Basket Setting vs Prong Setting: Which Looks Better?

Want to know the difference between a basket setting and a prong setting? 

You're in the right place. In this Learning Guide, I'll answer the top questions about these two setting styles: 

basket setting vs prong setting
  • Does a prong setting protect a diamond better?
  • Which setting is more expensive?
  • Are 8 prongs better than 4 prongs?

Main Differences between Basket Setting vs Prong Setting

The main differences between a basket setting and a prong setting are:

  • In a basket setting, the prongs are part of a basket attached to the ring shank, whereas in prong settings, the prongs usually extend from the metal band to the center stone. 
  • Basket settings can be harder to clean, whereas prong settings are easier.
  • Basket settings tend to cost more because they use more metal, whereas prong settings don't use as much metal.
  • A basket setting is a type of prong setting, whereas a prong setting has many different variations.

The Confusion in Engagement Ring Settings

You probably think you know about engagement ring settings. We've only heard about the most popular settings for years. You know them: the solitaire setting, the halo setting, or the increasingly popular, bezel settings.

However this is only a small fraction of engagement ring setting styles. These engagement rings we've all heard of focus on the way the center stone is set.

The type of ring setting style for an engagement ring isn't always based on the center stone. For example, a flush setting style describes an engagement ring whose center stone is flush with the shank. They can be be bezel settings, halo settings, or tension settings. The only requisite to being a flush setting is that the ring head sits flush with the band.

Today, we're comparing the basket setting with the prong setting to help you narrow down your choices to search for the perfect ring.

Appearance

There are some major similarities between prong and basket settings. However, there are some key differences too. Let's check out the cosmetic comparison of these ring styles.

Basket Setting

A basket setting is where the center stone in an engagement ring is held up by horizontal bands of metal shaped like a basket. Some are very simple, while others can be more complex with vintage detailing.

basket3
basket2

Just like our example about some halo settings also being flush settings, basket settings can also be other known ring settings. If a cathedral setting has a basket, it's also basket setting. Most cathedral ring settings couldn't be classified as a flush setting, because their profiles tend to be a higher setting.

In fact, our cathedral basket setting is actually a type of prong setting. That's right. If any type of ring setting also has a basket underneath, it's also a basket setting.

Prong Setting

In the same way, halo settings aren't classified as prong settings, even though they have small prongs. Traditional prong settings have traditional prongs extending over the stone, that start from the ring's band. Halo ring settings don't. Prong settings can have be a high setting or a low setting.

4prongsetting1
4prongsetting2

There are many types of prong settings, and the most popular prong setting is the iconic Tiffany setting, which was made popular by Tiffany and Co. This style is characterized by its low height and 6 prongs that hold the stone in a very distinctly "Tiffany" way. However, it would be more appropriate to refer to this prong setting as a "Tiffany-style" settings, since Tiffany is a copyrighted brand and ring design.

6prongtiffanystyle
6prongtiffanystyle

The appearance of a prong setting is broken further down into the styles of the prongs themselves. There are claw prongs, flat-tab prongs, button prongs, round prongs, and V shaped prong.

One advantage a typical prong diamond ring has over the basket diamond ring is its maximum light performance, also known as diamond sparkle. The standard prong setting with four prongs lets in more light than a six or eight prong set diamond.

A prong design features an open view of the diamond's brilliance from all angles. Even between the prongs, there's enough space to allow a generous amount of light to reflect and refract back out of the diamond. Majority of the bottom of the diamond in a basket ring is blocked by other objects like your basket or metal details. Round diamonds may not sparkle as well as they would in open settings. However, the culet of the diamond is better protected. Basket rings will still sparkle, no doubt about it, so don't let that deter you.

Durability

Both setting styles are suitable for an engagement ring to be worn for years to come. However, there are some things you should know that are specific to each one.

Basket Setting

Most basket settings have short prongs. This allows the center stone to be held securely by the prongs and almost sit into the basket. Short prongs can be nice because they don't extend over the surface of your stone and they're less likely to catch on fabrics.

You should be careful when you choose wedding bands for a basket setting. Often times basket settings have a lot of metal. If your engagement ring and wedding band isn't soldered, the two could rub against each other, creating wear on the side of the metal band.

basket setting
basket setting

You'll want to be careful about knocking them on anything either. If you have an active lifestyle, you might want to put your basket setting away for safekeeping when you do those activities. Short prongs don't really leave much leeway for a center stone to become loose, rather than end up completely missing.

Prong Setting

A prong engagement ring is said to be better for people with active lifestyles. However, a bezel setting is considered to have more security than most common settings. It has no prongs at all. But in general, prong settings can be suitable if you have a busy lifestyle.

You can even get added security for a larger stone by choosing a double prongs, like double claw prongs. A Six or Eight prong engagement ring is great for an added layer of protection. Although, you'll want to keep in mind that too many prongs could mess with the diamond's sparkle.

Cost 

Nailing down the cost comparison of a basket and prong setting is hard to do. An engagement ring price is usually about the center stone and the karat gold it is. A number of different cost factors go into it, but the biggest factors have more to do with the diamond and the how many small diamonds are in the ring setting. More diamonds generally equates to more expensive.

If I had to make an educated guess, a basket would probably cost more than a traditional prong setting. Some prong-set engagement rings can be pretty complex and use lots of precious metal. However, most of them are 4, 6, or 8 prongs that stem from horizontal bands used with minimal metal.

The basket in a basket setting is more complex and uses more precious metal than your standard prong setting. Even if you have 6 or 8 prongs, they're usually pretty skinny.

It's popular for basket settings to have accent stones encrusted around the basket, thus making the cost higher. That's not to say that all basket settings will be more expensive, because that's not always the case.

Here are two settings for basket style and traditional prong style rings to give you an idea of the price to match with the complexity.

Pavé Knife Edge Lotus Basket Engagement Ring ($1510)

lotus basket setting james allen
lotus basket setting james allen

Note that these prices are for the setting only, without a center gemstone included. Prices are subjected to change.

Split Prong Engagement Ring ($1620)

prong set engagement ring james allen
prong set engagement ring james allen

Conclusion

At the end of the day, choosing the right setting between a basket setting and a prong setting is up to your personal preferences. 

There are so many different engagement ring styles to choose from to craft your dream ring. Each style has their own set of pros and cons. You just need to decide if they work for you and your lifestyle. Happy Ring Hunting! 


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