The Halo Setting

by Willyou.net * Aug 17, 2021
Oval halo engagement ring in yellow gold - The Halo Setting.jpg

There aren’t many ring settings as quickly recognizable as the halo. Similarly, for anyone just setting out on the road to finding the perfect engagement ring, there aren’t many ring settings that will pop up at the top of the search results as frequently as the halo.

Bold without feeling unnatural, luxurious within feeling like ‘too much’, halo engagement rings embody one of those classic styles that will look at home on the finger of the most traditional bride-to-be, or the most contemporary.

From its favor among celebrities to its top billing at jewelry stores across the country, the halo is one setting any savvy ring shopper will know all about by the time their consultation rolls around.

What is a Halo Diamond?

The halo is a setting, crafted from a number of very small diamonds, and designed to follow the edge of the diamond.

Since the round cut remains the most popular diamond cut of all, this particular setting is named after the circular shape those diamonds are set into – highly evocative of a shimmering halo.

Still, that’s not to say that the round diamond is your only option. The halo can be used to frame any diamond shape, like this Pear Halo Engagement Ring.

Why Are Halo Rings so Popular?

Sparkle, first and foremost. The center diamond is perfectly complemented by the halo, creating a stunning light performance that can’t be replicated by any other setting. 

Take a look at a few halo diamond ring settings in person, and you’ll quickly notice that they interact with the light in a totally different way to the center stone. While the diamond will sparkle in flashes of brilliance and fire (white and colored light), the halo will appear to twinkle and glimmer much faster, and at even the slightest movement of the hand.

Even better? Jewelers can also create a double halo. As the name suggests, this setting means double the number of accent diamonds wrapped around the center diamond – which means twice as much sparkle. We would, however, recommend you invest in a slightly larger diamond for this design to work, or it could be overwhelming by the double halo.

What’s more, halo set diamonds are a common sight in the celebrity world. You’ll spot plenty of halos – the very unique, and the classic – among Natural Diamonds’ 17 Best Celebrity Engagement Rings of 2020. Heidi Klum, Louise Roe and Alison Brie also sport this style – so it’s safe to say it’s not only popular, but absolutely here to stay.

Does a Halo Make a Diamond Look Bigger?

Yes, the extra brilliance and fire created by the small accent stones that comprise the halo can give the illusion of the center diamond being just a little larger than it really is.

Diamonds have the power to use more space than they actually fill, since they are constantly sending those brilliant flashes and sparks out into the air around them. The extra sparkle created by the halo can ‘blur the lines’, so to speak, and make the center stone appear to fill more space.

It can also help to pick a white gold or platinum setting for your halo, in order to ‘blend’ the edges of the diamond with the halo. We’d never tell you to rule out contrasting metals like yellow and rose gold but, if you’re after that illusion of size, stick to something more cohesive.

Still, as we mentioned above, proportion is still integral to the effect of the halo. Try to stay realistic, and avoid overwhelming a relatively small center stone with a double halo – or it may start to look like a cluster set ring instead.

How Much Size Does a Halo Add to a Ring?

A few millimeters all around, per halo – although you could go larger, provided you don’t start to drown the center stone. Most jewelers recommend a maximum size of 15% of the center diamond for accent stones.

So, if you were creating a halo for a respectable 1 carat diamond, then, ideally, your accent stones would be no bigger than 0.15 carats. Generally, though, it’s recommended that you go smaller than that. Smaller diamonds create a more intricate, vintage look featuring as much sparkle as possible.

Remember that the center diamond is still the main feature. A halo can create an impression of a larger diamond from a distance, but channeling a little more of your investment into the diamond itself is the best case scenario if you’re looking to ‘go big or go home’.

round cut diamond engagement ring - The Halo Setting

How Many Carats is a Halo?

Each diamond used within a halo setting will generally be less than 0.1 carats in weight, so the total carat weight of your halo depends on the number of accent diamonds contained within your halo, and their size.

While each of those accent diamonds will have its own carat weight, a halo’s value is determined by its total carat weight, rather than by calculating the individual costs of each diamond used within it. Since they aren’t much use to jewelers on their own, these accent diamonds hold much more value when combined together – although still considerably less than a single diamond of the same weight.

For this reason, if your center diamond is 1 carat and your halo has a total carat weight of 0.5, the setting will likely cost less than half the cost of your diamond. In other words, the total carat weight of the completed ring will be 1.5 carats, with most of the value stemming from the center diamond.

How Much is a Halo Diamond Ring Worth?

A well-made halo diamond ring featuring a quality diamond at its center will cost anywhere from $5,000+, with the price increasing considerably with the size of the center diamond.

As always, we’d recommend setting aside more of your budget for the diamond than for the setting – while, obviously, keeping in mind the fact that you don’t want to entrust your diamond to a cheap setting.

Aim to spend at least $1,500 on the setting alone, then let the rest of your budget find the perfect diamond to tie it all together.

Do Halo Diamonds Fall Out?

While not impossible, but it’s also unlikely if your ring is made by a reputable and experienced jeweler.

Any good jeweler will work very hard to keep the engineering behind a diamond ring secret. The prongs holding your halo’s diamonds in place will be incredibly small – almost like an intricate pattern within the metalwork itself – but they will be doing more than enough to keep everything secure, even with daily wear.

Sure, you will want to get it checked over at the jewelry store every six to eight months or so, but that’s par for the course with any piece of fine jewelry.

Are Halo Settings Still in Style?

Absolutely. They’ve been around for almost a century, and aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

Like the black cocktail dress or the Rolex, there are some things that will never go out of style, no matter how many new styles come and go. The attention the halo ring is garnering from celebrities and regular folk alike right now stands as testament to this style’s enduring popularity, rather than any short-lived trend cycle.

The halo offers a classic alternative to the more solitaire diamond, and plenty of versatility – whether you’d like to stick to that classic, ornate look, pursue a more modern look vibe with it. In fact, the halo doesn’t even need to sit around the center diamond…

round halo twisted engagement ring - The Halo Setting

What is a Hidden Halo Engagement Ring?

While the hidden halo still features a circle of accent diamonds, it is placed around the base of the central setting (where the cutlet meets with the shank) so that it is only visible from the side profile.

This style is particularly popular when it’s used alongside the cathedral setting, which lifts the central setting higher and creates the perfect pocket of space in which to hide this extra detail.

This is a great feature to choose if you’re not feeling sold on the more elaborate halo setting engagement ring, but still want to build upon the traditional silhouette of the solitaire diamond ring. Not only does it ensure the ring looks beautiful from every angle, but it also adds extra sparkle without encroaching on the elegance of a lone diamond.

Does a Hidden Halo Make a Ring Look Bigger?

Yes, though its eye-bending effect will be more subtle than the effect of a full halo setting.

Diamonds don’t only draw in light from above. The more opportunities it has to refract light, the more magnificent its performance will be when it sits on the hand.

From below, the diamonds of the hidden halo capture and emit light, meaning that the center stone is able to ‘borrow’ light from these smaller stones and sparkle even more brilliantly.

So, from above, the hidden halo will be invisible – but its effects on the center stone’s light performance will be clear to see from any angle. It’s a much subtler way of playing with the shape and proportions of the diamond, but, in person, it’s highly effective.

Is the Halo Setting Comfortable to Wear?

Yes, although you will want to make sure that the ring is fitted perfectly to your bride-to-be’s finger, as an ill-fitting ring is never comfortable.

The added weight of the halo, while not an issue in and of itself, could mean that an ill-fitting ring routinely finds itself ‘upside down’, and pointing into the palm, rather than staying put on top of the hand. It’s pretty obvious when a ring doesn’t fit; its wearer will likely spend plenty of time absentmindedly twisting the ring right way up again.

After just a couple hours, this can start to wear pretty thin, so make sure that you’ve got your bride-to-be’s finger size memorized by the time your consultation comes around.

Also, one other issue many new brides run into is finding suitable wedding bands for halo engagement rings, since the halo can cause a not insignificant overhang that clashes with many wedding band designs.

It is absolutely possible to find a band that fits comfortably alongside this setting, but you should always keep in the back of your mind the importance of double and triple checking before you drop another thousand dollars on your wedding rings.

Are Halo Rings Hard to Keep Clean?

Not if you keep up with a regular cleaning schedule, although you’ll need to pay close attention to any nooks or crannies.

Maintaining a diamond ring, however simple or intricate, means carving out a few minutes each week to ensure no dust, dirt or grease is building up around the more intricate parts of the setting – particularly around the prongs or the space between accent stones.

Halo rings are a little fiddlier than some designs, but shouldn’t require any special care or maintenance outside of a regular soak and gentle rub down.

So, Should You Pick a Halo Engagement Ring?

Whatever shape diamond you want, whatever metal or band style, we’d always recommend considering your ideal ring with the addition of a halo.

A diamond ring is more than capable of ‘doing all the talking’ without any help from additional embellishments, but there is something about the halo setting that we can’t seem to turn down. The intricate sparkles created by these tiny accent diamonds work their magic alongside the fieriest of round cuts to the most elegant of step cuts.

Yes, it’s a pretty traditional choice, and a common sight at any jewelers, but we’d never mark down a ring setting just because it’s popular. There’s still plenty of ways to add your own customizations to this shape, and to make it your own.

As ever, you’ve got to see it to believe it – or, more specifically, decide whether or not it’s the design for you – but, if you’re like the 99% of us, you’ll find it hard to turn this elegant setting down.