The Diamond Pro

Pavé Diamond Rings Setting: What to Know Before Purchase

By Michael Fried
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Bottom Line Recommendation:

A pavé engagement ring is a gorgeous option for many styles and personalities. The small diamonds that line the band offer extra sparkle and elegance. Pavé designs include stunning Round Cuts in halo settings and Oval diamonds set with a pavé band. Review our guide below to understand the pros and cons of a pavé setting, and see if it’s the right choice for the one you love.

Most importantly, shop for an engagement ring at a reputable diamond vendor. We suggest the James AllenBlue Nile and Brian Gavin Diamond collections to get the best value and quality.

What is a Pavé Engagement Ring Setting?

A pavé setting is a type of engagement ring setting in which the shank of the ring is lined with small diamonds. These diamonds are held in place with metal prongs or beads, creating the appearance of a line of continuous small diamonds. 

Pronounced “pa-vay,” pavé originates from the French word “to pave” — in this case, as in paved with diamonds. In a pavé setting, small diamonds line the band. The metal prongs or beads that hold the diamonds in place are barely visible. 

The pavé setting adds extra sparkle to an engagement, all while emphasizing the beauty of the center diamond. Pavé settings are available in a wide range of styles, from modern settings to a range of vintage designs that incorporate pavé-set diamonds. 

Diamonds are pavé set when they’re as small as .01-.02 carats. Diamonds smaller than that are considered micro-pavé (which are usually set in thin bands).

petite pave engagement ring with 14k yellow gold

A jeweler typically drills holes into the band and carefully places the small diamonds into the holes. Tiny beads or mini-prongs are formed around each diamond to secure them in place. With a pavé ring, the effect is one of continuous sparkle.

Look through recently purchased pave engagement rings with different shapes of center stone to get some inspiration.

Why Choose a Pavé Engagement Ring?

A pavé setting, like this Oval in white gold, is a stunning choice for someone with an elegant, timeless style. The intricate detail of the additional diamonds adds depth and grandeur to the ring.

pave setting cropped

Opting for a pavé setting ensures you have extra personality, without distracting from the center diamond. The best part of a pavé ring? It pairs well with other types of settings, like solitaires, halos and three-stone rings. No matter the style you want, you can almost always add pavé detailing.

Pavé Settings For Every Shape

Pavé settings compliment any Diamond Shape because of their classic design. You can line a twisted Pear Shape ring or a Princess Cut with a pavé band.

Pavé engagement ring examples:

Types of Pavé Settings

There are several different types of pavé settings used for engagement rings today, including the French pavé, petite pavé and several others. Below, we’ve listed the most common pavé setting types, as well as their unique design features:

Micro Pavé

Micro pavé settings use incredible small diamonds with a carat weight of less than 0.01ct per stone. A typical micro pavé setting may contain more than 100 of these diamonds set close to one another to create the appearance of a continuous band of diamonds. 

For example, this trio micro pavé engagement ring from James Allen features 128 diamonds with a total carat weight of 0.78ctw, meaning each diamond an average carat weight of barely 0.006ct. 

Because micro pavé settings contain so many diamonds, they often have a beautiful sparkle that continues along the shank of the ring. Our full guide to micro pavé rings goes into more detail about what you should know if you’re considering this type of pavé setting. 

French Pavé

French pavé settings differ from classic pavé settings in that each diamond is set inside a tiny v-shaped space cut into the ring. This cut makes the sides of each diamond more visible, with less visible metal and the appearance of a line of continuous diamonds.

For example, this French pavé diamond engagement ring from Blue Nile uses 1/4ctw of pavé set diamonds. If you view the ring from the side, you can see the v-shaped cuts made into the ring to accommodate the pavé-set diamonds. 

Like other pavé settings, the French pavé setting creates a gorgeous sparkle, with less visible metal between each small diamond. 

Petite Pave

Petite pavé settings are similar to traditional pavé settings. However, instead of using the large prongs used for a classic pavé setting, a petite pavé setting uses smaller prongs that allow for the pavé diamonds to be more visible.

For example, look at this beautiful petite pavé engagement ring from James Allen. The smaller prongs holding each diamond in place make the pavé diamonds easy to see, creating a great sparkle that continues along the shank of the ring.

Pros and Cons of a Pavé Setting

When choosing a setting design, consider the style of the wearer but also the level of maintenance required. Review the pros and cons of a pavé setting before making a final decision.

Pros

  • Brings attention to the center stone
  • Adds to the ring’s overall brilliance and beauty
  • Offers extra sparkle to a lower-set or less sparkly center stone
  • Designs are available in a modern or vintage style

Cons

  • Sizing and resizing can be difficult if the ring is pavé set around the full band
  • Although highly unlikely, there is minimal risk of losing side stones

We recommend determining his or her ring size early in the design process to prevent resizing issues.

Pavé Settings vs. Other Engagement RIng Settings

Pavé settings are often compared with channel settings, prong settings and other engagement ring settings that feature small diamonds. We’ve listed four of the most common settings below and explained how they differ from the classic pavé setting.

Pavé vs. Micropavé

Pavé is a general term used to refer to any type of setting with pavé-set diamonds. Micro pavé refers specifically to very small diamonds (typically less than 0.01 carat) that are uniform in size and set using very small prongs. 

  • Pavé settings usually use larger diamonds than micro pavé settings, with fewer pavé set diamonds in total.
  • Micro pavé settings often use more than 100 very small diamonds, typically with a carat weight of less than 0.01ct each. 

Pavé vs. Channel

Pavé and channel settings have several key differences. In a pavé setting, the small diamonds line the band and are held in place using small prongs. In a channel setting, a small channel is cut into the ring, with diamonds set in a row inside the channel. 

  • Pavé settings almost always use round or oval cut diamonds, which are held in place by small prongs.
  • Channel settings often use round, princess cut, baguette cut and other diamond shapes, which are set inside a small channel cut into the surface of the ring. 

Pavé vs. Shared Prong

Pavé and shared prong settings look similar at first glance, but use a slightly different design to hold their small diamonds in place. 

  • Pavé settings feature small beads or micro-prongs, which are designed to hold each of the small diamonds securely on the surface of the ring.
  • Shared prong settings look similar to pavé settings, but use shared metal prongs to hold adjacent diamonds in place next to each other. 

Pavé vs. French Pavé

Pavé and French pavé settings have a slight difference in design, with the French pavé setting featuring a V-shaped cut under each diamond to increase the visibility of the stone.

  • Classic pavé settings feature diamonds set on the surface of the ring, without a visible groove under each pavé-set diamond.
  • The French pavé setting uses small, V-shaped cuts to make the sides of each pavé-set diamond visible, creating a gorgeous line of pavé diamonds.

Where to Buy Pavé Diamond Engagement Rings

Identifying the style of your engagement ring is important, but so is choosing where you’ll purchase your ring. In order to get the best value for your budget, be selective and choose a highly reputable vendor. After all, jewelry vendors are not created equal.

Throughout over 20 years of experience, we’ve closely vetted diamond sellers. We have a consistent pulse on the best and most reliable companies in the business.

The diamond dealers below are highly reputable. They offer extensive collections of both beautiful diamonds and settings. All diamonds come with a GIA or AGS certificate—allowing you to trust what they’re selling you.

Blue Nile

Blue Nile maintains the largest online inventory of diamonds and settings. No matter your style, you’ll have a superb selection to choose from. Blue Nile is known for their remarkable diamonds and high-quality jewelry settings.

James Allen

We recommend James Allen because of their appealing prices, high-quality jewelry and incredible diamond imagery. You can view each diamond closely with photography before making a purchase. They’re known for their excellent customer service and return policies.

Brian Gavin Diamonds

Brian Gavin is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a diamond that’s cut incredibly well. Select a diamond from the “Brian Gavin Signature” Hearts & Arrows collection for an exceptional stone.

Leibish & Co. (Gemstone Alternative)

Leibish is our preferred vendor for gemstone engagement rings and jewelry. A colored gemstone, like an emerald or sapphire, is a unique, lower cost alternative to a diamond. In addition, Leibish & Co. maintains a large collection of fancy color diamonds like purple diamonds and canary yellow diamonds.

If you have any questions about these vendors, don’t hesitate to contact us.

FAQs About Pavé Diamond Rings

Are Pavé Diamonds Real?

Yes. The diamonds used in pavé and micro pavé settings are real diamonds, although they tend to be very small. It’s common for pavé rings to use diamonds that are 1 to 2mm in diameter, with micro pavé settings using even smaller diamonds in the 0.01 carat range. 

Can You Resize a Pavé Ring? 

Because of their design, pavé rings are very difficult to resize. Making any significant changes to the ring’s size can damage the small prongs that hold the pavé diamonds in place. If the prongs are significantly weakened, it’s possible for the small pavé diamonds to fall out of place. 

If the pavé diamonds are only set in part of the ring, it’s sometimes possible for a skilled jeweler to make small adjustments to the ring’s size, such as making it a half size larger or smaller. 

Because pavé rings are so difficult to resize, it’s important to know your fiancé-to-be’s ring size if you’re considering a pavé ring. Our ring size guide includes several techniques that you can use to work out your partner’s ring size and avoid the need to resize your ring after you propose.

Evaluating a Diamond Ring for Beauty and Value

Want the most stunning ring for your budget?

Review our other Diamond Pro resources for tips on selecting the perfect ring for the one you love.

  • Diamond Shape: Select your Diamond Shape primarily on personal preference. Review the shapes to determine which one fits his or her style best.
  • Diamond Cut: The most important characteristic of a diamond’s brilliance and beauty is its Cut. Only choose an Excellent or Ideal cut diamond for the most stunning stone.
  • Diamond Clarity: Above all, select a diamond that’s eye clean. You don’t need a diamond that’s flawless when under magnification. Blemishes and inclusions often cannot be seen with the naked eye at a VS1 or VS2 Clarity grade.
  • Diamond Color: Focus on choosing a diamond that appears white in relation to its setting color. A diamond in the G to I Color range will appear colorless, but cost far less than a diamond in the D to F range.

Shop for pavé diamond engagement rings here.

Questions? Send our diamond consultants an email.

Interested in a different setting style? Review all common styles in our summary setting article.

Or if you know what style you want to read abotu next, go directly to it:

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
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  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
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