Tension Settings: The Pros and Cons of Tension Jewelry

If you are looking for truly unique jewelry that is bound to be a talking point, you might want to consider a tension setting. It makes an intriguing statement when it looks like your gemstones are floating in place. Tension settings make for a unique look but have some pros and cons.

We'll talk about these pros and cons and help you determine if jewelry with a tension setting is right for you.

What Is a Tension Setting?

Tension settings are typically found in rings. In other designs, the gemstones are held in place with prongs surrounding the stone. Or there are bezel settings where a metal lip surrounds the stone and different settings where the gem sits flush against the ring.

Related: The History of Cluster Rings

However, tension settings are slightly different and hold the gemstone in place using only tensile force. The idea for the setting is relatively new compared to more traditional options; it was created about 50 years ago. In the beginning, tension settings were somewhat unattractive and chunky, but today, they make for a sleek and modern style.


In a tension setting, the gemstone gets placed in an opening in the ring's metal and sits in invisible grooves. Then, the ring exerts pressure on the stone from both sides, holding it in place. The result is a diamond or gem that appears suspended in the air, with nothing holding it in place.

For engagement rings, tension settings have different variations in how they hold the gemstone. For example, some use large openings in the ring's metal to hold the stone, while others use suspension. 

Tension Settings Pros

First, let's talk about the benefits of tension settings:

  • It's a sleek and unique design. You might not think that jewelry can be attention-grabbing and minimal simultaneously, but that's what tension settings do. They are extraordinarily modernistic and unique, making tension-setting jewelry an ideal choice right for anyone looking to make a statement.
  • It's a durable setting. At first glance, a tension setting might not look very safe. However, it's not as fragile as it looks. Tension jewelry is highly valued for its security and durability. While the gemstone might seem to float, making it look like it will fall out, it's securely held in place by the tension created by the metal bands.

In addition, some tension settings include added prongs for another layer of protection. However, even though tension jewelry is durable, it is vulnerable to extreme force. So while it's unlikely to dislodge the stone, it is possible.

  • It sparkles. Perhaps one of the best aspects of tension settings is how the light gets distributed throughout the stone. Tension settings allow light to pass through a gemstone and reflect at all angles, resulting in an unrestrained brightness, brilliance, and sparkle. Tension settings are one of the most discreet settings, meaning that your stone will gleam from every angle.

  • It's easy to maintain. Tension settings are extremely easy to clean. Because there are no prongs or metal in the way, you don't have to worry about dirt accumulating like with other settings. Cleaning is simple, meaning less maintenance and more sparkle for you.

 A woman shopping for rings at a jewelry store

Related: Which Jewelry Is Hypoallergenic?

Tension Settings Cons

Now, let's talk about some of the challenges of tension jewelry:

  • You can't resize it. Because of the process it takes to create a tension setting, it's impossible to resize a tension ring without damaging it. This fact is a big con because if you need your ring resized in the future, the only option you have is to purchase a new setting. However, most jewelers offer a unique warranty for tension settings, allowing buyers to have their ring remade if it does not fit properly. You should still keep in mind that ring sizes change over time, and you will not be able to resize a tension ring in the future.
  • It's expensive. Jewelry with tension settings is custom-made, meaning it will cost more than putting the same gemstone in a different setting. Additionally, if you purchase a tension setting, and it has to be remade due to a change in ring size, you'll have to pay additional fees on top of the initial cost of your jewelry.
  • You get less variety. While many diamond shapes look great with a tension setting, you'll typically only see two: princess cuts and round brilliant cuts. They pair so well with tension settings because the symmetry and proportion of the gemstones look stylish and sleek with a tension setting. However, it is possible to pair a tension setting with other shapes, like rectangles; it's just less common.

Should You Buy a Tension Setting?

Tension settings are popular for engagement rings because of their unique design. Whether the gem is held by suspension or made to look that way, it creates appeal and intrigue. And because less metal surrounds the ring than in other settings, your gemstone will reflect more light, offering more sparkle and brilliance. Plus, most tension settings feature a larger band, making them ideal rings for men and women.

Tension jewelry offers a modern feel with a custom-made look that is special and unique.

Related: Choosing the Best Anniversary Jewelry

Thinking About Buying Tension Jewelry? Read This First

 Engagement rings with different settings

Finally, we want to answer two common questions that we hear about tension jewelry:

  1. How do you tell if it's high-quality? When you're looking at a tension setting, the most important thing is picking a high-quality gemstone. Because of how the tension setting attracts all of your attention to the stone, there's not much distracting from the stone itself, meaning you need to choose one with a high-quality cut and color.
  2. Where should you look for a tension setting? Like with any jewelry purchase, you want to research before deciding on a jeweler. The tension setting is difficult to perfect, and you want to pick someone with experience. Symmetrical cuts, like round and princess stones, are ideal for tension settings. You should look for a reputable jeweler with a strong history of creating quality tension jewelry.

Looking for the hottest trending jewelry? Stop by our shop at LaCkore Couture to find your new style!