Bridal Jewelry Trend: Pavé-Set Diamonds
Pavé-set diamonds have long been used in bridal jewelry to augment a center stone or to add a dash of brilliance to a wedding band. The setting, named after the French word for “paved,” uses tiny metal prongs or “beads” to closely set small gemstones (often diamonds), creating the illusion of a surface that’s completely covered with sparkling, freestanding stones.

Pavé settings come in a variety of styles. The royal pavé style, for instance, consists of larger individual beads holding three adjacent stones in a honeycomb pattern. At times, the royal pavé style has been called the six-bead setting because each stone comes in contact with exactly six beads. The four-bead pavé style, in contrast, uses four smaller beads to hold each stone. Additional styles include the U-shaped mushroom pavé, the V-shaped fishtail pave, and the bright cut pave—considered the most traditional—which positions the stones between brightly polished walls.

Another popular pavé setting is called micro pavé. Due to the advent of machines that can cut very small gemstones, along with technological advances in jewelry making, tiny stones (called melee) can be set on a jewelry surface with the help of a microscope, resulting in greater precision and a more uniform look than the traditional pavé setting. Another difference between pavé and micro pavé is that, while traditional pavé can involve varying sizes of stones to cover a surface, micro pavé achieves the same result by using consistently sized stones that are offset one row from another to create a honeycomb pattern.
 
The micro pavé setting was first used by the elite to emphasize gemstones of importance. Today, with the ample availability of smaller cut stones, what was once a very exclusive and expensive embellishment technique is now common in a variety of fine jewelry. In fact, one of the top trends in bridal jewelry today—the halo setting—encircles a center stone with a ring of micro pavé, which not only adds additional sparkle and texture, but also makes the center stone appear larger. Beautiful examples of this can be found in JB Star’s Vintage Micro Pavé Collection.

Other jewelry designers, such as Michael B., OGI Ltd., and Tacori, are also using micro pavé settings to dress up plain platinum or gold bands. As the artist paints a canvas, the jewelry designer “paints” diamonds onto an otherwise unembellished surface to create increased visual interest. As a result, large stones in a substantial, statement-making micro pavé setting make for an impressive option for the arts-inspired bride.

In addition to greatly illuminating engagement rings and wedding bands, pavé-set diamonds also add a contrasting accent or border to rings featuring fancy color diamond or colored gem center stones. This can be seen in such visual delights as the platinum, sapphire, and diamond ring by Fusaro. Brightly colored, multi-carat center stones ringed by even more bling have increased in popularity in recent years, spurred by the eye-popping engagement rings of high-profile celebrities. Notable examples include Mariah Carey (pink diamond center stone, intense-pink diamond accents); Carrie Underwood (canary diamond center stone, colorless diamond accents); and, of course, the Duchess of Cambridge, whose blue sapphire and diamond ring (formerly Princess Diana’s) has sparked a firestorm of replicas for the modern-day bride.
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