What is Pavé and Micro Pavé Jewelry?

Micro Pavé jewelry has become very popular, but what is it exactly? The term is commonly confused with "pavé." French for street-paving, pavé refers to the effect of "paving" a jewelry surface with small diamonds. This is done by drilling holes directly into the metal and fitting and laying diamonds into those holes like cobblestones. Around these diamonds, the metal is pulled and molded around the gem like grout, securing the stones in the setting.

While the initial idea is the same, micro pavé differs from pavé in that the diamonds are set in uniform sizes and patterns, whereas pavé can have varied sizes based on the size and shape of the jewelry, as seen in this black diamond pavé pendant where the irregularity in bead and stone size makes a very interesting texture. Most importantly, micro pavé diamonds are cut so small that a microscope is often used. Both styles are usually done by hand, although advances in technology are seeing more micro pavé pieces created via the CAD-CAM manufacturing method.

The effect of both micro pavé and pavé pieces are highly dimensional and very striking, making the styles most popular in engagement rings and wedding bands like this vintage-style pavé piece. Usually this wedding ring style is referred to as the "halo" style since the central diamond is encircled by tiny accent diamonds. This is really popular with engagement rings that have at their center a sapphire, or for right-hand and cocktail rings like this beautiful pearl and cubic zirconium piece.

Both techniques are often done in either the Royal Pavé or the Four Bead Pavé style. The former is often described as forming a honeycomb pattern formed by a metal grain that holds three neighboring gems together. This grain, or bead, tends to be large so it can oblige all of the stones, and ends up creating a web of six beads. The Four Bead Pavé, as its name connotes, only has four prominent beads that are used to hold individual stones in place, creating a smaller and more intricate weaving. Because a pavé or micro pavé piece has an encrusted and raised texture, it can be highly susceptible to damage and stones can be lost. Due to this risk, the Four Bead Pavé is more popular for its durability since the beads only secure one stone as opposed to three.

Because the tiny stones used in the micro pavé style are there to create a radiant halo around a central jewel or a dazzling texture, the setting of the diamonds must always be full cut. No matter how minute, every diamond in a pavé or micro pavé piece will have 58 facets ensuring that the stone will catch and refract light to create that sparkling, glowing halo effect. However, if one were to desire a piece done in the single-cut fashion, many designers will create a micro pavé piece made to order.

Noe's Jewelry has a very selective range of pavé and micro pavé pieces. Whether it is for a distinctive engagement ring or for statement pieces, Noe's has consultants on hand eager to help you find the halo piece for yourself or your angel.