Pavé Diamonds Guide: How to Choose a Pavé Setting
Alicia Briggs | August 1, 2023
Alicia Briggs | August 1, 2023
If you’re shopping for an engagement ring or wedding ring, you know that the details you choose are what makes an engagement ring uniquely yours. While the center diamond and ring style will determine your ring’s appearance, the band details are just as important. Adding pavé diamonds will transform any design, but are they right for you?
Read on to discover what a pavé setting is, the pros and cons of pavé diamonds, and how to choose the best setting for your ring.
What Is a Pavé Diamond?
Pavé set diamonds are also known as a pavé setting and are used for engagement or wedding rings. Pavé comes from the French word for paved. This is because pavé diamonds are small diamonds (called melee diamonds) that are placed one after another to resemble paved or cobblestone streets.
Pavé diamonds are typically between 0.01 and 0.02 carats each. They are set in hidden, tiny metal prongs on the ring’s band to create a continuous line of diamonds. Pavé settings will add brilliance to any ring and can make the center diamond appear bigger.
Are Pavé Set Diamonds Considered a Setting or a Diamond?
While pavé diamonds are diamonds, they are considered a setting. You would not be able to buy a single pavé diamond on its own, unlike other diamonds.
“Pavé refers to the style of setting a diamond in the band, rather than anything about the shape of the diamond set (though most pavé settings feature Round diamonds),” explains Grace Taylor, VRAI’s Sr. Director of Sales & CX.
Types of Pavé Settings
Pavé settings typically feature Round Brilliant cut diamonds, and sometimes Oval cut diamonds. They are held in place by tiny metal prongs or beads on the surface of the band, with no visible grooves underneath the diamond.
“A pavé setting is characterized by having very little metal showing to hold the diamonds in place,” says Taylor. This emphasizes the shape and brilliance of the diamonds.
There are several different types of classic pavé settings that can change the style of your ring. The two most common types of pavé settings are the U-cut pavé and the French pavé.
U-cut pavé means that the pavé diamonds are set in a U-shaped groove. It emphasizes the brilliance of the diamond, especially from the side, and effectively hides the metal prongs.
This is one of the most popular, and contemporary, pavé settings. All VRAI engagement ring settings with pavé bands are u-cut pavé.
A French pavé is a classic pavé setting. It features V-shaped grooves underneath the diamond. It’s known for adding a textured look to the ring and reflecting light from all angles.
Other variations of pavé settings include the micro pavé, which features even smaller pavé set diamonds (under 0.01-carats), often set in multiple rows. There’s also the petite pavé, where each diamond is set in even tinier metal prongs.
There are several other ways to set diamonds within the band of a ring, but that doesn’t mean they are pavé settings. Shared Prong, Channel Set, or Bar Set diamonds all look beautiful along a ring’s band, but they aren’t considered pavé set.
How Pavé Diamonds Are Set
Pavé diamonds are carefully set in tiny holes that are drilled into the band of the ring by a professional jeweler. Each pavé diamond is securely held into place by small prongs or beads that are almost invisible to the eye.
It takes a skilled jeweler and specific tools to create a pavé setting. If successfully set, pavé diamonds will look like a continuous line of brilliant diamonds that almost appear to be floating on top of the band.
Are Pavé Settings More Expensive Than Other Ring Settings?
Pavé settings will always cost more than a setting with a plain band. Why? Because they feature numerous additional diamonds whereas a plain band features none.
Some ring settings are only available with pavé bands. Other ring settings may feature a half pavé band, a single pavé band, or multiple rows or bands of pavé diamonds.
These variations will add to the total cost of your ring, but typically not significantly so. At VRAI, adding a single pavé band to The Signature, for example, only costs an additional $150.
Pros and Cons of Pavé Diamonds
If you’re considering choosing an engagement ring with a pavé setting, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons first.
Adds additional brilliance, shine, and pizazz to any ring
Enhances certain ring styles, such as modern or vintage-inspired settings
Highlights the center diamond
Creates the appearance of a larger center diamond for a more affordable price
Requires regular cleaning and checking
Resizing an already-made ring can be difficult
Less suitable for active lifestyles or manual labor
More expensive than plain bands
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Pavé Wedding Bands
For diamond lovers, a pavé wedding band is the best way to incorporate even more brilliance into their wedding ring set. Wedding bands are typically more subdued than engagement rings, so pavé settings create an opportunity to showcase your style.
Many styles, like The Chevron Band and The Curator Band, exist in both plain and pavé. Other settings, like The Infinity Band, are designed to showcase pavé set diamonds in two different sizes.
You can also add subtle pavé detailing to elevate a classic band design, like The Pavé Border Band.
Pavé Diamonds FAQ
Read on for answers to any remaining questions about pavé set diamonds.
How Many Carats Are Pavé Diamonds?
Pavé diamonds will range in carat weight depending on the setting. The more detailed the pavé setting, the more carats it will have.
For example, a single pavé band for The Signature is .18-carats, while The Halo has .32-.37-carats. The Halo Dome, which features three rows of pavé diamonds, is .751-carats.
Are Pavé Diamonds Graded?
“Melee diamonds (pavé diamonds) are batch graded rather than individually assessed. That means a gemologist is inspecting them and determining their quality – they’re just not doing it at quite the same level of detail that they do for a large center diamond,” Taylor explains.
“The goal for a pavé setting is to ensure that all the stones match each other. You don’t want to have one warmer toned pavé stone set alongside very colorless ones because it’ll stick out like a sore thumb,” continues Taylor.
Is Pavé Trendy or Timeless?
Pavé settings are always timeless, never trendy. Adding a little extra shimmer to your ring will never go out of style. The beauty of a pavé setting is that they are incredibly versatile.
Depending on the ring style and design, pavé settings can create a vintage, classic, or modern feel to suit different styles.
How Do You Clean Pavé Diamonds?
“Pavé diamonds need to be kept clean and periodically checked to ensure they are set securely,” Taylor recommends. “Avoid wearing pavé rings when doing manual labor. Working out (especially lifting weights and yoga), sleeping, and picking up heavy things, can all cause pressure. This can force your ring out of round and cause the pavé diamonds to become loose or fall out.”
While Pavé settings are durable, it’s important to properly care for and clean your diamond ring to ensure optimal brilliance and beauty.
All VRAI created engagement and wedding rings come with an annual complimentary professional cleaning.
Can You Resize a Pavé Ring?
A skilled jeweler can resize a pavé ring, but it may not be possible to fit your exact ring size – especially if your ring features a full pavé band.
Pavé rings can only be resized according to the diamonds. Bands can’t be cut in the middle of a pavé diamond or too close to it, as the setting could get damaged and the diamonds could fall out.
If you’re purchasing a new pavé ring instead of an already-made one, we recommend ordering a complimentary VRAI ring sizer to ensure a perfect fit.
Explore Pavé Set Diamond Jewelry
Ready to find pavé engagement rings, wedding bands, and fine jewelry to call your own? Browse our full inventory online or in person to find the pavé setting that’s meant for you.