Pave Engagement Rings That Bring the Extra Sparkle
Pave is a diamond ring’s best friend — an easy, affordable and elegant way to amplify the effect of an engagement ring she’ll love. Whether you’d like to add sparkle, highlight a center stone, or make that diamond seem bigger, pave engagement rings have been turning heads for generations.
The style is truly timeless, but it’s picked up some trendy heat in the past few years, as pave engagement rings have shown up on the fingers of newly engaged or married celebrities including Kate Middleton, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sofia Vergara and Lady Gaga. But first things first — what is a pave engagement ring?
What is pave?
Pave (pronounced pah-vay) comes from the French “to pave” — as in, paved with diamonds. And it looks just like it sounds! A pave engagement ring includes small accent stones that surround a center stone or are embedded on the band. The overall effect is added sparkle. Some types of pave can make the central diamond seem bigger, which can save you serious money without sacrificing spectacle.
In this style, accent diamonds are set closely together, secured with small prongs. This draws attention to the diamonds while minimizing the look of the metal. Jewelers must work with high precision to create this setting; lasers are often used to produce a flawless result.
This style, similar to micro pavé, incorporates a small, V-shaped cutout underneath each diamond, which allows for more light to hit the stone and less metal to show on the ring.
The most traditional setting, the bright cut (or channel setting) is so named because the diamonds look like they’re held by two walls of metal. This setting has seen a resurgence in popularity recently thanks to a growing interest in vintage and vintage-style engagement rings and jewelry.
In a U-cut or scalloped setting, the metal beads holding the accent diamonds have U-shaped cutouts underneath, adding a distinctive design element.
In this setting, diamonds or gemstones are enclosed by metal. This holds the stone securely in place and adds a pretty design element. Bezel-set rings are popular with both men and women and have long-lasting appeal.
For more types of pave settings, check out our comprehensive guide to pave ring setting styles.
How to select a pave engagement ring
The pave setting is extremely flexible and works beautifully within modern or vintage-style engagement rings. Consider her personal style, your budget, and how you’re prioritizing the four C’s — cut, clarity, color and carat. If you don’t quite have enough in your budget to cover the next carat size — or you’d like to go up on the clarity scale and sacrifice a bit of carat weight — you might find a pave setting the perfect way to optimize your purchasing power.
If you’re looking for sparkle, you’ve come to the right place. Derived from the French word for “paved,” a pave engagement ring includes many accent diamonds closely set together, giving the appearance that they’re one long continuous diamond.
This setting style is classically beautiful, not to mention — as you may have guessed — they give you a great deal of bang for your buck. A halo adds sparkle to any setting, and can make a center diamond seem up to a half-carat bigger. But when it comes to a pave engagement ring, you have no shortage of options. Here are some particular concerns you should consider before buying.
GET FAMILIAR WITH THE DIFFERENT PAVE STYLES AVAILABLE
We went through all the different styles, but take time to get familiar with them. You’ll need to decide on whether you want more shine or security, and then which exact setting meets your personal preference. At the end of the day, though, it all comes down to what you or your special someone likes. If you’re shopping together, this is where our free home preview program can help you make your selection. Trying on two rings can help you if you’re deciding between similar styles such as scallop pave and French cut.
DECIDE WHICH FITS YOUR/HER STYLE AND PERSONALITY THE BEST
Think about what she’ll actually want to wear forever. It depends on her personal style. But her lifestyle is also an important consideration when it comes to pave: There’s a small but distinct chance that accent diamonds can loosen if the ring gets knocked around.
First: How much sparkle does she want? Would she prefer a classic, simple style, or a more artisanal, unusual band? Pave can cover part of the band, most of it, or the whole shebang. It can be set in multiple strands, or in rows, for maximum shine.
Second: How much do her hands go through in a day? Would she be concerned about the security of the accent diamonds because of her job or hobbies? Some women whose hands are exceptionally occupied at work, like doctors and nurses, choose a sturdier setting.
THINK ABOUT THE TOTAL SIZE OF THE CENTER OF YOUR PAVE RING
When it comes to carat weight, have you decided to go big or go home? If you are, in fact, leaning toward a large center stone, pave engagement rings might be a bit too much for her style. But it also may not be!
Consider the pave or accent diamonds in context with the center diamond you want. They can be a cost-effective way to add more sparkle to rings with smaller stones, but may detract from a larger one.
Ready to start shopping? We’re here to walk you through the process. At With Clarity, our expert staff gemologists are highly experienced in working with couples to find the right ring for everyone. They can walk you through a diamond’s GIA certificate — which lists the carat weight of a diamond and its accent stones, plus ratings on various qualities — so you’ll know how to best concentrate your budget.