So, you are finally ready to propose and you are thinking about buying a cathedral style engagement ring. With so many different designs in the market, how do you know which is the right one for her?
Or maybe, you just want a little more information to help you make your final decision.
In this article, we will look into the pros and cons of buying a cathedral setting and reveal some extra tips to help you out. You will also get to see some of the most beautiful ring designs in the market.
Let’s get started…
As the name suggests, the cathedral engagement ring setting is inspired by the grandeur and elegance of an old cathedral’s architecture. These settings feature “arches” in the shank which is reminiscence of support arches of a church’s ceiling.
Interestingly, modern day designers have incorporated the design elements into beautiful rings with variations to the arches, shanks and shoulders. This has resulted in a myriad of cathedral engagement ring designs for consumers to choose from.
We will take a look at some of them in detail later…
Comparison of classic solitaire vs cathedral vs split shank ring settings…
◾ More protection to the center stone compared to the typical 4/6 prong ring.
◾ Slight tweaks in design elements can change the feel of a ring from petite to elegance to vintage looking.
◾ For people who love details as the gallery and underside of the ring can incorporate surprise features.
◾ The center stone is typically set higher and the elevated position emphasizes the diamond’s size.
◾ Goes well with different types of diamond shapes like round, princess, cushion and emerald cuts.
◾ Requires more effort to maintain during cleaning due to the gaps and niches in the ring design.
◾ Cathedral settings tend to sit higher on the finger and may cause it to snag into other objects.
◾ Improper arch designs with large gems can lead to disproportionate appearances.
Cathedral setting vs prong setting side profile differences.
Well, it really depends on the wearer and the kind of preferences she has. If the recipient is someone who is rough with their hands or requires the constant wearing of gloves, I would recommend going for a simple solitaire or bezel setting instead.
On the other hand, if the recipient wants a flashy looking ring or loves subtle details, a cathedral setting can help achieve the look they are after.
Another common question I receive from readers relates to cost and pricing. Whether you are interested in a cathedral setting or other types of ring design styles, it really depends on details and from whom you buy from.
Obviously, if you walked into Cartier or Tiffany & Co, you can expect to pay a huge premium on a setting of similar quality and design compared to buying from a non-branded establishment.
When it comes to settings, the bulk of the cost originates from workmanship overheads. For more intricate cathedral engagement rings, the cost can be exponentially higher than a simple 4 prong version of the design. So, it really depends!
Sometimes, less is more. For people who are looking for minimalistic appearances and budget friendly options, the solitaire cathedral ring style would be right up your alley.
Above is one of my favorite solitaire cathedral setting featuring a tapered design by Ritani. The symbolic X (crafted into the setting) and O (ring band) represents the first kiss and embrace with your partner.
This stunning solitaire cathedral ring setting is a masterpiece created by Verragio. The elegant curves and gallery are a sight to behold together with the Verragio three prong crest under the basket.
I must confess that I am bias towards pave settings and have purchased a number of such rings for my wife. The rationale is simple. Pave rings are very cost efficient. By paying just a little more, you receive a significant increase in the ring’s sparkle factor.
The Serendipity by White Flash is a classic design that appeals to many women. It utilizes a shared prong bead set pave to add extra bling on the ring. Also, the open cathedral is a remarkable sight when the ring is viewed from the sides.
This classic and elegant looking cathedral diamond ring showcases a french-set pave on its shank. Unlike other mass produced settings, White Flash is extremely strict in upholding quality and ensures that the pave is made up of super ideal cut melee diamonds.
On top of that, the six-prong head offers additional security to hold the center stone safely in place and allows light to interact with the diamond seamlessly.
For people who are searching for uncommon designs or specially crafted rings, you may want to consider some of these beautiful options to help you stand out from the crowd.
This ring from JamesAllen.com makes use of a different mounting concept by alternating round and baguette shape diamonds in the channel of the shank. This variation in scintillation patterning adds another dimension to the ring’s overall appearance.
This diamond ring literally is the star of the show when it comes to being flashy and being full of brilliance. Surrounded in a halo of star burst melees, this star shaped engagement ring will make heads turn.
Vintage inspired rings have gained alot of popularity in recent years due to changing fashion trends and celebrity influences. If you are looking for a vintage style cathedral ring, the following designs from James Allen will interest you…
Pavé arches that are lined with milgrain gives this rose gold ring a regal quality and a touch of vintage elegance. If you pair this ring with a matching thin wedding band, it can bring out the full flavor of its vintage appeal.
Featuring a classic basket and tapered shoulders, this vintage solitaire ring design by Martin Flyer features hand-engraved motifs on the shank and several pave set melee diamonds for extra bling.
If you are looking for one-of-a-kind designs, a designer diamond ring may just be what you need. While they tend to be more expensive because of brand premiums, designer rings often feature trademarked elements which cannot be replicated easily.
Here are a couple of cathedral ring designs from 2 of my favorite brands.
The Vatche “Euphoria” features melee diamonds around the ring shank and basket to create a dazzling display of sparkle from all directions.
This cathedral diamond engagement ring features lavish details and spectacularly handcrafted shanks. It is a combination of high end design and traditional workmanship at its best. From the photograph above, Verragio’s trademark crown shaped bezel can easily be seen in the profile view.
I hope you have a better idea of what cathedral settings are and understand how the different variations in designs can affect the outlook of the ring.
We’ve also looked at ring settings across various budgets and how you can make a style uniquely yours. If you have a favorite ring design that you are interested in, please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. I absolutely love to hear from readers!
At the end of the day, you will have to make a decision based on your own circumstances and the recipient’s preferences. Take your time to search and browse through different options before you make a decision.
You should bear in mind that the setting is only part of the equation when buying an engagement ring. The quality and choice of center stone is equally as important and you should do your due diligence before committing to a purchase.
Have fun in your search and enjoy the shopping process!
Are there any quality differences between a generic pave cathedral setting vs tiffany setting from the OEM? I was at NYC recently and visited their flagship store which was an amazing experience. Unfortunately, the prices are sky high. During the same week, I took a 2 hour walk down the diamond district and saw an identical setting which cost 4 times less.
It depends on who made the ring and also the quality of the center stone. With Tiffany, it’s a fact that you pay an exorbitant premium but Tiffany’s jewelry does has a certain level of quality. (I’m not saying they are the best).
To see if settings are really the same, loupe it and look at the finishing, edges and overall shape. There will be visible tell tale signs in a poorly made ring vs a well made one.
Do I need a matching cathedral wedding band for the engagement ring if I need a flush fit?
For a flush fit, the curves and contours of the main ring and wedding band would be key to ensuring a good fit. Basically, the outlines need to be complementary to each other. If you are looking for flush fitting, consider designs that have matching pairs of rings.
Are there any places that sell empty cathedral mount engagement rings that I can buy and get another jeweler to set for me?
Why would you want to do that? Instead of buying an unmounted setting and going through the hassle of paying someone else to finish the work, why don’t you just bring or send the loose diamond you have to the jeweler? As far as I know, most vendors won’t sell unmounted settings due to quality control and business issues.
For some weird reason that you must do it your way, you can try ebay or amazon. Just don’t expect to buy high quality cathedral mount engagement rings at these places.
Hi – do cathedral settings take away from the diamond at all on the side views? with the metal or pave sweeping up to meet the sides, I’m wondering if it would make the diamond look smaller or not as highlighted. I’m torn between a cathedral and a more traditional prong flush setting that just sits on the band. What would you say are the advantages/disadvantages for these when compared, if wanting to ensure the diamond is highlighted? (Only about a 1 carat size)
It really depends on specific details and design elements for the particular ring you are looking at. In general, cathedral settings are will project the diamond higher towards the eye. So, that actually helps accentuate the diamond. The higher height also makes a cathedral setting easier to catch onto things. That said, I want to reiterate that it’s hard to give a generalized answer without looking at the setting design.
I just picked out my engagement ring & had the stone mounted, my question is, it is not a cathedral setting & I WANT (now) a cathedral look.. what can be done or is it to late?
The stone is 2.70 Radiant cut rectangle shape.. I was told they cannot add to the setting to create a cathedral look, but this ring REALLY needs the stone set higher to look more appealing – that said its to big & set it into a basket which took away from the look.
Why did you get it mounted into a non-cathedral setting in the first place when everything is said and done? The diamond can be unmounted and set into a cathedral setting. Why would that be a problem? Most jewelers would be able to do it if you are willing to pay for it. And if the jeweler is trying to say that the diamond is too big for a cathedral setting, they are screwing with you. Dump this jeweler and buy from someone else instead.
My new question is, can the setting I chose be altered into a cathedral setting? Possibly adding to it, or once a setting is cast it cannot be altered? I’d show a picture if I knew how.
Most settings should be able to be altered to some degree with some customization. You will need to talk to the jeweler about it and see if they can make it happen in the workshop.