Engagement rings are one of the most personal pieces of jewelry you’ll ever wear, making it the perfect opportunity to express your individuality. One way to really create something unique and make a statement without sacrificing any elegance is through an unconventional setting. This is where the east-west ring shines – literally! But what is the east-west ring, why is it so great, and should you actually consider it? Read on, we’ve got all the details for why this setting is one you need to know about.
What is an East West Engagement Ring?
East West rings are oriented horizontally
Most engagement ring settings are placed in a vertical fashion, or pointing up and down from your palm to your fingertip. Sometimes referred to as north-south, the east-west ring flips this setting on its side so the center stone is now turned horizontally and lays perpendicular to your finger. This small shift creates a very modern and chic look without straying too far from a classic sophistication.
When it comes to diamond cuts for this setting, you’ll want to turn to all of the elongated shapes – think emerald, oval, marquise, pear, and even cushion if the length to width ratio is more rectangular. Once the diamond is set horizontally, it can completely change the mood and personality of your ring, and it comes with a whole host of other benefits as well.
What does an east-west setting do for the ring?
Besides making an immediate bold and unexpected statement, setting your diamond in an east-west setting comes with quite a few perks:
This setting can be designed as minimally as you want or spruced up to be a fancy showstopper, and everything in between. For those who want a minimal look with a solitaire stone, the east-west setting still allows for a master stroke of originality. And for those who want every special detail they dream of to be realized, the east-west ring can accommodate and still stand out among all the additional features.
Mass Modern Appeal
The small twist to the setting gives an east-west ring a big jolt of personality resulting in an unconventional and refreshingly cool aesthetic. It’s a perfect choice for those who want to have something unique to express their distinct individuality, but also don’t want to go too far from a classic and traditional look. The east-west setting is unexpected and striking, highlighting the beauty, sparkle, and shape of the gemstone.
East-west settings typically feature elongated shapes. In general, these shapes tend to maximize the carat weight at any size, but they look even more substantial when placed in this setting. It’s a play of proportion and surface area since the horizontal gemstone takes up a lot of space on the finger and appears to create more coverage than a more classic design.
What diamond shapes work best with an east-west setting?
Elongated shapes are going to leave the biggest impression in an east-west setting that will perfectly accentuate the proportion of those shapes. You’ll want to focus on oval, emerald, marquise, pear, and even cushion cuts. But keep in mind that each shape will have its own unique features when set as an east-west ring.
Oval cut diamonds can appear almost 1.5 times the size of an equivalent carat weight round brilliant diamond. So turning that stone horizontal is going to really maximize the apparent size of the diamond. Beware the bow-tie effect, though. It becomes even more important to inspect stones for a strong bow-tie effect because it can be an accentuated feature in an east-west look.
The clear, chic sophistication of an emerald cut looks so cool and fresh when set as an east-west ring. The emerald cut provides a ton of versatility in their range of proportions. A shorter emerald allows for more space on the band to add some side stones or a bezel setting while a longer emerald is the perfect candidate for a standout solitaire design.
When set as an east-west diamond, the marquise cut perfectly resembles the famous lips for which the cut was famously created. When a marquise cut goes horizontal, it’s possibly the most unexpected look. It’s also incredibly practical because those two sharp points can be better protected and end up catching on clothes far less.
So far we’ve only talked about symmetrical shapes for the east-west setting, but the pear cut is about to upend all of that. The pear cut provides an exceptionally unique and fun way to use the east-west setting. You can choose which direction you want the pointed end of the pear to face and open up lots of opportunities to create a cool, asymmetrical look.
If you have more of a rectangular cushion cut, the east-west setting is going to create a lovely soft look with a bit of edge. The rounded sides and corners of the cushion cut and fiery flashes of brilliance create a sweet and romantic look with an undeniably modern take from the gemstone tipped on its side.
How do you design an east-west engagement ring?
The east-west setting is a modern statement all on its own, but the real beauty of flipping your stone horizontally is how versatile the look is with lots of styling options.
A stunning solitaire is always a classic choice. Flip the center stone on its side, like we did with our Autry, and you have an instant, modern update to a timeless style. For the gorgeous 1 carat emerald cut diamond, we used a mixed metal setting to accentuate the clean and crisp diamond.
Added brilliance and sparkle is never a bad thing in an engagement ring, and a halo setting is the perfect way to accomplish that without detracting from the east-west look. In our Quinlynn, we’ve taken a pear cut diamond, surrounded it with a diamond halo, and placed all of it in yellow gold.
If you love the east-west setting, you can go all in on the horizontal look and add side stones to really elongate the center stone. In our Charleen, we’ve paired an east-west set oval diamond with two sparkly side stones and a pavé-set band for a classically romantic look. Then for an ultra sleek modern look, we paired side stone clusters and a glorious oval diamond in bezel settings made of platinum in our one-of-a-kind Emmanuelle.
And if you love a nature-inspired and organic look for your engagement ring, the east-west setting is a perfect accompaniment. We put this concept to play with our special Tanya, which features a lovely east-west set pear cut diamond nestled at the heart of a rose gold band that resembles natural vines or branches. And for some extra sparkle, the band is organically dotted with small diamonds.
The east-west style engagement ring offers an aesthetic that can completely change the way you view your ring – all with a little flip. Whether you choose to go big and dramatic or opt for minimalist elegance, the east-west setting is sure to bring joy with every passing day. Just pick your favorite elongated diamond cut and you can’t go wrong!