One of the jewelry design concepts that triggered the most curiosity among consumers is the so-called diamond breathing holes. All kinds of theories were created around these holes, but are any of them real?
You might be sitting there, asking yourself: Why do diamonds need breathing holes? The answer is rather simple:
Diamonds don’t need breathing holes as diamonds don’t actually “breathe.” That means that the carbon from which diamonds are made isn’t affected by changes in temperature, pressure, light, air – anything a living, breathing organism would care about, really.
But why do some rings have breathing holes, then? Don’t worry; we’ve covered all of the information you need regarding diamond breathing holes in this article.
Do Diamonds Need To Breathe?
It’s a silly question, really.
Diamonds don’t need to breathe since diamonds are solid compositions of carbon that don’t contract or expand by the effect of temperature, air, light, or the presence of any liquid.
Diamonds needing to breathe is, hands down, one of the biggest myths related to the presence of breathing holes in jewelry. It’s worth mentioning that there are stones that breathe. These are pearls, turquoise, opal, coral, and malachite. Any gems that are porous or organic need special care.
That also means that you shouldn’t put them in tightly sealed bags; they can actually dry out.
Why Do Diamonds Rings Have Holes, Then?
If diamonds don’t need breathing holes, why are they there? The correct answer is related to the ease of maintenance and handling.
The lower conical part of the diamond, also known as the pavilion, ends with a sharp point – and this point has an almost flat facet called a culet. The culet is quite fragile, and during assembly, it can come in direct contact with the metal.
If this happens, the diamond can potentially break. The holes in the ring alleviate this problem.
As for maintenance, holes in the ring give valuable access to the back of the diamonds. That is especially useful in settings with several smaller stones set in rows where larger amounts of dirt, soap residue, and oils can accumulate.
Being able to reach all the crannies and nooks of the setting – and the diamonds in them – helps to ensure proper maintenance and allow cleaning solutions or jewelry cleaner to restore the true charm of your diamond ring.
Cleaning Your Diamond Ring
A simple way to keep your diamond ring looking gorgeous and sparkly is to soak it for roughly 30 minutes in a gentle solution – such as water with a bit of dish soap. You should do this once or twice a week.
After removing it from your cleaning solution, use a soft toothbrush to remove the remaining dirt on your diamond ring. The toothbrush should be new and only used for cleaning your jewelry, by the way.
Use it to clean places that are hard to reach, like the back of the diamond, which tends to collect most dirt and oils. Fragile settings or tension settings shouldn’t be vigorously scrubbed, though. So, be sure to use the toothbrush gently.
After that, rinse your diamond ring with water and dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Repeat the whole process if you see any leftover dirt. Oh, and be sure to close the drain when rinsing so that you avoid losing your diamond.
Chlorine bleach, household cleaners, or toothpaste should be avoided when cleaning diamond rings or other diamond jewelry. Chemicals in these products can damage some metals used for diamond settings.
On top of that, abrasives can potentially scratch gold and other precious metals.
Sometimes a device called ultrasonic cleaner is needed to remove encrusted dirt on your gem. By sending low-frequency sound waves through a specific solution, this divide causes vibrating fluid to remove built-up dirt and grime.
On the other hand, these ultrasonic cleaners can potentially shake loose gemstones from their mountings – or even chip the girdles of diamonds that are set close to each other.
So, proceed cautiously if the diamond contains inclusions and avoid ultrasonic cleaners if your diamond has been treated by fracture filling.
Before you place your diamond in an ultrasonic cleaner, be sure to refer to the gem’s grading report, which discloses whether the diamond has been treated or not. While you’re at it, consult a professional jeweler; they can determine if your jewelry requires repair.
The key to a diamond’s shine and sparkle lies in its facets. These act like tiny mirrors that reflect light in and out of the gemstone.
By regularly cleaning the facets, you will ensure that your diamond is sparkling and your ring is in gleaming condition – ready to shine for the next special occasion.
Learn More: Diamond Care: How To Take Care Of Your Diamonds
Does A Diamond Ring With Breathing Holes Sparkle More?
There’s another misconception that stemmed from a misinterpretation of the references used by diamond suppliers to refer to jewelry characteristics. In this case, “breathing” is a synonym for the ability to receive more light from the diamond.
Indeed, some diamond cuts – such as oval or princess cut – might look more desirable in light settings “as they breathe more.” That is when their entire figure is allowed to be exhibited, but this isn’t the case with a round brilliant diamond cut.
By receiving and reflecting light through its upper side, we can say that this is the only part where a diamond would need to shine optimally.
A diamond with breathing holes doesn’t receive more light, no matter how this myth has come to spread. The holes are on the bottom section of the ring, anyway. And when placed on the finger, they’re completely covered.
It wouldn’t make sense for a diamond to shine brighter thanks to the part that’s covered, would it?
Do Holes In Diamond Rings Make Them More Comfortable?
While diamonds don’t need to breathe, your skin does. The holes in some ring settings allow the sweat that gathers under the ring to evaporate much faster. That helps in decreasing the level of irritation on sensitive skin – so, yes, it creates a bit more comfortable feel.
That isn’t the main reason why holes are there – but it’s a welcome side effect, nonetheless.
Do All Rings Need Breathing Holes?
Not at all!
Usually, the rings that need breathing holes are the ones that are low and flat and hold lots of gemstones. The perfect example is the channel setting, as well as eternity bands.
Flat bands and low-profile rings have holes underneath each stone.
What Is A Channel Set Ring?
A channel set ring is a type of ring setting in which tiny diamonds are set within a specially cut channel, usually with a small lip. This part extends slightly over the edge of the diamonds to keep them safe and secure.
Some channel set rings also have grooves inside the channel. These grooves act to secure the tiny diamonds or other gemstones in place. A channel setting is very similar to pave setting. However, the channel setting uses thicker metal to secure gemstones that line the band.
And since there are no prongs holding the gems, this setting has a snag-free design. A channel setting is a secure way to set tiny diamonds into the band.
It creates a sparkling row, with the tiny diamonds set close to each other in the grooves of the channel. These small diamonds can either decorate a smaller portion of the ring or almost the entire surface of it.
Read Also: How Much Are Tiny Diamonds Worth?
Why Should You Choose Channel Set Ring?
A channel set ring adds visible style and sparkle. And since there are no prongs, this setting provides a secure and snag-free design, as we already mentioned.
Because of the additional small diamonds, channel set rings usually draw more attention than a solid band. Channel settings are popular for wedding bands and stackable rings that feature tiny gemstones without the centerpiece.
Channel Set Ring For Every Shape
The secure support and classic design of channel set rings make them a great option. Plus, the channel set ring compliments a lot of diamond shapes. Here are some examples of the channel set rings:
- Princess cut channel set ring
- Round cut channel set ring
- Oval cut channel set ring
- Channel set diamond wedding band
- Channel set diamond band
- Cushion cut channel set band
Pros And Cons Of Channel Set Rings
There are certain advantages and disadvantages with every ring setting – and the channel set ring isn’t an exception there. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this type of setting, shall we?
Pros Of Channel Setting
- Securely holds gemstones and protects them from the outside forces
- Enhances the ring’s sparkle and shine with smaller side gemstones
- Maintains a sharp design without loss in its stability
- It’s very unlikely to snag on clothes and other materials
Cons Of Channel Setting
- Can be hard to resize and repair because of the numerous channels
- Can sometimes obscure diamonds slightly more than prong settings
On that note, try to determine the ring size of your significant other before you purchase the ring to reduce the need for resizing.
Can You Resize A Channel Set Ring?
Since channel set rings have diamonds set within the actual ring, resizing them can sometimes be a challenging task. Resizing a diamond ring often involves cutting the shank and adding – or removing – the metal.
And, well, this isn’t always possible with a setting that has diamonds.
Because of this, resizing may or may not be possible as it mainly depends on the specific type of channel set ring.
If you choose a channel set ring with diamonds covering the entire surface of it, resizing is often impossible. That is because resizing can change the circumference of the ring which prevents it from securely holding the diamonds.
In addition, it’s possible for the channels to become twisted during the process of resizing, which prevents the ring from holding gemstones as well as it should.
However, if you choose a channel setting that has diamonds covering half of the ring, it’s usually possible to make small alterations in the size of the ring.
But again: Due to the limited resizing potential of channel settings, it’s crucial to know the ring size of the wearer – be it yourself or someone else.
Channel Setting VS. Pave Setting
Because of their similar appearance, channel settings are usually compared with pave settings – and in many cases, they’re even confused with pave settings.
At first glance, it’s not hard to see why this is the case.
Both of these settings have one or several rows of tiny diamonds that run along the shank of the band. They both exhibit beautiful sparkle, and if viewed from a distance, they also tend to look almost identical.
However, there are few major differences between these two settings that you need to be aware of here.
First, we have the way the diamonds are set into the ring.
Pave set diamonds are usually held in place with very small beads, allowing for the diamonds to be set in tiny holes drilled on the band. That creates the appearance of a surface that’s covered in small diamonds.
On the other hand, channel-set diamonds are set inside the channel, with the tiny lip at the top holding the diamonds in place. The diamonds are set in a channel cut inside the band instead of being set on its surface.
The second thing is the shape of the diamonds used for these settings.
Pave settings usually feature tiny round diamonds, as this shape is perfect for covering as much of the ring’s surface as possible.
For the channel set ring, you can use a variety of diamond shapes. While many channel settings use round cut diamonds, it’s also common to see emerald cut, princess cut – and even cushion cut diamonds.
Third, we have the practicality factor.
While most pave settings are durable, one or several diamonds could fall out from the setting if the ring is dropped or brushes up against a hard surface.
With the channel setting, all of the tiny diamonds are secure within the channel that provides an extra level of protection. That’s ideal if you work in an environment in which the ring could easily brush against a hard surface – or you simply have an active lifestyle.
If you’ve heard the myth about diamonds and breathing holes and you’re asking yourself, “Why do diamonds need breathing holes?” let us break it down one more time.
Diamonds don’t need to breathe; hence they don’t need breathing holes. Diamonds are made of carbon which doesn’t expand nor contract due to external environmental changes.
Holes on some types of rings are there for two primary reasons – easier handling and better maintenance.
If the diamond tip comes in contact with the metal during the ring’s assembly, it will likely break. That’s another scenario where these holes are useful.
They also help with cleaning the diamond ring as you can reach all the parts of diamonds more easily.
And let’s not forget that they are also beneficial for your skin as they allow some of the sweat to evaporate much faster – therefore preventing irritation on sensitive skin.
But no, they do not help diamonds breathe.