What Color Prongs and Setting Should My Engagement Ring Have?

Yes, getting engaged is awesome and exciting and fun. One of the few surprises in life. Now, let’s talk the ring. You are the one who will be staring at your engagement ring until you die. Or get divorced. You’ll be showing countless people your bling. All the while knowing every single person will be judging it. So how do you decide how it will sit on your finger?

Platinum, white gold, rose gold, and yellow gold are the most popular metals that you can choose for your engagement ring setting. Regardless of the color of your band, your prongs should be white gold unless you specify otherwise. White gold metal prongs are strong, durable, and best display the diamond’s clarity.

Yellow gold bands can have yellow gold prongs, but you can opt for white gold prongs for the added strength and a unique two-tone look. You would not want to get a white gold or platinum ring with yellow gold prongs since they would be weaker and make your diamond look yellower.

There are so many possibilities when it comes to picking the setting for your engagement ring. No wonder guys hate doing it. The stone size and shape play a part in picking out your ring’s setting. Also, the color your diamond will cast will change depending on the color of prongs. That will help narrow down what kind of color setting you should go for if that matters to you. Let’s dig into the specifics.

What Are Prong and Setting Possibilities?

Great, so we know what kinds you can pick from. Does it matter? If you are someone who hasn’t had to pick out an engagement ring, I’ll help you with all the research that can go into picking out a setting.

The setting itself can have 4, 6, or 8 prongs. Single claw prongs, double claw prongs, V prongs, round prongs, square prongs. You didn’t know so much went into putting a diamond on a ring did you? I’ll do the leg work for you, so you’re not bored listening to the salesman explain it all.

What Is the Most Popular Metal Setting and Color?

Silver, gold, and platinum are among the most popular and most used metals for settings. The color of the setting will bring out a different color of the diamond or gem. Your diamond will have a touch of gray, brown, or yellow in it. So the color of the prongs will help bring out and compliment your diamond’s color.

Here are the setting metals you should choose based on your diamond’s color:

  • Diamond color D, E, F are almost colorless, so they are best with white gold or white metal platinum
  • Diamond color G – J have the smallest hint of yellow so they go best with white gold or platinum
  • Diamond color K or L can go with either white or yellow gold since the middle grade can go either way
  • Diamond color M or lower should have a yellow tint that is visible so they are best with yellow gold

This is all you really need to know. Stop here and go buy your ring and setting now! If you want to learn more, keep reading.

White Gold Prongs or Yellow Gold Prongs

White Gold

Most rings come with white prongs. It’s just the generic go to. It’s less likely to tint any diamond color so it’s a good stock prong. Also white gold is just a more durable metal. It’s a blend of yellow gold and other metals. The plating of rhodium around white gold also gives it an extra protective layer.

The only downside of white gold is that it is susceptible to become damaged over time when it comes in contact with the chlorine in tap water. The shine of white gold should last pretty long. When the rhodium layer starts to dull you can get it replated.

Not trying to put a price on love, but white gold is the cheaper, more affordable option if you are money conscience.


If you have a tendency to bang your hand on things or are prone to forgetting to take off your ring when you do the dishes or shower, then platinum prongs might be best. Platinum also takes longer to wear down.

So platinum is more durable, but it can bend and scratch and dull over time. Though they won’t break like white gold prongs can, they can bend and become lose. Just note as well that platinum is more expensive.

Yellow Gold Prongs or White Gold Prongs

White Gold

Well, we already went over the pros and cons of white gold, so let’s not get bored with going over all of that again. The short of it is, white gold is better for most diamonds, it’s nice and shiny, and it’s cheaper.

Yellow Gold

A yellow gold setting is good if you have a colored gemstone or a diamond color of J – P. Diamond color J – P really look great with yellow prongs. As far as durability, yellow gold isn’t as tough as white gold. It will stay bright though, and with proper care can look beautiful for years.

Can You Mix Metals?

So what about mixing metals? Can you have a platinum band with white gold prongs? Yes, you can. It’s completely fine and normal to mix your metals. It depends on the aesthetic you are going for, but also your lifestyle. There is no rule that says your band and prongs have to match. Most jewelry stores will automatically give you white metal prongs anyway.

Yellow Gold Band with White Gold Prongs

Okay, can we remember what we already went over about yellow gold versus white gold? A quick refresh. White gold is more durable and harder to break than yellow gold. Yellow gold is better for colored gems or diamond colors K or lower.

If you like the look of a yellow gold band, but you are known for not taking your ring off for things like showers or doing the dishes, then you’ll want to go for white gold prongs. They will help your ring stay in place better and for longer.

It’s all about that diamond and how you want it to look. If you don’t care about the yellow tint, then match your prongs and your band. But if you want your diamond to not have that yellow reflection, go with the white gold prongs.

Yellow Gold Band with Platinum Prongs

So we learned that platinum is more durable and won’t break as easily as white gold. But remember, platinum is known to bend, and your diamond could become loose. It all comes back to the color of your diamond. If you have a diamond color that you don’t want to reflect the yellow tint, then going with platinum prongs, but preferably white gold, is a must.

Engagement Ring Setting Prices

If price matters to you when picking out your ring, then let’s go over that.

  • White gold – 14k setting: $250-$1,450
  • White gold – 18k setting: $550-$1,600
  • Yellow gold – 14k setting: $250-$1,450
  • Yellow gold – 18k setting: $550-$1,700
  • Rose gold setting: $440-$1,450
  • Platinum setting: $730-$2,110

So gold is going to be the most budget-friendly of settings for your diamond. White gold and yellow gold were basically the same price, which is surprising. You would think white gold would cost more since it’s a mixed metal and is more durable. But it’s not.

READ MORE >> What is 18-Karat Gold? and What’s the difference between 14K, 18K, and 24K Gold Jewelry. Which is better?

Platinum is for sure the most expensive. One metal we didn’t talk about was rose gold. Let’s check that out real quick.

READ ALSO >> Is White Gold or Platinum Better for Engagement Rings?

Rose Gold

Rose gold is a really pretty, almost romantic, light pink look. It can go well with any color diamond or gem as a band. It won’t get scratched up easily. Rose gold engagement rings are making a huge comeback in the engagement ring world.

There is a downside to rose gold you’ll want to know. Better ask your partner if they have any allergies before going with rose gold. It’s mixed with copper, so it could activate skin allergies.

But, because of that copper mix, it’s super durable. Scratches and marks are less likely to be an issue. There’s no coating on it either, so no need to get it buffed or recoated every so often.

One of my best friends that just got engaged has a rose gold ring and I didn’t think I’d like it as much as I do. It really is classy and elegant. It looks great on pretty much every skin shade as we’ve all taken a turn trying it on.

Making Your Decision

Do you feel ready to pick out your ring now? You should. Let’s go back over a few top points.

  • White gold is the most affordable
  • White gold is more durable than yellow gold
  • Platinum is the most expensive, but also more durable than gold
  • Rose gold is great if you don’t have a copper allergy
  • Know the color of your diamond
  • You can mix the metal of your band and the color of your prongs

Okay. If I worked with my hands a lot I’d go for a white gold or rose gold option. Though platinum looks very pretty, I don’t see a real reason to go for it. Maybe for a solid band with no diamonds or gems.

You have the pros and cons of the metal combinations now. I want to remind you one last time of this tidbit. You’ll be the one wearing the ring forever (hopefully). Do not let the salesman, your friends, or even your partner talk you out of the ring combination you like. That’s not fair. You didn’t settle for the partner, don’t settle on the ring.

Carl A. Jones, GIA GG

Carl A. Jones is a GIA Graduate Gemologist with over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. He is an independent jewelry appraiser. He specializes in determining the value of diamonds and advising consumers on how to buy quality diamond jewelry.

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