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Basket Setting vs Martini Setting (Earrings)

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Basket Setting vs Martini Setting Earrings

Two popular styles of earrings are basket and martini settings.

The main difference between basket and martini settings is basket settings often have four prongs connected by a wire basket wrapping around the diamond. Martini settings typically have three prongs that form a V shape at the base of the earrings and leave more of the diamond exposed.

Let’s compare basket versus martini settings for diamond earrings, including an overview of each, their pros and cons, and how to decide which is right for you.

What is a Basket Setting for Diamond Earrings?

Basket settings are the most traditional style for diamond stud earrings. 

In the two-tier style, there’s a pair of wires encircling the diamond. One is nested against the crown, and the other secures its base.

View the image of a basket setting below, and notice the two tiers on the right side.

Basket Setting Earrings

They connect the four prongs, which grasp the edge of the diamond.

Most designs are a two-tier setting, but check out this pair from my favorite vendor, which forms a scallop basket design.

Basket settings are available in many of the metals used in other pieces of jewelry: yellow, rose, and white gold, and platinum.

Round cut diamonds are the most popular shape used in basket settings, but they also hold cuts such as princess, emerald, and oval. You aren’t limited to one size or cut of diamond if you choose a basket setting.

For example, these diamond stud earrings are set in a platinum wire basket that can hold diamonds between 0.25-6.00 carats. 

Platinum Wire Basket Diamond Stud Earrings

The image provides a view from underneath, where the claws that hold the diamond are more apparent.

This particular design features six prongs for added security.

Pros

Sit Low on Ear

One advantage is the open back allows them to sit low on your ear. If earrings don’t have this quality, they may droop. Not only does it diminish their style, it’s often creates discomfort.

They’ll feel more secure when they’re pressed tight against your ear.

Basket settings for earrings also secure the diamonds more effectively than other designs, especially if you select a pair with more than three prongs. 

This pair includes four, and the design accentuates the round cut diamonds in the middle.

Basket Setting Earrings

Not only are the prongs gripping it tightly, but the one or two layers of wire baskets prevent the diamonds from falling out.

Their pavilion is also better protected from hits and drops.

Won’t Stretch Piercing

Another benefit is basket settings won’t often stretch your piercing. The diamond is placed in the center of the basket, and its flat base is situated far enough from your ear to avoid this problem.

Variety of Designs

There are also a variety of designs, so you don’t have to select a simplistic one.

As an example, these double prong diamond stud earrings include side stones on the basket. 

Double Prong Diamond Stud Earrings with Basket Setting

Although it covers more of the diamond, these accents add sparkle to the pair.

They also increase the total carat weight (CTTW). Because the CTTW is spread across multiple diamonds, you’ll avoid the premium for a larger diamond.

This pair from James Allen uses six prongs and a scalloped basket.

Earring with Scalloped Basket Setting 

Instead of the traditional wire basket wrapping around the diamond, the prongs interweave around the sides of the gem.

Cons

Less Exposure for the Diamond

They don’t expose as much of the diamond as other settings.

It sacrifices some sparkle for security because although the wire baskets protect it from all sides, any area where the diamond is covered diminishes the brilliance of the overall piece.

For example, this pair has a 14K yellow gold setting.

Basket Setting Covering Diamond Pavilion

Notice how the prongs and basket cover a significant portion of the pavilion.

That’s why some designs feature small diamonds on the basket. They compensate for the loss in brilliance so the pair doesn’t appear too dull.

Cost

Basket settings are also more expensive than martini settings.

For example, this basket setting in 18K white gold costs $590.

Diamonds Earrings with Basket Setting

This martini setting in 18K white gold costs $280.

The reason basket settings are often more expensive than martini settings is the additional metal used to create the basket. Plus, they typically have more prongs.

But none of these cons of basket settings have kept it from remaining a staple design for diamond earrings.

What is a Martini Setting?

Martini settings for diamond stud earrings are shaped like a cone. They often have three prongs and earn their name because of a resemblance to martini glasses.

Prongs form a V shape at the base and extend upward to grasp the crown of the diamond. In many cases, martini settings also have a wire basket wrapping around the diamond, but it’s positioned lower, like in this pair.

Martini Set EarringsCheck out the high-resolution images, and rotate the pair 360 degrees to view it from every angle.

It’s considered a modern style that also minimizes drooping. This is an especially important quality if the diamond studs are large because they sit close to your ear.

Depending on the CTTW of the earrings, you may receive a different type of backing. In some cases, a CTTW of more than one will include guardian backings. Less than one carat comes with push backings.

Similar to basket settings for earrings, you’ll find martini settings available in a variety of metals from rose gold to platinum.

To illustrate, check out this pair in 14K yellow gold.

Martini Setting in 14K Yellow Gold

The color provides a helpful contrast to the colorless diamonds you won’t find if you choose white gold or platinum,

Pros

Maximize Visibility of Diamond

One of the main reasons buyers choose them is they maximize the visibility of the diamond. There isn’t as much metal blocking its sparkle, so they display strong brilliance.

As an example, I’ve highlighted the martini setting below from the front and profile view.

Martini Setting Displaying Diamond

The pavilion and table are left exposed.

Flush Fit

Martini settings are a flush fit, so the diamond sits closer to your ear. It’s less likely to sag on your ear.

You won’t have to keep readjusting it like other settings that sink.

Comfort and Simplicity

Buyers also choose martini settings for the simplistic design. It’s a solitaire stud that isn’t crowded by too many diamonds on the piece. Like in the example below, a single gem sits in the setting, so it’s easier to clean.

Martini Setting Earrings

Martini settings are also known for their comfort. In fact, some buyers say they’ve worn them for multiple days without taking them out. That even includes sleeping in them.

I recommend removing them at the end of the day, but this does vouch for the ease of wearing them.

Cons

Might Stretch Piercing

One criticism of martini settings is they can stretch your piercing. This is the case with most diamond ring settings, so don’t discount them for that reason.

The best solution is choosing the right carat weight. Check with the vendor to ensure the weight of the diamonds are the right fit for the setting.

At many retailers, you can select the CTTW of the earrings, so you’ll know the pieces are the right size for your diamond. 

For example, these lab-created diamond earrings in a three-prong martini setting are available with diamonds that weigh between 0.25-2.0 CTTW.

Lab-Created Diamond Earrings with Martini Setting

They’re custom-designed to hold any of those weights, so you don’t have to worry about them sinking.

Less Protection for the Diamond

Another consideration is the martini design results in less protection for the diamonds compared to a basket setting.

The first reason is there are often only three prongs. In general, more prongs lead to a higher degree of security. So a four-prong basket setting is preferable in this area.

Secondly, the pavilion is more exposed. While this is beneficial to its sparkle, it does leave it vulnerable to drops and hits.

Remove your earrings during physical activity, whether it’s a martini or basket setting.

Is a Basket or Martini Setting Right for You?

Basket and martini settings are common ways to hold diamonds in a pair of earrings. 

If you’re comparing basket versus martini settings, here are some tips for your decision.

Consider basket settings if:

  • You want an added degree of protection for the diamonds
  • You’re willing to pay a higher price compared to martini settings
  • You’re interested in exploring all the designs available for basket settings

Martini settings might be right for you if:

  • The minimalist aesthetic is appealing
  • You’ll take steps to protect the diamond earrings from damage
  • You’re looking for earrings with a comfortable, flush fit that don’t droop

By examining martini and basket settings and how they hold diamonds, you’ll find the right pair of earrings for you.

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