Basket vs. Prong Setting Engagement Rings – Which One is better?

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Engagement rings are among the most expensive purchases most people ever make and ensuring that your diamond or other gemstone is secure should be a priority when choosing your engagement ring design.

JamesAllen Engagement Rings

To maximize the safety of your center stone, choosing the right setting to suit your lifestyle will ensure that your stone is held securely in position while looking stunning at the same time. The prong setting is one of the most popular options and comes in a number of variations. The basket setting is also a common option often chosen to hold a diamond securely in place.

In this article, let’s dispel any myths about prong and basket settings as we compare and contrast them side by side.

What is a Prong Setting?

Prong settings are most people’s go to option when it comes to engagement rings. The most famous engagement ring style is the Tiffany setting, which is essentially a prong setting. This is a classic style that will always be in fashion.

So what is the prong setting?

The quintessential prong setting consists of 6 metal prongs that are evenly spaced to hold the diamond in place.

6 prong engagement ring
back view of prong setting engagement ring
Front and back view of a 6-prong setting. See this ring here.

As you can see, the prongs extend from the base of the ring, attached to the band. They are long and shaped to provide maximum support for the gemstone. At the top, the prong tips are slightly bent over the diamond to hold it in place and reduce the risk of the stone falling out.

One of the best things about the prong setting is that it allows for maximum light performance. A diamond only sparkles if it interacts with light and if there is a lot of metal obscuring the diamond, light will not be able to interact with the stone. With the prong setting, as there is minimal metal compared to settings such as bezel or halo, the diamond sparkles beautifully. This is why prong settings are so popular – they tend to showcase a diamond’s brilliance to maximum effect.

compass point setting engagement ring
A 4-prong setting. See this ring here.

Another popular variation of prong settings is what is known as the compass point – 4 prongs set in the North, South, East and West sides of the stone. As you can image, compass point settings provide less security than a 6-prong setting.

You might be wondering:

Are prong settings secure?

In general, prong settings provide the best trade-off between security and brilliance. However, over time, prongs can weaken resulting in the prongs bending or even breaking. Because of this, it is important to take your engagement ring to a professional periodically to have the prongs re-tipped when required.

Another downside is that prongs can snag on clothing, hair and other objects, which isn’t just annoying, but can also result in damaged prongs.

What is a Basket Setting?

A basket setting is very similar to the prong setting. In fact, it is a type of prong setting with just one main difference.

Basket settings have the traditional prongs extending up from the base of the band and holding the diamond in place. But they also have some horizontal bands that connect the prongs and provide a base into which the gemstone is set. This creates a basket in which the diamond can sit.

Basket setting engagement ring side view
A diamond encrusted basket setting engagement ring. See it here

Basket settings are often set low, compared to prong settings which tend to hold the gemstone up high. This reduces the exposure of the diamond to knocks and bumps.

wire basket engagement ring
Beautiful wire basket solitaire engagement ring. See it here

The horizontal bands of the basket setting engagement ring give added durability to the prongs and add strength to them. As a result, prongs in a basket setting often tend to last longer.

The basket setting offers a good alternative for those who want a prong setting but require more durability from their setting. If you have a busy lifestyle or use your hands a lot for work, the basket setting would be a better option than a prong setting.

However, unlike prong settings, basket settings have more metal that obscures the side view of the diamond to some extent. Due to this, prong settings may have a slight edge over basket settings when it comes to sparkle.

tulip basket engagement ring setting
A stunning tulip basket engagement ring. See it here

Designers often get very creative with basket settings and you frequently come across unique and innovative designs like the tulip basket engagement ring above.

Prong vs. Basket Settings – Which is Better?

When choosing between these two settings, it’s difficult to say that one is better than the other. They both have their pros and cons.

Basket settings tend to be more secure than prong settings, especially high set prong settings like cathedral or peg heads. Structurally, they even look sturdier. However, they have that extra bit of metal around the diamond, which hides the stone just a bit more than prong settings do.

When deciding between two, go with what feels secure to you and what would suit your lifestyle.

Where to Buy Basket or Prong Setting Engagement Rings?

Choosing the right retailer when purchasing an engagement ring is important. You need to be able to trust the vendor and know that their products are of high quality.

Choose a retailer with good after sales policies, especially returns, resizing and warranties. Whether you purchase in store or online, check carefully for any inconsistencies in the quality of craftsmanship.

If purchasing online, we recommend starting your search at one of the following stores:

James Allen

With stunning 360 degree video of impeccable quality, viewing rings and diamonds on James Allen is the next best thing to seeing it in person. James Allen has an impressive range of prong and basket setting engagement rings to suit all styles. Browse their range here.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile has a wide range of engagement rings on their site at competitive prices. They also have exclusive designs by highly respected designers such as Zac Posen and Monique Lhuillier. See their range here.

To find out more about engagement ring settings and styles, read our comprehensive article here.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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