Pavé jewelry has grown increasingly popular as a top choice for many jewelry settings and styles. It’s characterized by very small gemstones that are set so close together that the surface appears to lack metal holding the stones in place. The term comes from the French word for “paved,” describing a surface look paved with stones.
What is a Pavé Setting?
Pavé settings have long been popular for engagement rings and wedding bands since they add a beautiful dimension of sparkle and texture to the appearance of the ring. It’s also much more cost effective to add many tiny stones, typically diamonds, than it is to have multiple larger stones in one ring.
Pavé diamonds used on the shank of a ring - the band portion that rests against your finger - can help to make the center stone appear larger. When they reflect light and add sparkle, it really enhances the brilliance of center stone. This same effect happens with a pavé halo setting that surrounds a center stone. A pavé halo setting doesn’t just add sparkle, but also can enhance the perceived visual size of the center stone.
The U-cut pavé is one of the most popular of the modern pavé settings. This style gets its name from the shape of the grooves into which the diamonds are set looking like the letter U. These grooves create an exaggerated, wavy appearance from the side view. It reduces the amount of metal surrounding the diamond, allowing more light to reflect from the diamond and increasing sparkle from all angles.
Micro pavé settings are another popular style. This style uses incredibly small diamonds and are typically placed on the band in multiple rows to cover it from every single angle. Diamonds used for this setting are usually smaller than .01 carats. To achieve this setting, very intricate work of setting the stones is required, often with the use of a microscope.
One of the oldest styles of pavé is referred to as bright cut pavé. This traditional style is also sometimes called channel set pavé as it holds the diamonds in place with individual tiny prongs between two metal walls. The most secure of the pavé settings, the bright cut pavé adds durability to the overall setting, but you will sacrifice the high sparkle achieved with other settings since less of the diamond is exposed.
How Pavé is Set
The goal of most modern pavé settings is to create the illusion of a surface that’s covered with sparkling, freestanding stones. In the case of micro pavé settings, technological advances in machinery allowed for the cutting of very tiny, completely consistent gemstones. This aids in the precise placement and uniform look of the surface.
With the help of a microscope and specifically designed tools, a skilled jeweler is able to set stones with exacting finesse. Many pavé settings have been adapted in a variety of ways to display other complementary design elements like filigree and milgrain. When these various elements come together, truly beautiful custom creations are made.
Important Notes on a Pavé Setting
When making a pavé setting, especially for your pavé engagement ring, the level of craftsmanship is very important. Skilled craftsmen produce better matched melees that line up and secure the stones, reducing the risk of the stones coming loose. Poor craftsmanship can result in stones popping out or becoming loose and snagging.
Additionally, depending on how much of the band is covered in pavé-set gemstones, the ring could be extremely hard or impossible to resize. This is particularly important if you’re considering a full eternity band as the wedding band to accompany your engagement ring.
In our experience, pavé settings are beautiful accompaniments to any center stone and are a lovely design on a band all on their own. This setting offers an incredible opportunity for creativity and artistry in a custom piece and greatly increases the sparkle of every engagement ring. When working with a skilled jewelry designer, you can’t go wrong with a pavé setting!