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Prong vs. Basket Engagement Ring Settings – Pros and Cons and Which to Choose

Woman wearing prong based engagement ring

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The engagement ring setting you choose will determine not just the beauty of the ring but also how securely the center stone is held.

While there are many different types of ring settings to choose from, two popular options include the prong setting and the basket setting. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of these two settings and which of the two are the best option for your engagement ring.

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prong vs basket engagement ring side by sied

What is a Ring Setting?

Elements of a Ring

Before we get into the details, it’s important to identify what a ring setting is. While the terms ‘setting’ is often used to talk about the entire ring, the setting actually refers to the part of the ring that holds the center stone. This is also sometimes called the head of the ring. The image below indicates the different elements of a ring.

Because this is the part of the ring that holds the stone, it’s important that it’s solidly crafted and highly secure.

What is a Prong Setting?

prong setting engagement ring guide

Prong settings are the most popular option for engagement rings, with the Tiffany solitaire ring being the most popular style. Prongs can range from 3 to 8 or more prongs, but the average prong setting consists of 4 to 6 prongs.

In a prong setting, the prongs are attached to the band and extend upwards from there to hold the stone. To ensure that they hold the stone securely in position, the prongs are slight bent over at the edges of the stone.  

Pros of Prong Setting

1- They enhance the brilliance of the diamond as it allows for more interaction with light. This contrasts with bezel or halo settings, which can obscure the diamond a lot more.

2- It’s a classy, timeless setting that will always be in style.

3- Prong settings are versatile and can be adapted to suit the most minimalist of styles, like this simple knife-edge solitaire ring, as well as the most dramatic tastes, like this elaborate pave infinity diamond ring.

4- Prong settings are easy to clean as they have fewer hidden spaces in the setting.

Cons of Prong Settings

1- Prong settings can snag on objects like clothes or hair, especially if they feature a very high setting.

2- A weakened prong can result in a loose diamond, so avoid knocks and hard impact. Having a prong setting checked periodically is a good idea.

What is a Basket Setting?

Basket setting engagement ring

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From the face up, a basket setting looks like a regular prong setting, but when viewed from the side or profile, you’ll notice the difference between these two.

Basket settings also have prongs extending upwards from the base of the ring. The difference is that there are horizontal bands that connect these prongs, turning it into a basket into which the stone is set.

Pros of Basket Setting

1- The horizontal bands strengthen the prongs, making the ring more durable.

2- Basket settings tend to be set lower on the band, instead of held up high like most prong settings. This means less exposure to knocks and bangs, making basket settings an excellent option for people who lead active lifestyles or use their hands a lot for work.

3- They can be very elegant and classic, with the space in between the prongs (known as the gallery) often beautifully embellished.

4- Basket settings allow for more creative designs than prong settings as there is more area for designers to work with. This stunning kite-set twisted pave engagement ring is the perfect example.

Cons of Basket Settings

1- Basket settings can also get caught on objects, but this is less likely as they’re generally set lower on the band.

2- Basket settings reduce the diamond’s light interaction from the side, as there is more metal obstructing the diamond.

3- Depending how elaborate the basket is, the basket setting can be difficult to clean. Dirt and grime can collect under the diamond and in hard to reach areas, which can reduce the sparkle of the stone.

Which Should I Choose?

Here’s what some of our readers tell us:

Sandra: My basket setting ring can be so hard to clean because I just can’t reach the pavilion easily. The only way I can clean the ring properly is by putting it in the ultrasonic cleaner, which can get pretty annoying.

Kareena: The basket setting looks richer and more extravagant, in my opinion. Mine has a lot of elements around the head of the ring which is so pretty.

Suzanna:  For me, durability is more important than anything else, which is why I bought a basket setting. I know that a prong setting is also incredibly secure, but the idea of my diamond sitting in that basket just let’s me feel at ease.

The setting you choose depends largely on your personal preferences, lifestyle and how often you plan to wear the ring.

Choose a basket setting if you plan to wear your ring daily, you like the idea of added security and you lead an active, busy lifestyle where you use your hands a lot. This could include jobs like nurses, doctors, mechanics, personal trainers and so on.

Choose a prong setting if diamond sparkle is of paramount importance to you, you like the look of a large flashy ring set high on the band and you either plan to take your ring off when engaging in active work or you simply don’t use your hands too much at work.