Last updated on October 9, 2020
If you have a ring with gemstones, perhaps you have already noticed those tiny claws that keep your stone fixed in the mounting. 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.
What Is a Ring Prong?
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.
How Many Prongs Should a Ring Have?
One of the most common decisions to make involving ring prongs is the choice between four or six prongs.
The four-prong setting leaves more of the gemstone exposed, meaning when mounted into four prongs your gem will have a higher level of brilliance. In addition to the extra brilliance, a four-prong ring usually makes your diamond appear bigger. With fewer prongs, you have a more prominent “brilliant and bigger” effect. For example, a three-prong setting may make your gem 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.
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.
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.
Can Prongs Harm My Gemstone?
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 stone.
The more of your prongs are worn off, the higher the risk that your stone will fall off next time you hit your ring while wearing. To make things worse, bent prongs will make your stone 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 stone 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.