Let’s Settle the Low-Set vs. High-Set Engagement Ring Debate

close up photo of different diamond rings

There’s so much more to engagement ring shopping than choosing the size and shape of the stone. You have other specifics to consider, such as the ring setting’s height. Choosing between a low-set and high-set engagement ring may have never crossed your mind, but it makes a huge difference aesthetically. While it boils down to personal preferences, understanding each setting can help you make the best choice.


Difference Between Low-Set and High-Set Engagement Rings

The primary difference between a low-set and high-set engagement ring is how much the center stone protrudes from the finger. A high-set ring’s prongs extend upward, lifting the stone higher above the band. Meanwhile, a low-set ring positions the stone closer to the finger and band.

“To identify if a ring is low or high set, look at it from the side,” advises Aditi Daga, co-founder of Angara, a leading e-tailer of handcrafted fine jewelry. “If the center stone appears elevated, it’s a high-set ring. If the stone sits low on the band, it’s low set.”


Pros and Cons of Low-Set Engagement Rings

Let’s begin with the benefits of low-set engagement rings:

  • Security: A low-set ring offers a more secure placement for the main gemstone, as it sits closer to the band and finger. It reduces the risk of the stone getting caught on clothing, hair, or other objects, minimizing the chances of damage or loss.
  • Durable: A low-set ring is less prone to accidental damage or impact than its high-set counterparts, potentially offering longer-term durability and longevity.

Moving on to the disadvantages, they include:

  • Less visibility: The center stone in a low-set ring may appear smaller or less prominent compared to a high-set ring, as it is closer to the band and finger. This may affect the ring’s visual impact and the center stone’s perceived size.
  • Limited sparkle: The lower positioning of the main gemstone may restrict the amount of light that can enter and interact with the stone’s facets, slightly reducing its sparkle and brilliance.
  • Incompatibility with wedding bands: If your dream stack is an engagement ring paired with an eternity wedding ring, opt for a high-set ring. A low-set engagement ring has limited compatibility with some styles of wedding bands, such as those with gemstones or intricate designs. The center stone being too close to the band may hinder you from wearing your wedding ring alongside it.


Pros and Cons of High-Set Engagement Rings

Here’s an overview of the benefits of high-set engagement rings:

  • Enhanced sparkle: Higher settings help maximize a stone’s sparkle. With more space for light to interact with the stone’s facets, the ring appears more brilliant and vibrant.
  • Stands out: The ring’s elevated profile draws attention to the center stone, making it look larger. It’s a dream come true if you desire a ring that catches attention.
  • Versatile: High-set engagement rings pair perfectly with wedding bands due to the space beneath the stone. If you prefer to stack, mix, and match your jewelry, you will love this setting.

As for the disadvantages, they include:

  • Prone to snagging: If you’re not careful, the elevated setting can easily snag on fabric or hair, potentially damaging the ring.
  • Less secure: The center stone may be less secure, increasing the risk of damage and loss. Also, the higher the gemstone sits above the band, the more prone it is to snagging, loosening the stone or causing it to fall out completely. Read Reasons Diamonds Fall Out of Jewelry (What to Do Next) if the latter happens to you.

If you work with your hands or lead an active lifestyle, exercise caution when wearing a high-set ring. Better yet, remove your ring before engaging in such activities.


How to Choose Between High-Set vs. Low-Set Engagement Rings

women wearing rings

The aesthetics and practicality of your dream engagement ring play a role in deciding between a low-set and a high-set engagement ring. Here’s a quick guide to help you make a choice:

  • Consider your lifestyle: Think about your daily life and how it might affect your choice of ring setting. If you lead an active lifestyle or work with your hands frequently, a low-set ring might be more practical, as it minimizes the risk of snagging or catching onto objects.
  • Evaluate comfort: Comfort is a must when it comes to wearing your engagement ring every day. Try on rings with different settings to see which one feels most comfortable on your finger. Keep in mind that a low-set setting may offer a more streamlined and ergonomic fit, while a high-set setting can feel more prominent on the finger.
  • Assess visual appeal: Consider the aesthetic appeal of each setting style and how it complements your personal style. A high-set engagement ring is often more eye-catching and dramatic, drawing attention to the center stone. On the other hand, a low-set engagement ring offers a more understated and subtle look.
  • Think about maintenance: Take into account the maintenance requirements of each setting style. A high-set ring may require more frequent cleaning to keep the underside of the stone free from dirt and debris, while a low-set ring may be easier to clean and maintain.
  • Determine compatibility with your wedding band: Consider how the engagement ring will pair with other jewelry, particularly wedding bands. A high profile setting allows for a closer fit with a wedding band, often creating a flush fit bridal set. In the case of a low-profile setting, the gap or space necessary for a wedding band to sit alongside the engagement ring is absent. If you desire a flush-fitting bridal set, consider having your engagement ring and wedding band customized by the same designer. This ensures that both pieces complement each other, even with a low-set engagement ring.
  • Seek professional advice: Consult with a trusted jeweler who can help you select the right engagement ring setting. They can help you explore different options, try on rings, and provide insights based on your preferences and lifestyle.

Ultimately, the choice between a high-set and low-set engagement ring comes down to personal preference, comfort, and practical considerations. Take your time to weigh the pros and cons of each setting before making a decision, and don’t hesitate to seek a jeweler’s professional advice along the way.


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