No Tension Over These Settings

By: sarahbaltic

Tension settings have become extremely popular over the last couple of years due to the chic, modern look of them. But lately there has been a backlash of individuals who don't think tension settings quite make the grade for securing the two-month's salary that sits in them.

Judah Gutwein of Excel Diamonds, an online diamond retailer, says the company does not sell diamond tension settings. A recent thread on diamondvues.com quoted him as saying, 'it [the tension setting] will not (and cannot) protect the integrity of your diamond the same way that a 4/6 prong setting will.' Many experts say that this type of ring does not give adequate protection to your diamond, especially if it is bumped or banged against a hard enough surface.

Others in the industry disagree - they say that a tension setting is actually stronger than a prong setting so the stone will actually be more secure. In tension settings, the whole ring holds the stone, doing away with prongs, channels, bezels, or other enclosures. Advocates of tension settings compare a stone being held in place by the ring itself, to a stone being held in place by a claw just a fortieth of an inch thick (in prong settings).

So how exactly does tension setting work? A tension ring will undergo a 'work hardening' process, which includes special alloying, hardening, and pressure treatment to ensure super strength. This process gives the metal a springiness that actually grips and holds onto the diamond. Each end of the metal is then given a groove - called the 'seat' - into which the girdle of the diamond fits. The rings are made with two to three times more metal than traditional rings because the more metal, the stronger it will be. (This also accounts for the higher price tag in tension set rings.)

Jim Schultz, owner of Jamesallen.com, a professional online jeweler, has worn a tension set wedding ring for years. He says he is not worried at all about the structural integrity of his ring because his diamond is well protected by the design. JamesAllen displays close to 40 different tension set designs on its website, which Schultz says are some of his most popular rings. He says the common fear of tension settings should not be that the stone will fall out, but that too much of the girdle will be exposed, making it easier to damage. 'For this very reason, every diamond should be insured, regardless of the mounting,' says Schultz.

So whether you chose a classic prong or a trendy tension setting, think about the past and the future. Make sure the ring has been made strong by a good design and that it has insurance to withstand life's 'whoops.'

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