Gemstone Settings

Here are the main types of gemstone settings:

Prong or claw setting

Usually four to eight prongs (but can be many more and sometimes only two).  Prong tips can be rounded, oval, flat or v-shaped.

This is the most common type of setting.


Europe, c. 1800-1869
Ring, faceted hessonite garnet
V&A Museum

Bezel or Semi-Bezel Setting

 A metal rim or collar completely encases the sides of a stone with the rim extending slightly above the stone.

In the case of a semi-bezel, the metal does not go all the way around the sides of the stone.

One of the oldest types of settings.

  • Ring

    Mid 19th century
    Ring, peridot intaglio set in gold
    V&A Museum

Channel Setting

Continuous row of stones set in straight line into a metal channel, with no metal inbetween.


Diamond eternity ring, Lang Antique and Estate Jewelry.

Crown Setting

A crown setting is in reality a type of prong or claw setting which looks like a crown.


Europe, c. 1800-1913
Ring, demantoid garnet, set in gold
V&A Museum

Pave or Bead Setting

The gemstones are set very close together so that no metal shows from underneath.


England, c. 1860
Brooch, pave set turquoises with brilliant cut diamond
V&A Museum

Inlay Setting

This is when the gemstone is embedded into a hollowed out place in the metal.


England, c. 1800-1830
Ring, gold set with rubies.
V&A Museum

Flush Setting (also called ‘Burnish Setting’ or ‘Gypsy Setting’)

This is the same as an inlay setting, but the stone and the metal are level.

Illusion or Invisible Setting

Several stones are laid side by side with no metal in between.

Grooves in each stone fit into a metal frame which is hidden from view below the surface.


Art Deco Diamond Bracelet

Image Courtesy of Lang Antiques

Tension Setting

This is a relatively new type of ring setting where the metal is used to hold the stone in place, suspended between the open shank.  Small groves are made into the metal to hold the stones in place.  First developed in the late 1960s.

Tension ring.JPG

Bar Setting

Stones are set between bars of metal. I have been unable to find an example of this used in antique jewelry.

À jour

Please see here. 

Sources / further reading:

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