Cathedral Setting For Engagement Rings (Pros And Cons)

Curious about the pros and cons of the cathedral setting for your engagement ring?

Perfect, you're in the right place! In this LearningJewelry.com guide, you'll learn:

  • Is the cathedral setting style good for engagement rings?
  • Cathedral setting vs the Tiffany setting as well as other popular styles
  • Where's the best place to buy a cathedral set engagement ring online?
  • How to save money when shopping for a cathedral setting?
  • And much much more!
cathedral diamond setting

A cathedral setting is for the fiance that wants all eyes on them. You'll love the way the metal raises up your center diamond, drawing attention and reflecting impeccable brilliance.

Looking To Buy a Ring With a Cathedral Setting?

Here's my favorite places to buy right now ranked.

  1. James Allen (best pricing and value)
  2. Clean Origin (best for lab diamonds)
  3. Blue Nile (best selection)
  4. Whiteflash (best cuts)

Cathedral settings can make any diamond shape look fantastic. Choose from simple solitaire settings, to unique cathedral tension settings. They may be everywhere you look in the bridal ring market, but finding the special one for you, that's the adventure.

Read Also: What is the top store to buy an engagement ring online?

Cathedral rings are very stylized and beautiful. They allow for extra detailing in the metal, be it leafy designs or a personal engraving. Some even feature baguettes or melee diamonds. A cathedral style ring commands attention and will turn heads everywhere you go.

But is it right for you? In this guide, we lay out what it means to be the owner of a cathedral setting engagement ring so you can determine if it's the right ring setting for you or your fiance. 

Let's get into it!

What Is A Cathedral Engagement Ring Setting?

A cathedral engagement ring is widely known as a ring style for solitaire settings. The two sides of the ring shank lift up the diamond together while a bridge of metal joins the sides beneath the head of diamond.

This design mimics the idea of a cathedral building. Most cathedral settings are high set because of the way the cathedral setting presents your center stone. The band can be simple and polished, or embellished. 

Cathedral style rings come in different variations. The lines in a cathedral can criss cross, creating modern geometric look. Add dots of metal for a vintage milgrain effect. Some have filigree designs.

You'll often find halo settings and pave settings in cathedral styles. But if you're looking for a bold look, a channel set cathedral style engagement ring might be the one you're looking for. Ultimately, the cathedral style setting is up to personal preference. Check out some of these different variations below:

james allen 14k diamond engagement ring
james allen 14k pave engagement ring
james allen white gold diamond engagement ring
james allen white gold pave diamond engagement ring

Should You Buy A Cathedral Setting For Your Engagement Ring?

With so many ring settings and styles to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming trying to pick. But is a cathedral setting the right setting for you?

 Like all ring settings, a cathedral setting will have its features that stand out, and some that may not paint it in such a bright light. But are these blemishes deal-breakers? That's for you to decide! 

Pros

  • Commands attention
  • More room for ring shank details
  • Easy to find
  • Many styles

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Wears faster
blue nile 14k diamond engagement ring

Cathedral Setting Vs Tiffany Setting?

Cathedral settings and Tiffany settings are both styles of solitaire engagement rings. Tiffany rings are actually a name brand by one of the oldest fine jewelry retailers, Tiffany's. There are Tiffany style settings, but a Tiffany engagement ring original design is patented. 

cathedral setting vs tiffany setting (1)

Pros

  • Cathedral settings snag less
  • Cathedral settings are better for engraving
  • Tiffany settings keep diamonds more secure
  • Tiffany settings are timeless

Cons

  • Cathedral settings aren't dainty
  • Cathedral settings are harder to clean
  • Tiffany settings cost more
  • "Tiffany setting" styles have weaker heads

Both cathedral settings and Tiffany settings are a type of prong setting, which means they're more likely to snag. With Tiffany settings having more prongs than the average cathedral style diamond ring, it increases the likelihood of snagging.

That's not to say that you can't find cathedral settings with the same amount of prongs. But a Tiffany setting is one ring style. There are no variations to a true Tiffany style ring. But with a cathedral, you have some wiggle room.

Cathedral style ring shanks are usually thicker than a Tiffany or Tiffany style ring setting. Many people like to personalize their rings, but you can't do that on a thin shank. Tiffany style rings rarely have a band thick enough for proper engraving. A true Tiffany setting won't. 

But, even though your prongs will eventually start to snag on a Tiffany setting, the security of your stone in undeniable. Tiffany settings allow you to have a high set diamond ring and not have to worry about knocking your center stone loose.

It eliminates the fear of losing your center diamond like so many worry about with high settings. Tiffany settings are a very classic ring style. Being one of the oldest names in diamonds and made famous by the movie "Breakfast at Tiffany's", a Tiffany setting is perfect for the fiance obsessed with romance.

Tiffany's has a rich history next to other famous jewelers such as Cartier and Harry Winston. To own a Tiffany ring is like owning a bit of history, which makes it all the more appealing.

There are a couple drawbacks to cathedral settings that you might not have with a Tiffany setting. For example, while you can find low profile cathedrals with simple bands, they are few and far between. Most cathedral settings are high set and interwoven.

They are complex, rather than dainty and elegant. This style may not look good on someone with delicate or smaller fingers. Also, because of the complexity of metal bars mixed with pave diamonds or milgrain detailing, you'll find that cathedral settings take a little longer to get clean. But once they are, they are show-stopping. 

While TIffany settings have a fascinating history and timeless story, you definitely pay for it. Tiffany settings are a branded setting style, meaning that the ring setting is charged with a premium.

This is also true for an Asscher cut diamond as well, even if they are still less expensive than other diamond shapes. The premium is not what the ring is actually worth, but what they make from it. You can get a Tiffany style ring setting for cheaper, and it can look almost identical.

Many people do this rather than buying a genuine Tiffany setting. The downside to this is that these settings do not have the same secure design because it's patented. So the heads of the claw prong are much weaker and can even break off entirely. I've seen this at a jewelry store, more than once. 

Cathedral Setting vs Bezel Setting?

Bezel settings may have a similar profile to a cathedral setting in some styles, but when it comes to features, the two are entirely opposites. But even though these engagement ring styles may be completely different, they each have their ups and downs. Let's see how they compare. 

Read Also: What are the pros and cons of the bezel setting for engagement rings?

Pros

  • Cathedral rings appear larger
  • Cathedral settings highlight your center diamond
  • Bezel settings are unique
  • Bezel settings don't need high diamond grades

Cons

  • Cathedral settings wear and tear faster
  • Cathedral settings snag
  • Bezel settings cover your center stone
  • Bezel settings don't draw attention
cathedral setting vs bezel setting

When you compare a cathedral ring to a bezel ring, the cathedral looks massive. This is because of the geometric shape of the cathedral setting. It creates itself a tower, or a pedestal the presents the center diamond up front and center.

Even if you decided against a high set cathedral, a low set will still draw more attention than a flat bezel setting. High set diamond centers appear larger as well because the frame of the cathedral narrows up to it. This is helpful for diamond shapes that look smaller like marquise or round diamonds. 

While cathedral rings are a dime a dozen, bezel setting definitely have the advantage with individuality. There may not be too many types of bezel settings, but they don't look like any other ring.

They may not stick out, but the style will catch the eye. The other advantage to having a bezel set engagement ring is that your center stone won't need high diamond grades like color or clarity.

You'll still want an eye clean diamond, but these issues won't be as noticeable in a bezel setting. This means, it'll cost less as well. 

Bezel settings are low set, so they don't get bumped around too often like a cathedral engagement ring. Cathedral rings wear down faster because of their height.

They're more prone to getting knocked around in the day to day. You don't realize how often we bump our hands on things throughout the day, causing diamonds to eventually become loose, although it's unlikely.

The other downside of being high profile is that your prongs setting may also need retipping more often. The prongs that hold your center diamond in place wear down as they get bumped around, eventually becoming rough to touch.

 These rough prongs catch different fabrics of clothing and get pulled on little by little. Thankfully, a platinum ring setting or even a platinum head will solve any worries about that. 

Bezel settings cover your center stone with its thin rim of metal that goes around your diamond shape. This impedes light return and also makes your center stone look smaller.

If you are wanting a princess cut diamond as your center stone, I'd highly advise against a bezel setting. Just too much metal. And not only are they not as brilliant and smaller looking, but their low-set profile doesn't stand out in comparison to the boldness of a cathedral engagement ring. 

Best Places To Buy Cathedral Diamond Engagement Rings Online?

Cathedral setting are very easy to find in at any jewelry store. However, if you're looking for a unique cathedral ring setting, you might have trouble finding it locally.

Many popular fine jewelry retailers carry cathedral settings, but they' are all very similar. You'll mainly see prong settings with solitaire rings and embellished halo cathedrals. But if you're looking for a cathedral setting that will stand out above the rest, you might take your search online.

I know it can be scary, but I do recommend it. But, if you're adamant about going locally, I'd encourage you to find a family owned business or a local jeweler to do a custom ring.

James Allen

James Allen is the best place you can get your cathedral diamond engagement ring from. They're truly the best. They have so many different cathedral ring settings, it'll make your head spin.

You'll love the 360 degree viewing technology that allow you to see each and every diamond up close and personal. You'll be able to identify inclusions and diamond characteristics with ease, no matter which of the 10 diamond shapes you're choosing. If you'd like to see the grading report for a particular diamond, they'll show it to you. 

If you have any in-depth questions about the grading reports, or any of the 4Cs of a particular loose diamond, James Allen's team of diamond experts and gemologists are waiting to answer your toughest questions.

The best part is that none of their staff is paid commission like they would be at a physical jewelry retailer. This means that James Allen 24/7 customer service team is able to offer you unbiased and unclouded information not connected to a daily sales goal. 

James Allen understands that the idea of buying a diamond engagement ring online can be nerve-racking. With so many different internet schemes, it can get risky. This is why they offer so many different areas for you to be involved every step of the way in creating your perfect ring.

You will know exactly what you get with James Allen. They also offer you a lifetime warranty, which takes care of any routine maintenance your ring might need and one free ring resizing. There are even some Jared locations in which you can get your ring repaired at. 

Read More: Should You Buy Your Engagement Ring James Allen?

james allen pave diamond engagement ring

Blue Nile

If you've ever researched online diamond retailers, you should definitely have crossed the path of Blue Nile. Blue Nile is one of the top well-known online jewelry stores. They carry a wide selection of loose diamonds, different setting styles, and other gemstone jewelry. 

Like James Allen, you can also narrow their catalog of diamonds down to the carat weight, diamond cut, clarity, color, and diamond shape. They don't have as many diamonds as James Allen, but do have many choices.

They also have a 360 degree viewing technology, but it's not as clear as James Allens, and they don't have this view available for every diamond.

Most of their engagement rings come in rose gold and yellow gold, which can be difficult to find in a brick and mortar store. Many jewelry stores keep mainly white gold in their inventory, especially if you're looking for a cathedral solitaire. 

When it comes to cathedral settings, Blue Nile has many beautiful cathedral rings. Instead of only having cathedral solitaire engagement rings, they show you a multitude of different cathedral designs in halo ring styles, infinity settings, and three stone engagement ring settings.

There are many different cathedral styles on Blue Nile's website, you'll most definitely find a couple to put on your wish list!

The main drawback about Blue Nile is their "lifetime warranty". The warranty is actually a manufacturer's warranty, which basically states that if your ring has a continuous issues that they find is a result of a flawed ring design, they'll cover it and get you a new one. But if your ring needs its shank reshaped or needs its routine maintenance done, you'll have to find a jeweler to do any repairs.

Read More: Should You Buy Your Engagement Ring From Blue Nile?

blue nile infinity twist diamond engagement ring

Whiteflash

You may not have heard of Whiteflash, but you should definitely know them. They specialize in carrying high quality loose diamonds and setting. Their special patented collection, A Cut Above, contains only the top diamonds in brilliance.

Whiteflash's focus in diamond optics is unlike other diamond retailers as they also provide ASET and IdealScope images that allow you to see any light leakage. 

Whiteflash's staff is highly educated. Many of their associates are graduates from the Gemological Institute of America and many are also members of the American Gem Society.

They are available to answer any questions you may have about brilliance, the 4Cs, or their collection of ring settings, you can be sure you're getting top notch diamond advice. 

They have a wide selection of cathedral settings, both of their own ring designs and popular designers. Some the cathedral designer rings Whiteflash carries include Verragio, Vatche, and Ritani.

In many jewelry stores, you'll find that designer rings already have the center stone pre-set, but not Whiteflash.  Many of their cathedral style settings have matching wedding bands as well. 

Lastly, Whiteflash has a pretty decent service plan. It is a 1 year warranty, but covers all routine maintenance such as retipping prongs and rhodium plating white gold diamond rings.

It also includes going up or down a ring size. Unfortunately, after that, you're on your own. If it's nearing the end of your plan and you haven't sent it for service, I'd recommend that you'd do so close to before it expires, that way you have a like-new ring after a year! 

Read More: Should You Buy Your Engagement Ring From Whiteflash?

whiteflash halo diamond engagement ring

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