Browsing for the engagement ring that steals your heart and sweeps you off your feet? Finding the right setting is like finding the right match, it’s a whirlwind love affair and in the end, you want something safe to last long-term. That’s why it’s vital to choose the right setting. An engagement ring setting is what the diamond or center stone is securely set in.
While there are dozens of engagement ring setting styles
, they each have their virtues and drawbacks. Today, we’re tackling the two most popular settings, the basket, and prong settings, to help you decide which is the safest for your engagement ring.
The first order of business? Clearly defining each setting so that you can make an informed decision. After all, you want your engagement ring to go the distance. That’s why it’s important to examine your options before settling on one setting.
What is a Prong Setting?
The prong setting holds the main jewel in place with four pins, one on each of the four corners of the gem. If the gemstone in the center of the ring is round, it won't have corners, rather four pins equidistant from one another.
The purpose of the pins is simple and effective: they secure the center stone in place so it doesn’t fall out. Traditional prong settings contain four pins, but there are also variations featuring 6-8 prongs. As you can gather, larger gemstones require more security, aka, more prongs.
The esteemed example of the prong setting is the Tiffany setting, which is essentially a prong setting that’s patented to the Tiffany & Co. brand. Is there a difference between the two? Not at first glance. However, closer inspection reveals that the Tiffany setting has different shaped pins.
Pros of the Prong Setting Style
To help you decide between the basket setting vs. prong setting, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each. First up: the prong setting pros.
- Sparkle: The best feature of a prong setting is that the sparse placement of the pins allow a generous amount of light to enter and reflect throughout the stone. What does that mean? Bling, bling, bling. The more light, the more sparkle.
- Price: A prong setting beautifully enhances the brilliance and color of a gem. With minimal material required, the center stone takes center stage! Can you guess why minimal metal is a pro? That’s right, the fewer materials used, the lower the price.
- Cleaning and Maintenance: Because the prong setting has fewer materials, there’s less to clean. This makes regular cleaning and ongoing maintenance of your ring a breeze!
- Durability: Despite the minimal nature of prong settings, they hold rings in place very securely, so you'll never have to worry about the beautiful stone falling out of your engagement ring.
Cons of the Prong Setting
One of the biggest drawbacks of prong settings happens to be one of its most intriguing features. While its minimalism enables light to shine throughout, it also makes it more susceptible to damage. The gemstone is exposed to the elements and contact surfaces. Of course, with a hard center stone like a diamond, there are few surfaces hard enough to damage the stone.
On that same topic, prong setting styles are elevated far above the base of the engagement ring. With this elevation, the center stone can catch on fabric, or even scratch skin if not careful.
Of course, with every setting there are pros and cons, so let’s see how the basket setting measures up!
What is a Basket Setting?
The basket setting style is very similar to a prong setting. A glance might result in mixing the two up. Still, they are different, let’s explore why.
The basket setting is the prong setting with an added dimension. Like the prong setting, the basket setting usually has four prongs that spring up from the base of the ring's band. The prongs are at equal distances from each other, and they are always the same size in height and thickness. From there, a horizontal band accentuates the prongs and wraps around the circumference of the gemstone.
The setting style earned the name of "basket setting" because of the way the prongs weave through the horizontal band to hold the center stone in place. They work together to look just like a woven basket!
Pros and Cons of the Basket Setting
Because these two settings are so similar, there are just two differentiating features we should address:
- Basket settings add an extra layer of security around the center stone, effectively minimizing damage because the stone is not as exposed as with a prong setting.
- The drawback of this added security is that basket settings hinder the brilliance and sparkle seen from a prong setting.
Considering these two important details...
Which Setting is Better?
In all honesty, it’s completely preferential. Each setting has its pros and cons, and there are no distinguishing features that set one above the other. Ultimately, the choice comes down to what you value most for your engagement ring.
Do you want head turning sparkle? Then choose a prong setting. Is durability your #1 priority? Sounds like you should seriously consider the basket setting for your engagement ring. Choosing an engagement ring setting is an important part of your ring search, as you’ll wear it for a lifetime. The pickier you are during this stage, the better! After all, there are few things as important as your engagement ring, better to take the time to make the best choice according to your preferences.
Whichever you decide on, you really can’t go wrong with either of these settings because they’ll each put the focus on your center stone. The choice ultimately boils down to whether you value ultimate sparkle or an added layer of security.
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