Basket Setting vs Prong Setting

Eye-Catching Jewelry Display Ideas

Should your ring have a basket setting or a prong setting? The differences are subtle but important; each setting has its pros and cons. The center gemstone of your ring is always the star attraction so a well-designed setting will ensure your ring displays the beauty of the stone’s color, size, and brilliance. The setting must also provide security for your center stone. Basket and prong settings are two of the most popular styles because they are recognized for their ability to hold valuable gemstones securely in place while displaying them to good advantage. Which one is right for you? Let’s examine the pros and cons of each.

What is a Basket Setting?

A basket setting is a design with prongs extending up from the band. However, it also has horizontal bands wrapping around the prongs to connect them and provide a space for the gemstone to sit. The bands create the “basket” that securely holds the gems.

Pros of a basket setting:

  • Basket settings reduce the center stone’s exposure to bumps and knocks because they are set low to the finger.
  • The horizontal band wrapping around and between the prongs adds durability and strength to the setting.

Cons of a basket setting:

  • The bands wrapping around the prongs cause some obstruction of the side of the center stone and might affect its sparkle.
  • A basket setting has more nooks and crannies where dirt and debris can collect, making cleaning a little more difficult.

What is a Prong Setting?

Most people are familiar with a prong setting because it is the most common style for an engagement ring. In this setting, four to six long straight prongs with slightly rounded tips extend from the base of the ring and bend over the center gemstone to securely hold it in place.

Pros of a prong setting:

  • A prong setting allows your ring’s center stone to interact with light and, especially with diamonds, produces maximum sparkle.
  • Prong settings are easy to clean because they don’t have tiny grooves where dirt and debris can build up.

Cons of a prong setting:

  • Prong settings are secure, but over time they can weaken and may bend or break.
  • Prongs can easily snag on hair or clothing and be damaged when tugged free.
  • Prong-set rings should be professionally inspected often to catch weakened or broken prongs early.

Basket Setting vs Prong Setting – How do they differ?

Prong and basket settings are almost indistinguishable from one another when viewed from a top-down angle, but they have some differences.

Gemstones sit higher in a prong setting

Gemstones sit higher in a prong setting and catch more light

In a prong setting, the stone rises higher above the band than in a basket setting. The high positioning allows more light to enter the stone, amplifying the sparkle. Wedding bands are also more likely to sit flush when the center stone on the engagement ring is set higher.

The higher setting, however, can make the ring more vulnerable to damage from snagging on clothing or hair and from banging against hard surfaces.

Prong settings display brilliance better

A diamond’s brilliant sparkle is due to the light entering and returning from the diamond. A prong setting will maximize the light entering the stone because it leaves more of the diamond exposed.

A prong setting is easier to clean

Have your prong setting ring professionally cleaned annually or whenever you take it in for the jeweller to inspect the prongs for damage. Keep in mind that a prong setting is easier to clean than a basket setting with intricate design areas where dirt and debris can collect.

Basket settings show less brilliance
Prong settings display brilliance better

Basket settings show less brilliance.

In a basket setting, the bands that make up the basket cover the lower part of a gemstone’s pavilion (the bottom of a faceted gem). While this still leaves the entire table (the top horizontal facet on the crown of the stone) and most of the pavilion exposed to show brilliance, in a side-to-side comparison, the basket setting will usually show less brilliance than is offered with the prong setting.

A basket setting offers more room for embellishments.

Choosing a basket setting will provide space for embellishments on the shank leading into the band. For example, the horizontal bands that wrap between the prongs can be set with tiny diamonds, adding brilliance and interest. The bands can also be embellished with intricate designs of filigree or milgrain (small metal beads).

Basket settings are more secure.

A basket setting is more secure than a prong setting because the center stone sits lower, keeping it safe from bumps and snags.

The basket’s bands add another layer of security, ensuring a gemstone will be less vulnerable to damage.

Basket setting offers more room for embellishments

For excellent reasons, basket and prong settings are two of the most popular ring styles. While one isn’t necessarily better, consideration of how often and where you plan to wear your ring will help you make the perfect choice.

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