Prong Set Earrings: 3 prong vs 4, 6 and 8

Matters of beauty and durability are paramount when choosing a setting for your diamond jewelry. The prong setting is extremely popular for both rings and earrings, as it gives a good level of support to the diamond, while still allowing light to reach it from all angles and give a brilliant sparkle.
Prong settings (also referred to as claw settings) will feature eight, six, four or three prongs. Different jewelry requires different levels of protection to the centre stone; this decision is based upon how regularly the jewelry will be worn and whether or not it is a high-contact piece of jewelry (for example, an engagement ring).
Diamond earrings set in a precious metal are suitable for everyday wear however, unlike a diamond ring, they are a low contact piece of jewelry. This means that they are less likely to be knocked or scraped. It is for this reason that the rules are different when it comes to choosing a prong setting for your diamond earrings.
If you are considering a prong setting for a diamond ring and would like more information regarding durability and best choices, you can read our guide to diamond prong ring settings here.
We have outlined the pros and cons of the prong set earrings to help you make the best choice for your jewelry.

Three Prong Settings

3 prong Martini Diamond Earrings
3 prong Martini Diamond Earrings
Although three-prong settings are not recommended for diamond rings, they are a great choice for diamond earrings. This minimal prong style allows more of the diamond to be seen; this increases the light return to the diamond and gives a great sparkle. The three-prong setting also creates the illusion of a larger diamond, as it offers a greater view of the circumference. A three-prong setting gives a unique, asymmetric silhouette to diamond jewelry, while still letting the diamond take centre stage. Our 14k white gold Martini diamond earrings (pictured above) utilise an open three-prong settings, allowing maximum light to flood the diamond.

Pros

  • They give a unique silhouette
  • They allow for the maximum surface area of diamond to be seen
  • They give the illusion of a larger diamond
  • Acceptable durability for earrings (low contact)

Cons

  • Although suited to earrings, it is still a less secure option for those wearing the earrings every day, particularly during sport or other activities
  • Better suited to diamonds under 1.50ct

Four Prong Settings

W-Prong Diamond Earrings
W-Prong Diamond Earrings
A four-prong setting is a great choice for diamond earrings as it offers an excellent balance of security and surface area. Although earrings are a low contact piece of jewelry, a four-prong setting offers the peace of mind that should one of the prongs become compromised due to general wear and tear over the years, the diamond will remain in place until it is fixed. Be sure to remove any jewelry with damaged prongs and store in a secure place until it can be repaired. Four-prong settings that feature an open design, like the W-Prong diamond earrings featured above, can still allow a good amount of light to reach the diamond and give a fantastic sparkle. Four prong settings are perfect for diamonds below 2.00ct.

Pros

  • Great level of security and beauty
  • A symmetrical silhouette giving a balanced appearance
  • Suitable for a variety of diamond shapes
  • Perfect for every day wear

Cons

  • Will diminish the appearance of smaller diamonds, due to more surface area being covered with the prongs
  • Better suited to diamonds above half a carat and below two carats

Six Prong Settings

6 Prong Martini Earrings
6 Prong Martini Earrings
Six-prong settings give an entirely new appearance to a diamond, adorning it with a dainty crown that accentuates the roundness of the center stone. A six-prong setting gives a very high level of security to the diamond, ensuring durability even with every day wear. The prongs will cover a larger surface area of the diamond than four and three prong settings, but as seen in our six prong Martini earrings, light can still enter the diamond. This setting is best suited to larger diamonds of 2.00ct and above. Although a six-prong setting may be used with any carat weight, diamonds below 2.00ct are a little lost beneath the six prongs. This level of security is only required when the earrings feature larger diamonds.

Pros

  • An extremely secure setting
  • Accentuates the roundness of the diamond
  • Offers security for larger diamonds (2.00ct and above)

Cons

  • Not suited to diamonds below 2.00ct
  • More prongs reduce the diamond surface area
  • Increased claws in diamond earrings also increases the chances of long hair becoming caught around them

Eight Prong Settings

8 Prong Martini Diamond Earrings
8 Prong Martini Diamond Earrings
An eight-prong setting is extremely secure and accentuates the roundness of the center stone. Although this setting is an excellent choice for large diamond rings, this number of prongs is rarely required when it comes to earrings. However, if you are considering a pair of diamond earrings at 3.00ct or above, an eight-prong setting will give you peace of mind that your diamonds are as secure as possible, which still being featured in an open setting. As the carat weight increases, so too does the chance of ‘droopping’; this is when a diamond earring becomes heavy on the wearer, causing it to droop downwards. If you are looking at diamonds of 3.00ct and above, we recommend an eight-prong setting, as well as screwbacks (available on special request). Screwbacks hold the earring in place and will not slip off due to the weight of a larger diamond. Our 8 prong Martini set earrings are the perfect choice for those looking for a diamond earrings with a considerable carat weight.

Pros

  • Very secure
  • Accentuates the roundness of the center stone
  • Excellent for larger diamonds

Cons

  • Not well suited for smaller diamonds
  • More prongs reduce the diamond surface area
  • Increased prongs in diamond earrings also increases the chances of long hair becoming caught around them
This list should be considered a guideline to choosing a setting for your diamond earrings; the decision is personal and should be based upon which setting best suits your lifestyle and requirements.
It is essential that your precious diamond jewelry is protected against damage and loss. We recommend using Personal 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 insurance and our relationship with Personal Jewelers Mutual here.

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