Last updated on April 10, 2023
The east-west jewellery setting is a popular design technique that has taken the jewellery industry by storm. Its origins can be traced back to the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s, and it has remained a popular choice among jewellery designers ever since.
Origin and History of the East-West Jewellery Setting
The east-west jewellery setting is a popular style that positions the gemstone horizontally across the piece, rather than in the traditional vertical position. While this style has recently gained popularity, its origin can be traced back to ancient times.
One of the earliest examples of an east-west setting can be seen in the jewellery of the ancient Egyptians. They used a technique called bezel setting, where the gemstone is set within a thin metal rim that surrounds the stone’s edges. The bezel allowed the stone to be set horizontally and positioned flush with the band.
In the early 20th century, the east-west setting saw a resurgence in popularity during the Art Deco era. During this time, jewellery designers began experimenting with new and modern designs, including the horizontal positioning of gemstones. The style was a departure from the traditional vertical setting, which had been the norm for centuries. Influenced by the modernist movement, the design featured bold, geometric shapes and coloured stones such as rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
During the 1950s, the east-west setting remained widespread, particularly in engagement rings. The style was often used with elongated gemstones such as marquise or pear-shaped diamonds, which were set horizontally in a simple metal band.
Today, the east-west setting is often used in various jewellery designs, from rings to necklaces to bracelets and can be found in a range of materials, from traditional metals like gold and silver to more contemporary materials like titanium and stainless steel.
Benefits and Drawbacks of East-West Jewellery Setting
The east-west setting offers some benefits making it an excellent choice for those seeking a unique and modern piece. It showcases the gemstone’s width and is generally more comfortable to wear. The horizontal orientation creates a lower profile, meaning the jewellery sits flush against the skin, reducing the risk of snagging or catching. Also, the east-west style can provide increased durability due to the gemstone’s positioning, which helps to distribute pressure more evenly across the setting.
The east-west setting is a versatile and contemporary choice for a wide range of jewellery designs as the horizontal position of the gemstone allows for greater flexibility in design, creating a unique and modern look that stands out from traditional jewellery styles.
While the east-west setting offers benefits, some drawbacks should be considered before choosing this jewellery setting style.
One of the disadvantages is that it can be challenging to find a stone suitable for this setting style. The horizontal positioning of the stone means that it needs to be elongated, making it hard to find the right stone size and shape.
Another drawback of the east-west setting is that it can be more challenging to clean and maintain than traditional vertical settings. The horizontal positioning of the gemstone can make it harder to clean and remove dirt and debris that may accumulate over time. However, with proper care and consideration, east-west setting jewellery can be a beautiful and unique addition to any collection.
East-West Setting vs Traditional Setting
The east-west and the traditional vertical settings are two popular styles of jewellery design that offer different benefits and drawbacks. Let’s compare and contrast these two to help you decide the right choice.
The main difference between the east-west and traditional vertical settings is the design. The traditional setting positions the gemstone vertically, with the stone set in a way that highlights its length. The east-west setting, on the other hand, positions the stone horizontally, with the stone set in a way that highlights its width.
The traditional vertical setting tends to create a more classic and traditional look, while the east-west offers a more modern and unique look. The horizontal positioning of the gemstone in the east-west setting allows for greater versatility in the design, making it perfect for statement pieces or more intricate and complex designs.
Another difference between the two settings is the level of comfort when wearing the jewellery piece. The traditional vertical setting can sometimes feel bulky or heavy, particularly if the gemstone is large or the piece is designed to be worn on a particular finger or wrist. The east-west setting, on the other hand, tends to be more comfortable, as the horizontal positioning of the gemstone allows it to sit more flush against the skin.
Maintenance is another factor to consider when comparing the east-west and traditional settings. The traditional setting can be easier to clean and maintain, as the vertical position of the gemstone makes it easier to access and clean. The horizontal positioning of the stone in the east-west setting can make it harder to clean and remove dirt or debris that may accumulate over time.
Finally, the choice of the gemstone can also impact the decision between the east-west and traditional vertical settings. The east-west setting tends to work best with elongated stones such as emerald, elongated cushion, marquise, pear or oval cut, while the traditional setting is better suited to round or square stones.
In conclusion, the choice between east-west and traditional vertical settings ultimately depends on personal style and preference. The traditional setting offers a classic and timeless look, while the east-west setting provides a unique and modern design.
Featured image: Jewelry Design House