8 Step Guide
- Step 1: Set Your Budget
- Step 2: Get the Ring Size
- Step 3: Choose a Jeweler
- Step 4: Design the Ring
- Step 5: Select a Diamond
- Step 6: Make the Purchase
- Step 7: Get Insurance
- Step 8: Care & Maintenance
Select a style for the center setting
With the overall ring style in mind, we can start refining the details by selecting a setting style for the center stone. This is what will hold the center stone in place and will impact how the center stone and ring will look from the top and side views. First we will look at the “prongs” which are essentially tiny claws that extend from the ring to hold the diamond in place.
4 Prong vs. 6 Prong
Before diving into all of the setting style variations, it is important to note the difference between the classic 4 prong setting and the sleek 6 prong setting. It is likely that the prong style you choose will likely be applied to one of these options, as they are by far the most popular choices for most diamond shapes. A few exclusions would be the pear and marquise shapes as their pointed ends require additional prongs for protection. So here is our evaluation, which will hopefully make your decision easier when choosing between 4 and 6 prongs:
Choose a 4 prong setting if…
- Your center stone is less than 1 carat, as you don’t want the additional metal of 6 prongs to look overbearing and make the diamond appear even smaller than it may already seem.
- You prefer the more “square” look that results from having a prong in each corner.
- The design that you’ve chosen lends itself to a 4 prong orientation.
Choose a 6 prong setting if...
- Your center stone is larger than 1 carat. Although the prongs in a 6 prong setting are generally thinner and more delicate looking, they will still tend to cover more of the center stone than a 4 prong setting and may be overbearing to a stone smaller than 1 carat.
- You expect more than the typical amount of exposure to wear and tear and want the added security of 2 additional prongs.
- You prefer the rounder and larger look that is achieved by the 6 prong setting, when viewed from a distance.
In conclusion, both 4 and 6 prong settings offer benefits and drawbacks, but there are no differences so impactful that one choice significantly outweighs the other. It will ultimately be a choice of personal preference and we recommend choosing the setting that is most suitable to the overall design of your ring.
Center Stone Setting Styles
Ideally, the setting that holds your center stone in place should be built for maximum strength and durability with minimum presence and diamond coverage. The following styles have varying degrees of each attribute, but all are widely used and accepted.
Button prongs are the original standard and are straight and rounded on the end. Most button settings feature either four or six prongs. Four prongs allow you to see more of the diamond and six prongs are more secure with a more round look. A benefit of this setting is that there is a minimum presence of metal, so that there’s more diamond to see and more light that can pass through the diamond, thus adding to its brilliance.
When a prong tapers off to a sharp point at the end, this is known as a talon prong. This style is commonly used because it takes up the least amount of space on the stone’s surface and offers a unique and dramatic effect to the viewer.
When one Button or Talon prong is split into 2 smaller prongs adjacent to each other, it is called a Double prong. This style takes up a little more space on the stone, but adds more security and a pleasing intricate detail. They are often used on cushion cut center diamonds which require stronger prongs than most other shapes.
This style of prong is used for function, to protect the points of sharp cornered diamonds namely princess, pear and marquise cuts. While not as delicate or visually appealing as other alternatives, they are necessary to ensure that the fragile points of these diamonds remain intact and completely protected. Typically V-prongs are only used when covering the point(s) of a diamond and the other prongs that are not protecting a point will be of a different, less intrusive style.
Its modern look and added security for those with an active lifestyle, make the bezel setting is the second most popular ring setting. Instead of holding the diamond with claw-like prongs, the bezel setting forms a thin border, tight to the shape of the stone, that holds the stone tightly in place.
A bezel setting can be full, completely surrounding the diamond or partial, leaving the sides open. Both are a great choice active professionals and others looking for a ring that won’t snag and will adequately protect the diamond.
The tension setting showcases the center stone visually suspended between two sides of the shank, giving an illusion that the diamond is floating. It is named so because it is literally the pressure of the metal band pushing into the sides of the stone that holds it securely in place. The benefits of a tension-style setting are added security for the center stone, a cool illusion and limited metal coverage over the face of the diamond.