Pavé (pronounced ‘pah-VAY’) engagement rings are those that incorporate a diamond setting technique involving the use of tiny, fully faceted diamonds positioned very closely together. The effect is to create a solid surface of diamond sparkle. Pavé (commonly written ‘pave’) comes from the French word for ‘paved’ as in a road paved with sparkling cobblestones.
Tacori 2616RD Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
Simon G. TR431 Pave Diamond Engagement Ring
The small diamonds used in pavé are called melee (pronounce ‘MEH-lee’ or sometimes ‘meh-LEH’), another French word meaning mixture. They can be as small as a quarter of a point. That is, 0.0025 carats!
Some of the most intricate engagement ring styles feature diamond pave in which many small diamonds are packed together. Each one is secured with nearly invisible metal beads that act as tiny prongs. The term ‘bead setting’ is used in association with slightly separated melee or when the stones are set in single lines. If the diamonds are extremely small, the jeweler works under a microscope to set the diamonds. This highly specialized technique is referred to as micro-pavé.
For more information on pavé and other diamond setting techniques and their characteristics, please see our Diamond Ring Setting Guide