Setting type refers to the metal base that holds a stone in place. Each setting style is created to enhance both the beauty of the stones and the appearance of a jewellery piece. The descriptions below are for the four most popular ring settings:
A prong setting is the one used, most often, to hold a diamond. The prong setting puts emphasis on the diamond and not the metal supporting it. The purpose of any setting is to hold the stone securely in the mounting and at the same time allow light to enter the diamond for maximum brilliance. This is obviously a delicate balancing act. Needless to say, the more metal used to hold the gem, the more secure it is.
A bezel setting is a collar of precious metal wrapped around the diamond. The bezel is attached to the top of the ring and stands up above it, adding height and dimension to the setting. Sometimes the bezel may be 'split' into two sections, arcing around a part of the diamond. This is called a 'half bezel' setting.
A channel setting is used to set round diamonds. Offering a sleek and elegant appearance, the end result of this kind of setting is a very different look. Setting round diamonds into channels leaves small spaces closest to the metal bars of the channel. By choosing round diamonds, the designer creates a clean line of stones, one with greater brilliance than is possible with baguettes. This also offers a less restrained look and may be more suitable when a ring has a round center stone.
A pave setting is one when the surface of the ring appears to be covered with tiny diamonds. An apt name for this setting, it resembles a street prettily paved with cobblestones. Tiny diamonds are placed in small holes that have been drilled off the ring shank. On a band that does not taper across the top, similar shaped diamonds are placed in such a way that they fill as much of the surface space as possible. Precisely cut diamonds are used for such a setting as they adds to the final appearance of the ring.
As mentioned, a prong is a little metal claw that holds the diamond or other gemstone tightly in place. Prongs can be rounded, pointed, flat or V-shaped. the latter is more common for diamond shapes with sharp edges such as the marquise, princess and pear cut.
The prong setting or prong mounting is the most common and classic setting type used in jewellery. Most prong settings feature either four or six prongs; the former allows to see more of the stone, while the latter is more secure.
The main benefit of this setting type is that there is a minimum metal used, meaning there is more gemstone to see and more light strikes a gem from different angles exposing its sparkle and brilliance.
Another advantage is its versatility. The prong setting compliments and supports a variety of diamond shapes and sizes offering a classic and timeless look.
Many people don't even take into account how many prongs should a ring have to offer a perfect balance between brilliance and security while these small parts play an important role in showcasing your gem and protecting it from damage and loss.
One of the most common decisions to make involving ring prongs is the choice between four or six prongs. One of the most crucial differences between four and six-prong settings is their effect on the Diamond.
As a rule, the fewer prongs your ring has, the bigger part of the gemstone is visible, and the more light enters the stone. On the other hand, the more prongs your ring has, the more light is blocked from entering your gem. This is the reason why diamonds and other gemstones mounted in a four-prong setting exhibit more brilliance and sparkle than in a six-prong setting.
In addition to the extra brilliance, a four-prong ring usually makes your diamond appear bigger, while six-prong settings make the stones look a bit smaller in comparison since more of the gemstone surface is covered with metal. With fewer prongs, you have a more prominent "brilliant and bigger effect. For example. a three-prong setting may make your diamond even more brilliant, but you should keep in mind that it is even less secure. With this being said, a four-prong setting offers a perfect balance between the maximum brilliance and the best security.
For this reason, the four-prong setting is recommended when the size of your diamond is less than 1.00 carat not to overpower the diamond with additional metal prongs.
Six-prong settings make the diamond appear smaller, but the extra prongs offer more security. While a smaller diamond might seem to be a disadvantage, the six-prong setting offers a perfect round look. For example, if you have a round brilliant cut diamond set into a six-prong mounting, the prongs are evenly distributed around the stone creating a fuller effect while a four-prong setting gives an angular effect making round stones look more square.
As mentioned, a four-prong setting makes round diamonds look a bit square due to the configuration of the prongs. However, this boxy-looking effect is mainly noticeable with round stones, making a four-prong setting a good choice for square or rectangular shaped gems. In contrast, if you have a round diamond set in a six-prong ring, it will not change the shape of the diamond, since the form of the prongs is creating an illusion of a circle:
Higher level of brilliance.
Makes a diamond look larger.
Easier to clean.
Creates angular effect.
Lower level of brilliance.
Makes a diamond look smaller.
Harder to clean.
Creates rounded effect.
So what's the optimal number of prongs? There is no definite answer to this question. Just keep in mind all the advantages and disadvantages when buying a ring and take proper care of your prongs to avoid any problems in future.
In general, the fewer prongs your ring has, the easier it is to clean. That is why, when it comes to maintenance. the four-prong ring setting is the winner. In comparison, the six-prong setting makes the cleaning of stones a bit harder especially the lower part where dirt tends to accumulate more.
Although six-prong rings are harder to clean, they still have a big advantage of being more secure. We all know that prongs wear down with time, and when they are worn, they can bend or even break, putting you at risk of losing your diamond.
If you have a six-prong ring and one of the prongs breaks, you still have five intact prongs that hold your stone securely due to their alignment. Moreover, a six-prong setting better protects your diamond's girdle from accidental hits. The situation is a bit risky with four prongs. If one of the prongs breaks, your diamond is at a higher risk of coming loose and falling out. Since diamonds with four prongs have less of their surface covered by metal, they are also more exposed to damages during the wear.
Most likely, you are all painfully aware of how easily prongs bend and snag clothes or hair. However, when a prong is worn out or not in alignment, you are at risk of losing your diamond.
The more of your prongs are worn off, the higher the risk that your diamond will fall off next time you hit your ring while wearing. To make things worse, bent prongs will make your diamond crack when hit again.
To avoid all these issues, you should always be on the lookout and check regularly whether they are properly aligned and your diamond is not loose. When the prongs of your ring are worn out or broken, you need to have them fixed as soon as possible.
Jewellers usually remove what's left of prongs and solder new ones in place. When replacing is not needed, they add more metal to prong tips to make them stronger. This process is called prong retipping.
As a general rule, you should have your prongs inspected by a jeweller at least twice a year.
It is clear that when a jeweller repairs your ring, you will be charged a fee for each prong that is fixed. The more prongs you have that need to be repaired, the more you will pay.
Which prong setting is better depends on what is more important to you: safety or appearance.
In case if the appearance is in the first place, opt for a four-prong ring. This is especially true for non-round and smaller stones (less than 1.00 carat), as the four-prong setting will make them look a bit bigger due to a higher level of brilliance and less metal coverage.
A six-prong setting is a better choice for those concerned about security: however, you should keep in mind that it also makes your stone appear a bit smaller. This type of setting looks perfect with round stones as the construction of prongs that are evenly distributed around the gem create a full round effect, while a four-prong setting gives an angular effect making round stones look more square.
In case you care about protection but still want a four-prong setting, get it made of platinum. This metal is very durable and wears much more slowly than gold.
So what is the optimal number of prongs? There is no definite answer to this question. Just keep in mind all the advantages and disadvantages when buying a ring and take proper care of your prongs to avoid any problems in the future.
Did you know that the setting metal you choose can make the color of your diamond look better or worse? The choice of metal can affect the ring's style and appearance as well as make the stone appear whiter or tinted. Let's find out how to choose the best setting for your diamond based on its color to achieve the look you want.
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When talking about diamond color, we mean how colorless the stone is. The highest quality diamonds are completely colorless, while lower quality diamonds have yellowish or brownish tints.
Diamond color is graded using a scale developed by the GIA. which goes from D to Z, with D being the most colorless and Z containing yellow or brown tints noticeable to the naked eye.
Each letter grade falls under a clearly defined range of color appearance:
G-H-I-J: Near Colorless.
K-L-M: Faint Color.
N-R: Very Light Color.
S-Z: Light Color.
Diamond color grade is one of the factors that significantly affect diamond prices which is why this aspect should never be overlooked. Choosing the right color for your setting could help you save some money without affecting the look of your jewellery and overpaying for a feature that would remain unnoticed.
Polished diamonds are highly reflective, meaning the color of the metal you choose will be reflected within the stone. If you have a diamond with yellowish or brownish tints (K grade or lower), it is not a good idea to have it set in a white metal such as platinum or white gold. As a result of the increased contrast, the stone's coloration will be more noticeable. That is why putting such a diamond in white metal will only make the stone look even more tinted.
Instead of going for a white setting, it is recommended to opt for a colored metal such as yellow or rose gold. The metal's color will mask the yellowish tints of the stone and make it look whiter against the mounting.
When choosing a setting for a tinted diamond, it is important to make sure the prongs are of the same color as the rest of the setting. In case the mounting is made of colored metal and the prongs holding the stone are white, they will still enhance the yellow tints in your diamond.
The most suitable setting for a near colorless diamond will depend on where in the range your stone falls. If your diamond is graded G or H, then the stone will barely have any tints and it is safe to have your diamond set in white gold or platinum.
If your diamond is graded I or J, it will have a bit stronger yellow tint, so it is better to opt for colored metals. However, there is an exception to every rule. Round and princess cut diamonds tend to hide color imperfections in the diamond rough, meaning it is still safe to have them set in white metals. For other cuts. you should consider a yellow or rose gold setting.
Keep in mind that the visibility of yellow tints in a diamond also depends on its cut quality. An ideal cut stone may reflect light in a way that would make any tints nearly invisible, while a poor cut makes the coloration even more noticeable.
If your diamond falls within the colorless range (D-E-F), you have a larger choice of settings, colored metals work fine with colorless diamonds as they still stand out when mounted in them. However, it worth mentioning that such a setting will add some yellow tint to the stone.
In case you do not want to add more color to the diamond, you better have it set in white gold or platinum. If you still prefer colored metals, it makes sense to use white metals for your prongs. This will help to make the centre stone look whiter against a colored background. After all, if you have paid so much money for a colorless diamond, it is worth making sure its color will not be tinted in any way.
There is also another reason to opt for the white metal and it has to do with durability. Platinum lasts longer than gold, ensuring your prongs will wear down very slowly. As a result, you will not need to get your ring fixed that often.