Prong Setting Types, Styles, and Ideas: A Complete Guide

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Thinking a prong setting might be the right engagement ring setting for you?

You're in the right place. In this Guide, I'll go over all your different options plus buying tips for prong settings. You'll get the answers to questions like:

prong setting types and styles
  • Are 4 or 6 prongs better?
  • What are the different types of prongs?
  • Can prong settings snag on clothes?

What is a Prong Engagement Ring Setting?

A prong setting engagement ring is a type of ring style where the center diamond or gemstone is held in place by a set of metal prongs. The metal prongs holding the diamond on engagement rings are most often crafted in gold or platinum.

Gold Prong Settings vs Platinum Prong Settings

Platinum prongs are stronger than traditional gold prong settings. Gold is a soft metal and is prone to damage if struck hard enough. Most engagement rings are crafted in 14kt gold, but many rings are also available in 18K gold. Both karat golds are suitable for daily wear, but 18K gold is likely to become damaged easier on hard impacts.

Platinum is a stronger metal that will increase the durability of your prong setting engagement ring. Platinum diamond rings are also more dense, so buyers should be aware that a platinum prong ring will feel heavier than gold ring settings.

Types of Prong Setting Engagement Rings

Engagement ring settings classified as prong settings cover a vast majority of other settings and styles. After all, a prong setting isn't dictated by the look of the metal band or placement of the accent diamonds, but how the center stone is held to the ring shank.

Four-Prong Setting vs Six-Prong Setting

The majority of prong setting diamond engagement rings have four prongs or six prongs. More often, a four-prong setting is the most common.

four prong setting

The idea of a six-prong setting is that more prongs provide more security for the center stone of your engagement ring. Makes sense, right?

six prong setting

But no matter how many prongs you have, they are all considered secure. Some people think a four-prong setting leaves more of your diamond exposed, resulting in a better sparkle. Others say that six-prong settings make loose diamonds look bigger. Honestly, it's a matter of personal preference and style.

Different Kinds of Prongs

Rounded Prongs

Round prongs are the most common prong setting for a diamond ring that's not a solitaire engagement ring. Solitaires are more likely to have a claw prong appearance to keep it secure. Other diamond ring settings like halo rings, cathedral settings, and three stone engagement rings often have short prongs.

round prong setting

Round prong settings are good for letting more light reflect out of loose diamonds. A Even a six prong ring with round prongs lets more light than a six prong setting with claw prongs. The prong size really works to its advantage with rounded prongs.

round prong setting

Claw Prongs

In the United Kingdom, a prong setting can also be called a claw setting. This causes a lot of confusion. In the US, claw prongs are a style of prong setting. Instead of round prong, this setting features pointed claw prongs. They extend over the edges of diamond for a stylized look.

claw prong setting

Because of their length, they offer better protection for your center stone. The drawback is that they cover more of the diamond's surface. This may cause your center stone to appear smaller. Of course, it's a matter of perspective as well. Just make sure you like how it looks.

claw prong setting

The last thing I'd keep an eye out with a claw prong setting is to be careful of snagging on fabrics. It can happen with any worn prongs really, but claw prongs are already pointed, so they have that counting against them. But I still wouldn't let that deter you from this setting either.

Double Claw Prongs

A double claw prong setting has the same features and precautions of a claw prong setting. Instead of singular pointed prongs, there are a pair of prongs around each corner (or side). The double prongs still have the pointed appearance and are set closely next to each other for a unique look.

double claw prong setting

With a total of eight prongs, the double claw prong setting may not be the best if you've chosen a smaller carat size. Or rather, a diamond shape with a smaller face-up view. Double prongs cover more of the diamond, so choosing a radiant cut diamond or emerald cut diamond engagement ring design would be perfect for these kinds of prongs.

double claw prong setting

Flat Tab Prongs

Flat prongs are wider than the round prongs. They are very small strips of metal used in four-prong setting engagement rings. The tabs are placed slightly over the edge of diamond, securing them in place.

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flat tab prongs

V Prong Setting

A V prong setting described a type of prong setting that covers certain fancy diamond shapes. V shaped prongs are used to protect the points of a diamond. Princess cut diamonds, marquise cut diamonds, and pear cut diamonds can be better protected by choosing V prongs for your engagement ring.

V prong setting

Shared Prong Setting

In a shared prong setting, melee diamonds are held side by side together by a single or set of prongs. Despite the single prong, it is a generally a secure setting. Make sure you purchase a quality engagement ring setting from a reliable retailer. Bad craftsmanship with this kind of setting can jeopardize your diamonds.

shared prong setting

But when chosen from a reliable retailer, shared prongs allow more light to emit from your side diamonds, which will compliment your center stone brilliance. And if you're still a bit worried, you might even opt for a platinum engagement ring setting, which is stronger than white gold.

Basket Prong Setting

If you're not a fan of the long-claw-of-the-law over your center diamond, a basket prong setting engagement ring might be more to your liking. Not everyone's a huge fan of the caged look of a classic prong diamond ring.

A basket setting gives you more flair in your prong setting. The center stone sits in a basket and is secured by short prongs. 

basket prong setting

Pros and Cons of a Prong Setting Diamond Engagement Ring

If your browsing for engagement ring settings online or in-store, you want to know both the positives and drawbacks of prong settings. You've been presented with a ton of different styles of prong settings, so I'm sure you don't remember everything. Each style has their own faults, but here's some info about prong settings in general.

Pros

  • Keeps center diamond held securely
  • Classic engagement ring for solitaire engagement rings
  • Many options for prong styles
Pear prong setting

Cons

  • Prongs are more likely to catch on soft fabrics
  • Six prongs or more tend to let in less light
  • Longer prong settings can break the entire ring head off

How to Choose a Prong Setting

As you can see, there's a ton of different variations of prong settings. Most prong settings are considered secure, but there are drawbacks to each one.

Before choosing your prong mounting, you should consider your lifestyle. Some engagement ring styles are better for those who lead active lifestyles, like a bezel setting.

bezel setting

Bezel Setting

Prong Orientation

If you're buying your prong setting from a chain jewelry retailer in the mall, you're probably not going to get much choice on prong orientation. In four prong rings, they're usually arranged in a square shape, like so:

standard prong orientation

Standard Prong Orientation

However when you shop loose diamonds and ring settings online, you're more likely to find different prong orientations. Some may have "compass" orientations.

north prong orientation

Compass Prong Orientation

How to Care for Prong Settings

So now you've got the lay of the land when it comes to a prong ring. But before you commit to one, you may consider diamond retailers that also offer a service warranty.

Service warranties will cover all the routine maintenance your prong ring may need. Your ring's band isn't unbreakable. Gold is a soft metal and can be damaged. White gold rings need rhodium plating to keep their shiny appearance. And though platinum rings are stronger, they can still be scratched.

Most importantly, prongs can catch on fabrics. If they catch too many times, it can pull them right off your diamond, leaving it vulnerable to knocking loose--or worse. They can also wear down, so they'll need to re-tipped over the years.

prong setting

Many retailers offer service warranties for their engagement ring settings. Some are temporary and require a fee, while others are for a lifetime and completely free.

Whether you're able to find a free lifetime warranty like James Allen's or a paid warranty like Clean Origin's Forever Service Plan, you should get one. This will save you money in the long run, as repairs can become quite costly outside of a warranty. If you lose your center stone due to worn prongs, it will be extremely costly.

How to Clean a Prong Setting

Cleaning a prong setting engagement ring is like cleaning any other ring style. Still, keeping it clean and free of debris can be hard. Prong settings have vulnerabilities to getting dirt and lotion trapped between the prongs. If not cleaned often, the buildup can make your diamond ring look dull and yucky.

I'd advise staying away from commercial jewelry solutions, though they're not a problem with diamonds. Typically, diamonds are fine to be put in jewelry cleaners too, whether they're steam cleaners or ultrasonic cleaners.

But if you want to be effective and not spend any money, a solution mixture of mild soap and water will do the trick just fine. Use a soft toothbrush and its bristles to clean between the prongs and under the ring head. If you wear your engagement ring every day, you should try to clean your ring every other day.

Dry your ring with a soft cloth and store in its own box when not wearing it. It is better for it to be in a small jewelry box than rattling around with other jewelry.

Conclusion

Generally, prong settings are the default settings found in most jewelry stores. They are chosen for many different reasons. Prong settings have many different styles of prongs and different prong orientations.

You'll love the way a prong setting holds your diamond up, letting light enter and reflect out of all angles. Just be careful that it doesn't snag on any soft fabrics. You should always consider buying a repair maintenance warranty unless it is provided freely from a reliable retailer.

Hopefully you've got an idea of the different variations of prong settings you can run into on your engagement ring search. Every one of these are secure and reliable settings, so pick the one you truly fall in love with.


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