“I love the gypsy-set design because it has very strong architectural bones,” says designer David Yurman, who created his own interpretation of the diamond setting for both men and women. “When a stone becomes a part of the structural integrity of a design rather than a decorative element, it creates a sense of unity.”
While this trendy diamond ring has a modern sensibility, the style has actually been around for centuries. “It dates back to antiquity and the Imperial Roman era,” explains Rebecca Selva, Chief Creative Officer for Fred Leighton and Kwiat. “The affluent Romans wore beautiful gypsy-set rings. It’s been modern for thousands of years.” Selva points out that it’s also known as the flush or burnish setting, since the stone is set flush with the metal band without any visible prongs, and jewelers use a burnishing tool to secure the metal setting around the diamond.
The design’s unadorned, minimalist style and sturdy construction are especially relevant today. Because of its low-profile setting, the unconventional diamond setting is a discreet, everyday design—and that is what women want today. They want jewelry they can “live in” and wear to the office, the gym, and every place in between without having to worry about its safety or fragility. The setting is popular for both engagement rings and wedding rings, as well as pinky rings, and its minimalist aesthetic also appeals to men.
I like the style because it is durable and easy to wear.Ashley Zhang
In contrast to traditional prong-settings, the gypsy setting cradles each natural diamond and thus offers extra protection around the stone. “I like the style because it is durable and easy to wear,” says New York-based designer Ashley Zhang, who created a range of the fashionable diamond ring styles featuring various stone shapes and cuts. “You don’t have to worry about prongs or a delicate setting.”
The gypsy-set ring was also a popular trend during the Victorian era, partly because it served as an alternative to the more flowery and ornate jewelry styles of the time. “It’s clean and sleek look was a welcome departure from the romantic and embellished jewels of the Victorian period,” notes Selva, who is considered an authority on period jewelry. During the Victorian era, the setting even had an extra special meaning. Designer Nina Runsdorf says that men and women wore a gypsy-set ring on their left pinky fingers to indicate they weren’t interested in marriage. At the time, it was a rebellious concept, and Runsdorf loved the idea so much she created a new series of gypsy-set pinky rings for that very reason. The collection features round natural diamonds framed in black rhodium and set in chunky gold bands. “It’s a clean, modern look with an old-world feel,” says Runsdorf, who wears one on her left pinky. “You can wear it all the time and nothing will happen to it because it’s so sturdy.”
The newest iterations of the age-old gypsy setting feature a range of diamonds, from sleek emerald cuts to big round stones set in wide bands, mainly of yellow gold. Fred Leighton offers a variety of styles, including antique and vintage gypsy-set rings for woman and men by Cartier, J.E. Caldwell & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels, and Bulgari, along with newly made creations. “It’s a style that has the spirit of modern luxury,” says Selva, who wears a vintage gypsy-set ring, adding that she loves the weighty feel of the gold on her finger. “It has a luxurious feeling, yet it’s still understated.” Sounds like a ring for the ages.