If you’ve spent a pretty penny for a big dazzling diamond, security is probably on top of your mind. Whether you’re buying a big rock to treat yourself or to seal the deal with your other half, the diamond should be safe and sound in its setting forever. Ideally, besides it being secure, you would want your diamond to shine at its brightest.
The two most popular settings for mounting a single large precious stone are bezel and prong settings. The question is:
Which one is better?
Both setting types have their advantages and disadvantages. In this article, we’ll dive a little deeper into these and find out more about each setting.
What Is a Bezel Setting?
One of the most popular engagement ring types is certainly a durable and modern bezel set diamond ring. A bezel setting holds a precious stone inside a metal rim that completely envelopes the edges of the stone. This type of setting provides excellent security and protection for the center gemstone while making the ring appear trendy and sleek.
A bezel setting can be either full or partial. In a full bezel setting, the diamond’s circumference is entirely surrounded by metal, offering great protection but allowing less light to pass through the gem. In a partial bezel setting, the sides of the center stone are left open, like in this Semi Bezel-Set Solitaire Engagement Ring.
From classic solitaire diamonds to ring settings that feature halo, side-stone, and pavé diamonds, bezel setting can be found in a variety of styles and designs. This type of setting is also available in a wide selection of precious metals, including yellow and white gold, rose gold, palladium, and platinum.
Pros of Bezel Settings
- Security: When it comes to bezel set rings, the main benefit is a gemstone’s security. The precious stone is mounted in a metal frame, providing excellent protection. This is especially important with precious stones of lesser hardness, such as opals, apatite, sphene, fluorite, turquoise, and other gemstones that score less than seven on the Mohs scale. Bezel settings will nicely cradle these softer stones and protect them from scratching and chipping.
- Durability: Bezel settings are also less likely to get loose over time, keeping the gemstone in place for longer periods of time and minimizing the need for repairs and jeweler visits. Therefore, these types of rings are easy to maintain, and you can save quite some money on that front.
- Appearance: And finally, if you’re looking for something trendy with modern aesthetics, a bezel set ring would be an ideal choice for you. A well-designed bezel setting can be quite appealing as it offers a clean and fresh look.
Cons of Bezel Settings
- Cost: The biggest downside of bezel-set rings is their price, as they are usually more expensive than rings with prong settings. This is due to the amount of metal that’s required to create this type of diamond mount. Besides, in order to fit the gemstone properly, the bezel typically needs to be custom-made, which only adds to its price.
- Light: As the bezel setting covers a large portion of the precious stone, there’s less light hitting the gemstone, resulting a ring that’s not as shiny and reflective. Jewelry designers are trying to work around this issue and create partial bezels that are lower, exposing more of the gemstone.
What Is a Prong Setting?
A prong setting is an elegant and classic ring style. It’s a common design for almost any ring type and suitable for both engagement and wedding rings. In this timeless setting, two, four, or more prongs or claws non-intrusively wrap around the edges of the gemstone, gripping it and holding it in place.
This type of mounting style uses a minimal amount of metal, allowing more light to go in and out of the precious stone. It might not be as secure as a bezel setting, but it will give your ring a chic and sophisticated look with an attention-getting sparkle.
The prong setting is also available in various options that can change the entire style of the ring. And, so, you can find prongs or claws that are rounded, pointed, heart, button, and fishtail-shaped, V-shaped, and, finally, shared prongs.
Pros of Prong Settings
- Light: This type of setting is made to reveal as much of the gemstone as possible while keeping it safe. The unobtrusive prongs or claws and the elevated diamond setting allow for more light to pass through the gem. This way, the gem will shine to its fullest, maximizing its natural sparkle and resulting in more fire and brilliance than in bezel set rings.
- Unique design: A prong setting is simple but beautiful and timeless. No other diamond setting has stood the test of time like the prong setting, and these elegant and classic rings have been popular for ages. Due to their simplicity, prong set engagement rings fit almost any style and can be easily matched with many different wedding ring designs.
- Cost: Prong set rings are typically more affordable since they use less metal. Besides, if you need to repair your ring or change a gemstone, it won’t be a problem with prong settings as they are easy to fix and adjust. Bezels, on the other hand, are much harder to modify once set up, only adding to the cost of their maintenance.
- Cleaning: In prong settings, there aren’t many places where dirt and dust can get stuck, and if they do, they are effortless to remove. You can do it yourself at home, using hot water, soap, and a soft toothbrush.
Cons of Prong Settings
- Security: Providing optimal exposure for the gemstone allows for more light and sparkle. But, at the same time, it can also be a major disadvantage, as the stone is exposed to knocking and bumping. To avoid chipping and other gemstone damage, these rings will require much greater care.
- Durability: Naturally, prongs are not as strong as some other settings, and they are prone to quicker wear and tear. For this reason, prong-set rings need to be monitored time and again to make sure none of the prongs or claws are broken or loose and prevent losing a valuable gem.
- Lifestyle: Because of their fragility and high-set design, prong settings aren’t the ideal choice for ladies with busy hands and active lifestyles. As prongs often protrude a little bit, they can also snag on clothing, furniture, and other materials, leading to their faster loosening.
Bezel vs. Prong – Which One to Choose?
Choosing an engagement ring’s setting style will depend on your fiancée’s personal taste, preference, and lifestyle. To make this decision easier for you, we’ve compared the bezel and prong setting side to side, showcasing their most significant advantages and disadvantages.
Stone protection: The center stone will have extra protection in the bezel setting, as it’s usually completely surrounded by a metal rim. Unquestionably, a bezel setting is far more secure than the prong setting, regardless of the number of prongs.
Wear and tear: The bezel setting is much more stable and robust, while the sharp points of the prong setting are prone to snagging on clothes and hair, making them loose over time. Therefore, catching on clothes, banging on doorknobs and other surfaces will inevitably make prongs or claws more damaged.
Stone appearance: A prong setting will show the diamond’s true size, while the bezel setting can make the diamond appear smaller than it is. On the other hand, prongs will leave the diamond mostly exposed, showing all of its flaws and inclusions. In the bezel setting, these flaws are somewhat hidden.
Shine and sparkle: A prong setting is without any doubt the winner on this front. While thin prongs allow for optimal brilliance and light reflection, bezel hides the sides and edges of a diamond, reducing the amount of light hitting the gem and making it appear less shiny.
Design: While both settings make for a beautiful ring, bezel set rings are generally much bulkier than those with a prong setting. This affects the overall design of a ring. Prong-set rings are, therefore, gentle and sleek, while the bezel settings will make a ring appear large and bold, which might not look as flattering on slimmer fingers.
To Wrap Up
In the end, it’s hard to say which ring setting is better as they are both gorgeous and offer distinct features. For ladies who like to work with their hands or have jobs with a higher risk of hitting and bumping the ring, a bezel setting would probably be the right choice. Likewise, it would be best to target bezel for softer gemstones, such as turquoise and opal.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a classic and elegant look with tons of sparkle, a prong-set ring is something to consider. As long as you’re careful, a timeless diamond with a four-prong setting will shine bright on your finger for decades to come.