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If you’ve chosen a prong setting for your engagement ring, the choices don’t end there. Prong settings include several variations that offer a unique design with their own functionality.
One example is flat tab prongs, which are named after the softer edges that latch onto the diamond.
Let’s explore flat tab prongs for engagement rings, including their pros and cons, how they compare to other types of prongs, and whether it’s right for you.
What are Flat Tab Prongs?
Flat tab prong settings for engagement rings feature four or six metal prongs that extend from the shank and grab the diamond by its edges. They have flatter edges than traditional prongs, so they lay closer to the diamond.
Flat prongs cover a larger surface area of the diamond compared to variations such as V-prongs or rounded edges.
This setting also holds the diamond lower, so it’s not sitting as high off the shank compared to other types of prongs settings.
Pros of Flat Tab Prongs
There are several pros of flat tab prongs that could make it the right choice for your ring.
The primary purpose of the flat design is to keep the prongs from snagging on clothing or catching on other items. For rings that are worn every day, it’s easy for traditional prongs to get bent upwards if they’re caught. This could cause the diamond to fall out.
Flat tab prongs are less susceptible to this problem because they’re tightly pressed against the diamond without a sharp end.
The flat edge is less likely to snag compared to the sharp end of a claw or pointed prong setting. This is why it’s often chosen by those with an active lifestyle.
They’re also considered more secure than other types. Any time the prongs experience wear or tear or damage, it can loosen the diamond.
By having four or six flat prongs holding the stone in place, it’s unlikely they’ll need to be re-tipped as often.
Another advantage of flat tab prongs is they work well with multiple cuts.
Your choice of setting should depend on the shape of your diamond, and some types of prong settings are only recommended for certain cuts.
For example, diamonds with sharp corners should be covered by V-prongs.
Flat tab prongs, on the other hand, are fit for nearly every shape. Whether it’s a round brilliant, emerald, or cushion cut, you’ll find them fit for flat tab prongs all the way around.
Cons of Flat Tab Prongs
There are reasons flat tab prongs aren’t the most popular type of prong for engagement rings. One of its downsides is the diamond sits lower on the piece, which diminishes its brilliance.
Settings that maximize brilliance place the diamond in a position where it can collect and return the most amount of light.
This is achieved with a setting where the diamond is higher off your hand and the shank.
Flat prongs keep it tight on the shank, so it can’t return light as well compared to other settings.
The second disadvantage of these prongs is they cover a larger surface area on the diamond. Their flat, straight edges are wider than alternatives.
For example, a V-prong has a cut down the middle that leaves additional open space, like this setting that holds a marquise cut.
Rounded prongs also take up less room on the diamond and offer comparable security.
This isn’t an issue you need to consider for diamonds more than two carats.
The relative difference in the exposed table between various types of prongs is minimal. For small diamonds, every millimeter matters, so you want the prongs to cover the least amount of diamond possible.
Flat Prongs Versus Other Types of Prongs
There are several options to choose from within prong settings, and flat tab prongs are a popular option. To make the best decision, you should understand how they differ versus other types of prongs.
Flat tab prongs often have a squared-off edge, while rounded prongs form a semicircle at the end. There’s minimal difference in their functionality, but flat prongs generally sit wider and closer on the diamond. Rounded prongs more easily snatch on hair and clothing.
This problem is more pronounced on V-prongs and pointed or claw prongs. They’re longer and stretch farther onto the diamond’s table.
They can be sharp to touch and sit the diamond higher versus flat tab prongs. The same is true of the double claw prong setting.
Compared to the cathedral prong setting, flat tab prongs sit much lower. The cathedral setting is known for its high placement of the ring that distinguishes it from the band. This is the opposite effect caused by flat prongs.
Tips for Buying a Ring with Flat Prongs
The first tip for buying a ring with flat prongs is to decide how many prongs should hold the diamond.
Just as there are variations in the prongs themselves, the number surrounding your diamond is also up to your discretion. A higher number such as six or eight prongs is most secure, but many buyers choose three or four flat prongs to leave as much of the diamond exposed as possible.
Secondly, you should explore a combination of prongs if the diamond has a sharp corner. Many settings feature the same type of prong all the way around, but if you choose a marquise or pear cut, you could include both flat and V-prongs to secure the diamond.
The last tip is to consider the type of metal. Many jewelry retailers offer settings in multiple metals such as platinum or yellow or rose gold. It’s recommended to have a uniform metal form the setting, and this would extend to its prongs.
Are Flat Prongs Right For Your Ring?
Flat tab prongs are right for your ring if you wear it every day and during times where it may snag. The way the prongs lay flat and press tightly against the diamond prevent the issues caused by other types of prongs.
You’ll have to accept the downsides of it covering a larger portion of the diamond and it diminishing some brilliance, but for many buyers, these are the right tradeoffs.
By finding the right balance between security, brilliance, and style with flat prongs, you can build a ring you’ll be proud to wear for a lifetime.