Picking the right setting for your engagement ring is one of the most important choices you’ll have to make together with finding the right stone and choosing the right metal. The setting is key to most engagement rings as it complements the ring’s center stone and gives it character and depth.
One of the most popular and visually stunning settings for engagement rings is the pave setting. It’s pronounced “pa-vey” and comes from the French word for “to pave something”.
The name alone indicates what the pave setting is all about. But in this guide, let’s take a more detailed look at everything you need to know before you buy the pave setting.
- What is the Pave Setting?
- Design and Styles of Pave Settings
- What’s the Right Diamond Shape for A Pave Setting?
- Why and How to Choose A Pave Setting?
- Factors to Consider Before Buying A Pave Setting
- How to Clean A Pave Setting
- Pros and Cons of the Pave Setting
What is the Pave Setting?
Split shank pave setting. Check price here.
Simply put, a pave setting is any setting in which the ring is paved with tiny diamonds along the length of the band. The goal of the pave setting is to add more brilliance to the ring without overshadowing the center diamond or gemstone, instead adding to its beauty and covering the metal of the ring with diamonds.
Pave Setting Close-Up Diagram
With the pave setting, the small diamonds are set carefully and without compromising the structural stability of the band. The metal beads or prongs that hold them are usually almost invisible, especially when the pave diamonds are close together. Such pave diamonds and their own micro prongs/settings are typically drilled into the body of the band for extra stability but still protrude upwards, unlike the similar channel setting where all the side diamonds are within a channel along the ring for extra protection.
Another name for the pave setting is the “bead setting” but that’s a less popular term. The diamonds used in pave settings are usually 0.1 or 0.2 carats but they could be even smaller than that in which case they are called “micro-pave diamonds”.
Design and Styles of Pave Settings
We’ve already mentioned a couple of them but there are several main types of pave settings. Some of them can be difficult to distinguish if you’re new to ring settings and pretty much all of them offer excellent brilliance and beauty.
The Micro Pave
Micro pave solitaire ring. See it here.
Micro paves are created with small melee diamonds that can be smaller than 0.005 carats. This is a rarer type of pave for several reasons, one of which is that it’s very difficult to make.
As it requires constant use of a microscope, micro paves are very labor-intensive and damaging for the craftsman to produce as they can harm one’s eyesight very quickly. It’s very common for a specialized micro pave specialist to have a career of just 5-10 years because they can’t continue to work with a microscope for any longer than that.
Nevertheless, the micro pave is a very beautiful style that makes for a unique engagement ring. With improvements in technology, this style will continue to become more available.
The Bright Cut Pave
The bright cut pave is the more traditional type of pave and is viewed by many as the “default” type. It does include a fair bit of visible metal, however, as the metal settings of each individual pave diamond are more pronounced. This greatly increases the durability of the pave but makes it less brilliant than it could be.
The French Pave
French pave engagement ring. See it here.
A very popular type of pave nowadays, the French pave uses smaller V-shaped metal cutouts underneath each pave diamond which makes the metal less visible and allows for more light to hit the pave diamonds directly. The V-shapes cutouts are not as secure as those of the bright cut pave but they are still durable enough for all intents and purposes while offering more brilliance.
The Scalloped Pave
Similar to the French pave, with the scalloped pave the diamonds’ metal cutouts have a U shape which also isn’t very visible and allows for extra light to hit the diamonds directly. There aren’t many practical differences between the scalloped pave and the French pave, although the latter is definitely more popular than the former, especially on engagement rings.
What’s the Right Diamond Shape for A Pave Setting?
Pretty much all diamonds intended for use in pave settings are round cut stones as this is the best and most practical shape for a small diamond that’s to be used in a pave. The round cut offers the most brilliance and as pave diamonds are often so small, it’d be irrelevant if they are cut in any other shape as you wouldn’t notice it much anyway.
As for the center stone engagement ring diamonds that are used in conjunction with a pave setting – those can be in any desired shape with round cuts leading the way here as well.
Why and How to Choose A Pave Setting?
The main reason to choose a pave setting is pretty simple – because it’s gorgeous. A nicely done pave can greatly enhance the beauty of any engagement ring, even if it has a slightly smaller or a lower-quality center diamond. What’s more, the pave setting wouldn’t overshadow such a diamond if it’s well-made but it will complement it and enhance its beauty instead.
When it comes to how you should choose your pave engagement ring, the main thing here is matching the style of the pave with the style of the ring and the center stone. Pave settings can work very well with both vintage designs, like this petite pave leaf ring, and modern ring designs, like this designer pave halo ring, as well as in conjunction with other ring settings such as a halo or a split shank.
Factors to Consider Before Buying A Pave Setting
Aside from matching the style of the setting with those of the ring and the center diamond, most other factors you’d need to consider are either subjective or price-related.
Pave settings are generally best used as a budget-friendly way to enhance the beauty of a lower-set or a medium-quality diamond ring. That’s because the pave setting adds so much brilliance and beauty to a ring.
When looking for a pave setting, always check the quality of the workmanship and the materials used. Ensure that all the diamonds are uniform in color and size because any different looking stones would easily stand out from the rest. Check the integrity of the prongs and how well they hold the little diamonds in place.
One downside of pave settings is that the little stones are much more likely to fall out than in a channel setting, for example. You will eventually have to deal with replacing lost melee diamonds but this can generally easily be done by a jeweler.
How to Clean A Pave Setting
Cleaning is one of the main drawbacks of the pave setting. The places where dirt and dust accumulate most rapidly on an engagement ring is around the stones and their prongs/settings. So, a ring with a pave setting will have a lot of extra places for dirt to collect in and will need to be cleaned more often.
Fortunately, cleaning an engagement ring, with or without a pave setting, is fairly easy – all you need is warm water with a bit of mild soap and a soft cloth. Cleaning your ring this way once every couple of weeks should prevent dirt buildup and ensure your ring’s longevity.
A pro tip is to use an electric toothbrush to clean the ring, as it works faster and more efficiently.
Pros and Cons of the Pave Setting
There are quite a few pros and cons to the pave setting, regardless of its type.
- A gorgeous setting that adds a great deal of extra sparkle to any engagement ring.
- The right pave setting will highlight the center diamond instead of overshadowing it.
- An easy and budget-friendly way to enhance the look of an engagement ring without breaking the bank.
- This setting is available in a number of different styles.
- A pave setting will make resizing the ring more difficult and expensive.
- Cleaning a ring with a pave setting must be done more frequently and diligently.
- The pave stones can get dislodged even though that’s rare and typically requires strong physical contact to occur.