The cut of the stone and the color of the band often dominate the conversation when it comes to ring selection. But what about the setting that joins band and stone together? Its job is to highlight the partnership of the other two components, but don’t assume that relegates it to a background role. You might not notice it, especially if it is designed to give you an unobstructed view. Or it might hold your attention with the same tenacity it grips a cluster of accent stones.
Either way, it’s an essential feature; if the engagement ring is a team, the setting is the glue guy. We’ve already broken down some of the most common types of ring settings, but we thought it was worth taking the discussion to the subcategory level. Let’s explore the differences between the most common setting and its most common variation: prong and basket settings.
Here’s the basic version: Basket settings are just prong settings with horizontal elements.
If you want to understand why rings incorporate this extra basket feature or choose to stick with the classic prong approach, we’ve got it all bundled together for you.
What Are Prong Settings?
Unless the stone is embedded into the metal band itself, chances are that it is secured by metal prongs that latch it into place. Also called a claw setting, for obvious reasons, but a friendly claw, in that it provides snug support for the stone to nestle into.
What Are Basket Settings?
Basket settings use prongs as well, but they add some horizontal cross-hatching to the nest that make it even more of a cradle. That offers additional support, but it also obscures more of the gemstone and can require raising it a bit higher off the surface of the metal band. That can be a decorative bonus or an unnecessary complication, depending on what you are looking for in the ring.
For a ring like the Meadow, the leaflike ornamentation on the shank of the ring is woven seamlessly into the strands that make up the basket. It’s a vibrant model for the fusion of delicacy and strength so prized by ring wearers and ring makers alike.
If you are looking at a ring like the Enchanted from above, there is a good chance you might not even be able to tell the difference between a basket and a prong setting, since you just might see the tips of the prongs locking that sparkly cargo down in place for the long haul.
This is especially the case if the ring has a “hidden halo” of accent stones floating beneath the main stone that functions as the supportive basket cross piece. The Chelsea is a lovely example of this — any worries about blocking the sparkle of the centerstone with the basket’s cross bar are dispelled by lining that cross bar with those glittering accent stones.
If you are looking at the ring in profile, however, the differences are pretty obvious. If there is a horizontal piece of metal between the prongs, it’s a basket setting. And while there are some exceptions, the basket tends to spread out a little while the prongs all meet in the middle in the more classic version.
Both prong and basket settings are trusted methods of making sure that the jewel stays on the ring. But as an added layer of assurance, the Modern Gents catalog of affordable engagement rings also comes backed by a lifetime guarantee.