Magnified view of solitaire ball prongs
When you had just started your own research on buying diamond jewelry, you are most likely presented with a basic package of information at jewelry stores or other online resources. These information probably include the infamous “four C’s”, the importance a trustworthy diamond certificate and possibly a quick overview to the basic diamond shapes.
Well, that’s the part for choosing the diamond. So, what comes next? Of course you would need a setting to hold the stone in! That is, unless you plan on proposing with a loose stone or if you want to keep the diamond for investment purposes.
Now, there are effectively hundreds and thousands of setting designs available in the market. In fact, almost every conceivable idea could be made into a ring and there is no end to possibilities.
For the purpose of this article, we are going to narrow down into the various types of mountings used to secure diamonds. More specifically, I will show you what prongs are and why prong settings are the most popular choice in diamond jewelry.
The concept of a prong setting is pretty simple. In essence, small strips of metal form a basket-like foundation where the diamond is placed in. Once the diamond is seated inside and aligned correctly, the ends of the prongs are bent towards the diamond to hold it snugly in place.
The primary reason why prong settings are preferred by many consumers is that they offer good security while still enabling light to enter the diamond for better brilliance. Besides that, prongs can also be easily modified to higher (makes diamond look larger) or lower positions (doesn’t catch onto things easily) depending on personal preferences.
The V-prong setting is typically used in fancy shaped diamonds like pears, hearts and marquises. The idea behind having a v-prong is to protect the vulnerable tips of the diamond since they are susceptible to chipping.
In the photograph above, the “shared prongs” in a halo setting makes economical use of space on the ring. Shared prongs allow side by side gemstones to be held in place with the same set of prongs. This not only saves material, it also doesn’t overwhelm the ring with unnecessary metal.
– Usually small and reveals more areas of the diamond.
– Relatively easy to create and cheaper than other settings.
– Maintenance and cleaning routines can be easily performed.
– Exposed girdle area of diamond can be subjected to less protection.
– Prongs can snag onto other objects such as linen or clothing.
– Prongs wear down overtime with prolonged usage.
There are different situations when a jeweler might opt to use either four or six prongs (these two are the most common choices) – both settings have their own advantages and disadvantages.
On the next page, we take a detailed look at the reasons for varying the number of prongs in a setting. We will also do some comparisons between common 4 prongs and 6 prongs designs to give you a better idea of how they impact the visual outlook of the ring…