Pavè Diamonds are a top trend for both jewelry designs and jewelry enthusiasts. Its a pivot point for fine jewelry designers in literally every major jewelry show we’ve been to recently and you can see it’s influence in designs from high end cocktail rings and earrings to everyday necklaces. Not new in the area of jewelry making, pavè diamonds have been around for decades. Here’s a little bio them in case you ever wondered what exactly is a pave diamond…?
It’s Actually a Setting
Pavè is not really a style of diamond but rather a style of setting used for diamonds and gemstones in fine jewelry. It is also referred as Mille Grain Setting. Pronounced as ‘pa-vay’ its derived from French word pavement. With more and more fine jewelry designers choosing this setting to showcase their talent, number of unique designs in pavè diamonds has significantly increased over last few years. In fact, in spite of being an old setting format it has gained so much momentum in last decade that its commonly used in every jewelry making country today.
Origin of the term Pave´
The term Pavè is derived from French word pavement. It came to be used in early streets when cobblestones were set together closely and sealed with sand and mortar for finishing. Even today, its used in landscaping and to enhance the look and feel of a driveway or more commonly street ways where an European look is desired. You will find cobbled pavements and streets in most well known landmarks viz the pathways leading to Eiffel Tower in Paris and beautiful streets of Venice, Italy. It is definitely a step up over regular streets and who wouldn’t love walking on cobblestones for the dreamy, elegant experience they connote.
Pave´ Setting of Diamond Jewelry
Similar to the way stones are paved on streets, pavè setting is used to set diamonds or gemstones in jewelry. Pave set diamond jewelry consists of a large number of small diamonds set extremely close together so that none of the underlying metal is visible. Jewelry looks like its been ‘paved’ with diamonds. Diamonds used in pavè setting are usually similar in shape and size to get a homogeneous look across the surface. Any uneven size and shape in diamonds will lead to a non-smooth finish bringing down the overall value of the piece.
Mounting of diamonds in pave setting requires great skill and expertise. It is a craft which demands patience and perfection along with a cool temperament to work with. For this reason, price of pavè set diamonds jewelry is high, especially if surface area to work on is more. Here are steps generally followed in crafting pavè set diamonds or gemstones jewelry:
- Identical sized diamonds or gemstones are then mounted carefully in these holes and are placed with pointed tip on the bottom
- Diamonds are grouped tightly in row so that diamonds cover entire space visible on the surface, without overlapping and with minimal underlying metal being visible.
- To fill in the gaps between two diamonds and to separate them, tiny metallic beads (of same metal as being used in jewelry setting) are pushed over the edge of the diamond into metal form. Anywhere between 3 – 6 metallic beads are used per diamond for a stable setting.
- An alternate way of setting the pavè diamonds is to use tiny prongs which are set into the jewelry (usually 4 sided) then used to fasten the diamonds in place.
- if its a jewelry design which tapers to one side, size of diamonds need to be graduating in the same dimensions. Selection of diamonds needs to be precise or else both the beauty as well as price of piece will be undermined.
- Which ever method of stone setting is used, there is a large amount of skill involved in creating pavè set jewelry, usually involving an experienced high level craftsman, leading to a higher priced and much loved item of fine jewelry.
Use of Modern Technology in Pavè Jewelry
With advent of modern technology, every aspect of designing and creating jewelry has changed. This included the age old art of pavè jewelry setting as well. With CAD-CAM technology being used increasingly in designing a piece of pavè set jewelry, time invested in actually working on the piece has reduced. In CAD-CAM designing holes and tiny beads are designed and drilled in the prototype or wax model of the jewelry piece and then transferred onto the metal in perfect symmetry and precision. As a result the only task left to be done manually is setting of pre selected and graded stones, which do not require an expert craftsman and can be accomplished by average trained craftsmen. Usually Cubic Zirconias are chosen for these nature of designs and not diamonds since price and custom value of piece of jewelry is lower.
To clear another common misconception, pavè setting is done on both high valued diamonds as well as low valued cubic zirconias and mid range gemstones. Metal used and expertise required for a design setting are variable and can differ significantly for each piece leading upto price variations. Micro Pavè setting is a form of diamonds and stone setting which raises the Pavè experience up a notch. This is the same concept as pavè setting however stones used are smaller still (less than 1 mm sometimes!) and to facilitate the process metallic beads or prongs are smaller as well. Diamonds or stones set in micro pavè setting are like sparkling dots and once micro pavè jewelry is completed, it looks like a fine, sheer layer of stones over metal. Setting micro pave jewelry requires even more skill and time than ordinary pavè hence prices tend to be higher too.
Things to know as a Buyer
With a whole lot of designs and options to choose from, you should keep a basic checklist in mind before purchasing a pavè diamonds jewelry:
- Nature and Cut of stone used – Pavè setting is used for all kinds of stones, ranging from high priced diamonds to low priced cubic zirconias and medium range gemstones. You need to be aware of stones used in your item of jewelry to more accurately assess the price.
- Look and Feel – overall design and look and feel of the piece should be smooth and even looking.
- Diamonds Edges – since each diamond is hand set and adjusted to fit in the tiny holes, it can get chipped in the process. Run your finger across the surface of jewelry to make sure there are no underlying damages to the stone.
- Fixing of the Diamonds – prong set or metallic bead set, diamonds need to fixed smoothly in pavè set ring or other jewelry. By running over the piece with your fingers, make sure diamonds are not loose and fixed firmly within the metal.
- In Conclusion, Pavè Set Jewelry is a trend on the rise and it looks beautiful and elegant. A custom made piece of pavè jewelry can be created within a reasonable budget and will remind you always of special memories associated with creating it. Handled with care, pavè jewelry will last you a lifetime and can become an heirloom for generations to come.
xoxo – Team Sivalya
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