The prong setting is the most common and popular type of mounting used for engagement rings. Prong settings are incredibly versatile and can provide excellent security for a center diamond or gemstone. A timeless, elegant and sleek style, prong settings allow more light to interact with the stone, maximizing brilliance and enhancing the overall look of the stone. But there’s a lot more to know about prong settings before you can decide if it’s right for you.
What is a Prong Ring Setting?
Prong Setting 101
The concept of a prong setting is very straightforward. Basically, prongs are thin, small strips of metal that extend upward from the band creating a cone-like cradle to hold the center stone. Once the diamond or gemstone is properly seated inside, the ends of the prongs are bent inwards toward the stone to hold it securely in place.
Although the prong setting is well-known everywhere, a mere 135 years ago, it was a newcomer on the jewelry scene. In 1886, Charles Lewis Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. debuted the 6-prong setting. In the midst of the Victorian period characterized by low-set gemstones with heavy embellishments and engravings on the band, Tiffany sought to show off their high-quality gems in an uncomplicated and elegant design. Using minimal metal and a raised mount, the Tiffany setting was born, and it revolutionized the look of engagement rings.
- - Minimal metal coverage against the stone allows for more light to hit the gemstone, maximizing a diamond’s brilliance.
- - Easily customizable to raise or lower the setting height, the prong setting is able to accommodate a variety of diamond shapes and sizes.
- - While a secure setting, the prong setting offers less protection to the exposed girdle areas of the diamond.
- - Prongs are prone to getting snagged on clothing and furniture, and if they’re pulled hard enough, they could weaken or break.
Six prong engagement ring
Types of Prong Settings
Most prong settings feature either 4 or 6 prongs in the mounting and rounded prongs are the most common style. But prongs can be crafted into many different looks including a double prong, flat tab, claw (also double claw or petite claw), button, v-prong or any number of custom designed prongs.
The most common type of prong finishing, button prongs cover a small area of the diamond’s surface and when viewed from above, look like small dots, or buttons, hence the name. The prongs extend just above the girdle of the diamond, finishing in a rounded head to securely hold the diamond.
Also called pointed prongs, the claw prong covers less of the outline of the diamond, but they extend further over the diamond’s surface than a round prong. Variations of the claw prong include the petite claw (a smaller version) and the double claw (each prong is split as a double prong).
A double prong setting gives the illusion that the prongs are slimmer looking compared to a single solid prong. Double prongs can be rounded or pointed, hold a diamond very securely, and are great for larger diamonds since they add safety without appearing large.
Button prong ring
Claw prong ring
Double claw prong ring
Flat Tab Prong
Sometimes just called tab prongs, this style is very modern and sleek. They have a lower profile, so are less likely to snag on things. They appear as a flattened prong with a squared-off edge.
Just like it sounds, the v-prong fits around the diamond’s point in a “v” shape. This specific prong works very well for protecting the vulnerable points of a pear, princess or marquise cut diamond. The shape also flows well with the natural shape of the diamond, so is less intrusive.
For a more stylized prong setting, the tulip prong setting holds a diamond in place by forming a basket in the shape of a flower bulb with the prongs stretching up like a flower’s petals. This style does use more metal around the stone, so less visible brilliance may occur.
The versatility of the prong setting is one of its best features. For example, embellishments and engravings can adorn a prong, making it resemble a leaf or a vine to perfectly match a nature-inspired look.
Tab prong ring
V prong ring
Tulip prong ring
Prong Setting Considerations
A prong setting is an unmistakably classic and timeless look, and are typically regarded as having far more benefits than drawbacks.
Can Make the Center Stone Appear Larger
A prong setting elevates the center stone above the band thus serving to highlight it and set it off from the rest of the ring. This feature, along with the thin look of the prongs that leave the stone unobstructed, can make the center stone appear larger.
Maximizes a Stone’s Brilliance
Since the stone is elevated and the prongs themselves are so minimal and sleek, more light is able to enter and interact with the stone. All this extra light creates a lustrous and brilliant gemstone.
Incredibly Versatile Style
Prong settings are universally used in all styles of engagement ring designs. Whether you’re considering a solitaire, pavé, halo, three stone, vintage-inspired, nature-inspired or ultra modern, a prong setting can fulfill the look. You can also choose between a 4-prong or 6-prong setting to increase the security and durability.
A Basket Adds Strength & Security
A basket setting is a type of prong setting that adds a horizontal band of metal wrapping around the prongs. This structure creates what looks like a basket to nestle the gemstone with some additional strength and security. The basket can be incorporated with any style of prong.
Any Shape or Size Stone Will Work
All the different types of prongs that can be used in a prong setting make it compatible with any stone shape or size. V-prongs can help secure shapes with vulnerable points like princess, pear, and marquise, and double prongs can better secure larger stones.
Very Easy to Clean…and Snag
The small shape of the prongs make it ideal to clean your stone, easily reaching the sides and underside of the stone. But, prongs can more easily catch and snag on fabric or clothing, so it’s important to have quality workmanship to create properly refined prongs.
Two types of prong ring settings viewed from the side
Decorative basket ring
When to Choose a 6 Prong Setting
With a prong setting, the possibilities are really endless. As long as the ring is constructed with quality craftsmanship so the prongs are not loose or uneven, but they fit tight to the diamond at every prong, you’re going to have a great ring.
Prong settings typically look delicate. The goal of the ring is for the metal to appear minimal, but there’s a balance to strike between prongs that are too thin that could weaken and break over time, and those that are too thick so they detract from the beauty of the diamond. Our Florina is an example of a delicate, solitaire prong setting that uses a double prong without overwhelming the diamond.
The proportion of the overall look of the ring will be important when considering a prong setting. The size of the center stone shouldn’t be overpowered by the prongs, nor should the stone overwhelm the prongs – that’s not a secure setting. With our Matilda, we’ve perfectly balanced an oval diamond with a pavé rope band and hand-engraved leaf prongs.
And if you’re seeking a nature-inspired look, you can’t go wrong with a prong setting. It’s the perfect base to creatively entwine a diamond as we’ve done with our Cassia. Sculptural elements of nature create branch prongs that end in leaves to cradle a round cut diamond. And our Chely is the epitome of a tulip prong setting with a floral basket supporting four petal prongs.
A simple prong setting fits just about anything you can imagine for an engagement ring, delivering a classic, elegant and sleek look every time. Remember to retain the balance between style, proportion, and security for the stone and you’re bound to fall in love with your engagement ring!