Mankind has had an obsession with diamonds since they were discovered in India millennia ago and once again with the establishment of diamond mines in South Africa, Brazil, all over Sub-Saharan Africa and more recently in the USA, Russia, Canada and Australia. Indeed, diamonds can be found set in engagement rings, wedding rings, in other pieces of jewelry or found as separate entities not set in any piece of jewelry. One type of diamond setting that is particularly popular on any piece of jewelry is the solitaire setting.
The solitaire setting generally consists of two to six prongs that fit around the edges of a diamond or other gemstone. More prongs generally means a more secure setting while fewer prongs mean a more prominently displayed diamond. However, it is also possible for there to be solitaire settings using other methods, such as the Bezel setting which consists of a collar of metal surrounding the perimeter of the diamond which keeps the stone completely protected and secure.
Solitaire settings are the oldest settings used with diamonds, since for the majority of history it was not possible to produce anything remotely similar to the fancy pave settings seen on some engagement rings and only a few stones could be used in a piece jewelry. This is why there is a common perception that the solitaire setting is the timeless classic setting that is the ultimate expression of love and affection for a loved one.
The most common diamonds used in a solitaire setting are Round Brilliants, although it is also possible to use other shapes such as the Marquise, Tear-shaped and Princess shapes. In addition the diamond color is usually colorless and this is linked to the popular perceptions resulting from the DeBeers marketing campaign from the previous century.
The most common place to find solitaire settings, especially those consist of prongs, is on diamond engagement rings. On engagement rings, they appear as the setting for the center stone in multiple stone rings, as the settings for the three-stone ring or as the setting for the sole diamond in a traditional solitaire ring. They are not commonly found on wedding bands as those rings typically make use of other settings or are simple rings that have no gemstones on them.
Solitaire settings also appear on other pieces of jewelry as well. One very common place is on pendants and necklaces. The Bezel solitaire setting is particularly popular on pendants which feature between one and three stones as it provides the most protection while displaying the diamonds beauty very clearly for all to see; although the prong setting is a close second in popularity.