Engagement Rings

What Is a Bezel Set Engagement Ring (and Should I Buy One)?

Why it’s good: Bezel-set rings have a relatively casual look but greater security than standard prong settings, which makes them ideal for everyday wear.

Tip 1: Bezel settings can help make a diamond appear larger than it really is; for white diamonds, a white gold or platinum setting will amplify the effect.

Tip 2: Because bezel settings secure a diamond with metal on all sides, the stone is particularly well-equipped to endure the wear and tear of an active lifestyle.

If you’re into watches, you’re likely familiar with the word “bezel.” The term refers to the band of metal around a watch dial’s perimeter. The bezel is what affixes the crystal to the dial. In jewelry, bezels serve a similar purpose; the word refers to a variety of settings and any piece of jewelry that employs it. Rather than using prongs (four or more little metal arms that wrap around a stone to hold it in place), bezel rings use a — you guessed it — bezel. This thin band of metal is flush with the stone’s girdle, or widest point, outlining the stone with a sleek frame and securing it atop the band. It’s a setting that provides an array of practical benefits and an especially stylish look.

For most of the last century, prong settings have dominated the engagement ring market. It’s a popular way to mount diamonds because it props them up using minimal metal, allowing the stone to be flooded with light for maximum sparkle. It’s this kind of setting that produces the sort of bling that will catch your eye from across a room. While, sure, that kind of high-wattage brilliance is dazzling, is it really realistic for your bride-to-be’s lifestyle? Remember that whatever engagement ring you choose is something your future wife will theoretically be wearing every day for the rest of her life — until death do you part. Bezel-set rings offer a more understated alternative that better suits many women’s sense of style.

Bezel rings may not be as brilliant as rings that exploit other setting techniques, but that hardly means that they lack sparkle. They simply have a softer, less flashy breed of sparkle. Bezel rings were the standard for centuries, before the prong technique was invented — it is one of the oldest ring styles still in existence. This lends today’s bezel-set rings a subtle heirloom appeal. Yet, bezel rings can also be strikingly modern. Their design is often clean and graphic — the bezel’s metal frame can help a diamond pop — making them an excellent choice for women who gravitate towards sleek, minimalist fashion. Bezel-set engagement rings have graced the hands of such trendsetters as Solange Knowles and Rooney Mara.

This OG setting offers a lot of perks for contemporary life. One of the bezel ring’s greatest advantages is security. Because the diamond is surrounded by metal on all sides, it is very unlikely to come loose or fall out. The bezel acts as a kind of armor, holding the diamond in place and protecting it from damage. And because the bezel is a smooth band of metal that is flush with the stone, the ring won’t snag or catch on clothing and the diamond is less susceptible to getting banged up. Much like a halo ring, bezel rings can also make a stone appear larger than it really is. Especially when set in white metal, like white gold or platinum, the bezel creates the illusion of a greater surface area and yields a kind of mirror effect to enhance a diamond’s scintillation.

The bezel setting’s pros far outweigh its cons. Because it’s a setting that uses more metal than most of the alternatives, it can be a more expensive choice. But it’s worth noting that many bezel rings just feature one central solitaire, maybe accented with some diamond pavé. So while you may be paying more in precious metals, you won’t have to pay for additional diamonds (which are far more expensive than most metals). With its discreet beauty and practicality, the bezel ring has a lot that both you and your bride can appreciate.

9 Types of Bezel-Style Rings for All Budgets

1. SELIN KENT

Bezel settings can yield especially edgy alternative engagement rings, such as this one featuring a pear-shaped diamond offset from a glossy polished gold band. $1,950.

(Photo courtesy of Selin Kent)
(Photo courtesy of Selin Kent)

2. JEMMA WYNNE

With its hexagonal center stone and bands of contrasting white diamonds and yellow gold, this ring underscores the bezel setting’s graphic allure. Price upon request.

(Photo courtesy of Jemma Wynne)
(Photo courtesy of Jemma Wynne)

3. RACHEL BOSTON

Chic and simple, this ring’s polished white gold bezel and knife-edge band make a 1.00 carat rock look effortless. $9,675.

(Photo courtesy of Rachel Boston)
(Photo courtesy of Rachel Boston)

4. EVA FEHREN

Distilling an engagement ring to its purest, most minimal essence needn’t be boring — as evidenced by this ring with a unique portrait-cut diamond with striking beveled facets. Price upon request.

(Photo courtesy of Eva Fehren)
(Photo courtesy of Eva Fehren)

5. KATKIM

The bezel setting may be centuries old but it can feel remarkably fresh, as in this ring with a 2.00 carat Asscher-cut seemingly floating atop a pavé band. $24,000.

(Photo courtesy of KATKIM)
(Photo courtesy of KATKIM)

6. DAVID YURMAN

This ring is all about sleek, architectural lines; the emerald-cut diamond’s linear facets are echoed in the brushed gold bezel and faceted band. Price upon request.

(Photo courtesy of David Yurman)
(Photo courtesy of David Yurman)

7. NANCY NEWBERG

One of the great advantages of a bezel ring is more casual, everyday wearability, as evidenced by this chunky gold band punctuated with a dazzling diamond. $7,600.

(Photo courtesy of Nancy Newberg)
(Photo courtesy of Nancy Newberg)

8. NORA KOGAN

If your bride-to-be isn’t one for convention, she may love a more understated band like this one featuring three diamond baguettes and plenty of pavé. $6,670.

(Photo courtesy of Nora Kogan)
(Photo courtesy of Nora Kogan)

9. URSA MAJOR

This ring gives the traditional solitaire an array of sly twists: a champagne diamond instead of white, brushed gold with green undertones, and a graphic bezel setting. $7,100.

(Photo courtesy of Ursa Major)
(Photo courtesy of Ursa Major)

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