4 vs 6 Prong - Light

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Oct 30, 2002
Hi. Would a 6 prong vs 4 prong setting reduce the amount of light a diamond gives off?

Looks like we just recently had our ring setting changed to 6 prong with a more enclosed bottom end. Looks like it does not shine as bright as it did before. I notice this in darker
conditions. The Diamond is a ideal cut 1 carat.


Jan 17, 2003
Diamonds are supposed to only reflect light (out the top) that enters in through the top. A diamond fully enclosed around the side (forgot the name of this setting) gives off the same brilliance as a 4 prong.

Perhaps you're just seeing less of the diamond, and thus noticing less white surface area?

And of course, the other awful sure it's the same stone?


Dec 28, 2002
Hi Bobby,

Well, there are many variables that can affect the amount of brilliance a stone within a setting exhibits, but a great deal of the equation is going to be determined by the quality of the cut. The better the stone is cut, the more light will be returned no matter how the stone is set.

The vast majority of light that a well-cut diamond returns to the viewer is light that enters the diamond through the table (top) from above, is reflected off the pavilion facets, and is returned to the viewer back through the table and crown. A good illustration of this phenomenon can be seen by viewing the fantastic brilliance of a well-cut diamond in an enclosed "bezel" setting that completely surrounds the girdle and blocks all light from entering through the sides, which I believe is what Lugus was referring to. In an open-prong setting there will be a negligible amount of light that will enter the stone through the pavilion and leak through the table to be seen by the viewer, but this light should be of little consequence as it will typically be overwhelmed by the light being reflected off the pavilion facets (how often is the light source below the ring, anyway?).

Having said that, as the angles get a little less "ideal" and the proportions stray, a diamond will be more likely to be affected by ancillary light entering through the pavilion from the bottom of the stone, but under most circumstances the light you're seeing is reflected light. The difference between a four-prong and six-prong setting might affect the overall luminance of the stone, but that would usually be more indicative of a less than well-cut stone than anything.

Lugus brings up a couple of good points in that you may be witnessing a reduction in brilliance due to more of the crown of the stone being covered by the tips of the prongs. Also, not to be alarmist, but he also mentions a good point about the possibility of the diamond having been switched. Chances are you still have the same diamond you always did, but if the difference you're seeing is pronounced you may want to try to confirm that the diamond wasn't switched while being reset. It's not common, but sometimes unscrupulous jewelers will take advantage of customers this way. Maybe it's better to be safe than sorry.

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