Pretty little pavé diamonds...
While some brides prefer a classic metal band for their engagement ring, some enjoy a little side of sparkle with their main diamond. One of the best ways to add brilliance to a piece without detracting from a center stone is pavé diamonds, which are tiny, bright gems placed within the setting. Pavé diamonds come in a few forms, but each of them offers a glistening appeal that makes a diamond ring pop!😁
Let’s look at the ins and outs of pavé diamonds, particularly:
- Pavé diamond basics
- Varying sizes of pavé stones
- Pavé diamonds vs. diamond accents vs. melee diamonds
- Where and how pavé gems appear on jewelry
- The 4Cs of pavé diamonds
- Pavé stone benefits
- Pavé FAQ
So what exactly counts as a pavé diamond? To be fair, “pavé” doesn’t refer to the cut or size of the actual diamond, but rather the way these gems are set in a jewelry piece.
The word pavé comes from the French word for “pavement”, which is a reference to the way small diamonds fit into a pavé setting. These tiny stones are set extremely close together in an almost seamless fashion, similar to a cobblestone or brick road. Jewelers achieve this look by using very small prongs or metal beds to hold each diamond in place, creating anything from a continuous line of diamonds to a fully encrusted design.
How big the diamonds are in a pavé setting typically depends on the style. Pavé, petite pavé, and micro pavé settings are the most common styles, and their diamond carat weights vary. Similar to how the term “pavé” refers to the setting style rather than the actual diamonds, these three setting names have more to do with how the diamonds are held in place.
Here’s a quick breakdown of all three common pavé settings:
- Pavé - The diamonds are roughly 0.01-0.02 carat per stone, and this setting uses a slightly larger prong to hold the diamonds in place. This style gives the prominent lines between diamonds a more structured look, and it’s great for individual rows of pavé diamonds.
- Petite Pavé - Similar to pavé, the diamonds are about 0.01-0.02 carat per stone, but the beads and prongs are slightly smaller. Petite pavé is ideal for stacked rows of pavé diamonds.
- Micro Pavé - This setting has the smallest diamonds at less than 0.01 carat per stone, and the prongs and beads are even smaller than those used in petite pavé. While also an excellent choice for stacked rows of diamonds, micro pavé can also be seen in fully encrusted pieces.
For the most part, jewelers and retailers will not list the individual or average carat weight of each pavé diamond. Instead, they’ll provide you the total carat weight (ctw.) of the stones, which is the sum carat weight of every stone in the setting.
Pavé diamonds vs. Diamond accents vs. Melee diamonds
When it comes to smaller diamonds on ring settings, there are three main terms thrown around: pavé diamonds, diamond accents, and melee diamonds. While these types of diamonds can sometimes coincide, they are not always the same thing!🙂
This handy chart shows just how these diamonds differ in size, shape, and more:
Comparing Pavé, Accent, and Melee Diamonds
|Diamond Type||Size (Carat)||Shape||Additional Information|
Where and how do pavé diamonds appear on jewelry?
Pavé diamonds can appear on jewelry in multiple ways, but here are some of the most common styles you’ll find:
A simple row of pavé diamonds accentuates the center stone of an engagement ring well, but it can also be used to liven up a plain wedding band. There are several ring settings that can incorporate a row of pavé stones, including solitaire, split shank, cathedral, three stone, tension, bezel, and twisted band styles. A halo can also consist of a single row of pavé gems, and you can find this style in pavé diamond earrings and necklaces as well.
It’s nice to add a single row of pavé to any piece for just a touch of sparkle without looking too “blingy”.✨ For instance, a micro pavé diamond band is ideal for both casual and formal settings, and it looks incredibly sharp with professional attire as well.
Why settle for one row of pavé when you can have a multi-row pavé diamond band or engagement ring? Designers can stack two or more rows of pavé stones on top of each other to produce an even more brilliant design. A pavé double halo engagement ring is perfect for those buyers with smaller budgets, as the double halo can visually increase the size of your center stone!
You can also find multi-row pavé diamond necklaces and earrings, such as this pair of pavé diamond hoop earrings. These styles are great for formal looks, and even a pavé diamond bangle bracelet can make a plain dress or suit pop with a flash of white light.
Sometimes, designers choose to cluster pavé diamonds together rather than laying them out in neat rows. These settings can be any shape, and you can find cluster styles in rings, earrings, necklaces, and more.
Pavé cluster diamond earrings are perfect for all settings, and a cluster diamond pendant is a perfect accessory for special events or gifting. Popularized by Bella Swan in the book-turned-film series “Twilight”, pavé diamond cluster rings are excellent cocktail pieces, and you can incorporate other gemstones—such as pearls—for an understated yet elegant aesthetic.
PROPOSING SOON? You can find more information regarding popular pavé engagement ring styles here.👇🏻
While pavé diamonds don’t follow the traditional rules of the 4Cs, it’s still important to keep a few things in mind when shopping for your next jewelry piece.🧐 For starters, because pavé diamonds are lower in quality and price than traditional stones, diamond wholesalers do not spend a ton of time grading their cut, color, clarity, and carat before selling them.
As such, they often sell these diamonds in parcels, which contain a specific carat weight of diamonds that match the buyer’s criteria. These diamonds with similar carat weights should be within the buyer’s suggested range of cut, color, and clarity, but they’re not necessarily all the same.
From here, the buyer—or his/her craftsman—handpicks diamonds with similar face-up color performance and table size to place within a setting. Pavé diamonds are small, but their color differences can be discernible with the naked eye when placed with a center of higher quality.
Because pavé diamonds are so small, they do not need grading reports. However, it’s important for the craftsman to match up diamonds within the same range of color, clarity, and carat for a seamless sparkle that accentuates the center stone.
Let’s sum up the benefits of choosing pavé diamonds for your engagement ring, wedding band, and more:
- The added light performance of pavé diamonds means more brilliance and scintillation for the piece as a whole.
- Because they’re very small, pavé diamonds are fairly inexpensive to add to a ring or other jewelry piece.
- Pavé diamonds can accentuate large center stones without appearing bulky.😊
- A pavé halo can make small center stones appear larger while adding a touch of sparkle.
- Pavé settings where the stones surround your center diamond—such as halo and bezel pieces—can actually provide more protection than settings without such details.
- The brilliance of pavé diamonds can mask the color of low-quality diamonds, provided they are not on opposite ends of the color grading spectrum.
- If your center stone is a bit dull, pavé diamonds can make a less brilliant center stone appear sparkly thanks to the added light reflection.
- Whether you like classic or new age style, pavé diamonds look amazing in both vintage and modern settings.🖖🏻
If you have any other questions regarding pavé diamonds, we’ve probably covered them below in our FAQ. Here are some popular inquiries related to pavé diamonds:
Typically, pavé diamonds do not fall out easily, but it's still possible. Thanks to their durable metal bead or prong settings, pavé diamonds are usually protected and do not fall out unless the setting wears out or they take direct blunt force.
However, if you do lose a pavé diamond, it can be replaced painlessly as well! Pavé diamonds are inexpensive when sold individually, and some jewelers even cover the cost of lost pavé stones in your service package when you purchase your piece.
Of course! Colored pavé diamonds and gemstones can add a much needed splash of color to an otherwise icy white setting. Whether you choose sapphires, rubies, emeralds, or any other precious stone, mixing a bit of color with white pavé diamonds can amp up the personality of an entire piece.
If you’d rather stick to diamonds, use colored diamonds to make your center stone pop. For example, the Tiffany & Co. Soleste provides a pink pavé diamond halo inside a white pavé halo for a hint of glamour.
Yes and no: it really depends on the style of pavé ring you have. Because of the complex metal structure necessary to keep the pavé diamonds in place, changing the size of your band could impact the integrity of the metal surrounding your stones and cause you to lose some.
If your ring is only half or three quarters pavé, an expert jeweler may be able to alter your ring by a half size in either direction. However, if it’s an eternity band, the chances are slim to none that a resize wouldn’t weaken your ring, and most jewelers wouldn’t agree to the fix.
Make sure you get the right size ring the first time when purchasing pavé pieces. We’ve written extensively about at-home methods for finding your perfect ring size!
Because dirt can get trapped between these small stones and the metal setting, pavé diamond rings require a bit of at-home TLC in addition to regular cleanings. Luckily, they can be cleaned like any other piece of diamond jewelry!
Simply place your ring in a mixture of warm water and dish soap and wait 15-30 minutes. Once the soak is complete, remove your ring and gently brush the diamonds and metal with a soft toothbrush. Finally, rinse your ring with warm water and gently dry and buff with a lint-free cloth.
While most at-home tools can’t get behind pavé diamonds effectively due to their small size, an ultrasonic cleaner should be able to shake out any excess buildup. Or, take your ring to your local jewelry for a nice, deep clean!
If you’re looking for a hint of sparkle on your setting, a pavé diamond ring is an excellent way to balance sleek lines and brilliance to create a classic yet noticeable combo. Pavé diamonds are affordable, available, and easy to replace if you lose one, which is much better than having to replace a costly side stone.
If you’re not sold on a pavé setting, check out our engagement ring style guide with plenty of examples of both classic and modern engagement ring settings that can suit your fancy!