A prong setting is perhaps the most popular engagement ring style today and the No.1 choice for many brides-to-be. These are simple but elegant, and you can easily match them with the majority of available wedding band styles.
However, if you’re a fan of more brilliance and want more than one diamond on your ring, you can opt for a shared prong setting. In this variation of the classic prong setting, two gemstones share a pair of prongs, allowing for less metal and more sparkle.
In bridal jewelry, the shared prong setting is often confused with pavé and channel set rings. While these three ring styles are very similar, each of them has unique features, and they cradle and complement precious stones in distinct ways.
But first, let’s see what exactly a shared prong setting is in rings.
In prong settings, each stone is held in place by a few strategically placed prongs, typically four in number. In a shared prong setting, two diamonds or other precious stones are held in place by shared prongs or claws, most commonly two. The prongs are usually slightly bent around the crown of both stones, which are positioned close to each other, to secure them in place.
With this type of setting, the material used to anchor the gemstones is minimized, allowing for a uniform flow of diamonds and more sparkle and light passing through them.
As the diamonds are arranged very close to each other, they create a line of glimmer, undisturbed by the metal between them. The visual effect of a shared prong setting is very similar to the ones created by pavé and channel settings, and therefore, one might not be able to tell the difference between them.
Pave set ring by Blue Nile. See it here.
Pavé is the French word for pave, and in pavé set rings, gems are paved with the metal that holds them in place. The metal is barely visible, making a ring with the pave setting look like it’s covered in gems. It’s a gorgeous but expensive look to do, as it takes many hours and quite some labor to execute.
Channel set wedding band. See it here.
As far as channel set rings go, the diamonds, or other gemstones, are lined up in a channel or a cut-out line or groove within a ring band, without any metal between them. The gems are set closely together with metal bars holding them in place on each side of the row. This type of diamond setting achieves a smooth and modern look of a continuous line of stones. As the stones aren’t exposed in the channel setting, they won’t get chipped or hit as much as in a prong setting, for example.
Half-eternity shared prong setting. See it here.
And finally, we have a shared prong setting. Compared to the previous two ring setting types, shared prong set diamonds are typically larger. Even though the gems are secured by prongs pretty well, the light can pass freely through them because each gem in this setting shares one pair of less visible prongs.
Shared prong set engagement and wedding rings are usually more affordable than pave and channel set ring, with the similar effect of multiple diamonds spreading across a finger. Just like with other ring types, there are different variations of shared prong set rings:
- Double-row shared prong setting: In this timeless engagement ring style, there are two lines of shared prong set gemstones for a dramatic and bold look. You can fiddle with different types of precious stones and different gemstone shapes for a playful woman within you. For example, mix diamonds with emeralds or rubies or match different diamond cuts for a breathtaking effect.
- Shared prong eternity ring: The accent gemstones in a shared prong ring can either encircle the entire ring band in the recognizable eternity style or decorate just a portion of the ring in the so-called half-eternity design. The unmatched beauty of eternity style gemstones is perfectly showcased in this Shared Prong Sapphire And Diamond Eternity Ring.
- Side stones in shared prong setting: If you’re a fan of unique princess-cut diamond ring styles but want the added sparkle that a shared prong setting can offer, you can combine the two. This way, you’ll get an elegant and vintage rectangular center gemstone of amazing brilliance, accompanied by several precious stones on the sides, like in this signature Legato Shared Prong Engagement Ring.
- Shared prong in halo setting: In this stunning ring design, the bigger center diamond is embellished by a halo of smaller diamonds or other gemstones in a shared prong setting. This unique design’s beauty and sparkle are best depicted in this Petite Floral Halo Diamond Engagement Ring.
- Five or seven-stone shared prong setting: Similar to half-eternity ring styles with a shared prong setting, in five-stone or seven-stone shared prong set rings, only a portion of the circle is adorned with precious stones. However, unlike eternity rings, in this setting variation the diamonds are usually much more prominent. This eye-catching seven-stone engagement ring perfectly displays the sparkling diamonds in a classic shared prong setting.
One of the many benefits of a shared prong setting is the minimal use of metal and more exposed diamonds, resulting in a dainty and elegant ring with sheer sparkle that stretches halfway or all the way around your finger. However, there are several downsides to this type of ring setting.
No matter what type of shared prong set ring you choose, you should first consider all of its advantages and disadvantages.
- Light and shine: Shared prong setting allows for maximum light that reflects from all the diamonds’ angles. Instead of the precious metal, the highlight is on the gemstone, showcasing the brilliance and glimmer of your ring.
- Versatility: With a shared prong setting, or a prong setting in general, you can play with different diamond shapes and sizes. From princess cut and marquise gemstones to double-row and eternity ring styles, shared prongs will nicely support and complement each of them.
- Maintenance: This type of ring typically requires very little maintenance and are extremely easy to clean. You just need to make sure to use gentle pressure and a soft toothbrush or cloth when cleaning. In the case a prong breaks, jewelers shouldn’t have any trouble fixing it.
- Unique design: Unlike pavé and channel settings, shared prong settings elevate the gemstone, making the smaller melee diamonds appear larger. It offers a classic and unique ring design suitable for every occasion.
- Cost: Shared prong settings usually need less metal than, for example, bezel settings. Besides, prong settings are relatively easy to craft, which reflects in their price. Therefore, shared prong set rings are typically more affordable than pavé or channel set ones, which are much more complicated to make.
- Snagging and scratching: Unless they are rounded, prongs or claws will always poke out a little, particularly if high-set, and can snag on the fabric of your clothes, furniture, hair, and other materials. Sharper prong edges can even scratch your skin. For this reason, we would recommend choosing shared prong set rings with lower-set prongs if you have an active lifestyle.
- Security: Even though a shared prong setting can be quite secure, you can’t get around the fact that jewelers strive to use as little metal as possible to achieve that sought-after minimalist ring design. Besides, having fewer prongs means more strain on each of them, leading to faster prong loosening and, ultimately, less protection for the gems. For this reason, we would recommend having these types of rings inspected at least once a year to make sure the stones sit tight and secure.
To Wrap Up
Your entire ring design will depend on what type of setting you choose. What’s more, the setting type will depend on your budget, personal taste, and lifestyle. Once you’ve considered all of these factors and you still want to go for a shared prong set ring, pay attention to all of its pros and cons and make sure to maintain it properly.
This being said, nothing can undermine the beauty of this classic ring design. A shared prong setting might be relatively fragile compared to others, but you’ll have a timeless ring with dazzling diamonds that complements every style and is worth the extra care and effort.