Pavé Settings: Various Styles, Pros & Cons and Buying Guide

In the search for that perfect new ring to dazzle and shine, there is an overwhelming amount of options for you to choose from, but have you taken a closer look at pavé settings?

Glamorous, dazzling, and bursting with elegance, pavé ring settings enhance the natural beauty of the stones they support and add an extra wow-factor to an already beautiful piece. Quite frankly, they're stand-out!

Halo Style Pavé Setting Engagement Ring
Halo style pavé setting engagement ring

This wonderfully indulgent setting is guaranteed to add a touch of "I can't take my eyes off it" to every occasion. Now tell me, doesn't that sound just scrumptious?

In this article, we're going to be discussing the ins and outs of pavé settings. We will explore:

  • What different styles you can choose from
  • Where and how does the pavé setting appear on a ring
  • Pavé setting vs other ring settings
  • Pros and cons
  • Things to consider before buying

Basics: What is a pavé setting?

It rolls so easily off the tongue, doesn't it? Pavé. Or, if you want to enjoy it, "Paaah-vaaay".

The pavé setting is truly romantic, as are most things French. The word pavé derives from the French word "to pave"—to pave the way with diamonds. When we're talking about a diamond ring, the pavé setting is used to describe a piece that is paved in diamonds.

Even from the birthing of this particular technique, it has been imbued with romance and luxury.

The history of the pavé ring can be dated back to the Georgian era and is not limited to diamonds. A writer of Brides magazine spoke with jewelry designer Anna Sheffield who says that:

 "You'll see jewelry from this time with diamond and even other stones like turquoise pavé set in the design of rings, lockets, brooches, earrings, and precious objects…"

Pavé Setting Wedding Band
Courtesy of Blue Nile (SKU: 20321)

If it has stuck around this long then there must be something pretty special about this little French setting.

Pavé setting is used to describe a row of smaller stones that are set along the shank of the ring to add extra scintillation and sparkle. Small holes (or divots) are drilled into the metal of the ring and the tiny gemstone is inserted. Following this, the stones are set in place using either a type of prong or what is known as an eensy bead.

The small diamonds sit closely together to create that "paved diamond road" effect specific to the pavé setting.

🌟Stylistically, a setting like this is used for only one thing—to add sparkle. This setting does an outstanding job of adding fire and light to the overall appearance of a ring without distracting from the centerpiece.

What are the pavé setting styles you can choose from?

There are a variety of different choices to be had with the pavé set ring. There is an abundance of options to choose from, each with its own benefits and features.

The gemstone size, prong size and shape are the real focus here with each setting type.

Each chosen setting offers the wearer a unique and desired aesthetic. While there may not seem like a big difference between each, it is a design element that will determine the desired impact you want to have with your ring.

Below we will discuss a variety of setting options so we can find the perfect one for you.

Micro Pavé Setting

Micro pavé settings are constructed using extremely small stones and with extremely small prongs. Typically each diamond used in a micro pavé setting does not exceed .01 of a carat and so you can imagine how small the prongs would need to be to hold this in place.

In a micro pavé setting, you might expect to see several diamond roads along the shank of the ring to cover the band in its entirety.

With rows upon rows of diamonds, a micro-pavé setting can be truly dazzling and set a ring alight with sparkle and shine.

Petite Pavé Setting

Petite pavé settings are often confused for micro pavé which is entirely understandable. However, where micro pavé settings consist of ever so small diamonds and prongs, the petite pavé focuses solely on the use of smaller prongs.

By reducing the amount of metal used to hold the diamond in place, the diamond has a more exposed surface area for light to travel through. And, you know what that means?

Extra sparkle. Extra shine. Extra dazzle.

This setting accentuates the true beauty of the diamond by allowing it room to breathe.

Micro, Petite or Plain?
There may be seemingly minor differences between them but differences, there are. With micro, petite and plain set pavé rings we're focusing on the difference in diamond and prong size. Micro and petite settings use a multitude of tiny stones and tiny prongs however, the main difference between the two is that micro pavé focuses on tiny stones where petite pavé focuses on tiny prongs. Plain pavé settings would be used when you have larger and fewer diamonds to set and so the prongs themselves are also larger to hold these in place.

French Pavé

Here comes the French again!

The beloved French pavé is a style that uses the technique of placing the diamonds into minuscule V-shapes within the band of the ring. Luxurious in appearance, it utilizes the metal to enhance each and every stone.

Not too dissimilar to the effects we might expect to see in an illusion setting, we can use this French setting to infuse theatre, design complexity, and optimize the ring using fewer diamonds.

U-Cut Pavé

The U-cut pavé setting is a popular choice for modern-day consumers and it's not difficult to see why. This setting gets its name from the shape of the metal in which the diamond is placed. The metal on either side of each small diamond is carved smoothly into the shape of a ‘U’ and held in place with small beads.

U-Cut Pavé Setting Ring Set

Not only is this a sleek and elegant look, but it also minimizes the amount of metal surrounding the diamonds within the ring. The more exposure we can give each and every diamond, the more we can expect to see it shine.

The flowing curves of this setting along with the space surrounding each and every stone make for a modern, elegant option that maximizes the ring's glistening powers.

Shared Prong Pavé

Sometimes, even with pavé settings, we just want to go BIG. When using larger stones a shared prong pavé is likely to be your best choice in pavé settings, why?🧐

Larger stones are going to require more metal to hold them in place, we can't escape that.

However, there would not be a lot of benefit to creating or buying your next special piece lined with larger, more prominent diamonds only to diminish their chances of shining brightly by encapsulating them with metal.

In a shared prong pavé, each diamond shares its prong with its neighbor.

By doing this, the larger diamonds can stand tall with as little metal as possible holding them firmly in place whilst also allowing light to pass through.

Bezel Style Pavé

If you're familiar with bezel settings then you may have guessed what a bezel-style pavé is likely to look like.

Each diamond in a bezel style pavé is encircled with metal giving it that smooth, rub-over feeling that is soft to touch and extremely modern in aesthetic (despite it being one of the oldest settings that we still use today).

Needless to say that the bezel style pavé offers a very specific look and feel with a guarantee of greater durability and accentuation of each individual diamond.

Where and how do pavé settings appear on a ring?

Alright, now we're getting into it.

We've looked at a variety of different pavé style settings, now we need to discover exactly where and how these settings can be placed into our designer piece. This section is going to be divided into two main parts:

  • Pavé Setting Wedding Bands
  • Pavé Setting Engagement Rings

If you're not excited yet, you will be! Let's jump in…🏊🏻‍♂️

Part I: Pavé Setting Wedding Bands

Let's break down how we might expect to see a pavé diamond setting when choosing the all-important wedding band!

The pavé diamonds are set onto the wedding band and are either added to ½ of the band, ⅓ or cover the entirety of the band, also known as eternity style setting. Determined by the size of the diamond you choose, there may be one row or multiple rows of pavé diamonds on your wedding band.

Two-Row Pavé Diamond Band
Courtesy of Blue Nile (SKU: 53023)

You may decide to use a micro or petite pavé setting in which case you will likely consider multiple rows of tightly knit diamonds placed with tiny prongs. With this style, you can truly accentuate the beauty of the engagement ring with subtle elegance and backlighting.

💡A ½ or ⅓ coverage is perfect for you if you're worried about damaging the underside of the ring—it's practical but still gives the illusion of a full band of diamonds.

The flexibility in coverage means that, alongside all of the many setting styles available to you, you can make sure to have the wedding band that matches your personality and is specific to what you love.

Love a hint of color?

We've been going on and on about diamonds but what about all of you gemstone lovers out there who need that splash of color?

You can get as creative as you like with these pavé settings and that includes your choice of stones. Alternate between diamonds and gemstones, black diamonds with colorless diamonds or whip up your own concoction of colorful goodness.

Pavé Style Pink Sapphire Diamond Band
Courtesy of Blue Nile (SKU: 21210)

The options are truly limitless! You can find a pattern of color that works for you and will hold sentimental value as you carry it through life.

Part II: Pavé Setting Engagement Rings

In a wonderful complementary fashion, the pavé setting on an engagement ring is strategically placed in a way that enhances the main center stone(s).

Your center stone is your primary feature, the pride and glory, so pavé diamonds are used to intensify this.💍 Let’s look at some engagement ring options using our classic solitaire rings and halo rings as examples.

Solitaire Pavé Diamond Rings

A solitaire prong pavé diamond ring adds an ever so slight twist to the classic solitaire, giving it some added gusto without deviating too far from this timeless design.

Solitaire Prong Pavé Engagement Ring
Courtesy of James Allen (SKU: 17645W14)

The pavé set diamonds line the shank of the ring and has been placed with the sole purpose of accentuating the main diamond, and boy, do they do a great job of it!

Actually, the solitaire ring consists of one gorgeous center stone that can be set with prongs, in a bezel, or with a tension mechanism.

So besides the solitaire prong style, let’s take a look at other varieties of the solitaire pavé diamond rings:

Bezel Pavé Setting Ring

A bezel pavé setting ring has an entirely different look to our solitaire prong pavé diamond friend above. Although the main elements are the same, this time our feature stone is encircled with smooth, robust metal.

Solitaire Bezel Pavé Ring in Rose Gold
Courtesy of James Allen (SKU: 17745R14)

This is a classic design that very much appeals to a modern audience. It captures both elements of simplicity and design with this long-standing rub-over finish.

Tension Style Pavé Setting Ring

The tension style pavé setting ring offers theatre, a touch of melodrama, and a love for the more eccentric. These rings are not outlandish or ganache, but simply add a touch of the melodramatic to an otherwise classic piece.

Tension-Pavé Combined Diamond Ring
Courtesy of Allurez (SKU: NG1666)

Held and suspended in mid-air using the tension (or compression) of the metal band gives the illusion of a floating diamond. The metal shapes flow like music and yearn for your attention.

Now, imagine adding pavé diamonds to a tension style ring design like this. Pretty spectacular right?!

Halo Style Pavé Diamond Ring

The halo pavé setting ring is ideal for the special someone who seeks added glamour, maximum sparkle, and a princess feel.

On a halo style diamond ring setting the center stone consists of one large diamond which can be a variety of shapes including; round, oval, Asscher, or pear-cut. This center stone is then bordered with pavé set diamonds.

Halo Style Pavé Engagement Ring (James Allen)
Courtesy of James Allen (SKU: 17305W14)

The one true reason for choosing a halo style pavé diamond ring setting is to make your big shiny diamond look even bigger and even shinier. The pavé set diamonds sit around the edge of your feature stone giving the illusion of a larger, more prominent diamond.

The extra facets of the smaller pavé diamonds allow light to bounce back and forth, constantly reflecting light into one another. This makes for a spectacular display of sparkle and fire.

Pavé Engagement Ring With Cathedral Arches

Pavé engagement rings with cathedral arches reap the benefits and rewards of sitting higher upon their setting as the metal shank of the band sweeps upward to support the stone above. The diamond of focus can appear larger with this setting and also offers a gorgeous, diamond-exposing, side profile.

Pavé Cathedral Ring
Courtesy of Blue Nile (SKU: 20306)

A pavé cathedral setting engagement ring almost works as stunning arrows drawing your eye back to the raised center stone, a runway of light designed to uplift and dazzle.

Cathedral arches allow for a swooping feminine look which, when coupled with the smaller pavé set diamonds on the rising shank, optimize for elegance and class.

Pavé Setting Ring With Twisted Shank

A twisted shank ring with a pavé setting offers us something a little different. A slight deviation from the classic; if you’re in search of the perfect design that screams, "This was made for you!" then this might just be the one.

Twisted Style Pavé Shank Diamond Ring
Courtesy of Briliant Earth (SKU: BE1M54DH-18KW)

The pavé set diamonds sit neatly along the waves and curves of one (or both!) of the woven shanks of the ring.

What is known for sure is that adding a pavé diamond setting only adds to the grandeur and customization of this design.

Split Shank Pavé Ring

Alright so how do we take a twist shank ring one step further? We split the shank entirely!

Split shank rings offer a unique design element that is sure to distinguish you from the rest. You can choose from a wide variety of designs and shapes but ultimately, with whatever split shank design you choose, you will end up with a ring that has been designed to draw your eye back to that centerpiece.

Split Shank Halo Pavé Setting Diamond Ring
Courtesy of James Allen (SKU: 17184W)

Adding pavé set diamonds to the split shank only adds greater impact to an already unusual and eye-stopping piece.🎇

Multiple Pavé Diamond Ring

You guessed it! Multiple pavé diamond rings enjoy more than one row of pavé set diamond placed neatly into the band.

Multiple Pavé Setting Diamond Engagement Ring
Courtesy of Blue Nile (SKU: 60444)

A stunning example of this would be the Pavé Tiffany setting engagement ring with a pavé diamond band. You can see that with delicate craftsmanship, and flawless execution, this ring is a mighty fine example of a multiple pavé diamond ring.

The center stone pops with radiance with the band seemingly boasting of no-expense-spared.😎

Pavé Setting Colored Gemstone Ring

For all of the gemstone lovers wondering how they might make this work with a beloved ruby, emerald, or sapphire; the stones in a pavé ring are certainly not limited to colorless diamonds.

Mixing diamonds with colored gemstones (or even colored diamonds) has become increasingly popular and you can create some stand-out pieces with these concoctions of stones.

Colored Gemstone Blue Sapphire Pavé Style Ring
Courtesy of Blue Nile (SKU: 36781)

A popular option is to choose a stunning halo set ring holding your chosen colored stone in the middle as the pavé set diamonds surrounding it glisten and encourage the color to pop.

Despite using different colored gemstones you do not have to feel limited to the design or shape of the stone. This baguette emerald diamond pavé stacking ring is perfect for demonstrating how you can incorporate different design elements using different stones and settings.

Where the pavé setting is concerned, be as creative as you dare to be!

Pavé settings vs Other ring settings

Alright, I think we're getting somewhere!

It's about time we took a look at what alternative ring settings are available and what the main differences between them and the beloved pavé setting might be. 🎈It is worth noting that pavé settings are often combined with other ring settings just like the examples we were introduced to in the last section.

With that in mind, you do not need to feel limited by an "either/or" situation because more often than not there is a happy medium to be found.

Let's have a look at those ring setting comparisons, shall we?

Pavé Settings vs Channel Settings

Channel setting is a sleek and secure way of setting diamonds into the band of the ring. Unlike the pavé settings, there are no prongs or beads to be seen, rather the stones sit flush among the shank feeling smooth and chocolatey to the touch.

Pavé vs. Channel Style Setting

The stones in a channel setting can sit even closer together than that of a pavé set ring as they are held in place by the outer edging of the metal band. This is a brilliant option if you worry about catching prongs or beads, this is perfect for a no-snag, no-worry ring.

Pavé Settings vs Bar Settings

While a pavé set diamond is held in place by a prong or bead, a bar set diamond is held in place by a vertical bar of metal. These are similar to channel-set diamonds however the main difference lies in the exposure of the diamond on the two outer sides.

Unlike a pavé setting, you will see more visible metal but it makes for an alternative design and still allows for light to pass through the diamond for optimum glow.

Pavé Settings vs Invisible Settings

You're looking to buy yourself a stunning diamond ring with as many diamonds as you can possibly add to it, it's going to be glorious. But everywhere you look there is metal distracting you from the beautiful stone you hope to show off.

This is where the invisible setting comes into play.

Whereas a pavé setting will hold the stone in place with visible metal prongs or beads, an invisible setting has metal constructed to hold the diamond in place from underneath rather than the sides. The result of this being a look of purity and clean edges with no metal distraction to be seen.

Pros and Cons: Is the pavé setting right for you?

We've looked at what a pavé setting is, the different styles, how it might appear to us on an engagement or wedding ring, and some alternative setting choices. Now let's look at the overall pros and cons of a pavé setting to help you make the best decision possible.⚖️

Pros

  • Diamond pavé settings accentuate the center stone and encourage focus toward the stand-out centerpiece.
  • Added diamonds reflect more light and give the wearer the gift of more sparkle and scintillation.
  • In a halo style pavé setting the center stone can appear larger and more grandiose with the help of the out circle of smaller diamonds.
  • This type of setting is incredibly versatile and can suit both modern and vintage designs meaning there is something for everyone.

Cons

  • Pavé style is typically a more expensive option due to the extra craftsmanship that is involved in its creation. However, pricing can vary greatly depending on the size of stones and setting style used.
  • Resizing is difficult with a pavé setting, particularly if the pavé covers the entire band of the ring. This is easy to avoid simply by making sure you choose the correct ring size at the very beginning.
  • Pavé settings generally need closer care and attention for longevity and damage avoidance. The delicate prongs and beads that hold the stones in place may be robust but a hard knock could risk breaking them. However, this is not a drawback limited to the pavé setting—this is a risk you take with any type of ring setting.

Things you should know when buying a pavé ring setting

There are a multitude of factors that we need to take into account when we are buying any item of jewelry which may have a direct impact on our choices and options.

So, here are a few more things that you would keep in mind before making your decision on a pavé setting.📝

What kind of lifestyle and skin do you have?

Consider this, if you have sensitive skin then a pavé setting may not be for you. A band that is more than ½ covered with a diamond pavé setting will likely rub and irritate the adjacent fingers.

Consider Lifestyle and Skin Sensitivity When Choosing Pavé Ring

👉🏻However, all's not lost. Considering a band with less than ½ covered with the pavé setting would be an easy option to avoid this.

Where lifestyle is concerned, it is worth noting how you spend your days, what you do with your time, and more importantly, how do you use your hands. If you work with your hands frequently then you may need something more durable and robust than a pavé ring setting as the diamonds have the potential to come loose.

You are at greater risk of damaging the prongs or beads if you are incredibly active with your hands and that is a worry you might prefer to live without.

Make sure to balance the sparkle of the pavé and center stones

We never want to distract from that magical center stone. We don't want to take away from the magnificence of this characteristic but add to it.

Always attempt to balance your pavé diamond settings with the center stone so that they enhance rather than distract. We always want our eyes to be drawn up and inward to the one star attraction with everything else playing a supporting role.

The style you choose and the number of stones used in the pavé should be determined by your center stone. For example, you might consider applying the French pavé setting to the band of a blue Sapphire to allow more light to enter the pavé diamonds. In turn, as they shimmer and sparkle, they will better accentuate the center stone.

Consider the potential wedding band

You already have the engagement ring (lucky you!) and now it's time to choose the wedding band.

Consider Potential Wedding Band Style to Pair With Pavé Engagement Ring

It is the most common practice to keep the setting styles of both rings coherent. If you have a pavé setting engagement ring then the perfect match would be a pavé setting wedding band. You can match the size of the stones and the style of the setting to make them appear like a match made in heaven!👸🏻

Mix with other colored gems to create a pretty stacking effect

Consider mixing things up a bit by stacking your pavé anniversary rings with an existing pavé wedding band to create a brand new effect. These rings might have different colored gemstones which make for an overall stunning look that is sure to stop people in their tracks.

Remember, you do not need to feel limited to colorless diamonds!

Consider the metal colors

Colorless diamonds look great paired with any color metals whether that's yellow gold, rose gold, white gold, or platinum. You name it!

However, if you're choosing a ring with a colored gemstone then there will be some color combinations that would be better suited than others. For example, a sapphire and diamond halo ring would look stunning on a white metal or yellow gold band however it may not have quite the same effect using rose gold.

Ultimately it will always come down to personal preference but if you're not sure, ask for advice. The professionals are there to guide you.

You'll need to spend extra time, care, and attention on a pavé setting

With the design intricacies of a pavé setting, they are more likely to get dirty, quickly. When you think of all of the small spaces among the prongs and stones, there is a lot of space for build-up to occur.

Don't let this put you off.

For the perfect ring, it is only a small ask of yourself to be a little bit cautious and a little more attentive. For extra reassurance, do make sure to purchase from a reputable jeweler as they will provide you with a quality ring made with quality materials. And, their excellent customer service often includes free professional cleaning.

Recommended places to buy pavé setting rings

As always, with any piece of jewelry, it is advisable to buy from reputable jewelers who offer quality products and quality after-care because the life of a ring does not end once it is slipped onto your finger; that's just the start!

To help you get started, here is a list of three of our favorite jewelers that will undoubtedly have the perfect pavé setting ring for you.

James Allen

James Allen is a stand out for their customer service and top-notch quality products. Take a look at the pavé engagement ring section on their website to see exactly what I'm talking about. This stunning collection is one among many that have a wide-ranging selection to choose from so there will undoubtedly be a ring to suit you and your personality.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile is another firm favorite of ours with an exciting collection of pavé rings available to you! Blue Nile offers great quality at an excellent price and has every pavé setting style imaginable for you to choose from.

Again, another brand that provides excellent customer service and specific diamond price guarantees to make them a great choice for any ring buyer.

Blue Nile: "Our high-quality diamonds are GIA-graded and priced to give you the most sparkle for your budget."

What more could you want?

Whiteflash

Whiteflash describes itself as an ultra-modern diamond and wedding jewelry brand. They are award-winning diamond specialists providing extraordinary quality and something just a little different.

There are a plethora of stand-out reviews supporting their claims that cannot be ignored and nothing shows greater proof of a product's quality than genuine customer feedback.

If that is right up your street then you can check out their pavé diamond ring selection here!

Pavé ring settings withstand the test of time

Pavé ring settings have stayed with us from Georgian times through to the twentieth century and it's clear as to why.

An undeniably perfect choice for a full diamond ring but with equal strength to support a colored stone, pavé ring settings add a touch of elegance, class, shimmer, and life to an otherwise simple design.

The setting is adaptable for a variety of aesthetics, suiting both the modern and vintage looks which are forever flowing in and out of fashion. But one thing is for sure, pavé is here to stay.

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