Channel-Set Engagement Rings: The Complete Guide

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Courtesy of Porter Gulch / Design by Bailey Mariner

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.

We consulted with industry experts Corina Madilian and Nicole Wegman to learn more about the pros, cons, and all of the noteworthy details about channel-set engagement rings.

Meet the Expert

  • Corina Madilian is a Los Angeles jeweler and co-founder of Single Stone featured in Who What Wear, Town & Country, and Harper’s Bazaar.
  • Nicole Wegman has blurred the distinct line between jeweler and influencer as the founder and CEO of Ring Concierge.

Pros and Cons of the Channel Setting

If you're concerned about finding a gorgeous ring on a tight budget, this type of setting allows you to select less expensive diamonds because it minimizes imperfections and maximizes small stones. “A channel-set ring is more cost-effective,” says Madilian. “You can hide variations in sizes of diamonds, and you don’t have to set each stone individually. That lowers prices.”

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.

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,” Madilian says. “You don’t want to let anything accumulate.”

What to Look for in a Channel Setting

  • What stones, cuts, and materials pair best with a channel-set ring? "Channel settings look best with round or princess-cut diamonds," says Wegman. "We love when they are made using yellow gold." She explains that this type of metal really enhances the diamonds and makes them pop against the edges.
  • How can I tell if the ring is high quality? Wegman says that this question is centered around how the ring was made. "For example, was it mass produced overseas or handcrafted here in the U.S.?" Pieces that are carefully handcrafted are preferred. Brides should also be conscientious of how secure the stones are. "You also want to be sure none of the diamonds wiggle when you tap on the ring."
  • Wearability? "Because there are no prongs, channel settings are very smooth and won't snag your clothes," Wegman explains. "The metal edges also help protect the diamonds, making this a very durable setting. You can safely wear them for most activities."

How to Care for a Channel Setting

The secure design of channel settings allow caring for your engagement ring easier than other styles. "Channel settings are excellent for protecting the stones, so you don't have to be as cautious as you do with prong-set or pavé diamonds," says Wegman.

While the all-encompassing design of the metal keeps your stones safe, it does makes the ring more prone to trapping substances such as dirt or lotion. Wegman says that this makes channel-set rings more difficult to clean. "Because of this, I recommend cleaning at home at least once a week and an annual steam clean from your jeweler."

It's also possible to do a deep clean on your ring right at home. “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 20 stunning options.

01
of 20

Single Stone Lisa Ring

Single Stone Lisa Ring

Courtesy of Single Stone 

There’s something wonderfully modern about the graduated sizes of the step-cut diamonds in this geometric style. It's no doubt that this three-stone platinum stunner is pure elegance.

02
of 20

Clean Origin Waverly Ring

Clean Origin Waverly Ring

Courtesy of Clean Origin

Adorned with 22 channel-set diamonds and a round solitaire, this ring is polished off with an eye-catching tapered cathedral shoulder detail. This is a classically beautiful take on a channel setting.

03
of 20

FerkosFineJewelry 14K Gold Baguette Diamond Band

FerkosFineJewelry 14K Gold Baguette Diamond Band

Courtesy of Etsy

A channel setting is the perfect style for an engagement ring if you're going the non-traditional route by opting for a simple band. Although a little less flashy, the striking contrast between the 14k yellow gold and baguette diamonds is all the glitz you need.

04
of 20

Lauren B. Jewelry Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Lauren B. Jewelry Emerald-Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Lauren B. Jewelry 

In this architectural option, a step-cut diamond shank plays up the straight lines of the center emerald-cut diamond. This piece truly maximizes the distinct look of the channel setting.

05
of 20

Porter Gulch Presley Ring

Porter Gulch Presley Ring

Courtesy of Porter Gulch

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.

06
of 20

Angara Emerald Cut Aquamarine Bridal Ring Set with Diamond Band

Angara Emerald Cut Aquamarine Bridal Ring Set with Diamond Band

Courtesy of Angara

Go a little nontraditional with a beautiful emerald-cut aquamarine stone paired with a lavish halo and channel-set diamond band. There's no questioning that this gorgeous statement piece will forever take center-stage.

07
of 20

Blue Nile Princess Cut Channel Diamond Set Engagement Ring

Blue Nile Princess Cut Channel Diamond Set Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Blue Nile

There's just something about the piercing elegance of a classic engagement ring that is irresistible. This princess cut channel-set diamond engagement ring is just that.

08
of 20

Radiant Moissanite Channel Set Wedding Set

Radiant Moissanite Channel Set Wedding Set

Courtesy of Charles & Colvard

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. 

09
of 20

Tacori Classic Crescent RoyalT Engagement Ring

Tacori Classic Crescent RoyalT Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Tacori 

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. This strikingly intricate piece is sure to give you the confidence of a queen.

10
of 20

Mark Broumand Old European Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Mark Broumand Old European Cut Diamond Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Mark Broumand

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. This platinum stunner is for the bride who wants nothing less than for sparkle to practically drip off her hand.

11
of 20

J.R. Dunn Noam Carver Round Channel-Set Engagement Ring Setting

J.R. Dunn Noam Carver Round Channel-Set Engagement Ring Setting

Courtesy of J.R. Dunn 

Rose gold, a round-cut diamond, and filigree detailing on the channel-set band make this engagement ring setting feel especially sweet. The especially intricate profile underneath this solitaire only accentuates the brilliance of the diamond that much more.

12
of 20

Oliver Smith Bezel and Channel Set Ring

Oliver Smith Bezel and Channel Set Ring

Courtesy of Oliver Smith Jeweler 

This thoroughly modern channel-set engagement ring features a brilliant round-cut diamond bezel-set in 18k white gold. Just slightly understated, this ring is the perfect combination of timeless and unique.

13
of 20

Cartier Ballerine Solitaire

Cartier Ballerine Solitaire

Courtesy of Cartier

There's something about this platinum diamond engagement ring that gives off just the right amount of a royal essence. The subtle intricacy that surrounds this diamond solitaire is undoubtedly worthy of a fairytale ending.

14
of 20

Brilliant Earth Custom Compass Point Princess Ring

Brilliant Earth Custom Compass Point Princess Ring

Courtesy of Brilliant Earth 

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. 

15
of 20

Anye Designs Tricia Illusion Ring

Anye Designs Tricia Illusion Ring

Courtesy of Anye Designs  

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. 

16
of 20

Jared Diamond Engagement Ring

Jared Diamond Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Jared

We can't think of a better way to frame a cluster of stunning princess-cut diamonds than with this fiery 14k yellow gold band. With just over 2 carats of diamonds, this ring is bound to be a sensation.

17
of 20

Blue Nile Channel Set Baguette Cut

Blue Nile Channel Set Baguette Cut

Courtesy of Blue Nile

If you have an appreciation for the striking beauty of a pear-cut stone, this one's for you. This platinum ring features baguette cut diamonds in a channel-setting.

18
of 20

Zales 1-1/2 CT. T.W. Princess-Cut Diamond Three Stone Bridal Set

Zales 1-1/2 CT. T.W. Princess-Cut Diamond Three Stone Bridal Set

Courtesy of Zales

Accompanied by a matching wedding band, you're good to go with this princess-cut diamond engagement ring. Featuring three gorgeous stones, a platinum piece like this exhibits a channel-set style exquisitely.

19
of 20

David Fairclough 14K Rose Gold Sculpted Channel Set Round Diamond Engagement Ring

David Fairclough 14K Rose Gold Sculpted Channel Set Round Diamond Engagement Ring

Courtesy of David Fairclough Fine Jewelers

This may be the definition of "shine bright like a diamond." This captivating 14k rose gold ring features a brilliant round solitaire that is framed by a twisted channel-set band.

20
of 20

Allurez Diamond Channel Set Engagement Ring

Allurez Diamond Channel Set Engagement Ring

Courtesy of Allurez

Take a little sparkle everywhere you go in this channel-set round solitaire diamond ring. With the ability to pick from an array of metals and stones, choose the sparkle of your choice.

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