Prongs vs Bezels
for Engagement Ring Stones--
Which is better?
Two common settings to hold a diamond in a ring are prongs or bezels. (A bezel is a ring of metal that goes all the way around the stone.) Which way is better?
While prong setting is by far the more common method, there are drawbacks. Prongs wear out in time and require retipping, a costly repair. Or they may catch on clothing and become bent or damage the garment or even provoke injury to the wearer. Here's an example of what happens: This diamond has chips on both sides!
Why then are prongs so commonly used? Prong settings are the easiest and fastest way to mount a diamond, so from the maker’s point of view it is an extremely efficient way of setting the stone. But is it the best and safest way to set a stone? Perhaps not.
Bezels completely protect the girdle of a diamond -- the thinnest edge, where the two angles meet at the middle of the stone. Diamonds are hard but they are brittle, so this edge is at risk of chipping . Bezels are best at protecting this edge.
But won’t a bezel prevent light from entering the stone? The brilliance of a diamond is produced by light being reflected off of the facets, not light coming in from behind, so bezels do not affect the brilliance. In addition, bezels help to keep dirt from accumulating on the facets of a diamond, thus making it shine better for longer. Note that stones should be cleaned from behind periodically by scrubbing with a toothbrush using dish soap and warm water.