Before Buying! Your Guide to Pavé Engagement Ring Settings
Pavé (pronounced pa-vey) is a type of stone setting that describes many small stones set closely together in a piece of jewelry. Pavé setting is very common in engagement rings and is a great way to add extra sparkle to a piece while staying in budget. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know when looking for a pave ring to make a smart purchase.
What is a pavé setting?
The word pavé has French origins and means “paved”, as the surface of a piece with this setting looks like it has been paved with stones. In modern pave settings, the diamonds that make up the pavé are separated and held in place by little metal beads. These beads are either shaped from the existing metal in the setting or are soldered on. Because these beads are so tiny and surrounded by many small diamonds, they seem to disappear into the background, resulting in what looks like a continuous surface of shine.
Rings often feature pavé along the shank, in a halo, or even on the prongs in which the centerstone is set. Wedding bands also commonly have pave set diamonds.
Rings with pavé along the shank generally only feature stones halfway around the band to allow for adjustment of ring size. If pavé set diamonds span all the way around the band, most of the ring will have to be dismantled to resize it, what can cause major issues in the future.
CTW and Pavé
CTW, or total carat weight, refers to the sum total weight of all diamonds set in a jewelry item. To calculate the total carat weight, simply add together the carat weight of all the diamonds in that given piece. When it comes to pave set rings, the CTW may refer to the total carat weight of the entire ring including the centerstone or just the total carat weight of the pave set stones, depending on the context.
Although pavé diamonds may seem very small, when there are many set together, their CTW can add up. Keep in mind that pavé ring prices will go up as their CTW increases. Setting pavé diamonds is quite labor intensive, but even with the added cost of this work, pavé tends to cost less than larger sidestones and provides a particular shine that larger stones don’t quite deliver.
Pavé Setting vs. Micro Pavé Setting
The main difference between micro pavé and pavé is that the stones used in micro pavé are smaller and are set using a different technique. Unlike regular pavé, where stone sizes can vary in order to fill the space, micro pavé uses stones of a uniform size that are offset from row to row, creating a honeycomb-like pattern.
Diamonds used for a standard pavé setting must be 0.01 to 0.02 carat– anything smaller than that is considered micro- pavé.
Pavé Setting Pros and Cons
- Pavé set diamonds give tons of sparkle to a ring and create a true “wow” factor
- When used in a halo, pavé set diamonds can create the appearance of a larger centerstone.
- As opposed to larger sidestones, pavé set diamonds are less costly and provide just as much shine.
- Because pavé set diamonds are so small, they tend to fall out with rough use.
- CTW of pave rings may be misleading, as it includes many tiny stones.
Purchasing Pavé Rings
So now that you know a bit more about pave, let’s look at some tips you need to know before buying:
- Pay attention to the distribution of the pave diamonds. Many times, jewelers will add pave diamonds to obscure sections of a ring in order to increase the price of the ring. Pavé set diamonds far down the band that are hidden by fingers, for example, may not be worth paying extra for.
- As the diamonds used in pavé are quite small, it is difficult to notice any imperfections with the naked eye. Examine the pavé under a microscope to make sure that none of the diamonds are chipped or damaged in any way.
- Similarly, check the surface of the pavé diamonds to make sure that they are smooth and even
The Bottom Line
Pavé, a type of stone setting that describes many small stones set closely together, is a very common element in engagement rings that offers major sparkle. Originating from the French word for “paved”, pavé setting is often found on the shank or halo of a ring. Despite their beauty, pave diamonds do have a tendency to fall out with wear and tear. Make sure to examine your pavé ring closely for quality of work before purchasing.