Cathedral vs Non-Cathedral Ring Settings (FULL Breakdown)

Last Updated on August 22, 2022

Ring settings are an important design element in any engagement ring.

Two popular ring setting styles include cathedral and non-cathedral ring settings.

But what is a cathedral ring setting and how does it differ from a non-cathedral setting?

Here’s a look at what sets the two setting options apart to help you decide which setting style is right for your engagement ring design.


Cathedral Ring Settings: Elevated Brilliance

Cathedral ring settings are one of the most popular ring settings in the engagement industry and are known for their elegant design and versatility.

Cathedral settings feature a distinctive cathedral shape that creates two small triangular inlets on either side of the center stone.

Cathedral settings use a unique arch shape to elevate the center stone and utilize additional metal prongs to secure the stone in place.

Benefits of Cathedral Ring Settings

Cathedral ring settings have a variety of benefits, including:


A cathedral ring setting can be embellished with a variety of designs and accent options.

Popular embellishment options include pave diamonds and ornately-detailed milgrain borders.


Cathedral ring settings pair well with just about any cut of diamond, but look exceptionally beautiful when paired with stones that are:

  • Cushion cut
  • Princess cut
  • Round cut

Additionally, cathedral settings are an excellent complement to wedding bands.


Because cathedral ring settings elevate the center stone away from the ring shank, the setting increases the brilliance of the center stone while reducing the prominence of inclusions.

Cathedral settings elevate the overall brilliance of the center stone by creating the illusion of a larger center stone.

Drawbacks of Cathedral Ring Settings

Although popular, cathedral ring settings have a few drawbacks to consider, including:

Risk of Damage

Because of the distinctive shape and elevated center stone, cathedral settings are more prone to damage than other setting styles.

Both the elevated center stone and the prongs that secure it in place can snag on furniture and clothing, resulting in chips, breaks, and even a lost stone.

Cleaning and Care

Cathedral settings require additional care and attention compared to other ring settings due to the number of inlets and openings throughout the ring.

It’s recommended to have a cathedral setting cleaned twice per year by a professional jeweler.

Distinctive Aesthetic

While cathedral settings are considered a sophisticated and classy ring setting style, the distinctive shape of the setting can be too unique for some individuals who may find the arch too overpowering for the center stone.

Non-Cathedral Ring Settings: Sophisticated Elegance

Non-cathedral ring settings are another popular ring setting style that is used in many engagement ring designs.

Non-cathedral settings feature a lower-set center stone that sits snuggly within a basket held in place by metal prongs attached directly to the ring shank.

Non-cathedral settings showcase the center stone in all of its glory without compromising the integrity and visibility of the stone.

Benefits of Non-Cathedral Ring Settings

Non-cathedral settings offer a variety of benefits, including:


Non-cathedral ring settings offer much more variety than cathedral settings.

Non-cathedral settings can feature a variety of additional accents and designs, such as pave diamond accents, double-halos, and milgrain, which may not be an option with other ring settings.


Non-cathedral ring settings feature a low-set center stone that is less likely to snag on everyday items such as furniture and clothing.

This unique placement allows for increased security without reducing the brilliance of the center stone.

Additionally, non-cathedral settings have fewer inlets and openings, making the setting a great option for everyday wear because it doesn’t require extensive cleaning or care.

Light Performance

Because of the unique design of non-cathedral ring settings, the center stone is secured in place using less metal, resulting in less obstruction of the center stone.

By reducing the amount of obstruction created by metal, non-cathedral settings do a fantastic job of allowing light to enter the center stone, resulting in an overall increase in brilliance.

Drawbacks of Non-Cathedral Ring Settings

While popular, non-cathedral ring settings have a few drawbacks to consider, including:

Simplistic Design

While popular, some individuals may not find the simplistic design of non-cathedral ring settings as appealing as other more extravagant ring setting options.

Non-cathedral settings may be considered less elegant and too plain for some individuals.

Less Complimentary

Because the center stone is low-set in a non-cathedral setting, it may not complement certain wedding band styles as well as other setting options.

For this reason, some individuals may be less apt to select a non-cathedral ring setting.

Eran Hayo is the Chief Editor of Jewels Advisor, with over 5 years of experience in the fields of jewelry and memorabilia. He built Jewels Advisor to serve one main purpose – to teach you everything he knows about jewelry, and help you make better-informed decisions when buying diamonds and engagement rings online. His work has been cited on famous publications such as The Sun, MSN and WikiHow.