What is a Tension Setting Engagement Ring?

tension set diamond engagement ring

If you’re looking for a modern spin on a traditional solitaire setting, a tension set engagement ring might be just what you’re looking for. This unique setting features a stone that is compressed between two pieces of metal giving the stone the illusion of floating in between the metal band pieces. It offers endless design options including gemstones, metals and the overall shape and detailing of the ring.

What is a Tension Setting?

First created in the 1960’s, a tension setting uses pressure to clamp a gemstone between pieces of metal. The stone is placed into an opening in the shank or band of the ring where tiny grooves are cut into the metal. The stone remains in place by the tension created from both ends of the setting and appears to float in place. Initially clunky and rather unattractive, modern technology has allowed this setting to be more delicate and intricate in its design. 

Most ring designs use prongs, claps or baskets to hold a gemstone in place. Other settings like a bezel surround the stone completely in metal or embed it into the metal like a channel setting. The tension setting is the only one that uses tensile force to hold a gem in place. This minimalistic design allows the stone to appear like it’s floating in midair within the band and enhances the brilliance and sparkle of the stone.

Because there is less metal involved in a tension setting, the gemstone can be seen in full view and from different angles. With more surface area exposed, more light is able to interact with the stone creating even more sparkle potential than other settings. The tension setting is an eye-catcher for sure and a fairly uncommon setting that requires the expertise and precision of a skilled jeweler to create. 

Tension Set Engagement Rings 

Folks who want a non-traditional setting often opt for the tension as this setting is both uncommon and stunning. Round and princess cuts are the most popular shapes for engagement rings, and they both work with a tension setting due to their even symmetry. Almost any shape can be used, including asymmetrical cuts like pear or heart shapes. Because the stone is so exposed, smaller stones can appear even tinier in this setting.

While it may appear delicate and even fragile, a tension setting is quite secure and the amount of force required to dislodge or damage the stone would hurt any type of setting. Every type of setting and engagement ring requires some care but it’s the level of craftsmanship that is most important with a tension which can be more expensive because it requires specialized skill to create. 

Tension set engagement rings are available in the same metals as other rings from white, yellow and rose gold to platinum and offer endless creative design options from twists and spirals to split shank bands and multiple gemstones of any shape or size. If you have questions about engagement ring settings, give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule an appointment.