You’ve probably often heard people using the terms “diamond” and “solitaire” in the same – or similar – context, which could be a little confusing for someone who doesn’t know much about these precious stones.
That’s why we’ve decided to discuss this whole “diamond & solitaire“ thing in more depth and explain what these phrases mean – and, more importantly, how they differ. First, let’s get something straight:
Solitaire is not another word for “diamond.” Diamonds are just that – diamonds. Solitaires refer to a specific type of diamond setting, where only one central stone is embedded in jewelry.
So, while these two terms are entirely different, they are, in a sense, closely related. That’s why you often hear jewelers mentioning them side by side. But you’re not to worry; we’re here to tell you all about the relationship between these two terms – and why they’re used the way they are.
Diamond & Solitaire
You’re likely aware that diamonds are one of the most popular – if not the most popular – gems in the world. These precious rocks have been used for centuries to symbolize wealth and adorn all kinds of jewelry. And their popularity doesn’t show signs of slowing down any time soon.
What does Solitaire have to do with diamonds?
And no, we’re not talking about the card game here. Well, the term “solitaire” actually refers to a special kind of setting. We’ll get into the details soon enough. For now, it’s vital to remember that these two terms are often used together – even though they’re not the same.
So, where does the confusion come from, then?
Jewelers often use the solitaire setting when embedding a larger stone into a piece of jewelry – and when the design includes only one central gem held in place by prongs, that gem may be called a “solitaire.” That’s the origin of these two terms being used side by side.
Here’s an easy way to make that distinction: In this context, the word “diamond” tells you what gemstone we are talking about – and the term “Solitaire” refers to what setting is in question. These settings are minimalistic but safe and have been around for decades now.
What Is A Solitaire Diamond?
By definition, “solitaire” refers to the setting where only a single diamond – usually a bigger one – is mounted on a piece of jewelry. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re looking at a ring, a pendant – or a pair of earrings. If that piece of jewelry features only one diamond, it’s considered a solitaire.
And if you thought that solitaire diamonds aren’t that big in the jewelry world, think again: These diamonds mark some of the biggest, most special occasions in people’s lives. A notable example would be an engagement ring.
Most engagement ring shoppers will reach for a solitaire diamond because it has a timeless – classic, even – elegance and simplicity and uniquely showcases the diamond’s beauty. And we have the numbers to back up that claim, too: Up to 25% of engaged women report they’ve got a diamond ring with a solitaire setting. How’s that for a popular choice?
Besides the elegance and simplicity, solitaire settings are also known for being relatively safe – a plus when it comes to protecting your investment.
Sure, diamonds are tough and rank the highest on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. But they are still quite brittle and shatter easily, which is the main concern when it comes to larger stones.
Don’t even get us started on losing your diamond because it fell out of the setting. As terrifying as it is, it happens more often than many realize – especially with smaller diamonds in pave settings.
Solitaire settings are genuinely the best way to keep your gem in place – regardless of its carat weight, cut, or overall value. Speaking of value, how much does a solitaire diamond cost?
The solitaire setting is relatively simple in design, with no additional gems – besides the center stone. So, you can expect it to be on the more affordable end of the spectrum. You’ll find some for as little as $500 – but they can cost up to $2500 or more.
With that said, it all depends on the characteristics of the central diamond you choose for your solitaire setting.
Solitaire Vs. Other Types Of Similar Settings
Although this guide has mainly been talking about the solitaire setting as “unique” and “original,” the truth is, there are other types of settings that are, technically speaking, solitaires. And pretty popular solitaires, might we add.
The first design we’re talking about is the so-called “Tiffany setting.” From the early 2000s, this engagement ring design started gaining traction in the world of diamonds. The Tiffany setting holds a diamond with six prongs. It’s safe and popular with round brilliant cut diamonds.
And to be honest, it’s the most iconic example of a solitaire engagement ring design.
Another common design would be the split shank solitaire setting. It’s another stunning example of a solitaire diamond – and a unique-looking one at that. As the name implies, the “split shank” design involves a shank that splits in two as it reaches the diamond. The band creates an open space that frames the center stone and makes it stand out more.
This setting earned quite a bit of approval over the past two decades. You’ll even see Hollywood celebrities wearing engagement rings with a split shank solitaire setting. And that has to tell you something about its popularity!
Our point is: The simplicity and minimalistic elegance that the Solitaire setting boasts are unmatched. Also, the safety of the diamond in this setting is quite phenomenal – and the multi-purpose aspect of the Solitaire setting is worth mentioning here, too.
And sure, every setting has its charms, both aesthetic and practical – but the Solitaire setting is a solid rival to all of them.
What Diamonds Go Best With The Solitaire Setting?
One of the best things about the Solitaire setting is that you don’t have to be picky about the cut of the diamond that you’re going with here. The Solitaire setting can hold them all. Of course, there are some recommendations when it comes to a Solitaire setting.
But to tell you the truth, you’re free to choose any cut you like. Since the setting will feature only one diamond, you don’t have to worry about how well different stones may go with one another – and that’s the beauty of this type of setting.
Is Solitaire Popular In Jewelry?
Due to its simplicity, many people would assume that this setting isn’t as popular. The reasoning isn’t entirely wrong – but it’s not right, either. The solitaire setting is much more commonly used than many people realize.
But that’s the thing: When we compare the popularity of the Solitaire setting and some other settings that are more commonly used for smaller diamonds, then, sure, the options for smaller diamonds tend to be a lot more popular. But that’s mostly because smaller stones are bought more often.
Now, we can’t look at a setting like the Solitaire in comparison to settings that have very different purposes since that’s not fair. It’d be like comparing apples and oranges. Bigger diamonds are not sold as often as smaller diamonds, which, in turn, makes some fancier, multi-diamond settings more common – and seemingly more popular – than the Solitaire.
For example, you can look at engagement rings featuring a round brilliant-cut gem. They sell in numbers way higher than the Solitaire setting.
But there’s a reason for that – and a pretty simple one: Engagement rings contain diamonds between 0.75 and 1.5 carats, which are much smaller than the diamonds you would find embedded in the Solitaire setting.
Taking into consideration these differences, we confidently claim that the Solitaire setting is one of the most popular – if not the most popular – setting for bigger diamonds in pieces of jewelry that feature a single stone. When it comes to showing off a diamond, nothing comes close to the solitaire setting.
Pros & Cons Of The Solitaire Setting
Okay, we’ve looked at basically all of the necessary information about the Solitaire setting – and seen how it holds against similar diamond settings. Let’s put the pros next to the cons and see if this setting is legitimately worth considering, shall we?
First and foremost, let’s look at the advantages of the solitaire setting:
- Reveals a higher percentage of the diamond
- Lets a lot of light in
- It can hold larger diamonds
Safety’s a number one priority when it comes to diamonds (especially larger stones) – and that calls for a safe setting. And with that said, the Solitaire setting is up for the task.
Minimalism is something that seems to be lacking in the modern world. If you enjoy minimalistic elegance, this type of setting will be the perfect fit for you.
The percentage of the diamond revealed is quite important since there are some settings that “drown” the gemstone and don’t reveal enough of it. A situation like this may prove problematic when the accent is on the diamond in a piece of jewelry.
On a related note, the level of light that penetrates the diamond – and gives it that recognizable shine – will prove absolutely crucial here. The more light enters your stone, the more light it will “emit” back, which makes it stand out even more.
Larger diamonds also need love regardless of the trend that favors smaller diamonds. Usually, these diamonds are found in necklaces and other statement pieces of jewelry; you’ll rarely see them in earrings or rings.
And in order to hold such a giant diamond, you need a strong setting like the Solitaire setting. It will prove imperative in keeping the gem safe and secure.
Now, the Solitaire setting is far from perfect. It has its downsides, including the following:
- May seem outdated
- Doesn’t go well with smaller diamonds
As you can see, there are fewer cons than there were pros – and that tells you something about this setting. One potential issue that comes to mind here is the “simplicity” that, as we stated earlier, is a plus for some.
Minimalism is timeless, but some people don’t like its subtle feel. That’s why extravagant people don’t usually go for the solitaire setting. So, if you’re someone who needs a bit more glamour in your jewelry, this setting might not be for you.
Furthermore, if you tend to opt for smaller diamonds, you might want to look for another setting. The solitaire setting may look fine with 2-carat or 2.5-carat diamonds, but anything smaller than that – and it’s an instant no-no.
This setting is made for larger gemstones, and that’s where it shines. Larger diamonds will look absolutely amazing with it – and that’s what you should use it for. All other combinations are not as good-looking or attention-grabbing.
Consider yourself warned!
As you’ve probably picked up from this article, we are big fans of the solitaire setting. And that’s especially true when we’re talking about bigger stones that deserve to take the central spot in a piece of jewelry.
Sometimes, it’s better to have a single statement-piece type of stone than dozens of tiny ones – not just in terms of sparkle but safety, as well. And that is what makes the solitaire such a great choice. That’s about it when it comes to the topic of diamond & solitaire. Remember:
They don’t go against each other. Instead, they go together – and they do so pretty well, might we add. As far as the design goes, we know that today’s trends lead to fancier settings that really look amazing, but the aspect of safety obviously wasn’t a priority when they were created.
Almost all of the fanciest settings are made to look good and hold smaller diamonds securely in place. But if you were to put a more prominent gemstone in one of those settings, the chance of it falling out becomes exponentially higher.
That’s why we hope you go with the solitaire setting – at least for the bigger gems in your jewelry collection.