Four-Prong VS Six-Prong Settings

When choosing a setting for your precious diamond, beauty and durability are of equal importance. While all well-made jewelry will offer security to your stone, certain settings increase the protection of your diamond, making them more suited to every day wear.
Perhaps the most coveted and traditional method for setting a round diamond is a prong ( sometimes called “claw” ) setting. This utilises small, strong pieces of metal (gold or platinum) which are notched and burnished around the diamond to hold it securely in place. The most commonly used prong settings are four and six prong, with each giving a different appearance and level of security to the diamond. Three prong settings are popular for earrings or pendants where wear and tear are not major durability factors.

Four Prong Settings

Danhov CL130 Classico Solitaire Engagement Ring
Danhov CL130 Classico Solitaire Engagement Ring
A four-prong setting offers great security to most diamonds. The prongs are positioned in such a way that if one should become compromised, the remaining three will be able to hold the diamond in place (although you should remove the ring and have the broken/worn prong repaired before wearing it again). A four-prong setting also allows a large surface area of the diamond to be seen, allowing the diamond to sparkle to its full potential. Essentially, less hardware – more diamond.
Four-prong settings can take a variety of forms; round, claw or squared off. The final effect can look very different depending on specific execution. Some settings are open, exposing the culet of the diamond and allowing maximum light to flood through, while others are closed, making them easier to clean and maintain. This Classico four-prong solitaire by Danhov features a partially open basket, bringing light to the central stone while keeping it firmly in place.
Verragio ENG-0418R Two-Tone Couture Solitaire Engagement Ring
Verragio ENG-0418R Two-Tone Couture Solitaire Engagement Ring
Another feature sometimes used in diamond jewelry is a split prong. As seen here in this 18k Verragio diamond solitaire, the prongs are split, giving increased contact to the diamond without adding in multiple prongs that would crowd a small to medium diamond.

Pros

  • Give a great level of security to central stone
  • Perfect for diamond engagement rings
  • Variety of styles and shapes available
  • Suitable for every day wear

Cons

  • Not the best choice for very large stones

Six Prong Settings

Vatche U-113 6-Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring
Vatche U-113 6-Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring
Six-prong settings give a crown-like appearance to the ring, accentuating the roundness of the diamond, while also proving extra protection. Six-prong settings can have a timeless, vintage feel, but look just as beautiful when used in contemporary jewelry. A six-prong setting is particularly well suited to large diamonds as the extra prongs provide greater protection against damage to the girdle, and an extra measure of security reducing the risk of losing the feature diamond.

Pros

  • Highest possible security for a prong setting
  • Timeless style, accentuates roundness
  • Perfect for diamond engagement rings
  • Suitable for every day wear

Cons

  • Increased claws reduce diamond surface area, making it less suited to smaller diamonds
  • More prongs increase the chances of catching and snagging on clothing etc.

Three Prong Settings

3 prong Martini Diamond Earrings
3 prong Martini Diamond Earrings
Three prong settings give an asymmetric silhouette to a round brilliant diamond which can work well in contemporary jewelry. By minimizing the number of prongs, you maximize the viewable surface area of the diamond allowing for more sparkle. However, over time prongs can experience wear and tear. If a prong becomes damaged in a three-prong setting, there is a possibility that your diamond can be lost as the remaining two prongs may not be sufficient to hold it in place.
Three-prong settings are best used for occasional jewelry or pieces that sustain minimal contact, for example, a set of diamond earrings like the 14k Martini diamond stud earrings pictured above. They are not well suited for use in rings, particularly engagement rings or any diamond ring intended to be worn regularly.

Pros

  • They give a unique silhouette
  • A lot of the diamond can be seen

Cons

  • Risk of losing central diamond
  • Not suitable for engagement rings
  • Not suitable for every day wear
  • We do not recommend three-claw settings for engagement rings, and a skilled designer (like those available through Whiteflash) would not use this setting for a diamond ring. Deciding between a four and six prong setting depends on your needs and desires. For those of you considering a larger diamond, a six-prong setting should be your first choice, but beyond this your choices can be made on matters of style and beauty.
It is highly recommended that your precious diamond jewelry is protected against damage and loss. We recommend using Jewelers Mutual; with decades of experience they can give you peace of mind, allowing you to enjoy your jewelry without concern. You can read more about the benefits of personal jewelry insurance and our relationship with Jewelers Mutual here.

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