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SOLITAIRE STYLES: Cathedral or Classic?



Engagement rings stand as shimmering symbols of commitment and devotion. Among the many enchanting designs that grace the fingers of brides-to-be, two traditional styles that command the most attention of them all. 

The iconic Cathedral and Classic Solitaire Engagement Rings. 

These legendary styles prove that many times the simplest designs can be the most impactful. With their refined sophistication and classic aesthetic, we understand why year after year everyone can’t resist these engagement rings.

But what exactly sets them apart ? 

We consulted with our diamond experts to give an explanation around these timeless Engagement Ring settings looking closely at their defining features.


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The Classic Solitaire Setting

A Classic Solitaire can only be described as a manifestation of pure elegance. A Classic Solitaire engagement ring is characterised by a single, brilliant centre diamond rising impressively above the band. They may also be known as a Claw setting, Tiffany setting or Knife edge setting. 

From the side profile, the setting of a Classic Solitaire appears in a V shape proudly projecting the centre diamond above its band. With the option for either a sculptural claw setting or a bezel to hold the diamond securely, a Classic Solitaire is both sleek and refined. 

Most noticeably, classic solitaire engagement rings retain an unfussed design to allow the diamond to take centre stage. Classic Solitaire settings pay homage to pure and minimalist design and are well known for being timeless and extremely versatile. It focuses on the purity of the diamond without any distractions.

The basic element of Classic Solitaire engagement ring design is to raise the diamond prominently, inevitably drawing in the eye. This placement highlights the beauty of the diamond, as it becomes a focal point that effortlessly commands attention. The clean lines and elevated setting emphasise a diamond's inherent beauty with their streamlined profile. Allowing light to cascade within the diamond from all sides. 

A Classic solitaire is distinguished by the angling of the claws which gradually taper in an elegant V shape towards the tip where they meet the band. Following the contours of the diamond and the natural faceting shape of the pavilion base, the solitaire is for those who appreciate timeless simplicity, focusing on the eternal beauty of the diamond and the commitment it represents. 


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The Cathedral Setting 

The Cathedral Engagement ring takes its name from the magnificent arches that gently cradle the centre diamond from either side. Reminiscent of the grandeur of ancient Gothic architecture, this sculptural setting can be distinguished by a single, main luminous diamond that is elevated above the band in all its glory with two majestic arches cascading towards the band.

The defining feature of the Cathedral Engagement ring setting are the two arches viewed from the side profile of the ring. These graceful arches begin from the shoulders engagement ring band and gracefully ascend towards a claw or bezel setting. 

As the arches extend upwards it creates a beautiful triangular profile with open space beneath. These serve as a striking and dynamic element that allows light to penetrate underneath for a light and airy appearance. Creating an ethereal quality as it permits light to pass through and play within the setting. The interplay of light within the diamond adds a dimension of depth and intrigue to the design. 

Cathedral Settings can set the diamond the highest of all the designs, with the ability to raise the centre diamond to majestic heights. Mirroring the spires of a cathedral, this style adds a touch of reality to the wearer's hand.  

These designs however don’t always need to be high profile. The pitch of the arches can range between a lower to a steeper gradient depending on the preference of elevation for the centre diamond. Refer to the slope of the setting, raising the centre to your desired height. 

The beautiful arches not only define the Cathedral Setting design, but also serve as added strength and support to the engagement ring band and add a layer of protection either side of the centre stone. Holding the diamond both prominently and securely. Cathedral Settings are the quintessential traditional solitaire design. Renowned for a timeless vintage appearance and can also feature a claw or bezel setting.


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The Verdict

With the graceful Arches or V-shaped profile that set these designs apart, these Solitaire Engagement Ring designs encapsulate the energy and sophistication that everyone is seeking. Each Cathedral Solitaire and Classic Solitaire are versatile design choices that will seamlessly complement any wearer.

The Cathedral and the Classic Solitaire Engagement Rings may both be set in 18ct White Gold, 18ct Yellow Gold, 18ct White Gold or Platinum. They lend themselves well to all diamond shapes and cuts. They might be most commonly associated with Round Brilliant Cut Diamonds, but all Cushion, Oval, Radiant, Emerald, Pear and Marquise are beautifully complemented in a Solitaire setting.   

Brides-to-be can explore the nuances of each style by adding decorative elements or opulent details.
Subtle variations in these designs present engagement rings with diamond encrusted bands, wraparound basket settings or hidden halos. to create truly unique designs. In ways which are both evocative and signify your everlasting love. 

Both the Cathedral and Classic Solitaires can boast open settings such as a four-claw or six-claw design to allow an impressive amount of light to enter. These iconic settings reflect and refract light brilliantly, as they capture the maximum amount of light to create an unrivalled sparkle. With these open settings, they offer flexibility to be crafted at higher or lower profiles. 

With Cathedral and Classic Solitaire engagement rings, the height between the band and the diamond is designed to allow endless options for pairing wedding bands. We have to acknowledge their timeless designs and versatility. To sit flush and mix and match effortlessly with many wedding band designs.

It’s safe to say that the simplicity in these styles should not be underestimated. These open and light-filled designs offer endless options for brides-to-be and can rest assured that they will not be a passing trend. The silhouette of one single stone that enhances the size of the centre diamond and a purity in their essence means these are two designs that everyone continues to succumb to their allure. 

The sculptural arches of the Cathedral or the V shaped profile of the Classic Solitaire we believe will remain timeless for many years to come. 

Which would you choose for your Engagement Ring? 


To begin designing your Engagement Ring in Melbourne, request you appointment by filling out our form below. 


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