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Cathedral Settings: Impressive, Beautiful and Unique

By Mike Fried,

Cathedral setting engagement rings are a timeless choice, drawing inspiration from the grandeur of cathedral architecture. The setting is defined by it’s metal arches that come up from the band of the ring and meet the prongs holding the center stone, giving the cathedral like appearance. In this setting the diamond is set high above the band giving the diamond a larger more prominent look.

Although cathedral setting is a beautiful and popular option, it does have its downsides. Because the diamond is set so high, it is not recommended for those who require a lot of daily work with their hands. In addition, because of all the open space, it tends to get dirty faster than other settings.

What is a Cathedral Engagement Ring Setting?

A cathedral engagement ring setting features two graceful arches that mimic the design of a cathedral building. The elegant metal arches help hold the center diamond or another gemstone securely in place.

close-up of a cathedral engagement ring style

Cathedral engagement rings can be set with prongs, a bezel setting or a tension setting. The defining characteristic of a cathedral ring is not how the diamond is held, but rather the cathedral ring mounting that features two arches above the rest of the shank.

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

Why Choose a Cathedral Engagement Ring?

Cathedral settings are elegant, classic engagement rings. The arches add extra height—making the center stone appear larger and more prominent. Due to their ornate design, cathedral settings are often a cost-saving style as there’s little need to buy additional diamonds or features.

modern tulip diamond ring with six prong cathedral setting in 14k yellow gold
A beautiful six-prong tulip-style solitaire setting in yellow gold

Many choose a cathedral setting because they’re gorgeous, timeless and not too decorative. This yellow gold tulip cathedral setting from James Allen, for example, accentuates the center diamond without overpowering the ring’s design. If you’re looking for a unique yet simple style, the cathedral setting might be best for you.

Deal Alert: Get 30% off lab-grown diamonds during a limited time sale at James Allen.

Types of Cathedral Ring Settings

Cathedral diamond engagement rings come in a variety of styles, from cathedral pave settings to simple designs with smooth bands. Some hold the diamond up high, while others feature a center diamond that’s a bit lower.

Check out the types of cathedral ring settings below to determine which appeals to you the most. 

Best Shape for Cathedral Setting

The best diamond shapes for cathedral settings are round, princess and cushion cut because they’re well-supported and the arches help the diamonds to stand out. You can choose a cathedral ring mounting for almost any shape, but it’s important that the diamond is secure and that the edges aren’t exposed to chipping.

In addition to choosing a diamond shape, you can decide on additional cathedral band features, like a pavé band or milgrain detailing.

Our handpicked cathedral engagement rings:

Cathedral Setting in Rose Gold from James Allen
Cathedral Setting in Rose Gold 
Cathedral Setting in White Gold from Blue Nile
Riviera Pavé Cathedral Setting 

4 Prong Cathedral Settings

4 prong cathedral settings feature four metal prongs that secure the diamond on each side along with the two arches. These engagement rings offer a classic but unique look that will remain a timeless beauty. 4 prong cathedral settings are the most popular cathedral-style engagement rings. For example this 4 prong diamond cathedral engagement ring from Blue Nile is a fantastic choice for an engagement ring.

6 Prong Cathedral Settings

6 prong cathedral settings like this 6 prong cathedral diamond ring from James Allen have six metal prongs that support the diamond along with the arches. A 6 prong cathedral setting has extra character. As the AGS explains, the extra prongs also keep the center diamond or gemstone more secure.

However, the additional prongs can inhibit light from reaching the diamond. With less light, the diamond can appear to be less brilliant. Still, some 6 prong settings are designed well and the diamond captures enough light to produce impressive brilliance and fire.

Pros and Cons of a Cathedral Setting

Ensure that the engagement ring you choose fits her style and her lifestyle. Review the pros and cons of a cathedral setting before making a final decision.


  • Highlights and accentuates the center stone
  • Offers an elegant, eye-catching design
  • Adds height and character with minimal expense
  • Makes the center stone appear larger and more prominent
  • Secures the diamond or center gemstone


  • May snag on furniture, clothing and other materials (if high-set)
  • Requires more time and effort to clean due to the number of crevices
  • Less streamlined than other styles like the bezel setting
  • If poorly designed, the curved features can distract from the center stone’s beauty

Cathedral Settings vs. Other Settings

When choosing an engagement ring, it’s important to compare settings to see which one is best for you. Here’s a breakdown of how cathedral rings compare to other styles.

  • Cathedral setting vs. Tiffany setting: In a Tiffany setting, the center diamond is raised and held by four or six slender prongs. With a cathedral-style setting, the diamond is raised up by two arches and typically held with prongs. In other words, the cathedral setting features arches and the triangle gaps, whereas the Tiffany setting only has prongs.
  • Cathedral setting vs. prong setting: A solitaire prong setting holds the diamond with just the prongs, not arches like in a cathedral band. Depending on the style, the cathedral setting may lift the diamond higher than a prong setting.
  • Trellis vs. cathedral setting: In a trellis setting like this one from Blue Nile, interweaving prongs—usually four but sometimes more—support the center diamond and cross over each other. In a cathedral setting, the two arches don’t cross over each other.  
  • Cathedral vs. non-cathedral ring setting: A cathedral setting’s primary feature is the two arches that help highlight the center diamond. Non-cathedral ring settings don’t have these arches. They include a variety of styles from three-stone to halo. 

Where to Buy Cathedral Diamond Engagement Rings

Rather than purchasing your cathedral ring from any vendor, we encourage you to be selective. There are certain brick-and-mortar stores and online vendors who will overcharge you while offering you inferior beauty and value. We don’t want that to happen to you or any of our readers.

After thoroughly vetting diamond vendors over many years, we’ve compiled a shortlist of diamond dealers who are reliable and trustworthy. They offer extensive collections of diamonds and cathedral-style settings at excellent prices. These vendors provide AGS or GIA certificates with all of their diamonds—allowing you to trust what they’re selling you. If you have questions about these vendors, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile maintains the largest online inventory of diamonds and settings. By going with Blue Nile, you’ll have a superb selection to choose from.  Their company focuses on remarkable diamonds and high-quality jewelry.

James Allen

James Allen offers appealing prices and beautiful jewelry. You can view each diamond closely with their high-tech photography and video before making a purchase. Their emphasis on an excellent customer experience is often noted by our readers.

Brian Gavin Diamonds

Brian Gavin Diamonds are known for offering some of the best-cut diamonds in the world. Their “Brian Gavin Signature” Hearts & Arrows collection and Brian Gavin Black and Signature diamonds provide stunning brilliance, especially for diamonds weighing more than 2 carat or 3 carat.

Leibish & Co. (Gemstone Alternative)

Leibish provides stunning options for colored gemstones, like emeralds and sapphires. They also maintain a large collection of fancy color diamonds like canary yellow diamonds and purple diamonds.

Evaluating a Diamond Ring for Beauty and Value

Don’t just settle for any diamond. Find one that provides maximum beauty for your budget.

Our Diamond Pro resources can help you select the ideal ring for the one you love.

  • Diamond shape: Buyers should choose a diamond shape based on personal preference and style. Review the shape options to decide which one matches your significant other’s taste and lifestyle.
  • Diamond cut: Cut is the characteristic that most greatly impacts a diamond’s brilliance and beauty. We recommend only considering Excellent and Ideal cut diamonds.
  • Diamond clarity: When it comes to clarity, look for a diamond that’s eye clean. In other words, it doesn’t need to be clear of inclusions or blemishes when under magnification. We usually recommend VS1 or VS2 clarity, as the diamond will likely be eye clean at this grade, but cost far less than a higher-graded diamond.
  • Diamond color: Aim for a diamond that is white in relation to its setting color. To the naked eye, diamonds in the G to I Color range appear colorless and cost much less than diamonds in the D to F range.

Bottom Line Recommendation:

Cathedral settings are beautiful engagement rings with unique characteristics and classic lines. From a stunning solitaire cathedral ring like this one from Blue Nile to a cathedral channel set like this one I found James Allen, a variety of designs are available. Choose a cathedral ring that matches the style of your fiancé-to-be.

Want to talk to an expert? Send us an email.

Here are more specific setting style topics to browse:

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab-created diamonds online.
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well-known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high-quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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