Pave diamonds (pronounced pah-VEY) are small diamonds set in a continuous line and held in place with tiny prongs. They are not the same as gypsy or flush settings, in which a stone is hammered into metal and held in place by a tiny amount of metal overlapping with the stone. Pave settings are very sparkly, especially when you have multiple lines of diamonds. But they come with a bit of caution to the wearer. If you're looking at diamond engagement rings with your fiance, you'll see a lot of pave settings as these are popular, but you want to be sure you are willing to work with all aspects of the setting type.
Pro: Pave Diamond Settings Are Low-Profile
The diamonds and prongs in a pave setting are low-profile, which is perfect if you dislike ring settings that catch on fabrics or settings that stick up. If the ring you get has only pave diamonds in the band, and no other stones sticking up out of the band, you can place your hand in your pocket without worrying that the ring will pull on the edge of the pocket, too.
Con: Lots of Little Crevices to Catch Dirt
Pave settings, especially French pave and U-cut pave, have lots and lots of little crevices that tend to catch bits of dead skin, dirt, and anything else they come in contact with. This is a setting that you will need to clean frequently if you want to keep it sparkling. And, as will be discussed in a later section, that cleaning needs to be done with care.
Pro: The Setting Is Actually Pretty Secure
Pave diamonds are held in place by small prongs or beads. These may be shared between two adjacent stones, or each stone may have its own set of prongs. In either case, these are quite secure settings if the metalwork was done well. You still don't want to continually hit the ring against anything, of course, but the worries you see around the Web about pave settings being prone to losing stones are generally unfounded.
Con: Cleaning Must Be Done Carefully
Pave settings, when made correctly, can be very stable. But the cleaning needed to keep a pave ring clean can also break fragile prongs and loosen stones if you're not careful. In general, you can still clean the ring with a commercial diamond ring cleaner or warm water and mild dish soap, but when you brush the ring to remove stubborn dirt, be extremely careful. Never scrub the pave settings on any side; brush slowly and keep a close eye on the stones. Check that any bead or prong settings are still in place when you're done. If you'd prefer something where cleaning isn't such an adventure, a non-pave diamond engagement ring may be more your style.
Of course, diamond engagement rings come in many different styles. Pave is only one option. If you want the sparkle of paving but not the cleaning regimen, ask a jeweler to show you similar options, such as bezel or channel-set diamonds. You have a world of diamond rings to choose from.