The halo setting refers to the placement of diamonds or other gemstones in a concentric circle or square around a centre stone. The halo setting gives the illusion of a larger centre stone. The extra stones around the centre diamond draw attention back to it, bringing more light and increasing the overall sparkle of the ring. It is estimated that this setting can make a quarter, third or half-carat diamond appear up to 50% larger than it actually is.
A halo setting can be a great way to save money on a smaller diamond, whilst not sacrificing the overall appearance of the ring. Adding a halo of diamonds or coloured gemstones, or setting the halo diamonds using a different colour metal can make for a great contrast in colours. There are many styles of halo settings to choose from and there is no limit to creativity when making a bespoke ring. There are also double-halo settings consisting of two concentric circles of gemstones that encircle the centre stone.
The technical term for setting diamonds in close formation, in this case around a central stone, is called Pavé. It comes from the French word meaning ‘paved’, because the gems are connected in such a way as to look like a paved path around the larger stone. Although the most popular choices tend to be round and square diamonds, any shape of stone can be set in this way – cushion, asscher, oval, pear, marquise or emerald cut. One can also combine shapes and colours of stones so as to include rubies, sapphires, emeralds, or even peridots!
Halo-set rings can either have plain bands or be encrusted with diamonds or coloured stones. They can be made from platinum, 18ct white gold, yellow or rose gold. They can be set all the way around or half-way around the band. However, full-set bands are difficult to resize.
When purchasing a single or double-halo set ring it is important to check that the small stones are firmly held and set together in the mount. Make sure they are not loose or obtrusive to avoid snagging on clothing or other surfaces. Brushing your finger smoothly over the surface of the stones will provide a good indication of the quality of craftsmanship. Adding more small diamonds, especially in the case of a double halo ring, might seem expensive but it will work out much cheaper then having a single diamond of the same size.