What Is A Tension Setting Engagement Ring Setting?

Sometimes a unique setting is more important than the center stone. A tension setting gives you that special look. It’s sleek and shows off your contemporary style.

With a tension setting, the center stone is held in place with compression. It makes the stone appear to be floating in the band. It is a nontraditional way of highlighting your center gemstone.

The tension setting makes your gemstone the ring’s focal point. Find out the characteristics of this beautiful setting. We’ll explain the ins and outs as well as the pros and cons.

What Makes Up a Tension Setting?

The nature of a tension setting is compression. The gemstone isn’t held in place with grooves or prongs. It’s also not embedded in the metal. Strong metal presses against the stone on either side of it. The stone then is given the appearance of floating in the air.

It takes strong but malleable metal to achieve this. The gemstone must also be strong and not have any inclusions or weaknesses. A gemstone must have a Mohs hardness of 9.0 or more to be used in this setting. The only gemstones that are strong enough and can be used include:

  • Diamonds
  • Rubies
  • Moissanite
  • Sapphires

When the metal is ready the center is spring-loaded. The gemstone is placed between the spread band. At this point, the metal is released, and it snaps into place, grabbing the stone.

The tension exerts 12,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. That’s a lot of force involved, so you see why the stone needs to be hard.

The Tension Setting’s Beginnings

German-based jeweler, Friedrich Becker, developed the tension setting in 1979. He had been working on it since the 1960s. In 1992, an American, Steven Kretchmer, took it one step further, adapting the prototype. He went on to secure a patent by developing his own method of spring pressure.

You can see, it’s a relatively new type of setting.

Choosing this Ethereal Like Setting

If you want your ring to stand out, then the tension setting is for you. The unique and intriguing appearance is sure to garner attention.

Is your taste ultra-modern? The tension setting has a futuristic design. And it can be made with different metals to accentuate that contemporary look. Some metals include:

Is your body weight pretty stable? Tension settings are difficult to resize. So, if you’re in the process or plan on a significant weight loss, this setting is not for you.

6 Best Tension Engagement Settings Styles

Tension settings come in several types. Choose one that fits your unique style. Keep in mind that not only can you choose different versions of the tension setting, but you can also choose different metals. The top six styles we like are:

  • Round shaped bar
  • Contoured twist
  • Modern Leaf bypass
  • Pointed and etched
  • Spiral
  • V-Ring

Round Shaped Bar Works for Women and Men

With a 5mm band, this thick ring works for both men and women. Two thick bars hold a slightly elevated gemstone. The overall look is bold. It’s sure to catch anyone’s eye.

Beauty with a Twist

The contoured twist has a robust curved design. Typical of the tension, the twist secures the gemstone without prongs. The band is 5.5 mm thick.

Modern Leaf Bypass a Pseudo Tension

The modern leaf uses a bypass leaf element to hold the center gemstone. It’s not a true or at least pure tension setting. The metal shank is only 3.6mm. It looks great with even a small diamond

Show Off Your Stone with a Pointed and Etched Setting

This one is a showstopper. The center gemstone is held vertically by the tension. Your stone will be seen from every angle. The light will just shine through the stone, creating a beautiful sparkle.

The Spiral Creates Drama

Once more, this setting uses vertical tension to hold the gemstone. It is held securely between the band’s shanks. The stone is shown off brilliantly and will certainly turn heads.

V-Ring Stands for Very Unique

Just like its name, the curve of this band is V-shaped. It holds the gemstone between the front part of one end and the side of the other. This is an unusual setting that looks dainty and ethereal.

Best Diamond Shape for the Tension Setting

You can use any cut diamond with the tension setting. All diamond shapes will function just fine. But the two that work best are the princess cut and the round cut. But when it comes down to it, it’s a matter of preference.

Tension Setting Pros

The beauty of the tension setting is hard to resist. Let’s take a look at the advantages of owning one.

  • Intrigue
  • Modern
  • Shows gemstone
  • Maintenance

The Beauty Fascinates People

Your ring will be a conversation starter. Everyone is intrigued by a tension setting. It’s almost magical looking with the way the center gemstone looks like its suspended in air.

Futuristic Beauty Surpasses All

Your setting will have a contemporary feel to it. If you like to be on the cutting edge, this setting will go with your personality. Different metals can be used to create it. This allows you to customize it.

360 Degree Look at Your Stone

The center stone is in full view. There’s nothing hiding it. If you have a beautiful gemstone, this is the way to show it off to its fullest.

Maintenance a Breeze

These settings are very easy to maintain and clean.

Tension Setting Cons

We know that the tension setting will catch anyone’s eye, but there are some disadvantages to choosing one. They include:

  • Sizing
  • Bulky
  • Small gemstone
  • Jeweler skill
  • Cost

Make Sure it Fits

Unfortunately, things change. Your ring might fit perfectly when your fiancé gives it to you. But down the road, a finger’s shape or size can change. One major problem with a tension setting is they’re not easy to resize.

The difficulty in resizing stems from the center stone. The ring is calibrated to its measurement.

The Thickness of the Band

If you want a delicate-looking band, this is not the ring for you. Great strength is needed to hold the gemstone in place. It takes a heavy band to accomplish this. This creates a thick bulky look to the tension ring.

Not the Style for a Small Gemstone

Because of the bulky design of the band, the center gemstone will look smaller. If you already have a small gemstone this might not be the best way to display it.

It Takes a Lot of Skill to Create

The workmanship of a tension ring takes a lot of skill. Finding an experienced jeweler can be a challenge.

The Cost is High

This goes hand in hand with workmanship. The skill it takes to create adds to the cost. Most tension settings cost significantly more than other settings.

How Secure is the Tension Setting Compared to the Prong Setting

We know the tension setting is beautiful, but how does it stack up to the prong setting when it comes to security? Many people fear the tension setting is frail and want to know if the stone will be secure.

Yes, your stone is secure. Jewelers say that the tension setting is as secure, if not more secure, than a prong setting. Keep in mind; prongs wear down. When this happens, they must be replaced. That’s why it’s important to have your ring checked periodically.

But unless a bad blow hits your gemstone in a tension setting, it is practically indestructible. But it all starts with it being well made. It must be made with superior metals and skill.

How Does Your Future Fiancé Purchase a Tension Engagement Setting

Find a reputable jeweler. It takes skill to create this ring, and you want the best. Pick a high-quality gemstone. This setting puts the spotlight on the center stone you want a good one. And keep in mind that a symmetrical cut will probably work best. So, choose accordingly.

Your Forever Ring Must Make a Statement

If standing out in a crowd is your dream, then this is the setting for you. The tension setting showcases a beautiful gemstone and will showcase you and your fiancé’s love.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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