Tiffany Setting vs Prong Setting: The Art of Securing a Gem

Wondering the difference between a Tiffany setting vs a prong setting?

You're in the right place. In this Learning Guide, I'll answer the most popular questions asked between these two ring settings like:

tiffany setting vs prong setting
  • What’s the difference between Tiffany-style vs Tiffany setting?
  • Why are Tiffany settings more expensive?
  • Are 6 prong settings better than 4 prong settings?

Main Differences between Tiffany Setting vs Prong Setting

  • A Tiffany setting is a branded ring design by Tiffany & Co., whereas a prong setting is a general type of ring setting.
  • A branded Tiffany prong setting is more expensive, whereas an unbranded "Tiffany-style" prong setting will be less expensive.
  • You can only buy a branded Tiffany Setting through Tiffany's or one of their partners, whereas prong settings including "Tiffany-style" can be found everywhere.

Engagement Rings and their Settings

Buying diamonds can be very complicated. Buying the engagement ring setting can be too. On the surface, it doesn't seem complex. After all, most of us who've ever heard anything about engagement ring settings know what a solitaire engagement ring and a halo setting is. The bezel setting was once considered unpopular, but more and more people are becoming aware. It's becoming the choice engagement ring for people with an active lifestyle.

bezel setting

All of these ring settings can be broken down into different categories and variations. Sometimes the name of the setting reflects how the center diamond is set, like a solitaire setting or a halo. Other ring setting types may be named by the metal work underneath the center stone. A basket setting or a cathedral setting would be a good example of this.

Out of all of the rings in the world, the most popular engagement ring setting is a prong setting. Prong setting engagement rings cover most engagement rings styles. That's because prongs are necessary in order to hold your diamond securely in its setting.

In jewelry, you'll often hear about a Tiffany setting engagement ring. Tiffany and Co. is one of the oldest designer ring brands. Today, we're comparing the popular Tiffany setting vs the prong setting.

Tiffany Setting vs Prong Setting: Appearance

Both Tiffany setting rings and prong setting rings look very similar. You probably couldn't tell them apart. Let's check out why.

Tiffany Settings

A Tiffany setting ring can be broken down into two setting categories. A true Tiffany setting ring is a designer ring setting from Tiffany & Co. Many of you are probably familiar with the brand name, especially if you're a fan of Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany's.

breakfast at tiffanys

credited: AndyRobertsPhotos 

The Tiffany Setting was made public by the company's founder, Charles Lewis Tiffany in 1886. The company was already infamous for their diamonds, and would also be for their ring setting too.

The classic Tiffany setting is a simple, yet genius design. The diamond is held up by six prongs to hold the diamond up and holding it securely in place. Tiffany's has come up with more iconic setting styles since, like their Tiffany bezel setting.

classic tiffany ring

Because of their patented design, the Tiffany Ring setting is considered one of the top settings in the world. It's not because of the prestigious brand name either. It's because this setting is of excellent quality and designed to keep a diamond secure, even when the wearer has a busy lifestyle.

Tiffany isn't the only brand to create a ring styled like this, and there are many alternatives that are similar to the real thing. But due to copyright, they don't have the same engineering. However, they offer security for high-profile ring settings.

Prong Settings

If you were to hold a Tiffany diamond ring next to a prong-set ring, they could very well look like the same ring. That's because both a Tiffany setting and a Tiffany-style setting are a type of prong setting.

prong setting engagement ring
prong setting engagement ring

The term "prong setting" refers to a category that covers a majority of ring styles because most settings need prongs. The patented Tiffany setting is a type of prong setting. If it has long prongs that grasp the diamond, it's usually considered a prong setting. Many popular ring styles can be prong settings. A prong setting can look the same as a classic Tiffany setting, or it can look completely different.

Tiffany Setting vs Prong Setting: Durability

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

Tiffany Settings

Because of its patented engineered design, the classic Tiffany setting is one of the most durable ring settings available for engagement rings. The prongs come up from the band and grasp your diamond, keeping it secure. A Tiffany-style setting won't have the same engineered design, so it can't guarantee the same durability as a real Tiffany setting.

On the downside, the number of prongs can become a nuisance for some. The ore prongs you have, the more likely it is for your ring to snag on fabrics. Fewer prongs also allows more light into your diamond, whereas more prongs cover more of the diamond. It could be more of an issue with fancy diamond shapes, because a round diamond will have fantastic light performance if cut well.

Prong Settings

A prong setting can have the same issues as a Tiffany setting with snagging on fabrics. A prong setting isn't limited to the number of prongs, so you wouldn't have problems with impacting light return.

Because a prong setting doesn't have one definitive style, it's impossible to list all the pros and cons of each one. Different kinds of prongs may hold more security, like claw prongs. These grasp the diamond firmly. Double claw prongs offer even more security, though it's not always necessary.

If you do find your prongs catching on fabrics, you should check your ring. Prongs catch from time to time, but it can also be an indication that they need to be retipped.

Retipping prongs is part of routine maintenance that all rings will need. If your ring didn't come with a lifetime warranty, you'll be paying for it out of pocket. But the alternative of not having it done could cost your your entire diamond-which is much worse, wouldn't you agree?

Plus, if you purchase your prong setting from a retailer like James Allen, you can have this service covered for life and for free. That goes the smaller stones in a setting as well.

Every once in a while, prong settings can experience damage if hit hard enough. Some people have knocked their 6 prong setting ring and the entire head of the ring came off, prongs and all. It could be an unfortunate accident with soft metals, or it could be a problem with the craftsmanship.

This is also the difference between a true Tiffany setting and a Tiffany-styled setting. If wanting to decrease the chances of this happening, you may consider a stronger metal than gold, like a platinum ring.

Tiffany Engagement Ring Setting vs Prong Setting Engagement Ring: Cost

If you've got your eyes set on a genuine ring from Tiffany Co, it's best you prepare your wallet. Tiffany's is one of the biggest and well-known brand of designer jewelry, if not the biggest. And with designer rings, you pay for the name. The same is true for other brands like Harry Winston, Neil Lane, and Vera Wang.

Just how expensive would such a ring setting be? Let's compare. This Tiffany engagement ring setting is a traditional 6 prong Tiffany setting with a platinum band costs $14,000. 

.This 6-prong setting ring is similar to the Tiffany one above. The setting alone costs $1040 for white gold and $1240 for platinum. With a center of a 1.01 carat cushion diamond with I color, VS2 clarity, and Excellent Cut, 6-prong engagement ring from James Allen would set you back around $5,800. 

Obviously they're not the exact same ring, but do you think there's a $8,000 dollar difference? Probably not. 

For a prong setting ring, your cost is going to be more varied. A simple prong setting usually costs under $500 online. But if you have a more complicated ring, like a cathedral setting or a basket prong setting, you might find yourself paying $800+. This of course depends on complexity and karat gold. Platinum rings are often around $200 more expensive than 14K gold rings. 

Conclusion

When someone wants a Tiffany diamond ring, they are envisioning the brand, not the style. Tiffany settings are a variation of a larger ring style category known as prong settings.

The classic Tiffany ring is a patented and copyrighted design. No other company can have this design. They are both extremely durable and very expensive. 

A prong setting is a group name for many types of engagement ring styles with prongs. There are many different styles of prongs and prong settings. There are Tiffany style rings that have the look of the 6 prong setting, but are much more affordable.

Either of these rings would make a fantastic ring, so you should choose which one works best for you and your situation.


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