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How to Choose a Prong Setting

Prong Settings that Suit Your Lifestyle

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Kate Middleton Engagement Ring

Kate Middleton Engagement Ring

Photo of Kate Middleton Engagement Ring by Arthur Edwards/Getty Images
The prong setting, sometimes called a claw setting, is the most commonly used gemstone setting and is especially popular for solitaire engagement rings.

You've seen prong settings -= the diamond or other gem is inserted into three or more metal prongs that form a basket-like base, then the ends of the prongs are bent over and shaped so that they rest against the crown, just past the stone's girdle, holding it snugly in place.

  • The visible prong ends are often rounded, but they can be shaped into ovals, points, Vs, left flat or even formed into decorative prongs.

  • A prong setting can be tall, perching the diamond well above the ring's band, or it can be short, with the stone resting closer to your finger.

  • Take a close-up look at a variety of prong settings
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Prong Setting Pros

  • Prongs are tiny, so more of the diamond (or other stone) is visible.
  • Prong settings are fairly quick to create, so they are usually less expensive than more intricate settings.
  • Stones set in prongs are usually easier to clean.

Prong Setting Cons

  • The girdle area of the gemstone is not covered, so prongs offer less protection for the gem than other, more enclosed settings, such as bezel settings.
  • Some prongs have a tendency to snag clothing and other items they touch.

Choosing Prong Setting

  • The gemstone should be held snugly by the prongs, so that it has no chance to wobble around.
  • Prongs should be formed so that the stone sits at an even height, not up or down on any side.
  • Very thin, flat prongs can eventually break or wear away, putting the gemstone at risk.
  • Hooked prongs, where the prong end forms an open loop before it touches the stone, will probably eventually open up.
  • Short prongs that do not offer enough contact with the gemstone will not hold it safely in place and are more likely to catch on clothing and other items.
  • Prongs that are too large in proportion to the gemstone can overpower it, making the setting less attractive.

In time, prongs may need to be repaired. Ask your jeweler to show you many types of prong settings and to offer advice on the safety and durability of each.

Prong Setting Safety

Someone who has (or plans to have) children probably wouldn't want to wear a tall prong setting that could scratch or puncture delicate skin with the wrong wave of a hand.

Extra Security

V-shaped prongs offer protection for pointed edges of gemstones, such as the ones you'll see on heart and pear shaped gems.

Trying on many ring styles is a good way way to discover how different settings feel and look on your hand.

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  6. How to Choose the Best Prong Setting for Your Jewelry

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