The claw setting, also referred to as prong set, is one of the most classical and popular settings for diamond solitaire engagement rings. This setting usually consists of four or six metal prongs into which a stone is set. A prong setting can be high, placing the diamond above the ring’s band, or it can be low, with the stone resting closer to your finger.
The pros of this setting is that the girdle of the stone is exposed and light is able to travel through the stone and maximize the stone’s brilliance and sparkle. The simplicity of the setting makes it a classic and enables the focus of the ring to be on the beauty of the stone. Often a smaller diamond can seem larger due to the delicacy of the setting.
The claws keep your stone very secure, however, it does not offer the same protection for the stone as some more enclosed settings. The exposed girdle can leave the stone more vulnerable and the claws can sometimes snag in clothing. It is important to get your jeweller to check the prongs of your ring for signs of wear and tear and to check that your stone held tightly.
You can create an absolute ‘classic with a twist’ when designing a claw set ring. You can see above how I played with the idea of using three claws and altering the shape of the claws to triangles. There is a real play with symmetry and shapes.
I have also designed rings where I have placed the claws at unusual angles, such as north, south, east and west. You can also enhance the shape of square or rectangular cut stones by designing heavy and angular corners.
I really enjoy playing with the proportions of the claws and band in order to flatter my clients hand and the stone.
The metals used for this style have been specially treated so they have ‘less resistance’ and it is the whole band that keeps the stone in place. Usually there are two niches carved into the metal where the stones girdle comes into contact with the metal.
The stone is held in place by the metal support via the use of tension. The stone appears to float in this setting. You can view the stone from all angles and the setting enables lots of light to interact with the stone. Designs using this type of setting can look very modern, minimalist and elegant.
The advantages of the tension setting are:
– very modern and minimalist designs can be made using this style of setting
– you can see the entire stone
– the stone is held very securely in this setting as it has the strength of the hole band holding the stone in place, rather than ‘claws’.
– the amount of light entering the stone enables us to view the stones colour and sparkle at its best.
The disadvantages are:
– it can be difficult to find a wedding band to match a tension set ring
– you can only use hard stones such as diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
– the stone must be free from surface or internal cracks that may cause damage under the pressure of the tension setting.
– The stone needs to be a of very high quality, as any imperfections can be easily seen.
– It can sometimes not be possible to re-size or change the stone, as the setting tends to be made with a particular stone in mind.
– it is not suitable for somebody who as a very active lifestyle as the stone is very exposed
How do I choose a diamond? This a question that I get asked all the time. My answer is always, start with the ‘cut’ of the stone. I am referring here the quality of how a stone is cut (not the shape of the stone).
The quality of the cut is based on:
Proportions are everything. The better the proportions (measurements), the more light is returned out of the top of the stone and the more ‘brilliance’ (brightness) and ‘fire’ (sparkle) the stone will have.
If it is cut is:
Symmetry: the symmetrical appearance of the stone
For example, in a brilliant round stone, you will want a stone where
The quality of the polish is affected by:
A bezel setting encircles the gemstone with a continuous metal rim and extends slightly above it. It is one of the most secure settings available.
The advantages of a bezel setting are:
– It is the perfect setting for a woman with a very active lifestyle.
– The setting will not ‘catch’ on your clothing or cause problems for women who may have to wear latex gloves for work.
– The setting can conceal minor flaws in a stone, such as if the girdle of the stones is ‘thicker’ than desired or if there is a chip on the stone.
-A bezel setting can provide a beautiful frame to highlight the stone.
The disadvantages are:
– Having a closed setting can make it very difficult to clean your gemstone
– The colour of stone may not be shown to its best, as the metal surround does not allow as much light through the stone.
-When a yellow gold setting is used, some of the metal’s colour can reflect into the stone and alter the stones natural colour.
One of the first questions that I ask my customers is what precious metal they are attracted to? It is particularly important if you are choosing an engagement ring to remember that you will have to choose a compatible metal for your wedding ring or eternity ring. For example, you cannot have a gold wedding ring and a platinum engagement ring – as gold is softer that platinum and will wear your ring down.
So your choices are….
Platinum is the hardest known metal to man and does not tarnish or fade. It is expensive because it is so rare and expensive to mine. It is much heavier than gold. If its a piece you will wear every day, I always advise customers, choose platinum rather than white gold (if your budget allows).
White gold is 75% yellow gold mixed in with white metal alloys. It requires a certain level of maintenance – you need to have it ‘dipped’ every so often in order for it to retain its colour.
Yellow gold - without question 18ct is best! 9ct gold, like copper, tarnishes, turns green or black and does the same to your skin and clothes. 14ct can still tarnish and be a little brittle. 22ct can often be a little soft.
Rose gold (also known as pink gold and red gold) – is usually 75% yellow gold mixed with copper, the stronger the colour the higher the copper content. This gold has a lovely colour but can be a little soft for daily sustained daily wear.
The first thing to do is to look at your hands objectively.
The general rule is that if you have:
Short fingers – an elongated diamond such as a marquise or oval can make short fingers look longer (but beware of choosing too big a stone, as it can have the opposite effect). Wide bands can tend to make fingers look shorter than they are, so try and choose a band that is in proportion with your fingers
Long fingers – can easily wear bold ring styles.
Large hands – keep away from delicate styles as they tend to over-emphasize the size of your hands and make the ring look smaller.
Small hands – delicate designs can draw attention to the dainty nature of your hands