A diamond ring that takes a licking and keeps on, um, ticking
July 20, 2008 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Help me find a diamond ring setting that my wife can't break.

Back when Mrs. Range and I got engaged, she decided she didn't want a diamond ring because she didn't want something she could break, and her life wasn't really conducive to being gentle on her hands. She's an engineer who does development work, and we couldn't imagine a ring that would survive working a lathe, crushing sugar cane w/ rocks, etc.

However, 8 years in, my mom wants her to have her engagement ring (awww!), and we're re-evaluating. The diamond is about 1 carat, in what I'm guessing is a brilliant cut or some similar round cut.

So the question is: Is there a setting, or a class of settings, that holds the diamond securely and isn't likely to snag on stuff? We're talking more-or-less in the neighborhood of "I want to be able to punch a heavy bag from time to time." Or are we dreaming, and if so, what's the sturdiness upper limit? The naive Google search suggests that tension settings may be our solution, but it's unclear how rugged they really are and how much of that is based in marketing, rather than reality.
posted by range to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like you need a Bezel setting ring. You can find them in styles ranging from antique to modern.
posted by JujuB at 3:44 PM on July 20, 2008

The ultimate "hold the diamond securely" would be something like the Chopard 'happy diamonds' settings (sorry, flash site, no direct link). Basically they put the diamond in a small box so it can't escape. My wife has an engagement/wedding ring from the range.
posted by lowlife at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2008

Maybe a Tension setting like these titanium rings?
posted by rhapsodie at 5:03 PM on July 20, 2008

Perhaps a tension set diamond, like these from Teno.
posted by Argyle at 5:05 PM on July 20, 2008

When your mom says she wants Mrs. Range to have her ring, are you sure she means she's up for resetting the diamond in a different style? That would reduce the 'awww!' factor a bit, in my opinion. And, since I haven't personally every known anyone whose diamond fell out of any setting, I'm wondering whether it's more common than I think, or less common than you do, even with the kinds of activities you're describing.
posted by daisyace at 5:21 PM on July 20, 2008

1 ct is probably too large for a tension setting (you need a lot of metal around the stone in those settings to keep enough pressure on the stone and to make sure a bump won't be able to knock the rock out) and there would be a hugely thick band involved.
If your wife likes a lot of metal, you can see about getting her one of those, but I think her best bet is the bezel setting.

The bezel doesn't have any edges that could catch on anything, unlike the compression setting which has corners and spaces between the metal and stone.
The bezel will protect the whole circumference of the diamond. The diamond will have 0 chance of getting out, even if hit hard (I know a friend who lost a diamond in a compression setting when she slammed her hand in a door).
posted by rmless at 5:27 PM on July 20, 2008

I have my diamond in a bezel setting and it works wonderfully since I work with my hands and do get things snagged easily. Be sure to get a comfort fit and that the band is sturdy. Cleaning is a breeze as well with a toothbrush on the interior of the ring.
posted by jadepearl at 5:48 PM on July 20, 2008

A bezel setting's a good bet, yeah. You might also want to look at a flush setting.
posted by EarBucket at 6:08 PM on July 20, 2008

daisyace: The plan is already cleared with Mom; turns out she's waited for years to broach the topic because she figured there was no setting that would work for Mrs. R. The awww factor is undiminished -- this is an attempt to create a ring she can wear every day, rather than a special-occasions-only ring or a necklace.

Thanks everyone for the answers so far. Yay AskMe!
posted by range at 6:26 PM on July 20, 2008

Do be careful with titanium. If the ring ever needed to be cut off in an emergency, many ERs are not equipped with the water-cooled, diamond coated power saw blades needed to cut a titanium ring.

Platinum is a possible alternative. It's much harder than gold but can still be cut with a manual ring cutter, though it will take much, much longer than usual.
posted by jedicus at 8:31 PM on July 20, 2008

I work with horses and farm machinery, so I know how your wife feels. I've had luck with a setting similar to Tiffany's "etoile" style. Very low-profile and pretty stable. I can easily wear gloves and the ring doesn't snag on things at all. It's kind of like a combination of a bezel set and a channel set. Jewelers that we talked to could all make it happen for much less than the Tiffany's price.
posted by weezetr at 5:25 AM on July 21, 2008

jedicus, as has been covered here before, titanium rings are only marginally more difficult to cut off than other rings -- most, if not all, ERs can handle it just fine with the manual rotary cutters that they all have in their equipment lockers.

This can't-be-cut-off thing really has reached Huge Urban Legend status.
posted by delfuego at 8:34 AM on July 21, 2008

Yeah, I've cut off a titanium band before with a simple handheld tool. The downside is that once it's been cut, you're going to have a hard time finding a jeweler to solder it back together. The upside to that is that the metal is relatively inexpensive compared to gold or platinum, and replacing the mounting is less painful than it would be with a rarer material.
posted by EarBucket at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2008

3rding a bezel setting. I have a ring of about the same size in a setting I consider to be indestructible, although I have never smashed it with a rock. More importantly, I'm 99.99% confident the stone isn't going anywhere without intervention from a power tool.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:40 PM on July 21, 2008

If getting the ring caught and damaged in the lathe is a concern, what´s going to happen to her finger if that should happen?

Fingers are more expensive and hard to replace than diamonds if they should happen to get knocked loose from their settings.
posted by yohko at 2:09 PM on July 21, 2008

« Older Beginner kayaking advice?   |   need a library for text classification Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.