Wedding Trends: Halo Settings
Today’s brides-to-be are falling head over heels for the halo setting, a beautiful engagement ring style that typically surrounds a diamond center stone with a border of smaller, uniformly sized diamonds. This not only adds extra sparkle and texture to a ring, but also emphasizes the brilliance of the center stone and makes the diamond appear larger—a bonus for ladies who want that big diamond look without the hefty price tag.
 
The setting most likely takes its inspiration from rings of the Victorian era, according to antique jewelry experts, although gemstones have been set with a surround of diamonds since the Georgian era, and perhaps even before then. The difference today is that with technological advances in jewelry making, the surround of diamonds is usually pavé-set or micropavé-set.

Pavé-set refers to a process that sets small stones into tiny holes that have been drilled closely together into the surface of a piece of jewelry, making sure the stones are level with the surface. Some of the remaining metal from the jewelry surface is then pushed over the edge of each stone, forming tiny beads that secure the stones in place. The result is the illusion of a surface that’s “paved” with sparkling, freestanding stones.

Micropavé-set, meanwhile, is a type of pavé setting that sets very small stones onto a jewelry surface with the help of a microscope, resulting in greater precision and a more uniform look than the traditional pavé setting.

Halo settings, whether pavé-set or micropavé-set, are quite versatile and can accommodate a variety of diamond shapes—including round, cushion, emerald, oval, marquise, princess and pear—as well as an assortment of center stones sizes. They also lend themselves exceptionally well to vintage engagement ring designs, for the bride-to-be who favors perhaps the foliate forms of the Art Nouveau period or the bold lines and geometric shapes of the Art Deco era. A number of jewelry designers feature this style of engagement ring, with Kwiat, Tacori and Verragio as three outstanding examples.

One emerging trend in halo settings is the double-halo setting, which wraps a center stone in not one but two surrounds of stones. Actress Natalie Portman helped popularize the look with her engagement ring designed by Jamie Wolf, which features a double halo of pavé-set diamonds encircling an antique-diamond center stone, as well as pavé-set diamonds on the band. For the bride-to-be who prefers less flash, there are also partial-halo settings where diamonds surround just a segment of the center stone, as seen in Mark Patterson’s crescent setting for his Promise collection of engagement rings.

Then, of course, there are the color options. The halo setting can be used quite effectively to add a splash of color around a colorless diamond center stone, or a contrasting border around fancy color diamond or colored gemstone center stones. These styles have certainly gained momentum recently thanks to high-profile engagements. Notable examples include Mariah Carey (pink diamond center stone with intense-pink diamond halo by Jacob & Co.); Carrie Underwood (canary diamond center stone with colorless diamond halo by Johnathon Arndt); and, of course, the Duchess of Cambridge, whose blue sapphire and diamond ring (formerly Princess Diana’s) has sparked a firestorm of replicas for the modern-day bride.

Also interesting to note: Another emerging trend in halo settings is to eschew the diamond surround altogether in favor of a plain metal ring around the center stone. This creates a contemporary look that is often void of other diamond detailing or accented by side stones on the shank. Whitney Boin exemplifies this look with an award-winning design from his “Post” collection, which features a diamond center stone with metal halo suspended above the band by two posts.
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