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5 Reasons Not to Love Low Set Engagement Rings

By Stephanie Dore

Whether or not apple bottom jeans will ever come back into style is debatable. But whether to go low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low or not — especially when it comes to your engagement ring setting — is the real hot topic around here. After all, if you’re dropping dollars on a diamond ring, don’t you want to show it off? Wave it high? Let the sunshine in? Sure, a low profile engagement ring might be extra comfy and secure, but there are definite downsides, darling. Not convinced? Here’s 5 reasons not to fall for low set engagement rings that might change your mind.

marquise east west bathtub bezel yellow gold gallery low set engagement ring
Our signature low set ring style? The Billie bathtub collection. These pieces are as low as it gets!

What is a Low Set Engagement Ring?

A low profile ring setting is exactly what it sounds like — the gem or diamond will sit lower on the band, which is great for those folks that might like their sweaters snag-free or happen to wear gloves a lot (shout out to all our health care heroes!), but there’s a reason the classic Tiffany solitaire is so popular. This style (and its countless spinoffs) was designed to purposefully raise the diamond high above the finger, letting in oodles of light which could then be reflected back to your eyes in a brilliant show of what we like to call sparkle. 

So it makes sense that a lower profile ring, especially a bezel set engagement ring which surrounds the diamond in metal, just won’t have all that, right? Well, sort of. Yes, to some degree a higher setting will let in more light, but here’s the real deal: how much sparkle you get depends a lot more on the cut of your diamond than the style of your setting. A well cut diamond will reflect light that enters through the top, not the sides, no matter what setting you prefer. If you’re going low, or with a heavier metal look, just make sure you choose a really well cut diamond or gemstone and you’ll be good to go.

Why Do Engagement Rings Sit So High?

Another reason not to go with a low profile ring? They only work for small diamonds. Now, when we say small, we’re not talking quarter-carat. You can still get a little bit of size going. But here’s where it comes down to common sense. The bigger a diamond is around (from the top view), the deeper the diamond is (from the side view). This means that you can only ever set a diamond as low as it is deep, and you always need a little bit of space under the diamond itself to protect the diamond’s culet (that fragile point at the bottom) from damage and protect your finger from the culet!

If you want a major visual impact from the top view and still want something to sit super low on your hand, we love rose cut diamonds as a unique option. Rose cut diamonds are an antique-style cut that have wider facets and a flat bottom instead of the deep pavilion of a modern cut. Rose cuts will naturally give you a low set look, and you can still style it your way with prongs or a bezel or other unique details.

Want to go as low as possible? Go rose cut!
yellow gold hidden halo profile vs platinum pavé on band profile
Want to incorporate a hidden halo on your look? You’ll need to lift your setting a bit.

Side View Snooze Fest

If you want to see lots of cool side view details when your ring is on your finger, don’t go low profile. Why? Because low profile rings have less room to play with, their side views can be kind of blah. Usually, there just isn’t room for interesting gallery details down there. It is however, super easy to find sleek, modern styles that sit as low as you can go, including our signature clutch style engagement rings that hug your diamond from two sides in slim bars of your chosen metal, with an open and airy side view. Like a breath of fresh air.

If you want something low but don’t want to give up the extra side stones or fancy settings you love, a diamond halo engagement ring is the way to go. Not only does adding a halo of sparkle around your center stone make your overall ring look bigger (you can go smaller on the center and save some dough), but there are many halo styles that can sit nice and low on your finger.

We also love the super trendy cluster style ring of several smaller stones instead of one major one to give you a lower look and lots of sparkle. This is a great way to also incorporate color into your engagement ring with an ombre effect of warm, champagne diamonds or colorful precious and semi-precious gemstones.

Wedding Bands Beware

One of the biggest bummers about low profile engagement rings is trying to pair them with a wedding band. Here’s the deal. A standard higher profile ring’s center head (the setting) usually sits on top of the shank (the part that goes around your finger) and then expands outward, leaving room for a band to cozy up underneath. A low profile head, however, will stick out from the shank itself, leaving no room for a band under it, thus causing the dreaded gap between your two rings. Now, a gap isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself. But many people want their ring stacks to be perfectly aligned and gap free. 

And that just means you have to be a bit more choosy when it comes to finding a stackable low profile engagement ring. There are a few easy ways to go about this. The first is to try engagement rings WITH bands at the same time, rather than leaving the band as an afterthought. That way you’ll know before you buy and can figure out what look you love. The second is to look into curved or pointed wedding bands, where the band itself curves out and around the center head of your engagement ring setting, allowing the bands to sit flush and creating a bigger visual impact from the top view.

What else? Have you met our cantilever ring yet? An avant-garde modern engagement ring style with an ultra low profile design. This offset solitaire design lets the stone sit just above the finger and stacks flush with any band. Iconic and geometric, this setting features a comfort fit 1.5mm band. 

oval solitaire stacked with capellini
If you love that sleek, flush fitting stack? You’ll need a little lift to achieve it!

Size Does Matter

Another reason not to go with a low profile ring? They only work for small diamonds. Now, when we say small, we’re not talking quarter-carat. You can still get a little bit of size going. But here’s where it comes down to common sense. The bigger a diamond is around (from the top view), the deeper the diamond is (from the side view). This means that you can only ever set a diamond as low as it is deep, and you always need a little bit of space under the diamond itself to protect the diamond’s culet (that fragile point at the bottom) from damage and protect your finger from the culet!

If you want a major visual impact from the top view and still want something to sit super low on your hand, we love rose cut diamonds as a unique option. Rose cut diamonds are an antique-style cut that have wider facets and a flat bottom instead of the deep pavilion of a modern cut. Rose cuts will naturally give you a low set look, and you can still style it your way with prongs or a bezel or other unique details.

radiant with tapered baguettes three stone platinum gallery
Low-set doesn’t always mean right up against the finger. You can achieve a low, secure look with an open gallery that feels light!
platinum radiant cut clutch half bezel ring on hand
When the perfect diamond sits perfectly on your finger, you can’t go wrong.

Low Set Rings Make You Look TOO Expensive

Ok, this is kind of a stretch even for us. But hear us out. A setting that is too high can actually make your diamond engagement ring look cheap. We kid you not. It’ll just kind of look wonky and unflattering on your finger. Which, by our estimation means a super low profile ring will make your ring look expensive, no? And we wouldn’t want that for anyone, wink, wink.

Go High, Go Low, Just Go With Your Gut

We’ll admit that everything above is both true and really hard for us to write because, frankly my darling, we love a low profile ring. Give us a low profile bezel, a low profile prong, a low profile anything in between any day of the year and we’ll be smitten kittens. But it’s always good to know the limitations of any style before you start spending, right? We see you nodding your pretty little heads out there.

Ready to find your own low profile engagement ring? Explore our collection of modern engagement rings, complete with style details that won’t ever look outdated. Or design your own dream ring with our style quiz. You’ll even get a free sketch. Need more help with the details? Ping us at hello@frankdarling.com with some style inspo and a bit about your budget and our team will get you taken care of in no time.