“I’m so tense!”
Tension settings are very interesting types of mountings (see some great examples HERE!)
They are pretty popular, but for the life of me, I can’t tell you why.
Can you tell I’m a big fan?
I believe the ladies like the look of tension set mountings because they’re very clean and attractive. The diamond seems to magically float in the mounting, suspended by nothing but air.
The diamond isn’t surrounded by bezels, prongs, heads, channels or even baskets… Just the diamond and the mounting.
Simple as that.
Tension settings are usually wider and taller than most settings are because they have to be deep enough to hold the entire solitaire in its grip (see picture).
The diamond is usually stuck between two heavy pieces of mounting and the mounting itself is what does all the magic.
The mounting has little notches or grooves cut into the sides of it so that the edge of the diamond can rest into it (like a slot machine for your girdle). The edge of your diamond goes into those grooves and the mounting is pushed together locking your stone securely into place.
Tension and pressure…
But tension settings are not easy mountings to work with. They’re called “tension” settings for a reason.
Jewelers feel the tension while setting diamonds into the mountings…
The mountings have to be pushed together with the diamond in between them with just enough force and pressure so that the diamond doesn’t turn or spin in the mounting.
But, at the same time, not so much pressure that it chips, cracks, or breaks the edge of your pretty little diamond.
Put an egg in your hand and squeeze as hard as possible without breaking it.
Now picture that egg is worth thousands of dollars. See the pressure jewelers are under? Precision, talent, accuracy and luck is what it all boils down to.
It’s not something that I would want to do. I can’t even watch the jewelers as they’re doing it. I have to cringe and look away. The last thing you want to hear is that “crunch” as the diamond breaks…
After all, the girdle is the weakest part of the diamond, so if something’s going to give, that would be it.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
The real question is:
Are tension settings right for you?
I say sure! Why not? They look great. They let tons of light into a diamond. There’s little maintenance to be had. Nothing to get caught or snagged…
It sounds awesome, right?
But is it? Yes, as long as you keep a few things in mind…
- If your stone comes loose, the jewelers will have to once again squeeze your mounting back together again to tighten it and possibly crack your stone.
- If you need your rings sized or repaired, the jewelers have to make sure that the tension in the mountings are still strong enough to hold your diamond securely.
You see, sizings or reshapings can weaken the structure of the ring. Even simple cleanings and polishings could put too much pressure on the mountings and loosen them. The mounting always needs to be checked for durability and the stone checked for tightness.
Let’s keep going…
- If you accidentally hit your diamond, the diamond could come loose, spin in the mounting, fall out (or be knocked out), and possibly chip the edges of the diamond in the process.
- If you catch your setting and pull it back from the diamond, more than likely you’ll lose your stone.
- Tension settings tend to make your diamond look a little smaller because parts of it are covered up with heavy mounting.
So here’s my advice:
If you like tension settings, buy them.
Just be careful you don’t bump your diamond (it leaves the edges of the girdle open and vulnerable to strikes), and if you do notice that your diamond spins or rotates in the setting, then take it to a local jeweler and have them tighten it up again (and cross your fingers they don’t chip the stone).
You just never know. There are no guarantees in life. If you do buy a tension set mounting…
Get it insured!
You may never need it. You could wear it for 80 years and never have to do a thing with it… But every now and then…
Can you take the pressure?
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