In 2010, Kate Middleton showed off her sparkling new engagement ring: a stunning sapphire center stone sitting in a diamond halo setting. It should come as no surprise that, ever since then, halo settings have become an incredibly popular choice among brides. Not only are they versatile and easy to customize, but this setting can actually make a diamond appear to be as much as half a carat larger than it actually is. Halos add extra glitz and glimmer to any ring, and, clearly, they are fit for a princess.
What Is the Halo Setting?
The halo setting is a ring of small accent stones, typically pavé diamonds, that encircle a larger center stone. Halo settings can be the same shape as the center stone, or they can be different, such as a cushion cut halo around a round diamond.
The Pros of a Halo Setting
The biggest appeal of a halo setting is that it complements the center stone well and makes your ring appear larger. “The halo setting is designed to accentuate the beauty of the center stone by adding size and brilliance in an affordable way,” says Rohan Agrawal, jeweler and co-founder of Azeera Inc. “If the center and accent stones are two different colors, then the halo setting draws more focus towards the center stone. It enhances its visual appeal through a contrast of colors and brilliance.”
The halo also just adds something extra to a ring while hiding the prongs. “They can hide the typical four-point or six-point standard prong that holds the center stone,” says Eric Razon, second-generation jeweler and owner of ER Diamonds. “A lot of halos have some beautiful designs on the edge going to the base of the ring where the prong connects to the ring itself.”
The Cons of a Halo Setting
While a halo setting will make a center diamond look larger (something that saves money on the actual stone), it’s not always the more budget-friendly option overall. “More metal and more gems mean that the style is more expensive compared to simpler designs, like solitaire or three stones,” says Agrawal.
Because of the shape of a halo and the way it creates an edge around the center stone, the setting makes it a little difficult to pair an engagement ring with a wedding band. “Ideally, with this kind of ring, you would want to get a wedding band made to fit around or under the engagement ring,” says Adam Patrick, jeweler and manager at A La Vieille Russie in New York City. “If you don’t, the two will inevitably rub against one another, and over time, will wear away the gallery underneath. It’s an extra consideration, as you need to factor in that you will be repairing or replacing the wedding band at some point if you don’t have one made.”
What to Look for in a Halo Setting
If you want a halo setting specifically to make your center stone look larger, Agrawal recommends choosing one with diamonds of the same quality (color, cut, and clarity) as the center stone. “A contrast would pronounce the differences between the center and accent stones and lose the desired effect,” he says.
You should also keep in mind that halo settings don’t have to be made up of diamonds. Patrick says that halo rings are great if you want to incorporate colored stones in your setting, adding, “Many halo rings have beautiful emeralds, pearls, or rubies as the center stone, which, design-wise, makes it more interesting.”
And while any cut works with a halo, a round diamond is usually the most popular option for perfect symmetry. Agrawal also loves an emerald-cut center stone for a “stronger visual presence.” He explains, “The linear faceting of the emerald cut has a pleasant contrast with round-shaped accent stones.”
Now, scroll through the stunning halo setting engagement rings below.
Heidi Halo Filigree Ring
This ring is the perfect example of how a halo with the same stones as the center stone can make the center stone appear much larger. It also features an Art Deco style that speaks to the history of the halo setting.
SHOP NOW: No. 3, $8,500
Bario Neal Stellium Diamond Halo Ring
The prongs used in this halo ring give the shape a unique star-like quality. This is a beautiful example of a halo setting that is separated a bit from the center stone.
SHOP NOW: Bario Neal, $15,270
Winona Champagne Diamond Halo Ring
This unique take on the halo features an emerald-cut champagne diamond that is surrounded by a halo of tiny champagne diamonds. The two delicate trio clusters and a square band make it even more special.
SHOP NOW: Natalie Marie Jewelry, $7,214
Round Grand Halo Rosette Ring
A round center diamond is surrounded by pavé diamonds in this traditionally modern halo setting. The rose gold band makes it a touch more feminine.
SHOP NOW: Anna Sheffield, $8,500
Soleste Cushion-Cut Double Halo Engagement Ring
If you really want to make a statement, opt for a double halo like this one, which has a large, bold look to it. The matching cushion-cut center stone and double halo achieve perfect symmetry.
SHOP NOW: Tiffany & Co, price upon request
Mociun Halo Ring
This Old European cut features a round diamond center stone with a diamond halo in a shape that almost looks like a sun. The yellow gold band keeps this delicate, feminine, and unique.
SHOP NOW: Mociun, $9,300
Jadetrau Bridal Round Halo
A classic example of a halo setting, this engagement ring is simple, gorgeous, and timeless. Opt for a rose gold band for something more trendy.
SHOP NOW: Jadetrau, $3,000
Capucinne Moonstone Engagement Ring
This engagement ring features a moonstone center stone, ideal for someone who wants a classic look but doesn’t want a diamond. The emerald cut with the sparkling halo has a beautiful geometric look.
SHOP NOW: Capucinne, $1,220
ManiaMania Ethera Ring
This ring is perfect for the bride who wants something classic but also unique. An East-West emerald-cut diamond shines in a halo of smaller round diamonds.
SHOP NOW: ManiaMania, $13,200
Art Deco Double Halo Hexagon White Diamond Ring
This Art Deco-inspired ring features a rare hexagon white diamond with a sparkling double halo of tiny white diamonds. It has a low-profile and sits flatter to the finger.
SHOP NOW: Gillian Conroy, $3,600
DY Crossover Capri Engagement Ring
A cushion-cut diamond sits on a signature cable band in a DY Crossover design that will definitely catch the eye. The pavé diamonds creating a halo around the center stone add extra sparkle.
SHOP NOW: David Yurman, price upon request
Soma Rose Cut Diamond with Blue Sapphire Halo Ring
Halo rings typically feature diamond accent stones, but this ring is proof that colored gemstones also look gorgeous. The small sapphires make this ring truly special.
SHOP NOW: Bario Neal, $4,580
Natalie Marie Jewelry Oval Daisy Halo
This one-of-a-kind diamond cluster piece resembles a daisy, hence the name. The unique shape pairs well with the simple band.
SHOP NOW: Natalie Marie Jewelry, $8,545
Tiffany & Co. Legacy Engagement Ring
Inspired by the Edwardian period, this traditional engagement ring features a cushion-cut center stone with a diamond halo and band.
SHOP NOW: Tiffany & Co, price upon request
Single Stone Katie Art Deco Halo Ring
This ring has a distinctly vintage look to it. It features a square-shaped halo with a round diamond set away from the edges and fine milgrain beading as a delicate accent.
SHOP NOW: No. 3, $6,000