If you consider an engagement ring design incomplete without optimal sparkle, then you should be searching for one with a pavé setting. This popular technique adds an extra element of radiance without distracting from your center stone and an artisanal touch that's equal parts bold and romantic.
What Is the Pavé Setting?
The pavé setting is a ring setting that features small diamonds along the band of the ring. The French word translates to ‘paved’ and this jewelry technique was named as such because it resembles a paved or cobblestone road.
Ahead, learn about what goes into crafting a high-quality pavé setting, how to incorporate it into the design of your engagement ring, and why this style supports the argument that more sparkle = more fun.
The History of Pavé Settings
Pavé settings have been around for hundreds of years with notable designs dating back to the Georgian era. “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,” explains designer Anna Sheffield. The technique is achieved when a hole (or divot) is carved in the material and the tiny gemstone is inset. “Next, a metal tool is used to make eensy beads, or another type of prong, to push up and over the stone to hold it in place,” Sheffield explains. “There are a number of ways to do this, stylistically, and slight differences in how they look in the end. But the gist of it is that pavé adds a diamond or gem outline or all-over surface covering to the piece.”
Meet the Expert
What to Look For In a Pavé Setting
The reason to go for a pavé setting comes down to two words: more sparkle. “Pavé settings do a wonderful job of adding more bling to an engagement ring without taking the spotlight away from the center stone,” says gemologist Olivia Landau.
Meet the Expert
Olivia Landau is the founder and CEO of The Clear Cut, a 4th-generation diamond expert, and a G.I.A. Graduate Gemologist. She started her company with her husband in an effort to help a new generation of consumers create their ideal hand-crafted diamond engagement rings.
In addition to the band, you can also add the pavé technique to other parts of your ring. “I love incorporating pavé into an engagement ring by adding a hidden halo, which is made by adding pavé to the basket bar (which supports the prongs on your ring) around the sides of your center stone,” says Landau. “It’s a nice little touch that you don’t see from the top of the ring but makes the sides of your ring just as special and sparkly as the rest.”
A pavé setting doesn’t necessarily have to be teamed with a prong setting. “Pavé is a beautiful complement to any setting, in my experience,” Sheffield says. “We have paired pavé with bezel set center stones as well as those in prong settings.” There is also a technique called micro-pavé, which is comprised of even tinier diamonds and achieved with the aid of a microscope. “I call this look ‘diamond-dusted,’” Sheffield notes.
As for the price tag, “The majority of costs for jewelry made with pavé is found in the labor,” Sheffield notes. “Skilled setters are requisite for this type of work. Not only is their artisanship valuable, but it is also more expensive (and well worth it).” Landau adds that it can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to around a thousand dollars more than a classic solitaire setting.
How to Care for Your Pavé Setting
An obvious disadvantage of the pavé setting is its delicacy. “Like all fine jewelry, pavé settings can be delicate and since they have so many tiny stones set into the design, if your ring takes a hard hit it may cause a stone to come loose,” Landau says. That said, it’s not out of the ordinary for these damages to happen and thankfully the repairs are relatively easy for jewelers. When in doubt, take off your ring if you are going to be partaking in any high-contact activities.
As for cleaning, Sheffield recommends getting your pavé setting steam cleaned and limit your use of a polishing cloth “as the fibers can snag the tiny prongs.” You can also fill a bowl with warm water and a squeeze of dish soap, Landau adds. “Soak your jewelry in there and scrub with a clean toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies. Then rinse in a bowl of warm water (without soap) and set to dry on a clean paper towel.”
Ahead, 15 beautiful engagement rings featuring a pavé setting.
Anna Sheffield Hazeline Solitaire Ring in Yellow Gold and White Diamond
This specific ring was inspired by a ring that belonged to the designer’s grandmother and was reimagined with an emerald cut and pavé shank.
SHOP NOW: Anna Sheffield, $16,200
Bliss Lab Illuminate Ring
A modern ring silhouette with timeless design details.
SHOP NOW: No. 3, $15,730
Meadowlark Luna Ring
This is what happens when you combine two gorgeous diamond center stones and a pavé band: pure brilliance.
SHOP NOW: Meadowlark Jewellery, $6,905
Porter Gulch May Ring
This exquisite ring gives off a vintage aesthetic thanks to its tilted princess cut diamonds and pavé band.
SHOP NOW: Porter Gulch, $6,700
Single Stone Arielle Ring
The two-tiered gallery and cathedral center-stone setting on this sparkling ring complements the already glistening pavé band.
SHOP NOW: No. 3, $13,400
Jennie Kwon Diamond Reese Equilibrium Ring
A romantic work of art featuring an oval center stone and several smaller diamonds varying in size.
SHOP NOW: Jennie Kwon, $3,854
Vrai The Hover Ring
This breathtaking ring gives the illusion the diamond is floating above your hand, and who wouldn’t want that?
SHOP NOW: Vrai, $2,150
Vale Hyeres Ring
The pavé details on this Montana sapphire ring give it an extra dose of sparkle, making for a truly unique and breathtaking engagement ring.
SHOP NOW: No. 3, $3,450
Mark Broumand Oval Cut Diamond Engagement Ring
A 1.25ct oval-cut diamond looks all the more elegant alongside a pavé band, as evidenced by this standout ring.
SHOP NOW: 1stdibs, $9,550
Marissa Perry The Double Love Diamond Solitaire
The half-band design on this refined ring exaggerates the sparkle and shine.
SHOP NOW: Marissa Perry, (price upon request)
Point No Point Studio Salt & Pepper Pear Diamond Ring
For a unique look, try a pavé band with a salt and pepper center stone diamond.
SHOP NOW: Point No Point Studio, $3,907
Mociun Old Mine Cut Diamond Ring
The old mine cut on this exuberant ring feels all the more bright with its pavé band.
SHOP NOW: Mociun, $24,500
Brilliant Earth Flare Ring
The scalloped pavé diamonds surround the center gem on this classic, captivating ring.
SHOP NOW: Brilliant Earth, $1,290 (setting only)
Tiffany Soleste® Emerald Halo Engagement Ring
The halo on this delicate ring extends onto the band seamlessly with a pavé setting.
SHOP NOW: Tiffany & Co., (price upon request)
Bella Ponte Engagement Ring
A sparkly option for the bride who wants something classic and romantic.
SHOP NOW: Ben Bridge, $2,199 (setting only)