Whether they’re engagement rings, wedding bands or other jewelry, if they have gems, they must be secured. Prongs are thin pieces of wire which rise along the sides of the stone and bend over the girdle. They’re popular with diamonds as they’re often and keep attention on the stones. Not only do prongs come in different shapes and sizes, they’re used in different ways depending on the style of the ring.

Solitaire diamond engagement rings have been popular for over a century. The most classic version consists of a cushion or round brilliant diamond set on a gold band. The number of prongs used is four or six, depending on preference. Both amounts keep the jewel safe. Cuts such as emerald or hearts have shapes which limit their prong numbers to specific quantities.

On designs such as three stone rings or diamond eternity bands, jewels sit in a row. Depending on the ring, each gem gets its own set of prongs. Other styles use multitasking, with one pair of prongs holding the gemstones on either side of it. This type of setting is known as a common setting.

How Diamonds Stay in PlaceDiamonds with defined corners or tips, such as hearts or squares, are at increased risk of chipping. To protect the jewels, some rings come with V shaped prongs. These wrap around the fragile points of the diamond and take the brunt of any bumps. Those who are looking for specific fancy or step shapes should look for rings with V prongs.

Bead settings aim to be as discrete as possible. Artisans raise tiny burrs from the body of the ring and push them over the diamond, where they serve as miniature prongs. This style goes well with pave and micropave wedding bands, whose diamonds need prongs that don’t overwhelm the jewels. A similar technique involves molding prongs onto these bands.

No matter the prong setting of your rings, they may loosen over time. This may lead the diamonds to rub against the metal or other jewels, forming scratches. It may help to bring your diamond bands to your jeweler for maintenance. They’ll tighten your prongs, clean your ring, and keep it looking as good as new.