The word pave, which is actually pronounced "pah-vay", originates from the French word pave, meaning "to pave". The pave setting is one where the diamonds are placed so closely together with small, nearly invisible metal prongs or beads that it provides an illusion of a diamond-encrusted look. In fact, the pave setting was created in order to maximize light and brilliance and minimize the appearance of metal. With continuous sparkle as its main appeal, the pave setting has become a modern-day trend for engagement and wedding rings.
The typically smaller diamonds in the pave setting accentuate the larger, center stone of the ring and can also be used to create a halo around the center stone. A pave halo around a center stone can also create the illusion of size, making it a popular choice for trendy, glamour-loving brides and also a popular choice for the financially savvy who want to create the illusion of size without breaking the budget.
Prong setting uses metal tines or claws called prongs to grasp the stone. This setting allows the most light exposure to the stone bringing out the brilliance and fire. Prong settings come in many different shapes and sizes, some decorative, some for a specific function. Settings are generally classified by the number of prongs, with the arrangement determined by the cut of the stone. More prongs in a setting make the stone more secure, while fewer prongs allow more light exposure. V-shaped prongs protect fragile pointed cuts, while fancy-shaped prongs become key elements of the rings design.
Prong settings can enhance and decorate your feature stone. Choose a prong design or pattern that adds to your rings appeal without sacrificing the settings strength. Keep in mind that prong settings stick out a lot, making them vulnerable to snagging, scratching, or even striking against anything around you. This can cause damage to both your things and your ring, making annual ring check-ups important to avoid damage or stone loss.
A channel setting is another popular setting for both engagement and wdedding rings. Similar to the pave setting, which places smaller diamonds close together to maximize shine and sparkle, this highly structured and secure setting is achieved by placing diamonds close together between two strips of precious metal, creating a channel. Grooves placed on the "walls" of the channel hold each diamond in place, enabling the diamonds to sit flush with the shank.
Because the diamonds are placed securely in the channel, it is not easy for them to fall out or get chipped by accidental hits. This setting became increasingly popular in the 1990s, not only because of its versatility, but also because of the ability to personalize it. The smaller diamonds placed in the channel setting serve to accentuate the larger, center stone of the engagement/wedding ring set.
One of the more secure diamond settings available, the bezel setting is also one of the most popular setting choices. Not just for engagement and wedding rings, but also earrings and other types of jewelry, the bezel setting typically relies on a piece of metal to completely or partially enclose the gemstone in order to hold it in place.
The bezel setting is extremely protective of the stone that it surrounds, protecting it from scratches or from becoming knocked loose. Because this setting typically requires more metal, it is also typically a more expensive setting choice.