4 Prong vs 6 Prong Setting – Which Is Better?

This is an aged old question that gets many people confused over the choices to make. Are there any differences between a 4 prong vs. 6 prong ring setting? And if one is seemingly better, why are both choices offered by jewelers? Why not have just one kind of design to begin with?

Well, it turns out that both 4 and 6 prongs settings bring about various benefits as well as drawbacks. We’re going to discuss the differences between these two settings and I’ll let you be the judge to decide which is best.

Why Should You Choose a 4 Prong Design?

With four prongs spaced evenly apart, it will create a boxy looking appearance as the prongs function as “separate corners” of a squarish outline.

4 pronged solitaire ring setting

A box-like appearance created by even prongs placement.

One of the benefits that the 4-prong setting is that there is a lesser amount of metal coverage on the diamond. This allows more light to enter the diamond and enables a well-cut diamond to perform at its best.

If expressing power and showcasing the capacity of your diamond is essential for you, 4 prong settings are great choices for consideration.

For the same reasons, the 4 prong setting is recommended when the size of your diamond is small (less than 1 carat). You don’t want the additional metal prongs to look overbearing and make the diamond appear even smaller than it already seems.

The main drawback of 4 prong settings is that they are less secured compared to 6 prong designs. In the event that you break or bent a prong accidentally, there is a heightened risk of losing your diamond.

Click here to view and interact with actual ring settings. James Allen’s latest 360° video technology is revolutionary and allows you to SEE how ring designs look like in real life.

The Orientation of the Prongs Matters!

The traditional setup for a 4 prong setting involves placing prongs at the 2, 4, 8, 10 o’clock position and this creates a somewhat squarish look to the ring.

However, did you know that the prongs could also be mounted in a north-east-south-west (NESW) orientation? This is sometimes referred to as a kite mounting and are frequently found in settings with square cut diamonds.

When used with a round diamond, this particular orientation creates an illusion which makes the diamond appear larger than it is. For people who want to “cheat” with a bigger looking solitaire diamond ring, consider setting the center stone in this manner. On this note, do keep in mind that a kite mounting will make it harder for a wedding band to sit flushed next to it.

north-east-south-west kite setting for ring

The kite mounting on the left offers the benefit of a larger looking stone.

Why Should You Choose a Design With Six Prongs?

In 6 prong settings, the individual prongs are generally lighter and thinner in order to minimize the area where prongs cover the diamond. When six evenly-spaced prongs are placed on a round diamond, they form a hexagonal shape. This makes the diamond look rounder and bigger when viewed from a distance.

My general recommendation is to opt for a six prong setting when your diamond is large enough (i.e. > 1 carat). Also, if you know beforehand that the recipient is going to be rough with their jewelry, sacrificing a little bit of brilliance in favor of better security would be a wiser move.

6 prongs ring design with a hexagonal look

A hexagonal look created by six prongs on a round brilliant cut.

Click here to view and interact with actual ring settings. James Allen’s latest 360° video technology is revolutionary and allows you to SEE how ring designs look like in real life.

Video Comparison of Four Prong vs Six Prong Round Diamond Rings

 

 

If you are interested to see full specifications and details of the individual rings, click here for the four prong design and click here for the six prong design.

Here, I want to point out that the setting only compromises part of an engagement ring while the bulk of the cost usually lies with the choice of center stone. This in-depth guide to selecting diamonds will enable you to shop like a professional and find the most beautiful diamonds within any given budget.

Ok, What About For Fancy Shape Diamonds?

If you were buying a fancy shape diamond like a princess cut or an oval cut, how many prongs should the diamond ring have? Well, the answer is it depends on the shape and outline of the diamond you are looking at.

For example, the princess cut has a squarish outline and pointed corners. Almost every setting design for princess cut diamonds would utilize four prongs that are placed symmetrically at the corners to protect them.

4 prong princess cut diamond ring good or bad enough or not

4 nicely placed prongs create a well-balanced appearance.

It would be extremely hard for a princess cut diamond engagement ring to utilize a six prong setting without looking “off” or lopsided. This is the reason why 4 prong settings are obvious choices if your chosen center stone is square (e.g. princess) or rectangular (e.g. emerald) in shape.


With elongated shapes like the pear or oval cut, the prong placement and orientation would have a big impact on its appearance.

In my opinion, a 6 prong placement for an oval diamond would alter its visual outline and make it appear like a marquise shape instead. The addition of the 2 prongs on the north and south position would make it appear like pointed tips.

four prong oval diamond ring vs six prong oval diamond ring
6-prong-oval-ring-comparison-against-4-prong

4 prong vs 6 prong oval diamond engagement ring comparison.

On the other hand, the 4 prong placement would help it retain its ovalish and curved outline. If I’m shopping for an oval diamond engagement ring, I’m definitely sticking with a 4 prong layout.

That’s because if I wanted a football shaped outline, I would have purchased a marquise diamond instead.

Is There A Clear Winner When You Compare 4 Prongs Against 6 Prongs?

As you can see, there isn’t an obvious choice between which is better and it boils down to what you value more. Do you prioritize safety or aesthetics more?

For people who want to get the best of both worlds, consider choosing a 4 prong design made with a platinum head. Platinum is much more durable and resistant to wear-and-tear compared to other common metals like white gold or silver.

Whatever your decision and choice of mounting, I recommend that you inspect your jewelry regularly and try to identify any potential problems early on. If you aren’t sure about doing your own checks, then it is best to bring your jewelry to a professional jeweler every 6 – 12 months for routine checks.

I hope this article has been useful in helping you visualize the differences between 4 prongs vs 6 prongs diamond ring settings. If you were shopping for an engagement ring, which would you pick and why? Leave a comment below to let us know!

If you are looking for beautifully designed engagement rings with high quality craftsmanship, make sure you check out James Allen and White Flash for their stunning selections!

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14 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Alex Lane-
    October 7, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts. I am trying to find the right engagement ring. I have heard several differing opinions on 4 or 6 prongs. I think your advice for the added security of the 6 prong may be wise. That may be the right decision for me.

  2. Avatar
    Karen Steiner-
    June 16, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    I just reset my grandmother’s 80 year old , 3 carat diamond ring. It was in a four prong square setting, but ring was round. It is now in a round setting and has loosened twice. I want to put in 6 prongs. Your thoughts please? Karen

  3. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    June 17, 2016 at 2:48 am

    Look for a trusted jeweler who can do the job for you. A six prong setting is definitely better for such a huge stone.

  4. Avatar
    Allan Altman GG-
    September 22, 2017 at 10:35 pm

    I tell clients a diamond set in a six prong setting rounds out the diamond whereas a four prong setting square’s it off. For the look it really depends on your customer.

  5. Avatar
    Madelyn-
    March 14, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    I heard mixed reviews on 4 and 6 prongs for a 2ct round diamond. Does the number of prongs affect how much sparkle is given off? Someone told me that a 6 prong ring will not sparkle as much because there is more metal…is this true?

  6. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    March 15, 2018 at 2:40 am

    That is somewhat true especially if the prongs are bulky and gaudy. This effect is usually more pronounced in small carat sizes. For a 2 ct round diamond, I recommend going for 6 prongs as it gives you a better peace of mind.

  7. Avatar
    Hai Truong-
    June 12, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    How about a 7.5 platinum setting with a .5 or .6 carat? Should I go for 4 claws or 6 claws diamond ring? Please help me.

  8. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    June 14, 2018 at 8:36 am

    Depends on personal preference. I would say go for a 4 prong as it better showcases the diamond.

  9. Avatar
    Cathryn Tubbs-
    July 24, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Please help me. Yesterday I bought a beautiful brilliant diamond at a chain jewelry store to have set in an anniversary band. The diamond is by Swana and its report is by IGI which says it is a 0.51 carat round modified brilliant natural diamond, color G, clarity VS 1, polish/symmetry very good, proportions excellent, measurements 5.14 – 5.18 x 3.15 mm. I paid $4320 for it. After reading your articles I felt I had made a big mistake. Also none of the local jewelers I have called have ever heard of Swana. I would truly appreciate your advice.

  10. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    July 24, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    You did make a mistake by buying a diamond with an unreliable grading report. The “Very Good” polish/symmetry are Send the diamond ring back and get a refund for it.

  11. Avatar
    ZY-
    January 23, 2019 at 2:04 pm

    I am looking to customize a ribbon-design ring with 4 prongs and was told that without the support bar between the prongs, the prongs would have to be thicker whereas if there is a support bar in between the prongs, the prongs can be thinner.

    personally i would like to go without the support bar, to maximize diamond exposure. i understand that i should go with my personal preference but I want to seek your insight on this support bar between prongs design thing.

  12. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    January 23, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    Can you provide a CAD or drawing of the ring design you are trying to create? Without understanding or seeing the design, I cannot offer any constructive advice or provide any diagnosis.

  13. Avatar
    Az-
    August 14, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    Your website has been a lifesaver! The thorough info you’ve provided is amazing and helped me narrow down the diamond search a lot! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

    Despite your great help, however, I am still a bit torn between a few diamonds and would love your opinion. I am thinking of a six-prong comfort classic solitaire setting in platinum and can’t figure which of the below diamonds would be the best one to go with it. I’d really appreciate your help with making this choice.

    Also, do you think a 4 prong ring would be better for the carat size I am looking at?

    Thanks a bunch in advance!
    Az

    The finalists:

    1. https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3983295.htm – This one is a bit less than a carat, which is the only thing giving me pause about it. I can’t quite gauge how big the diamond should be so that it looks proportional to her fingers without it looking too big, or in this case – too small.

    2. https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3968194.htm – This one is a little over a carat and still great clarity/color IMO but I am a little spooked by the difference between the actual ASET image on the Whiteflash website and the AGSL image on the certificate linked from the website. On the certificate there are a lot more blue (contrasting areas) near the center, so I wonder if they’d make the diamond a bit darker in the center.

    3. https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3961912.htm – This one was originally the frontrunner but I’ve been wondering more and more if the I-color would be visibly yellowish given that I’m thinking of putting it on a platinum solitaire.

    4. https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.20-carat-h-color-if-clarity-true-hearts-cut-sku-4665996 – This one seems almost too good to be true but it’s from James Allen, whose satisfaction guarantee doesn’t seem as robust as the Whiteflash one and in terms of delivery might cut it too close in terms of arrival date.

    Would really appreciate your thoughts – thanks again!

  14. Avatar
    Paul Gian-
    August 14, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    The color differences in intensity between the ASETs are not an issue. It is a matter of photography setting instead of a performance difference. Think of it as 2 of the same TV in different houses. The color settings are slightly different and look slightly different. But this doesn’t mean the quality of the TV is different.

    Do you know what’s her finger size? 1 ct diamonds should look perfectly fine for size 4 – size 7.5. Going to a 1ct is more of a psychological thingy instead of a proportionate issue. Most women do like their rings to hit the 1ct weight.

    All 4 diamonds are extremely well cut for light performance and are eyeclean. They are consistently top notch in cut quality and are identical.

    This would be my top pick from White Flash.
    https://www.whiteflash.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut-loose-diamond-3961912.htm?a_aid=recommended

    I looked at this diamond and scrutinized it: https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.20-carat-h-color-if-clarity-true-hearts-cut-sku-4665996?a_aid=recommended

    It’s a well cut diamond and I would put it on par with White Flash’s diamonds. Price wise, it’s fantastic.

    If there is a setting you like at James Allen, this would actually be my top choice as it offers the best value for money.

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