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Featured: The Sofia

Featured: The Sofia

As you dive into the world of engagement and wedding rings, you may encounter some new terms, like “claw prongs” and “round prongs.” Of course, if you’ve had an outsized amount of wedding content on your Pinterest since you were 12, you’re probably thoroughly familiar with all the different ring prongs. Whether you’re new to the game or just need a refresher, let’s dive into some of the most popular prong settings and explore what sets them apart.

What Is a Ring Setting?

Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The setting is a part of the ring that holds onto the center stone. That center stone is “set” into the setting and then cradled by it happily ever after. The point of this, outside of the fact that you’ve gotta put the cut diamond or other gemstone somewhere on your ring, is to highlight the center stone and keep it secure. 

Plenty of settings have various levels of glamour and various pros and cons, so take your time to familiarize yourself with them before finalizing your engagement ring purchase.

Discover the Different Types of Ring Settings Here

What Is a Prong Setting?

There’s a good chance that when you envision a solitaire engagement ring or a wedding ring, you envision a prong setting without even thinking about it. It’s been a popular style since the 1800s and shows no signs of slowing down.

The prong setting is also exactly what it sounds like, but there are a few different types of prongs. There are a number of “prongs” that hold the center stone in place. These settings almost always have four or six prongs, though there’s technically no set number of prongs you can have. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of various numbers of prongs later.

Prong settings are a bit more prominent as they make their way further up the center stone and take up more visual space than other setting styles. Think of this setting like that claw machine you allegedly can win stuffed animals from. So far, we haven’t, but that’s beside the point. Like the claws of that machine attempt to grab some stuffed trinket and wrap around it, so too do the prongs wrap around the center stone.

Read Our Helpful Guide on Ring Prongs Here

Featured: The Chelsea

Featured: The Chelsea

All About Claw Prongs

The main feature of the claw prong is that it’s a slightly more aggressive shape. The ends of each prong come to a point and really do resemble claws in a way. The style is sleek and modern but also more prominent.

Claw Prong Pros

Claw prongs have bolder styling and added security compared to round prongs. While the bold styling may be a pro or con, depending on your stylistic persuasions, the durability and security are definitely pros. The claw is able to get a better hold on the center stone than the round prong, and that’s helpful over the long term, even if the short term won’t see much, if any, difference.

Claw Prong Cons

Claw prongs can be more expensive depending on who you purchase your ring from. If you opt for a Modern Gents affordable engagement ring, the price difference won’t be as drastic. However, among traditional jewelers, you can pay a difference of several hundred dollars easily. Also, the claw setting has an easier time snagging on things, so practice extra caution.

Featured: The Grace

Featured: The Grace

All About Round Prongs 

Round prongs are a more subdued style that take up a little less visual space. They look more like beads than claws and come to a rounded edge instead of a point. They also don’t extend as far onto the center stone.

Round Prong Pros

You see more of the center stone with round prongs, and they are not as prone to snagging as claw prongs. The more subtle style is appealing to some, and will have an easier time withstanding changes in trends.

Round Prong Cons

The fashion-forward may find its simpler styling to be a bit pedestrian. While it won’t snag on things as easily, the round prongs don’t get as good of a hold on the stone as the claw prongs do.

The Best Types of Prongs for Various Diamond Shapes

The perfect marriage of form and function extends beyond just the prong style itself. The shape of your center stone also plays a crucial role in how well it complements the chosen prong type. Let’s look closer at the best types of prongs for various gemstone shapes. 

Claw Prongs: Elongation and Drama

Claw prongs, with their sharp, pointed ends, are a perfect match for gemstones with elongated shapes like marquise and pear cuts. They look great with oval-shaped diamonds, too. The pointed prongs visually extend the stone’s silhouette, accentuating its slender form and creating a dramatic and elegant look. These engagement ring settings also look incredible on vintage ring styles.

Round Prongs: Seamless Blend and Sparkle

The round prong style offers a harmonious pairing for gemstones with a classic round cut. Their softer, curved design seamlessly blends with a round diamond’s circular shape, allowing the diamond’s brilliance to take center stage. Round prongs also work well with emerald cut and princess cut diamonds.

Take, for example, a brilliant cut diamond. The round prongs gently cradle the stone, minimizing visual distraction and maximizing the play of light within the diamond. This combination creates a timeless and elegant piece that showcases the diamond’s sparkle in all its glory.

While these are just a few examples, the same principle applies to other gemstone shapes. Consider how the prong style complements the stone’s form. Ultimately, the best pairing will create a visually cohesive and stunning piece of jewelry.

4 Prongs vs. 6 Prongs: Which Is Better? 

While we’ve explored the visual differences between claw prongs and round prongs, another important factor to consider is security. The number of prongs on a setting (4 vs. 6) can impact how well it holds onto your center gemstone.

Both 4-prong and 6-prong settings are generally secure for everyday wear. The key difference lies in the added layer of protection that 6 prongs provide in comparison to 4 prongs. Here’s a breakdown:

  • 4-Prong Settings: These are popular for their clean and minimalist look. They offer a good balance between aesthetics and security for most lifestyles. However, if a prong were to bend or break, the center diamond (or other stone) is more vulnerable to falling out when your ring only has four prongs.
  • 6-Prong Settings: With two additional prongs, 6-prong settings provide maximum security for your center stone. This is ideal for those with active lifestyles or professions that involve handwork or potential snagging. Even if one prong bends or breaks, the remaining prongs of a six-prong setting can still hold the stone in place, giving you peace of mind.

Ultimately, the best choice depends on the wearer’s personal preferences. Here are some tips to help you decide:

  • If you’re looking for maximum security and have an active lifestyle, a 6-prong claw setting might be the ideal choice. This is especially true if you frequently work with your hands, exercise intensely or tend to snag your rings on things. Maximum security is more important for expensive gemstones, too.
  • For a more delicate look and a lower profile, a 4-prong setting is a beautiful option. Just be sure to choose a ring made with high-quality materials and excellent craftsmanship to ensure the long-term security of your stone.

Which One Is Right for You?

The differences between the two almost entirely come down to personal preference. While the claw prong gets a slightly better hold, that difference isn’t major — even over the long term — if you buy from a reputable source.

Browse Our Entire Collection of Engagement Rings Here