You may have heard the term “pavé” while researching on engagement ring settings, but you may not know exactly what it means and how it impacts a ring’s cost. Good news, we’ll cover all you’ve ever wanted to know about pavé, especially how it compares to other setting options and whether it costs more than other engagement ring settings.
What is Pavé Setting?
The word pavé means “pavement” in French. If you see a setting’s description that says pavé, it means the setting features smaller diamonds set closely together for additional sparkle. They’re timeless, elegant, romantic and eye-catching. Pavé-set diamonds are held in place with metal prongs or beads to create an appearance of a line of continuous small diamonds.
Pavé engagement rings continue to be popular because the setting offers additional sparkle without distracting from the center stone. You’ll also find a variety of pavé settings from romantic to modern, so they’re appealing to everyone. Another benefit of pavé settings is that they go well with solitaires, halos, and three-stone rings. You’ll see plenty of celebrity engagement rings featuring the pavé setting.
Jewelers drill holes into the band to set the pavé diamonds. Sizes for these tiny diamonds are typically 0.01 to 0.02 carats. Then the jeweler adds tiny metal beads or small prongs to secure the diamonds in place. You’ll also see even smaller pavé diamonds, but these are considered “micro-pavé” and are set in thin bands.
Pavé vs. Channel-set Diamonds
Although these look somewhat similar, pavé and channel-set diamonds are different. As mentioned earlier, pavé either uses tiny prongs or beads to hold stones in place. In channel setting, the stones are each set into the ring and rimmed with metal. The strips of metal secure all the tiny stones into a line (aka channel).
Pavé vs. French Pavé
There are also different types of pavé settings. Pavé and French pavé settings vary slightly in their design. The French pavé setting features a V-shaped cut under each diamond. This increases the visibility of the stone and gives it a textured appearance. You’ll notice that classic pavé settings have diamonds set on the ring’s surface and there isn’t a visible groove under each pavé-set diamond. In a French pavé setting, small V-shaped cuts make the sides of each pavé-set diamond visible, which creates an interesting line of pavé diamonds. This French version of pavé is more expensive because it involves more labor, but it’s an elegant, unique look.
There are a few different factors that impact the cost of pavé settings. Although the size of the diamonds are small, the more you have, the more expensive the ring will be because of the labor involved. It takes a skilled jeweler to set each tiny diamond correctly. Similarly, the more complex the setting, the more expensive the ring becomes. Your metal choice will also impact the setting’s cost. For example, platinum costs more than white gold (yellow, white, or yellow).
You also might be wondering how the cost varies between different styles of settings. The pavé setting generally costs a few hundred more than a simple solitaire. The quality of the tiny pavé diamonds isn’t high, so the additional cost isn’t for the diamonds. If you have your eye on a three-stone ring, then this will generally cost more because the quality of the side stones matters. One way to save money in all settings is to consider lab-created diamonds for the pavé setting, center stone, or side stones. Lab-created diamonds have the same chemical composition, optical properties, and physical features as mined diamonds.
Now you know more about how the pavé setting gets created, and the aspects that impact the cost. It is important to understand that a pavé setting isn’t universally more expensive than other settings. But the metal choice, style of setting, and the amount of pavé diamonds can increase or decrease the price of the ring depending on what you choose. For example, a platinum solitaire setting (only the setting and not the center stone) will cost more than a white gold pavé setting because of the metal. Do remember that selecting an affordable metal will help stretch your budget, and choosing lab-made diamonds will also be a more economical and eco-friendly choice.