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What is a Floating Diamond Ring?

12 mins read time
What is a Floating Diamond Ring?

The ephemeral magic of romance is undeniable. But before the epic love stories of our lives unfold, oftentimes, our first experience with magic comes from optical illusions—dazzling us with their dances of light and shape that seem to ascend the laws of physics.

A floating diamond ring marries the magic of romance and optical illusions together.

Many jewelry mavens swear that the floating diamond is the most romantic setting for a ring. As the name may suggest, the diamond appears to simply “float” in mid-air, as if by magic. In reality, it’s a clever bit of metalwork that can make a diamond appear larger than it actually is.

If you’re shopping for a wedding band, engagement ring, or a bit of sparkle to adorn your own digits, a floating diamond is an elegant and artful choice. Although floating diamonds can exist beautifully on bracelets and necklaces, today, we’ll focus on the timeless and sophisticated charm of a floating diamond ring.

What Are the Characteristics of a Floating Diamond Ring?

The mesmerizing floating diamond ring is an elevated piece that you simply can’t look away from. The floating diamond, like a floating diamond wedding band or a floating diamond eternity band, has become a popular choice for people who want to add a little extra sparkle to their ring. But what exactly makes these rings so unique and coveted?

Here are just some of the reasons behind the style’s appeal:

  • Illusory – Floating diamond rings rely on optical illusion. Because the diamond “floats” above the band, presto change-o—the diamond magically appears larger than it actually is. It’s the love spell you’ll be happy to fall into for years to come.
  • Lightweight – Floating diamond rings don’t rely on a band or tons of metal prongs to keep the stone in place. Although prongs may not seem like they weigh anything substantial, your finger will be able to tell the difference. (Especially if you wear the ring every hour of every day.)
  • Comfortable – Because floating diamond rings don’t rely on those heavy metal closures, they’re also more comfortable to wear. The band can sit more comfortably around your finger without the band digging in around the setting. When you’re shopping for forever, comfort is paramount.
  • Easy to clean – Because the diamond is positioned up and away from the band, it is easier for a professional to clean. (And clean diamonds are more vibrant diamonds.) If you want your diamond to shine forever, this could be the perfect setting for you.

What is the History of the Floating Diamond?

Although the visual appeal of the floating diamond is priceless, the story behind the jeweled illusion is more modern than you might expect.

Because there are several different methods of making a diamond appear to float, there are a few stories about who came up with the first technique. The truth depends on the type of setting you’re investigating, which is why you can also find a floating diamond necklace.

Though there are a few different jewelry designers that have perfected the floating technique in different ways, one of the most notably claimed inventors of the original craft is Ian Douglas, a jeweler from Wellington.1

An Engineering Marvel

Around the turn of the century, Douglas and his team embarked on the seemingly impossible feat of engineering a diamond that could sit securely on a ring without prongs. The odds were against them—and the multiple years of failed testing appeared to agree with fateful failure.

It took twenty years of trial and error alongside strong materials, precise laser cuts, and perhaps a little bit of the magic the very design exudes to complete the masterpiece.1

Since then, Wellington’s miracle diamond along with other versions of the floating diamond, have been seen sparkling upon the hands, wrists, and decolletages of stunning and notable celebrities: Blake Lively, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Marion Cotillard, to name a few.2 And because of its design, it can go with almost any precious metal, such as rose gold, 14k white gold, yellow gold, platinum, or silver. But the floating diamond doesn't have to be alone, it can also be surrounded with accent diamonds. The center stone doesn't have to be a diamond either. The point is floating design has a timeless elegance that does with any floating diamond ring setting or center stone.

How Does the Floating Diamond Work?

Just like a trained magician knows how to make his assistant disappear behind a velvet sheet, an experienced jeweler can make a diamond appear to float through several different methods:

  • Tension – This is when a diamond is held in place by pressure instead of prongs or fasteners. Typically, the band will appear to be split in two, with the diamond floating between the two ends. It uses the principle of compression to hold the diamond between two pieces of metal. This is a highly unique style of ring and one that draws a lot of admiration because it allows the viewer to see the center diamond from every angle—in all its glory and brilliance.
  • Pavé setting – The pavé setting is a more standard floating ring variant and holds the floating diamond in place with several small prongs. These prongs can be made of metal or another type of plating, like rhodium. Typically the metal that is used for the prongs will match the color of the gem and further the illusion that it’s floating.
  • Halo rings – This magical and angelic effect surrounds a diamond with smaller diamonds called melees. It’s an eye-catching and glittering look that can add a tiered effect to your floating diamond, making it appear that your diamond dipped down from the pearly gates themselves (and didn’t it?) Halo rings also have the added bonus of making the center diamond appear even larger.
  • Eternity band – If you spot a diamond ring that looks like it is floating out of an infinity sign (like a sideways number 8), you’ve spotted an eternity band. This effect is achieved by what’s known as “floating arches.” A basket design lifts the diamond up and holds it in a sort of bridge. This provides the security of prongs without the look of them.
  • Bypass – This is an artful and old-fashioned way of making a diamond appear to float. With a bypass setting, the ring’s band appears to have two ends. These ends never meet in the middle but instead wrap around the diamond and hold it in place. In addition to being functional, it can be a romantic and symbolic setting. The Victorians said this type of ring symbolized two souls meeting.
  • Are Floating Diamond Rings Secure?

    The most important factor in the security of your floating diamond engagement ring is not the style of ring that you choose but the craftsmanship of the jeweler who made it.

    If you have chosen a well-practiced jeweler, there is no reason that your diamond should fall out of its floating setting. The diamond will be firmly held in place through one of the following methods:

    • Tension
    • Bars
    • Prongs
    • Open bezels

    Although the floating diamond may appear more exposed, the experts behind the scenes have ensured through rigorous testing that it will be secure with regular wear.

    Of course, if you find yourself doing extensive manual labor or bumping your ring against a hard material, the setting could begin to move, and the diamond could come loose. Should this happen, bring your ring to your jeweler to have it reset. Regular maintenance will ensure that your floating diamond ring will last you a lifetime.

    What Should I Consider Before Purchasing a Floating Diamond?

    Because a floating diamond is more exposed than its pronged counterparts, it may not be the perfect choice for a wearer with an extremely active lifestyle. Keep in mind that although the ring should stay securely on the band, the extra exposure of the diamond can cause snagging on items like:

    • Tights
    • Towels
    • Bedding
    • Clothing

    However, surprisingly, this style is often beloved by people who work in the healthcare industry. Because the floating diamond is exposed, it is more easily cleaned than a diamond encased in a band. You may not be required to take your jewelry off to abide by health codes.

    How Can I Select the Perfect Floating Diamond?

    There are several factors to bear in mind when you purchase a piece of forever jewelry like a floating diamond ring. You’ll want to look for:

    • An experienced jeweler – When purchasing a ring to be worn until the end of time, it’s important that you trust your jeweler. Look for someone with years of experience who can bring your dream creation to life.
    • A suitable value – Purchasing jewelry requires you to weigh the up-front cost versus the value it will bring to your life. Look for a jeweler who balances value with quality.
    • An ethical choice – Your diamond jewelry should be a source of peace. If conflict-free diamonds are important to you, Look for a jeweler who upholds that value.

    Let Noémie Design the Floating Diamond Ring of Your Dreams

    You may want to fall in love with the beautiful illusion of a floating diamond ring, but the jeweler you choose should be illusion-free.

    For your next floating diamond or other exquisite jewelry, trust Noémie.

    Because Noémie sells directly to our customers, we cut the prohibitive costs that weigh down brick-and-mortar stores. That allows us to offer you a brilliant investment diamond at a fraction of the price. Plus, our jewelry is built to withstand everyday life, providing fine, conflict-free materials to endure through time.

    When you’re ready to purchase your timeless floating diamond ring, browse our selection of classic fine jewelry, which also includes Chevron rings (Click here to learn how to wear a Chevron ring). If the diamond ring of your dreams isn’t there, create one completely customized to your desires. Allow our skilled team to bring your custom design requests to life. The entire process is risk-free, with zero design fees and 100% free returns.



    1. Jeweler Magazine. Jeweller has major breakthrough with ‘floating diamond’ invention. https://www.jewellermagazine.com/Article/10256/Jeweller-has-major-breakthrough-with-floating-diamond-invention

    2. Vogue. Blake Lively, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, and Marion Cotillard Add a Modern Twist to the Diamond Necklace at Cannes. https://www.vogue.com/article/blake-lively-rosie-huntington-whiteley-marion-cotillard-cannes-film-festival-jewelry

    3. Brides. Tension-Set Engagement Rings: The Complete Guide. https://www.brides.com/tension-setting-5025042

    4. Gem Collector. Illusion Setting. https://www.gemcollector.com/en-us/learning-library/terms/illusion%20setting/
    5. Gemological Institute of America. Buying Guide: Colored Gemstone Engagement Rings. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/colored-gemstone-engagement-rings-buying-guide/
    6. Gemological Institute of America. Engagement Ring Settings to Make Your Diamond Look Bigger. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/engagement-ring-settings-that-make-diamond-look-bigger/