Halo vs Cluster Engagement Rings

If you’ve been searching for an engagement ring, it’s likely you are no stranger to these two popular types of settings - halo and cluster. Both settings can significantly alter the look, size and style of an engagement ring, which makes choosing the perfect one for your partner an important decision to get right. 

What doesn’t help is that in some ways, the two types of setting are similar. However, each has its own very distinct differences too, meaning there may only be one that is perfectly suited to your partner’s preference, taste and lifestyle. 

Can’t choose between the two? Read on to discover all there is to know about halo and cluster ring settings, and let your decision become that much easier.

What is a halo engagement ring setting? 

A halo engagement ring refers to a setting which features small diamond stones set side by side in a ring (halo) around a central stone. A diamond halo can surround anything from a larger diamond, to a sapphire, ruby or emerald, or any other precious gemstone. 

The diamond halo is generally set in a pavé style, whereby the small stones sit closely and securely next to one another. A halo can also surround a central stone cut in any shape or style, including round brilliant cut, oval cut, marquise cut, emerald cut and more. 

When placed around a diamond, a halo can help it appear larger, regardless of its carat weight. The small ring of stones also adds an extra element of brilliance to the overall design. This is because the tiny, closely set stones give off their own sparkle and fire, which is in addition to the allure of the diamond or gemstone that sits in its centre. 

What is a cluster engagement ring setting? 

A cluster engagement ring setting refers to a group of small diamonds or gemstones placed closely together to give the illusion of one, large stone. Unlike a halo, which features a bigger central stone, a cluster setting can be created with diamonds or gems of the same size, or with a single larger one surrounded by smaller diamonds. 

A cluster often looks more crowded or as though stones are huddled, whereas a halo setting tends to be more streamlined in appearance. Some of the most charming cluster designs are those which resemble flowers or stars, with the edges of each cluster set stone adding a point, or petal-like look. 

Cluster settings were most popular during the 16th and 17th centuries, while halo settings took over in the 18th century. Today, both types of settings are desirable choices, although both present different styles. For example, a cluster set engagement ring has larger vintage appeal, whereas a halo ring tends to look more modern. 

Halo vs cluster: Which should you choose?

Although the two types of settings have their similarities and differences, they are both still suitable choices for your engagement ring. The decision comes down to your, or your partner’s personal preferences and needs. And to help you narrow your choice, there are certain criteria you should take into consideration, including durability, symbolism and the styles of ring each setting pairs best with. 





One large stone surrounded by smaller diamonds

One large stone surrounded by smaller diamonds OR group of same size stones


Streamlined & modern

Vintage inspired 


Closely set diamonds protect centre stone from snagging and chips

Diamonds or gems not always closely set so can snag if not careful


Halo ring of diamonds represents everlasting love

Various individual diamonds or gems set together represents the meeting of individual souls


Neat ring around a central stone

Crowded, huddled design

Made up of

Small diamond stones

Small diamonds or gemstones


One large diamond and more smaller ones can help keep costs down

A group of larger diamonds or gemstones can cost more

Pairs well with

All gemstones, diamonds and all metal types 

All gemstones, diamonds and all metal types 



Both halo and cluster engagement rings are designed to last a lifetime. However, you may find that certain designs are better suited to specific lifestyles. For example, a halo ring in the most classic form - closely set diamonds in a ring around the central stone - is less likely to catch or snag. Therefore, these designs are ideal for brides-to-be who are more hands on in their day to day life, as they can go about their usual business without constant worry of the condition of their ring. 

Alternatively, a cluster setting with sharper points in a star-like style, can snag if not careful. Although it is recommended that all diamond engagement rings are removed before intense or hands on activities, a cluster setting requires extra thought. However, if the wearer is less ‘hands on’ in their daily life, or is more mindful of their precious pieces of jewellery, then a cluster engagement ring is a beautiful choice. 


No matter the style or setting of an engagement ring, it will always hold meaning in your relationship. But with these two types of settings, you can ensure the ring you choose has even greater significance. 

A halo engagement ring has a number of different meanings. Firstly, the halo ring of diamonds is a symbol of everlasting love, as it has no beginning or end. For others, there is religious meaning behind the halo feature. 

As cluster engagement rings are available in various designs, there are countless interpretations and meanings for the style. For example, a cluster of diamonds or gemstones can represent the coming together of individual souls to form one partnership. In star-like designs, there is even meaning for those who are guided by astrology, fate and destiny. 

So, with so many different meanings and interpretations, couples can find significance in both styles of rings. 


Budget is often a significant determining factor when it comes to an engagement ring purchase. While there are no obvious differences with the price of the two types of ring settings, there are ways to keep the cost within your budget for both. 

For example, a traditional halo engagement ring features just one larger central stone, which is surrounded by smaller diamonds. The carat, clarity, colour and cut of the central diamond or gemstone is what carries the highest value in the overall design. Therefore, by opting for a halo ring with a smaller carat weight, or lower colour or clarity rating, it is possible to find a style within almost every budget. 

Cluster engagement rings often feature larger diamonds or gemstones, which can increase their price. Again, by carefully considering the style of the ring, for instance choosing one with smaller sized stones, or just a large central one, or by widening your choice of cuts, clarities and colours, you can find a more affordable cluster engagement ring. 

Types of halo and cluster engagement rings 

Halo and cluster engagement rings are available in a wide selection of styles. Therefore, it is likely you will find a design to suit all tastes and preferences. For example, one of today’s most popular styles of engagement ring consists of a round brilliant diamond with diamond halo on a lustrous white gold ring. For any trendy bride-to-be, a ring of this kind is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression. 

Alternatively, for a bride-to-be with a more vintage inspired sense of style, an emerald cut diamond engagement ring with diamond halo is a suitable choice. This style is reminiscent of the Art Deco period, while the bright, fiery design is also modern and glamorous. Or, a cluster engagement ring with a sapphire centre has a timeless appeal, particularly when placed on a yellow gold ring. 

Undeniably, both types of engagement rings are appealing choices, with not one coming above the other in a number of different conditions. The choice, therefore, simply comes down to personal preference. 

Think you’ve found the perfect setting? Browse our collections of halo and cluster engagement rings to now find your ideal ring. 

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