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October 11, 2022 4 min read

The cathedral setting in an engagement ring is an elegant and classic choice. It is one of the go-to options for ring buyers because it is elegant and graceful. This setting also showcases the gemstone's beauty prominently to make it the focal point of the ring design.

Cathedral Setting 101

The cathedral ring setting features two arches that look like the ones you would often see in a cathedral building, thus the name. The metal arches elegantly hold the gemstone secure in its place. 

You can set the cathedral ring with a prong or use a tension or bezel setting. The defining characteristic of this ring is the two metal arches that add elegance to the ring style. Therefore, the gemstone is more visible as it is raised above the rest of the ring.  

Customization Ideas for Cathedral Ring Setting

Advantages of Cathedral Setting

The elegant look of the cathedral ring setting makes it a favorite among ring shoppers. Here are some other reasons to consider choosing this setting for your ring:

  • The arches protect the center gemstone, especially if the arches extend to the stone's girdle. This design is a practical choice if your gemstone is more delicate, like turquoise or opal. 
  • The arches add more height to the gemstone, which makes the central gem more prominent and appear larger than it actually is. There is no need to spend more on a larger gem or incorporate accent stones. 
  • The arches can add more stylish detail to the ring, especially if they come with their own ornate details. 

Disadvantages of Cathedral Setting

While there are many reasons to choose a cathedral setting, it is essential to know about the potential drawbacks before you buy this ring.

  • It can be challenging to clean the arches because there are many crevices where dust can build up and hide. Cleaning can be more challenging if you wear your ring often, which exposes it to more dirt and requires frequent cleaning.
  • The arches of the ring can snag on your clothes, other jewelry, furniture, and textiles. It can also make the gemstone more exposed to damage due to snagging. Therefore, you must be extra careful when wearing this style of ring.
  • Unless you work with an expert jeweler, you could risk having a disproportionately sized ring if the arches did not match the size of the gemstones. 

Tips for Choosing the Shape of the Gemstone 

Whether you choose to have a diamond or some other gemstone for the cathedral ring, it is crucial to choose the right shape. The best diamond shapes for this setting are princess, cushion, and round-cut diamonds or gemstones. These shapes and cuts offer the best support for the gemstone while ensuring its visual prominence. 

Of course, it is possible to choose any gemstone shape that you prefer. However, the above mentioned ones are recommended because they can be easily secured with the arches and aren't prone to chipping. If you want to give more security to the gemstone, you can customize it with added band features. 

Customization Ideas for Cathedral Ring Setting

Choosing the diamond or gemstone shape is not the only option for customization available in a cathedral setting. There are more ways that you can incorporate unique details into this classic style for subtle variations. 

Here are some ideas that you may want to consider when customizing your engagement ring:

  • Experiment with varying arch degrees for the ring setting – from small to dramatic arches
  • Choose from a concave or convex curve for the arches
  • Choose from tapered, square, or round edges for the arches
  • Experiment with various arch widths to suit the gemstone size
  • Choose between a spit or solid band arches

The sweeping arches are the defining detail of a cathedral ring style. Therefore, this is the feature you must focus on when customizing your ring design to make it unique. You can go for decorated arches to make it more sparkly. 

Cathedral vs. Other Ring Settings


Cathedral vs. Other Ring Settings

The cathedral ring setting is a classic engagement ring style. However, there are also many other traditional options. What makes the cathedral ring different from them? And why should you choose the cathedral setting over the others?

Let’s take a closer look at this setting versus other styles to help you choose:

  • Cathedral vs. Solitaire – These are two of the most popular classic ring settings. While they might appear similar, there are distinct differences between the two settings. First, the arches in a cathedral setting sit higher than the solitaire ring. The extended arches make it possible to sit the gemstone higher from the shank. 
  • Cathedral vs. Tiffany – The Tiffany setting features four to six prongs that raise the center gemstone. However, a cathedral setting features only two arches held with a prong. The cathedral setting features a triangle gap when viewed on a side profile. 
  • Cathedral vs. Trellis – A trellis setting features four or more interweaving prongs that provide support for the center gemstone. In most cases, these prongs cross over each other. This feature is distinctive from the cathedral setting because the two arches do not cross over but sit parallel to each other instead. 

Should You Choose a Cathedral Setting for Your Engagement Ring? 

The cathedral ring setting is ideal for anyone who wants a  classic and elegant engagement ring. It achieves extra height with the help of the two metal arches that raise the gemstone. This setting makes the gemstone appear larger and more visible. 

The metal arches also typically feature ornate details. It makes the ring stand out even more, which is suited for those who want a ring that makes a statement. 

This engagement ring setting is also recommended for anyone who likes to stay practical without compromising style. Metal arches only require a single gemstone, so you won't need to spend more to incorporate more gemstones or diamonds to create a subtle elegance. 

Ultimately, you must choose a ring setting that suits your style preference and budget.