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9 Types of Prong Settings (With Images)

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Types of Prong Settings

Prong settings are one of the most common ways to secure a diamond on a ring.

Thin metal prongs extend over the diamond’s crown to hold it in place. 

It strikes the balance between showcasing the table, crown, and pavilion while also protecting the diamond from any hits or drops.

But even if you’ve chosen a prong setting for your ring, there are several options to consider.

Here are nine types of prong settings and details on each.

1. V-Prongs

V-prong settings are named after its shape.

Most prongs have a solid round or square face, but V-prongs have a slit down the middle that separates it into two parts.

The notch forms a V so each side can grasp a different edge of the diamond.

In most cases, they’re used for diamonds with sharp corners like princess or marquise cuts.

Take this engagement ring as an example.

V-Prongs

The 0.90-carat marquise diamond is held in place by six prongs. The two on the ends are V-prongs.

It’s more effective for the prongs to wrap around those edges than to sit on top. It exposes more of the diamond and complements the other four prongs that are flat on top.

The angle below provides a helpful example.

V-Prong Settings

You can view how the V-prong in the front extends both directions to grip the crown.

V-prongs also put less pressure on the diamond. If other types of prongs are set incorrectly, they press too hard on the diamond, leaving it vulnerable in places where there are inclusions.

Settings with V-prongs avoid this problem because it’s grasping the edges.

A disadvantage is the edges are sharp. They’re more susceptible to catching on clothing during everyday use. This may bend the prongs backward and loosen their grip on the diamond.

You also won’t find them on round-cut diamonds. The two sides of V-shaped prongs don’t have a natural way to grip the rounded edge.

So if you’re interested in a round-cut, V-prongs aren’t the right setting for you.

2. Round Prongs

Round prongs are the most common design.

When viewed from the top, they appear like buttons holding the diamond in place.

They’re aren’t invasive, which helps maximize the diamond’s appearance and light performance. Unlike other types, round prongs don’t extend far over the girdle.

Here’s an example of round prongs on a 14K rose gold diamond ring.

Round Prongs

The prongs start from the top of the shank and extend upward. They sit so close to the edge that the diamond doesn’t appear secure. But this is intentional to avoid covering its facets.

The style isn’t limited to round-cuts.

Check out this four-prong solitaire setting that holds an emerald cut.

Emerald Cut with Round Prongs

On each corner, there’s a round prong gripping the beveled edge. It works because emerald cuts have a straight edge between the corners where the prong can grasp.

On diamonds with sharp corners like princess or baguette cuts, round prongs aren’t the right fit.

To add more sparkle to the piece, many buyers include pavé lining the shank or a halo surrounding the main diamond. There’s no conflict between these designs and round prongs.

Round Prongs with Pave

There also isn’t a set number of prongs required in round-prong settings. The most popular design has four, but you’ll find options with three or six.

Four round prongs is the ideal balance between securing the diamond while not covering too much of it.

3. Claw Prongs

Claws prongs are distinguished by their pointed ends that extend over the girdle to grip its crown. They start wide at the base and narrow as they approach the end.

Claw Prongs

Claw prongs mimic talons.

This style reaches further over the diamond compared to V-prongs and round prongs. 

On the one hand, this is a downside because you want to leave as much of the diamond exposed as possible.

But the way this type of prong compensates is through its thin design. It’s a minimalist style, where the surface area at the points is less than many other types.

It’s why they’re a popular choice for diamonds less than one carat. With a small surface area, you want to minimize how much is covered by prongs. 

The sleek aesthetic of claw prongs is an effective solution.

Claw prongs fit almost every cut.

For example, here’s a cushion-cut diamond ring held by claw prongs.

Cushion Cut with Claw Prongs

They’re positioned on each corner.

You could also use them for oval, emerald, radiant, or round cuts.

It’s worth noting that claw prongs are often more expensive than round ones. It’s more difficult to mass-produce their shape. 

Settings often cost less than the diamond, so its overall impact on the price of the piece is marginal.

4. Double Claw

A popular variation of claw prongs is double claw prongs.

Instead of four instances of a single prong gripping the stone, they’re placed in pairs of two for a total of eight.

Double Claw Prongs

View the piece above from the side view. You’ll discover how the double claw prongs are formed when it splits into two halfway up the prong.

Like many other designs, double claw prongs are available with any type of metal from yellow or rose gold to platinum.

One advantage of double claw prongs is extra security. It’s a way to hold the diamond tightly without covering too many of its facets.

Although the extra set of prongs provides security, that’s not an essential feature. A single set of claws will suffice.

You might also use double claw prongs to hide inclusions. These blemishes on a diamond take the form of feathers, black spots, twinning wisps and more.

If one is noticeable in the corner of a diamond, you can cover it with the prongs. 

One consideration is to ensure the prong doesn’t press too hard on a vulnerable area. But if it’s a small inclusion that doesn’t create durability issues, the double claw prong can cover it.

Double claw prongs can also feature additional diamonds on the shank or around the main one.

Take this setting as an example.

Double Claw Prongs with Pave

It’s a round-cut diamond held by double claw prongs with pavé cascading down each side.

It’s a way to not only create a sleek aesthetic but to add more brilliance as well.

5. Four-Prong

Four-prong settings are named after the number of prongs holding the diamond.

It’s the most popular number used because it provides the necessary security while not covering too much of the diamond.

The standard style of four-prong settings is positioning them equidistant around the diamond, whether it’s a round, princess, emerald, or cushion.

But there are two ways of setting the prongs that each offer a distinct look.

The most common configuration is setting the prongs at the 2, 4, 8, and 10 o’ clock positions. It causes the ring to have a squarish appearance.

By placing them at the North, South, East, and West positions, it gives the illusion of a larger diamond.

Position of Four Prong Settings

When used as part of a solitaire setting, it’s a simple design that doesn’t distract from the main diamond.

Four Prong Setting

If you’ve chosen four button prongs, they almost go unnoticed because it’s what people expect.

But diamond rings with four-prong settings don’t have to follow the typical style.

You can alter its appearance through a fancy shape and diamonds surrounding the main one.

Here’s an emerald cut diamond held by four prongs.

The prongs grasp each of the beveled edges and are surrounded by two layers of diamonds. One forms a halo facing the viewer, and the second level faces outward.

On the ring are two sets of eight pavé diamonds for a total of 60 extra gems on the piece.

This demonstrates how the standard four-prong style isn’t limited to a solitaire setting and round-cut diamond.

6. Six-Prong

Six-prong settings secure the diamond with an additional two prongs. They’re still equidistant apart, but there’s a shorter distance between them.

The exact position depends on the cut.

On a pear-cut diamond, one prong sits on each end, and there are two on each side of the wider part.

Pear Cut with Six Prongs

One reason buyers choose a six-prong setting is for more security. In a four-prong setting, one loose or bent prong could cause the stone to fall out.

In a six-prong setting, even two prongs could loosen and still hold it.

They also protect the girdle, which is the area that separates the crown from the pavilion. 

Girdle of Diamond

If you’ve chosen a diamond with an extremely thin girdle, you could consider a six-prong setting to prevent durability issues.

The final upside of six-prong settings is they have the potential to cause the diamond to appear more round. Pongs set closely to each other create a tight, cohesive look.

But I don’t recommend this style for diamonds less than 0.75 carats. A high number of prongs surrounding a small diamond covers too much of the table and diminishes its brilliance.

They’re also more difficult to clean because there are more areas to trap dirt.

7. Flat Tab

Flat tab prongs hold a diamond in a similar way as other styles. Four or six prongs start from the top of the shank and extend over the crown.

But if you view the piece from the top or head-on, you’ll notice they’re flat on top and lay closer to the diamond.

Flat Tab Prongs

They often cover a larger surface area compared to variations like claw or V-prongs. This can reduce brilliance because there’s fewer visible facets to collect and return light.

But one reason buyers choose them is because they’re less likely to snag on clothing or other everyday items.

Not only is it pressed tightly against the gem, there isn’t a sharp end like on a claw prong that more easily catches.

That could cause the prongs to bend upward and loosen the diamond.

Flat tab prongs are fit for multiple cuts. Whether your diamond ring features an Asscher, princess, or emerald cut, this style can secure them all.

You’ll also find settings that combine them with other types of prongs. For example, a heart-cut may have flat tab prongs positioned around the diamond but a V-prong at the bottom to hold the pointed end.

Heart-Cut with Flat Tab and V-Prongs

It’s unusual for a diamond to feature multiple styles of prongs, but there are exceptions with certain cuts.

8. Tulip Prongs

Tulip prongs are a unique style of setting where the diamond sits in a flower-shaped basket.

The design begins at the top of the ring, where the curved prongs extend upward to form a basket. In most cases, there are four or six interconnected prongs. 

Instead of leaving much of the diamond exposed to enhance brilliance, tulip prongs often cover the pavilion but leave the table open.

Tulip Prongs

In other cases, the pavilion is left exposed.

Tulip Basket Prongs

Tulip settings aren’t a popular choice for engagement rings, but they offer a sense of elegance not found with a traditional style. 

It isn’t about maximizing light performance or showcasing as much of the diamond as possible. It’s about the piece as a whole and finding a version that goes beyond the classic solitaire.

If you’ve chosen a princess or other square-cut, opt for a four-prong tulip setting. For round or oval cuts, consider six prongs to further define its shape.

Tulip prongs can also feature diamonds on the shank. 

In fact, placing accents on the prongs leading up to the diamond is an effective way to improve the sparkle in a ring that otherwise doesn’t glimmer as much.

9. Shared Prongs

Shared prongs are an alternative style. Instead of a single diamond on top of the ring, shared prongs are often found along the shank.

Adjacent diamonds share two prongs. The goal is for the prongs to blend in with the piece so they aren’t as visible.

Here’s a close-up view of shared prongs.

Shared Prongs

Notice how large and small diamonds alternate halfway around the ring. In between each is a single prong that raises to the height of the diamond. Its circular shape mimics the table.

Shared prongs are also found in engagement rings.

Take this example.

Shared Prong Engagement Ring

In addition to the main gem, there are 18 diamonds with shared prongs. Nine round-cuts surround each side of the center diamond.

The main diamond still commands the most attention, but it’s an alternative to the traditional solitaire design.

This method of adding diamonds to the ring is distinguished from pavé and channel because there’s space between them. The shared prong sits in the middle to separate them.

But similarly, it’s an effective way to increase the total carat weight of the piece without the price increase that would result from a larger center diamond. 

Although the setting costs more than a solitaire, it’s more affordable than a heavier gem in the middle.

The ring will sparkle from every angle, and the shared prongs will hide between each of the diamonds.

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler

Devon Tyler is the founder of TeachJewelry.com.

He earned an Applied Jewelry Professional Diploma from the Gemological Institute of America and now brings you essential information about diamonds, settings, and more.

Devon has consulted with leading jewelry brands, and his work has been cited in Diamond Nexus and other industry publications.

He's also a member of the International Gem Society.

Devon enjoys discussing jewelry with readers, so contact him with any questions at tyler.devon@teachjewelry.com.

Learn More About Devon

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