Choosing a setting style is such a personal choice in jewelry. It's a tiny detail, but it can have a big impact on the overall look of a piece of jewelry. This week I'm talking about a few of my favorite pavé setting styles, and the pros and cons of each particular style.What is pavé, anyways? The word is French in origin and means pavement, as in paved with bricks. Therefore, pavé refers to a piece of jewelry that has a significant portion of its surface area covered in tiny diamonds set very close together, like bricks on a cobblestone road.
You'll see the terms "common prongs" or "shared prongs" or "shared beads" used interchangeably in relation to pavé. All of these terms refer to pavé where a single prong (or bead) is used to hold more than one stone in place at a time.
This is the most minimal pavé style. The "U-cut" refers to the side profile of this stone setting.
Split U-cut Pavé
Similar to U-cut pavé, but here each prong is split with a polished graver for a little extra detail. When you're looking for all sparkle and very little metal, this is the way to go!
Pavé Setting with a Wall
Below, you can see an example of pavé setting with a wall. The stones are "bead set", and the "beads" I'm referring to are actually very tiny prongs. Having a wall next to the pavéd diamonds means there's a smoother, more comfortable metal surface in contact with your fingers. You might also see this style referred to as "bright cut pavé". Bright cutting is when a stone setter uses a sharp graver to slide along a metal wall and give it a high polish finish. Pavé with a wall is also a great way to show off a colored metal, such as yellow gold or rose gold. Another advantage to having a wall is the option to add milgrain, which gives a vintage feel to any piece of jewelry.
French Pavé or W-cut Pavé
This is a more intricate pavé style that looks like a W from the side profile of this setting.
While channel setting is not technically pavé (because a channel can't cover a large surface), it's still relevant to discuss here. Channel setting refers to the two walls of metal that encase a row of gemstones. While it looks fairly similar to pavé setting with a wall, the difference is that there are no prongs here. The stones are held in place by the wall of metal on either side of them.