We’re reader-supported. Posts may contain links that provide a commission at no cost to you. Learn how we make money.
Claw prongs and round prongs are two distinct ways of holding a diamond on top of a ring.
Buyers focus most of their attention on choosing the right diamond and shank, but you shouldn’t neglect comparing all the different types of prongs.
The main difference between claw prongs and round claws is claw prongs have pointed ends that grasp the crown of the diamond. Round prongs also stretch over the girdle but have a rounded end that secure the diamond onto the setting.
We’ll compare claw prongs versus round prongs, including an overview of each, pros and cons, and how to decide which is best for you.
What are Claw Prongs?
Claw prongs have pointed ends that reach over the diamond’s girdle and grasp its crown. They’re wide and rounded at one end and narrow as it approaches the tip, mimicking a talon.
It’s an elongated type of prong setting that often extends farther onto the diamond than other types.
In terms of style, claw prongs fall into the minimalist category. While some versions of prong settings feature six or eight surrounding the diamond, most claw settings include four prongs.
They fit multiple diamond cuts. Whether you’re considering an oval, radiant, emerald, or round cut, it can be held in place by claw prongs.
For example, this 14K white gold claw prong engagement ring from James Allen features an oval cut. There are four claws grasping it in a way that still exposes a significant amount of its table.
Claw prongs are an effective way to distinguish the setting from more classic types while still maintaining a sleek aesthetic.
There are many pros of claw prongs you should know as you’re searching for the right setting to hold your diamond.
The primary advantage is it shows more of the diamond compared to round or flat tab prongs.
The way the prongs narrow as they approach the center of the diamond prevents them from hiding more of the table.
It enhances the brilliance of the diamond because more light can enter and exit. This is especially true for diamonds less than one carat.
Their small table means any extra facets covered by prongs makes more of a difference versus larger diamonds, where there’s plenty of room for light to reflect.
Claw prongs are often more secure than other types because they farther reach across the diamond.
As a comparison, V-prongs latch onto the sides of the diamond and don’t extend as far onto the table’s facets. They’re used to hold unique cuts like heart-shaped diamonds or the pointed ends of marquise cuts.
There are also multiple variations of claw prongs. Petite claw prongs have the same shape but cover less of the crown and table.
They’re fit for small diamonds, when you don’t need as much strength to keep it firm on top of the setting. For large diamonds, we recommend standard claw prongs instead of petite ones.
Another type of claw prongs is called split prongs.
As it narrows toward the bottom, the claw splits into two. They’re still attached at the base, but it adds a more modern aesthetic.
You can also secure your diamond with a double claw prong setting, which often features four sets of two claws.
There are also downsides to claw prong settings.
The manufacturing process is more complex because it’s difficult to mass-produce their shape. It often results in a higher price.
As an example, let’s compare two platinum settings, where one has claw prongs and the others are flat.
The price of round prongs can fall in the middle. This platinum setting with round prongs from James Allen costs $675.
There are always exceptions, but as a general rule, you’ll pay more for claw prongs.
The second disadvantage of claw prongs is they should match the facet lines.
The jeweler should align the prongs and diamond in a way where the claws are pointing in the same direction as the facet lines.
If the diamond is rotated within the setting, it may lose its cohesive appearance.
Claw prongs also have the potential to snag on everyday items. Their sharp ends can catch on clothing or furniture and bend the prong upward, which loosens its grip on the stone.
Buyers also report claw prongs trapping fuzz. You should be careful removing any trappings to avoid bending the prongs in the wrong direction.
What are Round Prongs?
Round prongs mimic the shape of beads grasping the edge of a diamond.
Like claw prongs, round prongs start from the shank and reach over the girdle, but instead of the pointed shape at the end, they’re rounded.
In most cases, round prongs don’t extend as far onto the diamond as claw prongs. It reaches far enough to provide the necessary security and is more comparable to flat tab prongs.
Round prongs work on almost every diamond cut, but buyers often favor V-shaped prongs for ones with pointed ends or corners.
For example, princess cut diamonds are often held in place by V-shaped prongs on its corners, while round prongs work for cuts such as:
This six-prong solitaire engagement ring from Blue Nile uses round prongs to hold the diamond.
The same design can work for those other cuts as well.
There are several pros to round prongs for a diamond ring.
The first is they’re useful for fancy cuts like heart-shaped, pear and oval cut diamonds. The prongs latch onto their rounded edges to hold it in place without extending too far over it.
For example, this pear-cut diamond engagement ring from James Allen features four round prongs and a V-prong.
The four spherical prongs shaped like buttons contrast with the pointed prong at the bottom.
If you switch to an oval cut, the pointed V-cut is no longer needed, and round prongs surround the diamond.
Another advantage of round prongs is they don’t snag or trap fuzz as easily compared to claw prongs. The softer edges aren’t as susceptible to catching on clothing or furniture.
You’ll also spend less time removing lint from the prongs, which reduces the chances they bend backward.
Round prongs are available in multiple styles. You can select a four-, six-, or eight-prong ring, depending on the size of the diamond.
Eight-prong settings cover more of the diamond but have added security, or you can take the middle route and include six.
The number of prongs can also depend on the diamond’s cut. A popular setting for round and cushion cuts has double button prongs.
On four edges, a set of two button prongs grips the girdle.
One disadvantage of round prongs is they can cover more of the diamond than claw prongs.
The rounded tips don’t narrow as they extend over the diamond, so less of its facets are exposed in some places.
This isn’t an issue on large diamonds, but for smaller ones, any space taken up by prongs is less room for light to enter.
Too many round prongs can reduce its brilliance, so if you have a diamond that weighs less than one carat, we recommend no more than four prongs.
The style also isn’t unique. Many buyers want an alternative to a traditional engagement ring, which often features a solitaire setting, round prongs, and a round cut diamond.
While there are many other ways to create an engagement ring, such as with a cathedral or Tiffany setting, channel set diamonds in the shank, or a fancy cut, if you’re looking for a more subtle shift, prongs are an option.
That’s where claw prong and V-shaped prongs become a suitable choice.
Are Claw or Round Prongs Right For You?
Buyers comparing claw prongs versus round prongs should understand what makes each unique and how they affect the overall performance of the ring.
Here are some guidelines to help you decide between the two.
You should consider claw prongs for your diamond ring if:
- You want to expose as much of the diamond as possible
- You’re interested in exploring multiple styles, such as split, petite, and double claws
- You’re willing to pay a higher price compared to round prongs
You should opt for round prongs if:
- You’re concerned about fuzz trapping underneath them or the risk of claw prongs catching on everyday items
- You want a classic style setting that mimics most engagement rings
- Round prongs covering more of the diamond won’t have a significant impact on its brilliance because of its size
Explore a variety of round and claw prongs at in-person and online retailers.
By comparing a number of prongs and pairing them with a quality diamond, you’ll find the perfect ring for you.
Our Recommended Diamond & Jewelry Vendors