Pavé engagement rings

All you need to know about the most popular shape of engagement rings

PAVÉ
ENGAGEMENT RINGS

Paving your ring with bling

Pavé (pronounced ‘pah-vay’) is basically a ring, er, paved with diamonds – lots of small diamonds covering the whole ring, including sometimes the underside of the band. The idea is that the entire surfaces is covered in diamonds, often set in multiple rows with no metal at all visible between them.

The actual word itself refers to the French word for ‘pavement’ and the diamond are supposed to fit together like cobblestones on a street.

To create the effect, a jeweler will drill a series of holes into the ring setting, place the diamonds into the holes and then create tiny prongs, or just beads of metal, over the edges of the diamonds, securing the stones in place. It’s a ring style that requires a lot of skill to create.

Diagram to show pave set stones

 

Diamond engagement ring with halo setting and pave band

On this page we’re going to look at:

  • What’s good about pavé setting engagement rings
  • What’s not so good
  • A range of pavé diamond engagement ring setting styles

 At the end of the page you should have a really good idea of what to look for with a pavé engagement ring and hopefully have some great inspiration for choosing your ring too.

What’s good about pavé engagement rings?

Beauty

The main reason for choosing a pavé setting is the huge bump in sparkle and beauty you get by adding pavé to the ring.

Round brilliant diamonds are usually used for pave settings as they are the sparkliest of all the diamond shapes. By placing a large number of them very close together, you make sure that your ring will catch the light from any angle and sparkle brilliantly.

Cushion cut engagement ring with pave setting

What’s bad about pavé engagement rings?

Setting Price

While pavé settings can be a great way to boost the bling of a ring, it doesn’t come without a price tag attached.

Due to the number of small diamonds involved and the extra workmanship required to cut the diamonds and fix them into the setting, the cost of a pavé setting can creep up. And the more complex and flashy a pavé setting is, the more expensive it will be.

Security & maintenance

Pavé engagement rings can require that a little more care is taken over them than simpler styles due to the sheer number of small stones that are used in the ring setting and the delicate nature of the prongs that hold them in place.

The diamonds used in a pavé setting are usually less than 1mm across, and the prongs that are holding them in place even smaller still – they’re the tiny dots on the corners of the diamonds in the picture on the right. It doesn’t take much force for one of these tiny prongs to get bent out of place, which means that the diamonds could become loose or even fall out.

It’s recommended that pavé rings are taken into a jewelers to be checked at least once a year, if not more.

close up image of pave ring setting

Resizing

If a ring has a diamonds set all the way around the band it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to resize it. Most pavé set engagement rings only have diamonds on the top half of the band, which means that they can be resized slightly, but it definitely makes it more difficult than a solid metal band.

Because the diamonds are held with very small prongs, making the ring significantly larger or smaller could affect how they hold the tiny stones, meaning that the diamonds could be less secure than they originally were..

Rubbing

Pave engagement ring on finger
A ring that has diamonds on the side of the band may rub and irritate the two fingers on either side of the ring finger.

This shouldn’t be a problem for most people, but if the ring-wearer has particularly sensitive skin, it’s worth considering choosing a ring that has smooth sides.

I realise that the ‘what’s not so good’ list is much longer than the ‘what’s good’ list on this page, but please don’t let this put you off a pavé ring. If you love the look of a pavé setting then definitely go for it, I just want to make sure that you’re aware of everything you need to know about your ring before you buy.

Pavé engagement ring settings

There’s a huge variety or pavé settings available and it would be impossible to give you a definitive list of all of them. To give you an idea of what is out there, I’ve included some examples of the variations of pavé engagement rings.

Click through on any of the rings to find out more about it, or click through the links to the jewelers websites to see even more options.


The beauty of pavé settings is that they can be added to almost any ring style and instantly make them much more impressive. A normal solitaire setting relies on the the center diamond to do all of the impressing on its own. By adding pavé to the band, the ring will instantly catch the light and sparkle from any angle, making it much more dazzling.

Pavé solitaire engagement ring from Blue Nile
See other setting styles from Blue Nile

diamond engagement ring with pave setting

Cathedral pave engagement ring
Tweaking the format of the ring band (or ‘shank’ as it’s known in the trade) can have a huge effect on what the ring looks like. This ‘cathedral’ setting raises the center diamond up higher than a normal solitaire setting, and the shank tapers towards center stone, drawing the eye to it.

Cathedral pavé engagement ring from Blue Nile


Other tweaks to the ring shank can add character to an engagment ring. This ring from high-end retailer Ritani has a braided detail running around the edge of the band, as well as 0.25 carats of pave diamonds on the band.

Braided pavé engagement ring from Ritani
See more settings at Ritani


Engagement ring with double pave band
Another variation of the solitaire pavé ring, this ‘double band’ ring has pave on alternating sides of the center diamond – a subtle twist on a tried and tested format.

‘Double band’ pavé engagement ring from Brian Gavin
See all 458 pave settings at Brian Gavin


An ornate and modern reimagining of the solitaire setting, this ring features two bands, which cross as it wraps around the finger. As with the ring above, only one band on each side covered in pavé.

Crossover pavé diamond engagement ring from James Allen
See more of James Allen’s engagement ring settings

Crossover pave diamond engagement ring

Combining a pavé band with a halo setting is a great way to ensure that your ring sparkles from any angle, and a halo setting can also make a center stone look considerably larger. This ring setting has a whopping 48 diamonds in the halo and on the shank and can be paired with a center diamond or any other gemstone.

Split shank pavé engagement ring from Brian Gavin
Check out the other pave settings at Brian Gavin


This ultra-modern split-shank setting features ‘french set’ diamonds on the band, which leaves the sides open to allow as much light as possible to enter the stones,  ensuring that they sparkle to their maximum potential.

Split shank pavé engagement ring from Ritani
See more settings at Ritani

Diamond engagement ring with split shank pave setting

Pavé settings definitely don’t need to be restricted to just diamonds, as this ring which features alternating pave-set diamond and sapphires shows. A great way to add some individuality to your engagement ring.

Diamond and sapphire pavé setting
Check out other setting styles from Blue Nile


Pavé engagement rings can be as ornate as you can imagine. This ring has 80 diamonds pavé-set into the setting, for a total carat weight of 0.65 carats, plus the weight of the center diamond that is chosen. With three rows of diamonds on the band, it definitely lives up to the ‘paved with diamonds’ ideal.

Double pavé engagement ring from Whiteflash
See 243 pavé options at Whiteflash


Princess cut pave engagement ring
The delicately twisted band on this ring is a sharp contrast to the straight lines of the Princess cut diamond and square halo. Combined with the 74 diamonds set into the ring setting though, it makes for an beautifully individual choice.

Princess cut pavé engagement ring
Check out more options at Whiteflash


Pavé can also be used to hark back to a bygone era. This spiral pavé engagement ring channels old school charm, with its ornate twisted band and decorative millgrain throughout (millgrain is. the tiny dots you can see on the edge of the ring, which is a feature commonly found on antique jewelry)

Spiral pavé engagement ring from James Allen
See more of James Allen’s engagement ring settings


Double halo split shank
Pavé can be combined with halo settings to dial the bling factor up to 11 – this ring features a huge 0.85 carats of diamonds on the setting alone. Although this does make the setting more expensive, it does mean that you don’t need a huge center stone for the ring to be extremely impressive. By choosing your diamond smartly you could have a more impressive ring than a plain solitaire setting for much less money.

Pavé double halo engagement ring from Enchanted Diamonds
See more from Enchanted Diamonds

 

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