Cathedral Settings: A Complete Guide

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Cathedral Settings: A Complete Guide

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The diversity of engagement ring styles has bloomed over the last decade; with so many unique designs to choose from, an engagement ring can now perfectly express your personality or relationship.

Cathedral settings are a classic style. Full of intrigue and craftsmanship, they hold your diamond on high for a simple but impactful appearance.

What is a Cathedral Setting?

A cathedral setting is not defined by the way it holds the diamond (i.e. Prong, bezel etc), but by the structural arches that rise over the shank.

These arches give the central diamond prominence, drawing focus and making it appear larger. The arches themselves are a thing of beauty, ornately echoing the distinctive architecture of a cathedral, without over powering the diamond.

Types of Cathedral Setting

One of the appeals of a cathedral setting is that is can take many forms. It naturally lends itself to both contemporary and vintage designs, and works cohesively with a variety of engagement ring features.

Channel Set Cathedral Settings

Channel Set Cathedral Setting Whiteflash

This channel set cathedral setting engagement ring by Whiteflash shows how the high arches can compliment a contemporary look. Seen above with a princess cut central diamond, the blending of shapes in this design show that mixing styles can create stunning results.

Here is an alternative setting from James Allen:

Classic Cathedral Setting

A simple, sleek but standout design; this cathedral setting by Ritani showing a classic cathedral setting in all its glory.

Here is an alternative setting from James Allen:

Vintage Cathedral Settings

The scrolling mental-work in this Verragio cathedral setting are a clear nod to ornate, vintage styles.

Another is this 14K White Gold Pave Knife Edge Cathedral Diamond Engagement Ring from James Allen:

Pave Cathedral Settings

Pave is a great way to bring some extra sparkle to a classic setting. This cathedral star setting combines vintage jewelry motifs with pave for a luxurious, cathedral engagement ring.

Here is another Cathedral Pavé Diamond Engagement Ring from Blue Nile:

Cathedral Settings Pros and Cons

All engagement ring settings have their own unique quirks. Choosing the setting that is right for you will be a balance of beauty, budget and practicality. This is what you should know before buying a cathedral setting:

Pros

  • Gives prominence to the central diamond, making it appear larger
  • A huge variety of styles to choose from
  • Traditional and timeless
  • Gives height to the diamond – great for light and sparkle
  • Suitable for a range of budgets

Cons

  • A high setting is more likely to catch on clothing and other materials
  • Will need to be removed for hands-on activities such as sports
  • Requires attention to detail when cleaning due to the metal work and open spaces

Tips for Buying a Cathedral Setting

Cathedral settings are traditionally partnered with round brilliant, princess cut and cushion cut diamonds, however you can select any diamond shape you choose, providing the designer has stated the setting it suitable. Diamond shapes such as marquis and pear can look beautiful in a cathedral setting, but it is extremely important that their pointed extremities are protected by durable prongs or a bezel setting to prevent damage.

  • As is the case with all settings, precious metals that are durable enough to hold the diamond is essential. I recommend 14k and 18k gold, or platinum, for the most beautiful and resilient engagement ring possible.
  • When choosing a pronged cathedral setting, consider the weight of the diamond. For anything above 1.00ct, a 6-prong setting will give extra stability.
  • The diamond takes center stage in a cathedral setting, but you will see many designs that use milgrain, pave and other details to bring the ring to life. Achieving an ornate look is all about balance – I recommend Whiteflash and their portfolio of designer cathedral settings, which successfully execute this look.
  • Rose gold and yellow gold will beautifully build the vintage feel of a cathedral setting. James Allen have a nice collection of vintage-inspired engagement rings.

Cathedral Settings Conclusion

If a cathedral setting has stolen your heart and is suitable for your lifestyle, your greatest challenge will be narrowing down your favorites.  Whiteflash have an exceptional collection of designer rings/settings that all deliver on craftsmanship and precision. Set with a high-quality diamond for an engagement ring that will stand the test of time and turn heads wherever you go, please read my review on their A CUT ABOVE® diamonds. If you have a smaller budget then visit Blue Nile and James Allen, they have lower quality cut diamonds but large selections to choose from.