Halo Engagement Rings – Understanding your Options

The Halo setting is a popular choice for engagement rings, being a great way to give centre stones more impact. Here are the different looks to consider, when deciding what works for you.

Choosing the right Halo

The oval shaped diamond set in a halo of diamonds has been a real celebrity favourite in recent years. Not that some of their diamonds need any more diamonds!

As with all advice on choosing an engagement ring – the perfect look for you comes down to style, tastes and lifestyle.  We’ve looked at this in other articles, which you can check out here.

What else to consider?  There is how the centre stone is going to be set, and then how the halo of diamonds is going to be arranged around it.  Most common is to claw set the centre stone, it is also popular to use a rubover setting for a more graphic feel.

An additional consideration will be whether the setting is going to be raised, to accommodate a wedding ring alongside, or lower on the shank, which will require a more shaped wedding ring.  Stone set shoulders are also popular with some wearers.

Micro Claw Halo (also referred to as ‘cut down’)

Probably the most common halo setting at the moment.  Here the halo stones are secured by fine claws around each diamond, maximising the light reaching each.  The term ‘cut down’ is used to describe how the stone settings for traditionally made halos are created.  A metal plate is marked out for each tiny diamond, and the shape cut, filed and refined around each setting, building up into the tiny claws.  When we hand make this style of halo, this is the technique the goldsmith uses.

Cut down, or micro claw set halo rings.

The look here will depend on the size of the diamonds in the halo – in general though it will give the impression of the most diamond encrusted setting.  Of all the settings it is also the most susceptible to damage, as there is no additional protection around the claws, which are fine.  Heavy wear with these settings is not recommended.

Thread Grain Halo

A classic look, going back to the Art Deco era, stones are set in recesses and secured with beads of metal (the ‘grain’) with a protective edging.  The edging makes the shape of the ring appear more defined.  It’s a very classic look for a ring.

Left image showing a cast thread and grain set ring before setting with no details. Right hand showing same ring finished by goldsmith.
Here you can see how a thread and grain set eternity ring starts out. The magic of this setting is all down to the skills of the diamond setter, who carves and shapes the lines and claws himself. Case Study here.

For a more vintage effect, the thread border can be milligrain edged, which creates an even more classic looking ring.

A thread and grain set halo engagement ring, where the milligrain details on the edges add a more classic feel to the ring.

Rubover/Alternate Set Halo

There are a lot of ways to set diamonds around the centre stone.

In the three ring images shown here, stones have been individually set in rubover settings, and also set with a rubover exterior, which follows the shape of the stone creating more of a scalloped exterior.

Want more help? Get in Touch with us to discuss your ideas.

Double Halo Rings

A double row of stones around the centre increases the overall size of the setting further.  Again, this is a great way to make the most of a central diamond or other stone, increasing the overall presence.

In both of these styles, the micro claw setting style has been employed, creating a carpet of stones around the centre diamonds.
Here, two techniques were employed to make this very graphic Art Deco inspired engagement ring.  The outer layer has thread and grain set round diamonds, and calibre cut sapphires have been channel set in the inner halo of stones next to the centre diamond.  See the case study for this ring here.
A note on channel setting round Melee

There are a few channel set diamond halo engagement ring styles in circulation, but not generally, anything that is made in the UK.  There is a specific reason for this, being that for the shape and style of ring, the diamonds are difficult to set well, and stay in place. So what often happens is that with this style of setting, stones will be lost.  Additionally, it doesn’t make as much of the diamond shape, or sparkle as much.  So I haven’t covered it here, is with round diamonds, this is not a technique UK workshops recommend.

Additional Halo Styles

The gallery here shows a few more of the eternity ring styles we’ve offered.  As you can see, there really are limitless design options for every wearer.

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Like any of the above designs? Get in touch to discuss with us.

Advantages and Disadvantages of the Halo Setting

We’ve covered the main advantage quite a lot already – in surrounding a central diamond or other gemstone with a border of smaller diamonds the overall presence of the setting has been increased, in general by at least a couple of mm in diameter. This means that smaller diamonds are given the optical illusion of being larger.

Additionally, the addition of good quality small stones in the halo setting can increase the overall sparkle.  In surrounding a sapphire or other stone with this diamond edge, the centre stone appearance is enhanced.

Downsides of the halo setting are that smaller stones are always susceptible to more damage.  Micro claws can catch, or break more easily and it is not uncommon to lose a diamond, especially in badly made settings.  

Another disadvantage is that while the setting can help control centre stone costs, the cost of setting each diamond can be the same or more than each diamond itself.  There are a lot more stones going into a halo setting, especially if you are looking for full coverage, so keep in mind the workmanship that is going to be required here.

Is the halo setting only for engagement rings?

No, it’s a popular look for earrings and pendants (and occasionally bracelets) too.  While the look is more commonly known because of its popularity in engagement rings, it is every bit as effective in emphasising gemstones in other jewellery to increase their presence as you can see from the purple sapphire set in the gallery above.

Get in touch using the links below (on a mobile) /on the right (on a desktop) if you'd like to discuss a halo engagement ring design with us. We create brand new rings, and can also remodel your existing diamonds into new halo jewellery.

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