The Ultimate Guide to Prong Settings

A timeless prong setting is the most recognized, and indeed, the most popular method used for setting diamond rings. As well as offering wonderful security to the central diamond, a prong setting can be used in various styles of engagement rings and allows an abundance of light to hit the diamond.
Tacori 2650RD Simply Tacori Solitaire Engagement Ring
Tacori 2650RD Simply Tacori Solitaire Engagement Ring
If you are considering a prong setting for your engagement ring, this guide will cover all the details you need to make the best choice.

What is a Prong Setting?

A prong setting, sometimes referred to as a claw setting, is essentially a cradle for the diamond. Before the diamond is set, the prongs stick up vertically from the base. After the diamond is aligned into place, these rails of metal are notched and burnished firmly around the diamond to fully secure it.
Seating the prongs for the center diamond
Seating the prongs for the center diamond
Pressing the prongs into place
Pressing the prongs into place
Finishing the prongs
Finishing the prongs
These images show the detailed nature of creating a prong setting. Taken from our jewelry manufacturing education page, they show this fascinating step in the jewelry-creation process.
Although a popular setting choice, attention to detail is just as crucial in the seemingly-simple prong setting. The diamond should sit flush with the prongs and the prongs should not cover the diamonds table facet. The beauty of a properly crafted prong setting is that it showcases the diamond beautifully. Prongs that have been crafted incorrectly can make a diamond look small and gaps may compromise the wearability and/or security of the ring.
Prong settings can be cast in any metal. The most recommended metals for engagement rings are 14k gold, 18k gold and platinum. You can read more about metal alloys for jewelry purposes in this guide.

The Benefits of a Prong Setting

There is a lot to love about a prong setting. Here are some of the highlights:
  • Prong settings use less metal than other settings (such as a bezel setting, for example) this, combined with their open structure allows light to flood the diamond for a fantastic sparkle.
  • Their popularity has led esteemed jewelry designers to create unique prong settings in a stunning array of styles.
  • Prong settings can be adjusted to elevate the diamond or set lower to suit your taste. This is a skill of experienced jewelers that allows for slight customization.
  • Classic prong settings are easy to clean; you can care for your jewelry at home with ease.
  • Prong settings have proven themselves to be an elegant and sophisticated choice for decades.
  • Prong settings are suitable for all diamond shapes.

Prong Setting Considerations

A prong setting is an excellent choice for an engagement ring, but as with all jewelry styles, there are some small considerations to make to ensure they are the best choice for you or your intended.
  • A high prong setting may catch on clothing and snag through plastic gloves. This can be solved by lowering the diamond in the setting. For those with hands-on careers/duties who wish to wear their ring every day, consider the height of the setting from a lifestyle perspective.
  • Prongs can leave the girdle of the diamond exposed which can result in chipping. Avoid this by removing your ring during activities that can cause heavy wear.
  • Certain prong styles, particularly those that are designed to sit higher than the diamond, can scratch. New mothers and nursery workers may choose to remove their ring to avoid accidental scratches to children. This is rare, but is worth considering.

Types of Prong Setting

Often thought of a monolithic, prong settings can in fact take many forms. Even the prongs themselves come in a variety of styles. Four and six prong settings are the most popular, but for diamonds of considerable carat weight, an eight prong setting may even be practical and add further security and peace of mind.

Pointed Prong/Claw Setting

Vatche 1522 Bliss Solitaire Engagement Ring
Vatche 1522 Bliss Solitaire Engagement Ring
A pointed prong gives a claw-like appearance, hence the popular nomenclature. Pointed prongs are sleek and elegant, creating a steam-line effect.

Rounded Prong

Ritani 1RZ7241 Cathedral Tapered Solitaire Engagement Ring
Ritani 1RZ7241 Cathedral Tapered Solitaire Engagement Ring
Rounded prongs are the most commonly used for engagement rings. Secure and discreet, they allow the diamond to dazzle while keeping it firmly in place.

Square or Tab Prongs

Sleek Line Solitaire Engagement Ring
Sleek Line Solitaire Engagement Ring
Another distinctive look is the square or “tab” prong style. Not as popular as round or claw, a squared off prong can add a unique touch to the right ring design.

Double Prong

Verragio Parisian D-120 Split Claw 4 Prong with Rose Gold Shoulders Solitaire Engagement Ring
Verragio Parisian D-120 Split Claw 4 Prong with Rose Gold Shoulders Solitaire Engagement Ring
Double prongs may take a rounded or pointed appearance. They give the illusion of slimmer claws and are often used in split shank designs.

Corner or V-tip Prongs

Tacori 32-2PR Clean Crescent Half Eternity for Princess Diamond Engagement Ring
Tacori 32-2PR Clean Crescent Half Eternity for Princess Diamond Engagement Ring
V-tip prongs (like those pictured above) secure and protect the corners of diamonds that come to a point or points such as princess, pear and marquise shapes.

High Prongs

Tacori 2586RD Simply Tacori Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Tacori 2586RD Simply Tacori Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
High-set prongs can be used to bring drama to designs.

Shared Prongs

Diamonds for an Eternity Three Quarter Diamond Wedding Ring
Diamonds for an Eternity Three Quarter Diamond Wedding Ring
Shared prongs are often used when setting diamond melee (smaller size diamonds). The diamonds share prongs to avoid using excess metal and detracting from the refined sparkle of the setting.

Four or Six Prongs?

As mentioned the most popular choices for prong settings are four and six prong designs. A couple of lines of thought are involved in making this choice. First, fewer prongs means more of the diamond is visible and more light can strike the diamond. But at the same time, six prongs is theoretically more secure. The thing to remember is that a four prong mounting is designed in a symmetrical way that ensures that in the unlikely event that you lose a prong entirely, the diamond should not fall out. So, in some ways six prongs is overkill from a durability standpoint. The larger the diamond the more six prongs makes sense based on both perspectives.
Classic 4 Prong
Classic 4 Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring
Classic 6 Prong
Classic 6 Prong Solitaire Engagement Ring
The other consideration that some people find six prongs aesthetically pleasing in that they accentuate the roundness of the diamond, whereas four prongs may make it look slightly squarish. This is a matter of personal taste completely.

How to Choose a Prong Setting

First and foremost, your own personal taste will lead the way when choosing a prong setting. Prong settings cover a huge variety of styles, allowing for personal expression to take the lead. Beyond this, lifestyle considerations may influence the height and style of the prong setting that you choose.
Think about carat size. The bigger the diamond, the more durable the setting needs to be. This is where six and eight prong settings become a fantastic choice. Similarly, if you are opting for a lower carat weight, the prong size needs to work proportionately, so as not to overwhelm the diamond.
Stylistically, some customers may request for claws to be polished down or made slimmer to improve the appearance of the setting according to their taste. We will always advise the best course of action to bring a balance of beauty and durability.
A prong setting is a fantastic choice for an engagement ring and this remarkable setting will never go out of style.

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