The Classic Diamond Engagement Ring Setting

If you took a poll of your friends I bet that most of them have solitaire diamond engagement rings with round brilliant cut diamonds held in place with a prong setting.  This combination is by far the most common diamond engagement ring.

A popular combination …

  • Solitaire Engagement Ring
  • Round Brilliant Cut Diamond
  • Prong Setting

Why is the prong setting so popular for engagement rings?

One reason might be that the prong setting focuses on the diamond and not on the setting.

What is the role of a setting?  First and foremost a setting should hold the diamond firmly in place.  Then the setting should allow as much light as possible to reach the diamond so it will shine brightly by reflecting the light back to your eye.  Another role of the setting is to make the diamond the most prominent part of the ring.  Let’s face it, you’re buying an engagement ring for the diamond, not the setting however beautiful it may be.  The prong setting serves these functions well: the diamond is held in place firmly, light can reach the diamond from basically all angles and the prongs thrust the diamond into the air showing its importance and giving the appearance of a larger stone.

The big question: How many prongs should you choose?

The answer is different depending on what shape you choose.  Learn more about diamond shapes.  For now we are going to focus on the options for a round brilliant cut diamond, the most popular by far.  They are: 2 prongs, 3 prongs, 4 prongs and 6 prongs.

2 Prong Engagement Ring

2 Prong Diamond Engagement Ring

3 Prong Diamond Engagement Ring

4 Prong Diamond Engagement Ring

6 Prong Diamond Engagement Ring

A very personal decision …

Choosing between 2 prongs, 3 prongs, 4 prongs and 6 prongs for your round brilliant cut diamond setting is for the most part a questions of your personal taste.  Some people might argue that the 6 prong setting is the safest because if a prong gets damaged then there are still 5 remaining prongs to hold the diamond securely.  However if set correctly any prong setting you choose should be safe.  We caution that with any diamond setting you should check it on occasion and if you see any damage have it inspected by a professional jewelry right away for immediate repair.

What material should prongs be made out of?

Rings are usually made from one of three metals: platinum, gold or silver.  For engagement rings platinum and gold are usually preferred.  However gold and platinum are very different in one way, strength.  18k gold is much much harder than platinum.

Mazal Diamond creative director Stefano Nicoletti explains how the decision is made whether to use gold or platinum for the prongs.

“Our first preference is to keep the prongs the same material as the band.  The reason is obvious, we want to keep a uniform color and overall look.  Although 18k white gold and platinum are similar, there is a slight difference in color which will become more apparent over time.”

“However since 18k gold is stronger than platinum, you might think the opposite, we on occasion will use 18k gold for the prongs of a platinum band if the prongs are thin.  This is more the exception than the rule.”

“If you have any questions about which material we use for the prongs in any given ring please contact us.  You can also email me on the left side of the page and I would be happy to respond personally.”

What is a shared prong setting?

The answer might sound funny but a shared prong setting is exactly what the name says it is .. a shared prong.  When several diamonds are set side by side they can “share” the prongs.  Most engagement rings would not use shared prongs unless they contain several diamonds, usually of the same shape, for example this 5 stone ring.

5 Stone Ring with Shared Prongs

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