Even though there are several ways in which a center diamond can be set, prong set engagement rings are the most popular design. Many will not realize this, but the way a stone is set makes a huge impact on the overall design of a diamond ring. Prongs are both functional as well as cosmetic in that they protect the center stone but also contribute the design of the ring. At deBebians, we offer a variety of prong set designs for different shaped diamonds and different customer tastes.
The most popular type of prong set engagement ring is a 4-prong design. Most diamond solitaires feature a 4 prong head with the exception of a 6 prong head, which is ideal for round brilliant cut diamonds. Generally speaking, a 6 prong head piece enhances the roundness of round brilliant while a 4 prong features less metal and perhaps makes for a softer shape. A 6 prong setting has more metal for protection but a 4 prong head has plenty of support without covering the diamond. When it comes to a round brilliant, the decision between a 4 prong and 6 prong head should come down to what you find visually pleasing.
Fancy cut diamond rings have more variety than a round brilliant in terms of what style of prongs can be used to set the diamond. Fancy shaped diamonds vary dramatically in their proportions so it is very important the prongs used to set the stone are ideal for that shape. To set a cushion cut diamond, I prefer a double prong. A double prong will feature two prongs at either edge of the four corners. Double prongs provide extra protection by making sure the stone does not shift out of place. Cushion cut diamonds do not have a sharp corner so any slight rotation out of place can cause the prongs to lose their catch. A round brilliant, because its diameter is relatively consistent, is less likely to need this extra protection. From a design perspective, I also prefer double prong on a cushion diamond because it adds shape to the stone. Unlike a princess or round who’s shape is very defined, cushion diamonds can sometimes lose their shape when they do not have a halo or double prongs marking the four corners.
A claw prong is a very popular design used in some of the largest set diamonds we see today. A claw prong is exactly what you imagine; prongs that cup the side of the diamond and finish to a point. This is often used on fancy cut diamonds such as emerald and radiant cuts since the claw typically enters right over the truncated corner of the stone. Unlike a cushion which does not have much of a sharp corner for a prong to catch, emerald and radiant diamonds do not require the extra support of a double prong. A claw often gives a more dramatic look to a ring.
The last prong, and in many ways a very important prong, is the V prong. V prongs are used for all diamonds that have a corner that reaches a point; I.E. princess, pear, heart, and marquise. Diamonds which feature a point are vulnerable to breaking without proper pronging. If you ever look at a prong set princess cut diamond, typically the prongs look very large. The fine, sharp edge of a princess diamond can easily break if it does not have this extra support.
Understanding the different kinds of prongs available can be helpful in designing your engagement ring. Please contact any of our staff gemologists for any special request or preferences on your order.