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Guide to U-Shaped Settings for Diamond Rings

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U-Shaped Settings

Your choice of diamond isn’t the only decision to make in selecting the perfect ring. While the center diamond deserves the most attention, you should also spend time finding the right setting.

The u-shaped setting for diamond rings is a modern variation of the traditional prong setting. If you’re looking for a setting that best displays the diamond, it could be the right choice for you.

What is a U-Shaped Setting?

A u-shaped setting features a band that forms a u-shape at the base to hold the diamond. Prong settings traditionally take an angled approach at the base that extends upward, but the u-shaped prong is rounded at the bottom. 

In some cases, it features another u-shaped piece of metal connecting each side to create a basket setting

U Shaped Basket Setting

It’s similar to a prong setting in that the diamond is often still held in place by four prongs. 

The differences are the shape of base and the tips of the prongs. In a typical prong setting, the tips extend over the edges of the diamond to secure it in place. 

These tips can be rounded, V-shaped, or have multiple claws grabbing the diamond.

In the u-shaped setting, the diamond isn’t always held in place by the tips of the prong. Instead, the ends are rounded and don’t bend over the diamond’s table. The diamond sits in the U with all of its sides pressed against the prongs.

Advantages of U-Shaped Settings

The primary advantage of u-shaped settings are they allow a significant amount of the diamond to be shown.

For those wanting to showcase the center diamond, you want to choose a setting that doesn’t cover up too much of it. Bezel settings, for example, secure the diamond but cover its outer edge.

The u-shaped setting, as long as it’s not a basket style, can display the entirety of all four sides.

Light can properly enter and exit the diamond instead of being blocked by the band or prong tips in prominent areas. This creates a higher degree of brilliance for the stone.

U-shaped settings are also ideal for certain types of cuts, such as:

The shape of these stones fit well with the setting and provide an alternative to how they’re normally held, which is usually with prongs or a bezel. For example, princess cuts feature four sharp corners. Each sits next to the four prongs usually found in a u-shaped setting. 

U-Shaped Setting Ring

The same is true of an emerald cut diamond.

Another advantage of this type of setting is it’s less likely to snag. 

One of the downsides of the popular prong setting is its sharp ends can catch on clothing or hair.

This can pull the tips back and loosen the stone.

The prongs on u-shaped settings are often rounded and face upward. They won’t snag as easily during everyday activities.

Disadvantages

There are disadvantages to the u-shaped diamond ring setting. The first downside is any type of prong setting is more fragile compared to some other settings. Even though it snags less than traditional prongs, the thin metal bands are susceptible to breaking during physical activity.

When the prong’s grip on the stone loosens, it could fall out. If any of the four prongs surrounding your diamond are damaged, you shouldn’t wear the ring until it’s repaired.

Always remove your ring before physical activity because that’s when the u-shaped setting is most vulnerable.

Pear Oval and Heart Cut Diamond

Secondly, u-shaped settings aren’t right for every diamond cut. While it’s the right fit for round, cushion, and others, you should avoid this type of setting for the following cuts:

  • Pear
  • Oval
  • Heart

The shapes of these cuts don’t fit as well in the u-shaped setting. A pear-cut diamond’s elongated shape and lack of corners doesn’t allow it to sit well between these prongs.

The same is true of the oval cut, and the unique dimensions of a heart-cut is best paired with a three- or five-prong setting.

Types of U-Shaped Settings

There are two primary types of u-shaped settings for diamond rings. The first is for engagement rings.

U Shaped Setting

Engagement ring settings are about showing off the center diamond. It’s why prong settings are the most popular choice. The u-shape refers to how the bands form a semicircle at the base and extend upward to hold the diamond.

To add more elegance of the ring, diamond accents can also be held by u-shapes. Anywhere from two to four miniature u-shaped settings can extend down the shank on each side, matching the design of the main one.

The cascading diamonds can be the same cut as the center diamond or contrast it, such as a round diamond on top surrounded by princess cuts.

U Shaped Pave Setting Ring

The second type of u-shaped setting is for wedding rings. Wedding rings don’t focus the attention on a single diamond, so the u-shapes can be featured in an eternity or half eternity band. 

Half Eternity U Shaped Setting

Similar to the cascading diamonds in the engagement ring design, the shank is filled with small u-shaped settings half way around or all the way around the band. They hold diamond accents that add sparkle to the wedding band without competing with the engagement ring.

Is a U-Shaped Setting Right For You?

U-shaped settings are the right fit for a variety of diamond cuts in both engagement rings and wedding bands. Many diamond buyers want an alternative to typical prong settings, and the subtle difference between them and u-shaped settings can provide advantages.

We recommend choosing the right cut for the setting, and for extra security, you can opt for the basket variation to better protect its sides. The diamond won’t glimmer as brightly but it can sustain additional wear and tear.

If you’re looking to match the style of both your engagement and wedding ring, there are u-shapes available for both.

The setting and diamonds circling the wedding band won’t detract from the prominent center diamond, and you’ll have a complementary style to wear for a lifetime.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

Learn More About Devon