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Cathedral Setting Ring: For the Bride Who Stands Out in a Crowd

by Clean Origin
Last updated on September 21, 2022

What Are Cathedral Ring Settings?

Some people have that charisma, don’t they? The ones who stand out for all the good reasons. Well, if diamond engagement ring settings were people, they’d be a cathedral setting.

In cathedral rings, the two sides arch to the top of the diamond. It looks like the shape of a cathedral building. There’s also a bar that connects across the cathedral arches. The ring head usually comes up from the bar. The arches create triangle gaps that lead up to the diamond.

A cathedral ring is considered a high setting. There are some lower settings out there too. These ring styles have been around for a long time. You’ll find them a lot when browsing vintage diamond engagement rings.

If you like the modern look, cathedral settings have minimalist and geometrical styles too.

Different Types of Cathedral Settings

Cathedral settings are versatile. Sometimes, it can be difficult to differentiate them from non-cathedral settings. The cathedral setting is more about the structure of the ring design, not about how the center diamond is set.

Note that some of these aren’t official rings setting names. They should help you spot them still. Let’s learn about some of the most popular cathedral settings you might run into today.

Traditional Cathedral Setting

There’s a traditional option for a cathedral setting, despite its variations. The metal can be plain or adorned with smaller diamonds.

The arches of a traditional cathedral are mostly straight and often lead directly to the ring head. However, some arches have extra details such as mixed metals or stylized arches.

This Fiddlehead Solitaire Ring is a great cathedral setting example of stylized arches.

The cathedral setting features split band arches. The sides of the cathedral ring setting don’t touch the diamond, making it appear in floating style, like a tension setting.

Closed Cathedral Setting

Instead of the bigger triangle gaps, closed cathedral settings may have open space underneath the ring head. They may be completely closed too.

They might have pave diamonds, engraved designs, or vintage detailing. Cathedral settings are popular for vintage styles, so you’ll run into a lot of closed cathedrals with milgrain or filigree details.

Hybrid Cathedral Setting

When browsing through high-quality images of cathedral settings online, you probably won’t see a category for them. A cathedral setting is more of a ring style than a signature setting.

Cathedral settings may be mixed with non-cathedral settings. They combine the high setting of a cathedral and another ring style, like floating settings or other prong settings.

You’ll find that most low-set cathedral rings fall under hybrids. They take details from other ring styles and apply them to the general structure. 

Cathedrals can have similarities to tension settings. Tension settings usually have twisty bands instead of graceful arches. Cathedral settings allow you to have both.

Pros of a Cathedral Setting

  • Highlights your center stone
  • Cathedral rings have more room for band details
  • Best for a round diamond ring
  • Cathedral setting engagement rings are more sturdy
  • It’s easy to find a matching wedding band for a cathedral setting engagement ring

Breaking Down the Pros of a Cathedral Engagement Rings

Your Center Diamond Is Front and Center

High-set cathedral settings are perfect for someone who takes the time to pick out their center diamond. Some say the elevation of the diamond on the finger generally appears bigger. However, it’s all about personal perception.

If you’ve spent the extra cash on an ideal cut or super ideal cut diamond, this setting is perfect for displaying extra brilliance and exact symmetry.

Cathedral Settings Are for Excellent Cut Diamonds

This setting style is the best option for someone who chose a round diamond as their center stone. A round diamond is the only diamond shape with official cut grades, despite the way different jewelers may categorize them.

Round diamonds have more brilliance and fire than any other diamond shape. Imagine a stunning range of rainbow and white light coming from the top of the cathedral arches of your engagement ring.

Ideal-cut diamonds are beautiful, and a cathedral setting makes them look better. Most non-cathedral ring settings don’t lift your diamond higher, allowing more light to pass through. A Floating setting is one of the styles non-cathedral styles that can do this.

Cathedral Designs Can Be Detailed

The width of your engagement ring band in this setting is a plus. The amount of precious metal in this setting is perfect if you prefer solitaire settings. There’s more ring metal on cathedral-style settings to create details. Extra diamonds aren’t necessary to elevate your solitaire style.

Some people ask to have their engagement rings engraved with an emblem or text. You can’t do that with a dainty engagement ring style with a thin band. The width of a cathedral setting allows for clear images and text.

A Cathedral Setting Is Sturdy

Wider bands help enforce the structure of the ring. Jewelers can only do so much to secure thin prongs over a diamond. Too many prongs on your diamond can impact its brilliance.

The ring shanks of cathedral settings are durable. It’s difficult to damage a thick cathedral setting ring. A non-cathedral setting might not have that extra protection. 

All gold is soft. It doesn’t matter if it’s white, yellow, or rose gold. Platinum is a choice option for a more durable metal than gold.

Cathedral Settings Are Easy to Match

Some people forget about the wedding band when they buy an engagement ring. After all, not everyone wears two rings. Traditionally, the wedding band goes on the day of the wedding.

Cathedrals often have straight bands. You may find others with the metal interweaving. The ring’s design could look busy with too many metal details. 

Don’t think you stuck with a plain flat wedding band either. Textured wedding bands like twist bands can line up flush for a stunning, but even appearance.

Cons of a Cathedral Setting Ring

  • Cathedral ring settings can catch fabrics if a thread is loose. If tugged hard enough, the prongs can lift off your diamond.
  • A cathedral setting isn’t great for people with an active lifestyle or hands-on jobs.
  • Cathedral settings can be harder to clean. 

Breaking Down the Drawbacks of Cathedral Settings

There’s no perfect engagement ring setting. Your goal should be to find the perfect one for you. A cathedral setting has many positives and a couple of drawbacks. Are these acceptable or dealbreakers? You be the judge.

If You’re Hands-On, Hands-Off the Cathedral

You probably assume this one’s a no-brainer: don’t wear your engagement ring while doing activities. However, an active lifestyle doesn’t always mean your hobbies.

If you spend most of your day at work, think about the kind of work you’re doing. A cathedral-setting engagement ring would be a terrible idea for a nurse. Can you imagine attempting to squeeze a high cathedral-style setting into a latex glove?

Even if you get a low-set cathedral setting, it’ll still be too high for gloves. Similarly, if you’re someone who cuts hair for a living, you might want to hold off on a cathedral setting.

I can’t imagine any clients would be too thrilled with your center diamond scratching their forehead while trying to give them bangs.

What about childcare workers? You don’t want to risk hurting little ones with a ring that sticks out higher.

Instead of putting your engagement ring away daily, other settings like a bezel setting might be a better fit.

Cathedral Settings Are Prone to Snagging

Regardless of your job or lifestyle, a cathedral engagement ring setting is more likely to snag than a lower setting.

The first thing a cathedral setting has against itself is prongs. The majority of them are prong settings, just elevated higher. The prongs are supposed to secure your center stone. The ring head in a cathedral setting will often have 4 or 6 prongs.

The prongs have been bent over the girdle of the center diamond to secure it. Most engagement ring settings are prong settings. Even though the prongs hold the diamond tight, it’s not seamless.

if you have loose strings or sequin-type clothing, your prongs could catch. It’s not a guarantee that it will happen to you, but it’s one of the main complaints about cathedral ring settings.

It happens more often with diamond engagement rings with worn prongs. You’ll be able to tell when running your finger over the prong. Your prongs need to be re-tipped if they feel rough. You’ll want to fix it right away. You don’t want to knock your center stone loose. 

If so, a quick trip to a jeweler can fix it right up. Always check and make sure your prongs are hugging the center diamond.

Cathedral Rings Can Be Tricky to Clean

A traditional cathedral diamond ring shouldn’t be too hard to clean. A cathedral floating setting with a split shank is easier to clean. 

Now closed ones, these can be frustrating. Fully closed ones can be more difficult. 

The best way to clean cathedral and non-cathedral settings are with mild soap, water, and a soft-bristled toothbrush. If you have a closed cathedral setting, you might want to pick up a special thin brush just in case your bristles can’t reach inside.

You’ll want to clean your diamond engagement ring setting regularly. If you’re a big fan of hand lotion, you’ll want to clean your cathedral ring regularly. Cathedral rings are notorious for lotion buildup.

Price of a Cathedral Engagement Ring Compared to Other Ring Settings

A cathedral setting engagement ring could cost a little more than a non-cathedral setting. The price difference isn’t usually huge for traditional cathedral settings.

A standard prong-set solitaire ring setting can cost $100-300 less than a traditional cathedral setting. The design uses more metal than a prong solitaire does.

The artistry of your ring can increase the price. Engravings, filigree and milgrain details take a fair amount of work. It’s only right the price rises a bit.

The factor that drives up the cost is if you’ve chosen additional diamonds in it. Many cathedral settings have hidden diamonds seen from the profile.

A traditional one without any diamonds or details can cost $300-$900. More detailed designs can cost a lot more.

Conclusion

Always choose the engagement ring that best fits your personal preferences. Cathedral settings are great for people who want their center diamond to stand out. They elevate your diamond higher, have a strong design, and are easy to match a wedding band. 

However, there are still a couple of drawbacks. The higher profile makes them easy to snag on fabrics or hit on stuff throughout the day. Some engagement ring styles are a pain to clean. 

Either way, you should always buy from a respected retailer with diamond experts and great customer service you can trust.