East-West & Diagonal Settings In Rings Explained

Want to stray form the traditional settings ? Perhaps the rings you’re looking for are missing something very simple, but hard to find. Simply twisting a diamond in its setting can make your ring very different from most other people’s, and it might just be the look you’re going for. The usual setting is a north-south one, the one where elongated shapes run the length of your finger. But what about turning the diamond sideways ? What about setting it at a angle or diagonal ?

Those are the east west ring, and the diagonal ring, both rising in popularity as more and more brides want something special, something their friends aren’t wearing. So let’s take a look at these two alternative settings, and how they affect your diamond.

What is an east west set ring ?

An east west setting has the diamond run from left to right, instead of up-down. This means an emerald cut diamond won’t look skinny, it will look wide. This setting style has been around for a while now but is only now gaining popularity. Most diamonds can be set in an east west setting. Of course, a round brilliant won’t look any different since it’s a round shape. But an elongated cushion ? A marquise ? They’d look fresh.

What diamond shapes look best east-west ?

Elongated and symmetrical shapes, like emerald cut, oval, marquise, elongated radiant or cushion, or a baguette. These are the shapes you will have the most success with as an east west setting.

Perhaps the most common and easy to find as a pre-made are ovals and emerald cuts. A jeweler will be able to set elongated radiants and cushions, and even baguettes, but finding these are ready-made jewelry is not easy.

East-west and diagonal set rings

What is a diagonal set ring ?

A diagonal setting has the diamond turned on one of its points, much like the compass setting for 4 prongs. Some retailers may have the diagonal setting labeled as diagonal setting. This method makes the diamond look a bit larger, since it’s very different from the usual north-south setting.

Do keep in mind that wearing this setting style will resemble wearing a traditional marquise or pear, you will have two pointed ends that will elongate the finger but may not work for everyone. The way this looks is heavily dependent on exactly which diamond shape you’re wearing.

What diamond shapes look best in a diagonal setting ?

Symmetrical squared shapes like princess, squared cushions and radiants, Asschers. These shapes work the best because all their sides are the same length (for the most part), so they form a very pleasing diamond shape.

Perhaps the easiest to find is the diagonal princess, followed by the diagonal Asscher. Both look great in diagonal settings an offer a whole new look and emphasize the angular, futuristic feel of these diamond shapes.

Read also: Double Prong VS Single Prong Setting

Both diagonal and east west are a modern take on the traditional setting

You’ve noticed that east west and diagonal setting are very different looking from the traditional north south. This is a great way to make your engagement ring stand out form the crowd without altering the design too much, or adding too many extra stones, or getting overly creative with the ring.

Just something simple, like turning the diamond around, can have a huge impact. And if you’re the type who likes very minimalist jewelry or don’t want to wear too much, then solitaires are really the best thing. And what could be better than a solitaire that’s east west or diagonal set ?

Even if you want something more complex, not just a solitaire, you can easily incorporate something extra into the ring. For example maybe your diagonal set princess is actually a twist setting, with graduating diamonds going down the ring shank ? Maybe the east west oval is wrapped in a bezel with a leaf/vine motif ? Or an east west oval with three tiny marquise diamonds at each end set at an angle, to frame the center diamond ?

There are so many ways you can spice up your ring with either of these settings !

East west settings are great optical illusions

Perhaps one of the biggest perks of wearing your diamond east west is that it will tend to look bigger. This is because the eye will be drawn to the general direction of the diamond, and in this case it will run left to right. The more space it take up at the bottom of your finger, the larger the diamond appears, since it seems to cover more surface area. Turn the same diamond north west and your finger will look skinnier, since the eye will go up-down, the way the diamond runs.

2ct emerald cut moissanite ring, double-prong set in 10k gold. See it on Amazon

So east west is a really great way of getting more bang for your buck, as long as your diamond is up to two carats. Anything bigger than that and the effect won’t be as dramatic.

Also, do not get a stone that is very large and might take up all of the base of your finger. It will appear thicker than you might want it to look.

Diagonal settings can look futuristic, angular

A great thing about diagonal settings is how absolutely different the diamond looks when you turn the viewing direction, especially with diamonds that have very splintery facets. For example princess cuts, they’re so sharp-looking and when you set them diagonally they will look like high-end jewelry from 3033, simply because we’re not used to seeing them as diamond shapes, only squares.

Princess cut aquamarine set in 14k gold. See it on Amazon.

The same goes for Asscher cuts. Turn them diagonally and you’ve got a very angular, futuristic, and mesmerizing, like a cube constantly folding and rearranging itself.

Cushion cut aquamarine with accent diamonds, split shank, set in 14k gold. See it on Amazon. 

This effect is lessened with square radiants and cushions, but they still look great. They might benefit from a couple of side stones, more than the princess or the Asscher. Keep in mind that if you want to get a square cushion or radiant in a diagonal setting, these are quite rare and you might need a jeweler since ready-made ones are nearly impossible to find.

Do pear diamonds look better east west or diagonal ?

You may have noticed we didn’t say much about pear shapes in this post. It’s to do with the fact that pears are elongated but not symmetrical. Both east west and diagonal settings rely on the diamond being symmetrical, so both ends being the same. With a pear, that doesn’t happen.

But this leaves room for extra creativity! Remember Meghan Fox’s engagement ring from Machinegun Kelly ? Two pears, one diamond one emerald, set at an angle to form an off-center heart.

On their own we don’t think pears look great in anything other than a north-south traditional setting. But if you’re going for a multi-stone ring, such as a toi-et-moi ring, or a cluster ring, then pears will look great in any of these two settings.

Blue sapphire pear set in bypass ring, in platinum. See it on Amazon.

If you don’t want traditional north south pears, you can go for bypass rings ,where the pear is set at an angle, and sometimes there could be another gem or diamond near the tip of the pear. These shapes (pears) are beautiful but so very different form others that it’s a bit hard to find the right setting for them. An east west set pear will be heavier on one side, the rounded side. A diagonal setting for a pear is, in fact, just setting the pear’s point downwards, so still a north south setting.