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Prongs, pavilions, pavés and pears - if you’re on the market for an engagement ring, you’ll know just how much there is to learn before finding that perfect piece.

 

Diamond setting is one of the most important considerations when choosing an engagement ring. Not only does the setting of the diamond define the overall style of the ring, it can also affect how large or small the gem appears and even the security of the stone.

 

In this article, we review the most popular diamond ring setting types, look at the pros and cons of four vs six prong designs, and outline how setting affects the appearance and price of the ring.

 

 

What is Diamond Setting?

 

The term diamond setting refers to how the stone is fixed to the rest of the ring. In the popular prong setting, the gem sits in a metal cup called a collet, which is soldered to the band of the ring. The stone is then held in place by prongs (also called a claw or a basket), which are bent to hold it firmly in place.

 

Diamond ring prong set

6 Prong Setting

 

On the other hand, a tension setting doesn’t use prongs at all; the centre stone is held in place by the band itself.

 

Tension setting engagement ring

Tension Setting

 

This video demonstrates how a jeweller creates an engagement ring using the prong setting. Skip to 2:55 to see how he creates the collet and fixes it to the band of the ring. At 5:15 we see the jeweller place the centre stone in the cup and manipulate the prongs to hold it in place.

 

 

 

 

 

Popular Setting Styles

 

Whether it’s a tension setting, Tiffany setting, cluster setting or cathedral setting, the design you choose will define the look and feel of the ring, so it’s important you consider your options. Just like a Ferrari exudes a different style to a Jaguar, each setting makes its own stylistic statement.

 

If you’re unsure what style you’re hoping to achieve, we recommend you visit a Q Certified Jeweller in your area - they’ll be happy to provide individual advice and point you in the right direction.

 

The following are some of the most popular ring setting styles, including some benefits and drawbacks of each.

 

 

Prong Setting

 

Prong setting engagement ring

 

As shown in the video above, a ring using the prong setting holds the gem in place with a metal claw. This is a timeless and versatile setting, with countless variations (like the number and shape of prongs, the height of the setting and the orientation of the stone). We discuss the pros and cons of four and six prong settings later in this article.

 

Benefits

 

  • Classic appearance that heroes the stone
  • Versatile design that works well with several diamond shapes and sizes
  • Easy to clean the diamond and to resize the ring.

 

Drawbacks

 

  • Prongs can weaken with time
  • Depending on the design of the prongs, the ring can be susceptible to damage from snags (e.g. on clothing).

 

 

Bezel Setting

 

The-Beginners-Guide-to-Diamond-Setting-INLINE4

 

Like the prong setting, bezel set rings are popular for their versatility and timeless appearance. Rings using the bezel setting don’t use metal prongs to hold the stone in place; the centre stone sits within a metal frame. ‘Full bezel’ settings use a frame that surrounds the entire gem, while ‘partial bezel’ rings use a frame that covers only the top and bottom of the stone.

 

Benefits

 

  • Sturdy design that suits an active lifestyle
  • Isn’t as susceptible to snagging as other settings
  • Protects the stone from damage.

 

Drawbacks

 

  • Conceals more of the stone than other settings.

  

 

Tiffany Setting

 

The-Beginners-Guide-to-Diamond-Setting-INLINE5-1

 

As the name suggests, the Tiffany Setting was developed by Tiffany & Co. with an aim to achieve as much light return from the gem as possible. The Tiffany Setting is designed to maximise the brilliance of a stone by minimising the amount of metal shielding the diamond and a carefully designed collet.

 

Benefits

 

  • Timeless design and superior diamond brilliance
  • Versatile and suitable for many diamond shapes and sizes
  • Easy to clean.

 

Drawbacks

 

  • Like other prong settings, the Tiffany Setting is susceptible to snagging (especially on higher-set prongs)
  • Prongs can weaken over time.

 

 

Tension Setting

 

Tension set ring

 

As mentioned, a tension setting doesn’t use prongs at all; the centre stone is held in place by the band itself. This setting style relies on the tension of the band to secure the gem in place, creating a contemporary appearance and the illusion of a floating stone. The tension setting can be replicated with a partial bezel setting, which is less expensive and easier to make.

 

Benefits

 

  • Contemporary appearance
  • Exposes more of the diamond, increasing its brilliance
  • Doesn’t require prongs to be maintained.

 

Drawbacks

 

  • More susceptible to damage and even loss of the stone from the band
  • Hard to resize the ring.

  

Other popular setting styles include the halo setting, pavé setting, channel setting, cathedral setting, bar setting, flush setting and cluster setting. Each has its own look and feel, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Again, we recommend you seek the advice of a jeweller if you’re unsure which setting is the right option for you. You can find a Q Certified Jewellery in your area here.

 

 

 

Four vs Six Prong Ring Settings: Pros and Cons

 

If you’ve chosen the classic prong setting for your engagement ring, congratulations! You’re one step closer to securing that perfect stone for your partner to cherish for years to come. However, you now have several other important design decisions to make, one of the most pressing being the number of prongs and type of mounting of your ring.

 

Four prong settings are particularly suitable for certain cuts of your diamond, like the princess or emerald cuts. On the other hand, six prong settings can suit brilliant cut stones and create a timeless hexagonal appearance. At a glance, here are some pros and cons of four and six prong ring settings:

 

Pros of Four Prong Settings

 

  • Less metal coverage of the diamond can emphasise its size, shape and brilliance
  • Works well with a variety of diamond shapes
  • Timeless design that is easy to clean
  • Can be oriented in different ways, like the traditional 2, 4, 8, 10-o-clock mounting or 12, 3, 6, 9-o-clock ‘kite’ mounting.

 

Cons of Four Prong Settings

 

  • Potential for snagging, depending on the setting height
  • Potential for the stone to be less secure than other setting types or six prong settings.

 

Pros of Six Prong Settings

 

  • Extra prongs add another layer of security for the stone
  • Timeless design
  • Can create an illusion of a bigger stone when seen from a distance.

 

Cons of Six Prong Settings

 

  • More prongs can reduce the apparent size of smaller stones
  • Potential for snagging
  • More difficult to clean and repair than four prong designs.

 

 

As you can see, choosing the right setting for your ring depends on a lot of factors. The size of your diamond, its cut and the stylistic statement you aim to make will all determine which setting is the right option for you. Whatever your ring, it’s important you protect it from damage or loss with tailor-made jewellery insurance.

 

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