Pavé and micro pavé are methods of setting small diamonds into a piece of jewellery. The French word 'pavé' translates to 'pavement' or 'cobbled' and is related to the close proximity of the gems on the surface of the jewellery. Pavé settings create a sparkling surface of diamonds on metal with little or no space between the stones. The band of a ring set in pavé gives the illusion that the band is completely made of diamonds. The mounting of diamonds in a pavé setting requires great skill and expertise, with a lot of patience required from the craftsman. Micro pavé differs from the traditional pavé setting in a number of ways. The main difference is that micro pavé usually relies on the use of a microscope due to the intricacy of the work; the stones are also laid out in a honeycomb-like arrangement over the surface. Traditional pavé settings utilise a variation of different diamond sizes, an assortment of small melee diamonds to best fit the space. The stones most often used in the best pavé jewellery are full cut 57-facet diamonds – the multi-dimensional surface creates a dazzling effect.
Pavé and micro-pavé settings are both susceptible to stone loss, irrespective of the skill and quality of the setting. Provided each diamond is accurately set within the piece by a skilled setter, the diamonds will be secure, and avoiding knocks with careful wear, the diamonds should remain within their settings. Having said this, a diamond can be lost from a pavé setting but the cost to replace a stone should be minimal. With each retaining metal grain being susceptible to damage from the diamond itself if knocked, it is a risk for anyone wearing a pavé-encrusted piece. Cleaning the item should only require a very soft brush, some warm water, and a small amount of mild detergent.