Prong settings are one of the most common settings you will see in jewelry stores, especially for wedding bands. This is a classic design and still a favorite among many people. The gem sits either above the ring and is fastened to it with tiny prongs or the gem sits halfway between the rings circumference and halfway above it. The prongs are attached to the ring and hold the stone in place. This is an extremely versatile style of mounting gems on rings, because the number and style of the prongs is practically infinite. There are the typical four-prong settings, but also six and eight prong rings. Some designers and designer houses have their own special trademark prongs, such as Tiffany, Belcher or Fishtail. The prongs themselves can be singly attached to the ring, or interwoven into a specific pattern. They can cover the entire girdle to just clasp it at the mid-line. The prongs can be smooth, rounded, drop-tipped, flat and pointed, simply flat, flat and scalloped or even divided into two tiny spikes, like the tongue of a snake. Flat shaped prongs are best for emerald-cut gems because they cover the small diagonal edge of the stone rather than awkwardly sitting above it at a 90 degree angle. V-shaped prongs are also useful, with the tip of each prong flattened into a little triangle.
Prong settings are considered to be reasonably sturdy, but it's important to remember that even the sturdiest rings and the hardiest gems will suffer from the wear and tear of usual everyday activities. The delicate beauty of this setting is logical only for some circumstances. If you are a very active person or do a lot of outdoor activities, this may not be the best option for you. Prongs are liable to break off or chip and the tips and should be examined every year by a professional just to see if any corrections need to be made. On the whole, if you are buying a well-made, solid ring, this is all that need to be done. For less active schedules or for rings that will not have to withstand everyday wear, the prong setting is very suitable. This style secures the entire point of the stone and is especially useful to heart-shaped, pear-shaped or marquise shaped gems. Larger, expensive gems should always be securely held with the prongs, and if you are choosing an expensive ring with a large stone, but don't want six or eight prongs, make sure the prongs top the girdle line and invade the table surface. The thinner and fewer the prongs, the larger the stone will look and vise versa.