Bezels vs Prongs

Kristen Baird

What are Bezels and Prongs?

One of the first things to consider when designing or selecting a ring is whether you prefer bezel or prong settings. What’s the difference? Bezel settings go all the way around the gemstone, while prong settings have metal prongs that secure the gem. Think little pillars that grab and hold the stone in place. Both styles are beautiful in their own right, and of course I use both in my jewelry designs. 

I’m diving into the pros and cons of these two stone settings to help you choose what’s best for your piece. 

prong settings by kristen baird

Prong Settings

Prongs are a classic setting for when you want to show off your gemstone. They allow a stone to be dramatically displayed as if it’s floating above your band, and they keep more of the stone itself exposed. If you want light “behind” your stone to allow maximum sparkle or to make a colored gem pop, THIS is your setting. This is part of the reason why prong settings are so popular for engagement rings. They really amp up the light and show off that bling!

There are downsides to prong settings, especially when they are not proportionally balanced or are poorly made. Improperly proportioned or poorly produced prongs can get caught, snagged, pulled back and ultimately break, which can result in stones becoming loose or potentially lost. Fortunately, I am meticulous about making sure that every piece of Kristen Baird® Jewelry is made to the highest possible standards, so you can rest assured that your prongs will be strong and well-placed. Of course, natural wear and tear is a fact of life so, as a jeweler who has seen just about everything, I recommend having your prong-set pieces checked every once in a while to make sure nothing is coming loose. In general, it’s always a good idea to clean and maintain your fine jewelry, and that includes occasional check-ups.

Prong settings look great with many different stone cuts: emerald, brilliant, princess, and more! 

The Lily Burst Ring

Love a dramatic prong setting? Look no further than the Lily Burst ring. It’s a great, big, beautiful show-stopper. Like the most vibrant lily in the pond, the bold gemstone bursts forth in light and color from a gently rippling band. This flower is relishing the sunlight and glory of a summer day. 

bezel settings by kristen baird

Bezel settings

A bezel setting is one that goes all the way around your gemstone. They are especially popular with cabochon gems - that is, gems that are flat on the bottom and rounded on the top. Cabochons can either be smooth and domed or rose cut. Rose cut cabochons are checkered at the top and, I think, look somewhat like a rose bud. 

In addition to being the most secure way to set a gem, bezels are stunning in their own right. They’re also a no-hassle option for an on-the-go lifestyle, because the stone is fully encased and LOW, low, low set. IF you’re going to go rock climbing with a ring on - which I never recommend but have seen done before - then this is the style of ring you’ll want! They’re also a great choice for when you want to mix metals and “pop” a stone with a dash of yellow gold or rose gold.

One of my signature styles is creating metal granules, like little droplets of gold, that I then drill into to set stones. It’s my unique take on bezels and also a wonderful way to recycle little bits of gold too

Mini Gem Ripple Rings

Our Bubbling Brook, Meteor Shower, Dandelion Bloom and Sparkling Stream rings, part of the new Graceful Glimmer Collection, utilize a bezel setting to hold a dainty mini gemstone. These rings are ideal for stacking, mixing, and matching. They’re also super comfortable, playful, and fun. You can combine them in mixed metals and a variety of gemstones to create dynamic stacks!

Kristen Baird Collaborative Experience

Coming Soon: Build Your Own Bezel Ring

Because bezel settings go all the way around a stone, they are notoriously difficult to resize and are best made-to-order. Simple explanation: you have to unset the stone just to resize it, which typically requires building a whole new bezel. Otherwise, leaving the stone in will cause it to explode from the resizing heat! That’s why most of my ready-to-ship collections are prong-set rings. That said, I’m about to unveil a brand new made-to-order feature on my site, and you’re hearing about it here first: The Kristen Baird® Collaborative Experience!

This feature will allow you to work with me to create a one-of-a-kind design for a fraction of the price of a "full-on" commission. The basic concept is based on my popular Seafoam Splendor commission, but you’ll have the opportunity to select your favorite stone fit for a bezel, metals, and ring size. I’m so excited about this new option, and I hope you are too. I can’t wait to start creating your favorite bezel rings, custom made just for you!

Which is right?

It really depends! Are you going for show-stopping drama, classic elegance, or something completely new? What is the cut of your stone, and how/when will you be wearing it? How hard are you on your jewelry? Do you want two-toned capability? There are many factors to consider when selecting the ideal stone setting, but knowing what your options are can go a long way toward making that first step. The good news is, both styles are gorgeous so you really can’t go wrong!

Have questions about stone settings? Reach out to me. I love chatting about jewelry!

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