring today. 📝Here are some things to keep in mind while shopping for your own bezel setting ring:

Choosing the shape of your center stone

Make sure you choose the right center stone for your needs when purchasing a bezel setting. Stone shape can determine how much of your gem you will see once it’s placed within the bezel, and certain shapes will appear larger in this setting.

Round diamonds are the most popular choice for bezels, but emerald, Asscher, and pear shapes are becoming increasingly sought after as well. Ideally, the longer the gem’s table, the more stone and sparkle you will be able to see once it’s set. If you prefer unconventional designs, go for an entirely different look with an offset princess cut bezel setting. By changing the shape and orientation of your gem, you can create a look for any style.

Consider metal color and stone quality

While you may not need an incredibly high-quality stone to shine brightly with a bezel setting, it’s important to keep your gem’s quality in mind when looking for the right metal tone. Certain metal colors can actually make gemstones appear brighter!  

For instance, diamonds in the colorless or near colorless range look bright and opulent in white gold or platinum, but any diamond with a lower grade color may require yellow gold to whiten its shine. Or, for any gem, try a rose gold bezel setting to give your ring a sweet, romantic look instead. Mix and match metal and stone colors for even more unique looks!

Be mindful of size

Carefully inspect the width of your potential bezel, and keep that number in mind when finding the right size gem. The larger the stone, the larger it will appear within the bezel.  

In contrast, a bezel may swallow up a smaller stone, inhibiting its sparkle. During your search, carefully inspect any bezel pieces you’re looking to buy and make sure you are satisfied with the ratio of bezel width to gemstone size.📐 Or, if you’re concerned the bezel will be too much, try a half bezel setting to get the same modern feel with less metal.

Make it your own with unique designs

Creative elements can really amp up a bezel setting, so think about whether you want a simple, classic style or a new age look.  

  • Milgrain is an easy way to add a “little something” to a bezel setting without going overboard.
  • If you want the sparkle of a halo setting with a bezel, try a piece with more accent diamonds.
  • Additionally, you can opt for a bezel halo to create a vintage or modern look.
  • If both looks are a bit too much, consider trying pavѐ diamonds on your band instead.
  • Multi-stone designs are also a great way to create a dynamic piece fit for the runway.

Try colored gemstones

If you want a colored stone for your bezel set ring, think about what kind of bezel would be best for you.

Colored gems are prized for their saturation, and different bezel bases, gemstone shapes, and even metal colors can impact the depth of a stone’s color.

For instance, sapphires look elegant in a full, white metal bezel, whereas morganite looks pretty and peachy when set in an open back, rose gold bezel setting. Bezels are also the perfect fit for soft cabochons—like opal—that tend to chip. The right setting can enhance your stone’s color, so make sure you select the right bezel for your chosen gem!

Silver Opal Cabochon Bezel Setting Ring Worn by City Female

Where should I buy my bezel setting ring?

While bezel settings rings are often harder to find, there are several online retailers who offer excellent and unique bezel designs. You may need to dig through their inventory, but bezel settings can be found in collections at James Allen, Blue Nile, Brilliant Earth, and Frank Darling.

Take a look at some of their stock below, and read more about why these retailers are so popular:👇🏻

James Allen

A solid provider of all ring styles, James Allen offers a decent collection of bezel settings as well. There are plenty of classic bezels and more ornate designs, but you can also opt for stylish half bezel setting engagement rings. James Allen even sells bezel set wedding bands to match your engagement ring. Or, if you’re looking for fashion jewelry, try one of their more casual rings with a daintily decorated bezel. 

James Allen’s superior customer service and extensive care plan provide great protection for your new piece!

Blue Nile

Another jewelry fan favorite, Blue Nile also has a respectable collection of bezel designs. While they do provide classic bezels, Blue Nile stretches the imagination with their unique bezel wedding bands, fashion pieces, and statement rings. Blue Nile’s service package, diamond price guarantee, and special order engagement ring services make them a great choice for those seeking protection and individuality.

Brilliant Earth

For the eco-conscious, Brilliant Earth provides stunning bezel settings in a rather large variety. The only thing more beautiful than their bezel setting engagement rings are their stunning, whimsical bezel wedding bands. This retailer is also great for pieces with minute details, such as milgrain bezels. Additionally, Brilliant Earth goes above and beyond to design stimulating, decadent fashion pieces and cocktail rings that are sure to please.

Brilliant Earth promises “beyond conflict-free diamonds” that are ethically sourced and set in designs made of recycled precious metals. Plus, they donate 5% of profits to charity! If you’re looking for an ethically conscious purveyor of bezel settings, give Brilliant Earth a try.

Frank Darling

Last—but certainly not least—is Frank Darling with their beautiful bezel pieces. This online retailer boasts both simple and ornate bezel designs, and their bold bezel bands are nothing to sneeze at either. Or, try one of their stackable bezel fashion rings to add a bit of flair to any outfit. Frank Darling promises conflict-free stones and recycled accent diamonds for the eco-friendly buyer, and their collaborative design process offers shoppers a chance to design their piece.

The brilliance of the bezel ring setting

Bezel settings have finally made a comeback, and it’s easy to see what people find so appealing about this antique design.

The bezel provides superior protection, even if it can inhibit sparkle. Plus, the extra metal creates a streamlined silhouette that looks amazing for modern, classic, or even luxe styles. Bezel settings are also an excellent choice for colored stones and fashion jewelry, and they can even protect softer gemstones.😘

Still unsure whether the bezel setting is right for you?

Consider reading our piece on 15 popular ring settings to get an idea of which style you like best. We guarantee you’ll find one that fits your personal style!

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