If you're in the midst of designing your engagement ring, you know you have a lot of choices. And when it comes to selecting the right setting for your diamond, you want one that will not only allow your precious stone to sparkle but also one that will also keep it protected forever. No matter what you've heard about prong settings, there are distinct advantages and drawbacks to choosing this style as well as alternatives that suit any lifestyle. Here's what you need to know so you can decide if this style is right for you.
Benefits of a Prong Setting
One of the biggest reasons people go with a prong setting is because it leaves the underside of the diamond open, exposing it to more light than it would have in a different mount. This tends to give it more sparkle and brilliance. These types of settings usually have four or six prongs, and the prongs themselves can be flat, rounded, pointed, or V-shaped. So obviously you have an array of styles to choose from.
One advantage of 4-prong settings is that they show more of your diamond, allowing the focus to stay on your brilliant gem. This would be the recommended choice for someone who has a diamond less than one carat in size because six prongs might "swallow" the diamond and compete with your gemstone for attention.
Four-prong rings are also popular for a princess or emerald cut, as the prongs will be mounted on the corners, emphasizing the beauty of a square or rectangular shape. But if you have a small, round diamond, you can change the orientation of the prongs to the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o'clock positions. This is known as a kite mounting, and it has the effect of making the diamond look bigger than it really is.
Six-prongs are typically recommended for anything over one carat, and they have one huge advantage over the 4-prong settings: security. If one of the prongs were to break and you're left with five as opposed to three, you're obviously going to be less likely to lose that diamond. So if you tend to use your hands a lot for hobbies or your career, you may want to lean towards a 6-prong engagement ring.
Drawbacks of a Prong Setting
Prong settings can sometimes catch on clothing. If this happens, however, the problem can be fixed by a jewelry repair professional. In this case, they will examine your ring to see if the prong is broken, lifting, or wearing out in one particular spot. From there, they can either gently press the prong back down or retip the ring, a process that involves rebuilding the prong back up.
One other thing to consider is that the wedding band that accompanies a kite mounting might have to be custom made. This is due to the fact that the location of the prong could prevent the wedding band from resting flush with the engagement band.
Alternatives to the Prong
If you decide that a prong setting is not the style for you, there are still a plethora of options that allow your diamond to be the envy of friends and family.
With a bezel setting, the metal band encircles the diamond. It's a great choice for those who are active, and you won't have to worry about your ring catching on your clothes.
You've probably seen a channel setting in rings that feature a single "showcase" diamond with a row of smaller diamonds set in the grooves of the band as it wraps around the finger. But some women opt for a channel setting without the stone on top as their engagement ring.
A halo setting is a popular choice for those who want to make their diamond appear larger than it is. With this option, a circle of diamonds or other gemstones completely encircle the center stone. These are often used to create an antique or estate look.
There are many other options to go with, so be sure to speak with a jewelry professional at a company like Emerson & Farrar to determine what's best for you.