What is a Prong Setting in Jewelry?

prong set diamond engagement ring

Creating the perfect ring or piece of jewelry includes many different steps from choosing the stone and metal to how the gem will be set. A prong setting, also called a claw setting, typically has four to six metal pieces that extend from the basket of the ring over the stone to hold it in place. This classic setting is quite common, especially for solitaire engagement rings.

What is a Prong Ring Setting?

Prongs are made of small strips of metal that form a basket-like cradle to hold the gemstone. Once the stone is seated inside, the ends of the prongs are bent towards the gem to hold it snugly in place. Any excess metal is trimmed and finished by rounding the edges. This type of setting effectively secures a diamond in place and allows lots of light to enter the stone enhancing its sparkle factor.

The prong was created in the 19th century in an attempt to show off more of the characteristics of a gemstone and to create the illusion that the stone was floating above the finger. Depending on the design of the ring, prongs can be made taller to create a high mounting or be shortened to bring the stone closer to the finger. Settings usually have either four or six prongs which can be created in different shapes. 

  • Round prongs are the most common, are finished with a rounded head and look like small dots when viewed from above, and are minimally invasive
  • Pointed prongs, sometimes called claw prongs extend longer than round one
  • Flat tab prongs have a lower profile making them less likely to catch or snag on things
  • Double prongs allow you to set a large stone without large, overbearing prongs and can be round or pointed
  • V prongs are made to protect the pointed tips of shapes like pear or marquise to protect it against chipping

Why Choose a Prong Set Engagement Ring?

Prong settings are popular because of their classic and timeless look, especially for a solitaire engagement ring setting. Because the prongs are so small, they don’t take up much room on your ring and allow light to enter the stone for maximum brilliance. This type of setting is not only beautiful, but easy to clean since you can get to the sides and bottom of your stones easily to wipe away dust and keep your stone sparkling. 

A prong setting can be tall and perching or short and closer to your finger, and the prongs themselves can be shaped into many different styles depending on your taste and the size and shape of the stone. While four or six prong settings are the most common, you can style a ring with as few as two or as many as eight prongs. Prong settings are incredibly versatile, work with a variety of gemstone cuts and shapes and ring styles.  

While the prongs themselves do hold a stone securely in place, this type of setting offers lower protection and durability as compared to a bezel setting. Prongs can be prone to getting caught or snagging fabric or skin, so it’s important that they are created and refined by a high quality jeweler, need to be inspected regularly and you may occasionally need to get the prongs refinished. Your lifestyle as well as style should always be a consideration when designing a ring. 

If you have questions about what type of engagement ring is the perfect fit for you, or are interested in creating a custom ring, give us a call at 303-385-8449 or click here to schedule an appointment.