At the peak of its popularity in the late 1980s through the 1990s, the channel ring setting was beloved for its ideal combination of extra sparkle, extra gemstone protection, and a clean, modern look. Today, the channel setting is most commonly seen in wedding and anniversary bands, but it still makes a great option for an engagement ring.
What Is the Channel Setting?
The channel setting is a type of ring setting where stones on the shank of the ring are set along a track between two walls of metal. The stones are nestled against one another and not separated by prongs, beads, or bezels.
Pros of the Channel Setting
“A channel-set ring is more cost-effective,” says Los Angeles-based jeweler Corina Madilian. “You can hide variations in sizes of diamonds, and you don’t have to set each stone individually. That lowers prices.”
Meet the Expert
After years of running an estate and vintage jewelry showroom, Los Angeles jeweler Corina Madilian founded Single Stone with her husband Ari in 2004. Their designs are crafted entirely in the downtown Los Angeles jewelry district and have been featured in Who What Wear, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar.
Because the metal walls on the shank completely cover the fragile girdle of a diamond, a channel setting is also more protective than pavé or bead-set bands. A channel-set band is also less likely to snag clothes.
Cons of the Channel Setting
The biggest con of a channel-set ring is how quickly it gathers dirt. “Once dirt or lotion gets between the stones, it can take the sparkle away pretty quickly,” says Madilian. “You don’t want to let anything accumulate.”
Fortunately, cleaning a channel-set ring is a breeze. “The easiest thing to do is boil a little water, take it off the stove, add some clear detergent, and let the ring sit for a bit,” Madilian explains. “Let the hot water dissolve whatever is between the stones, then use an old toothbrush to gently brush away any residue. Rinse it, and then you’re done.”
Ready to shop for your own channel-set engagement ring? Here are 15 stunning options.
Single Stone Lisa Ring
There’s something wonderfully modern about the graduated sizes of the step-cut diamonds in this geometric style.
SHOP NOW: Single Stone, $9,800
Jack Vartanian Line Drop Ring
Here, the 0.42ct pear-shaped center diamond provides a moment of sweetness on an otherwise modern engagement ring style.
SHOP NOW: Jack Vartanian, $4,080
The Tiffany® Setting Engagement Ring with a Channel-Set Diamond Band
Featuring an ethically-sourced 1.31ct round-cut center diamond and a half-shank of channel-set sparklers on the band, this gorgeous ring is sure to stand the test of time.
SHOP NOW: Tiffany & Co., $21,400
Lauren B. Jewelry Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
In this architectural option, a step-cut diamond shank plays up the straight lines of the center emerald-cut diamond.
SHOP NOW: Lauren B. Jewelry, price upon request
Porter Gulch Presley Ring
An eye-catching 0.7ct oval diamond is the star of this minimal but not austere engagement ring. Approximately 0.10 carats of baguette diamonds fill out the channel-set shank.
SHOP NOW: Porter Gulch, $4,675
Gemvara Pear-Cut Lovena Ring
To infinity … and beyond! We love the way the futuristic shank dips in to meet the marquise diamond on this intergalactic engagement ring.
SHOP NOW: Gemvara, $2,957
Radiant Moissanite Channel Set Wedding Set
Nearly colorless with a modified brilliant cut, the 3.16ct moissanite on this classic channel-set engagement ring provides all the sparkle of a big diamond, but at a fraction of the cost.
SHOP NOW: Charles & Colvard, $2,227
Tacori RoyalT Engagement Ring
It can’t be a coincidence that princess-cut diamonds comprise both the channel-set shank and the 3.5ct center stone on a ring with the word “royal” in the name.
SHOP NOW: Tacori, $28,990
Old European Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
In this jaw-dropping engagement ring, diamonds fill the channel-set shank and surround the basket underneath the 3.84ct Old European cut center diamond.
SHOP NOW: Marc Broumand, $84,995
Noam Carver Round Channel Set Engagement Ring Setting
Rose gold, a round-cut diamond, and filigree detailing on the channel-set band make this engagement ring setting feel especially sweet.
SHOP NOW: J.R. Dunn, $1,850
Bezel and Channel-Set Ring
This thoroughly modern channel-set engagement ring features a brilliant round-cut diamond bezel-set in 18K white gold.
SHOP NOW: Oliver Smith Jeweler, from $1,875
Anne Sportun Diamond Ring with Channel-Set Halo
When your love is your whole world, you want a ring that shows it. Encircled by a channel-set diamond halo and attached to a smooth 18K gold band, this round-cut champagne diamond sparkler is just the ticket.
SHOP NOW: Peridot Fine Jewelry, $13,600
Custom Compass Point Princess Ring
Paired with a princess-cut diamond set in a compass point orientation, the metal ribbon detailing on this channel-set engagement ring has just the right touch of whimsy.
SHOP NOW: Brilliant Earth, price upon request
Anye Designs Tricia Illusion Ring
Hello, sparkle! The illusion head on this 2.75tcw dazzler will catch the light from every angle, and the triple shank only adds to the effect.
SHOP NOW: Anye Designs, $3,300