Looking to know which is better between Solitaire vs Pave Setting?
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This is our comparison of the Solitaire vs Pave Setting
In this article, I have reviewed both diamond settings in-depth and will fully explain to you which one is better.
Let’s get started with an in-depth look at what sets these diamond settings apart.
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Table of Contents
What’s The Difference Between Solitaire vs Pave Setting?
Solitaire settings are characterized by a single diamond as the centerpiece of the ring, without any additional gemstones on the band or surrounding the main diamond, such as in a halo or three-stone design. This minimalist style is particularly popular for engagement rings as it directs all attention towards the main diamond.
Typically, solitaire settings secure the diamond with three to six prongs. The number of prongs affects the balance between diamond security and maximizing its exposure to light for enhanced brilliance. For instance, a knife edge solitaire ring, like the one available at James Allen, features a round-cut diamond held in place by four prongs. This sleek setting is made of 14k white gold and has a minimalist design.
Solitaire settings are not limited to specific diamond cuts or thin bands. They can accommodate various diamond cuts, including princess, emerald, pear, and marquise. Thicker bands are often chosen to provide additional support for larger diamonds.
In addition to traditional solitaire designs, there are alternative options available. For example, a woven solitaire engagement ring features a split band with interlaced prongs, creating an elegant profile. This design offers a unique touch that sets it apart from other solitaire rings while still maintaining a clean shank.
Pavé settings are characterized by small diamonds or other gemstones lining the shank of the ring. This design creates a beautiful effect where the band appears to be paved with diamonds. In a pavé setting, the diamonds are placed on both sides of the main diamond, surrounding it.
The term “pavé” originates from the French word meaning “pavement,” which accurately describes the appearance of the setting. The pavé diamonds are set close together, giving the illusion of a continuous band of diamonds.
One of the advantages of pavé settings is their versatility. They can accommodate any diamond cut because the pavé diamonds do not interfere with the main diamond. Regardless of the size or shape of the center stone, or the presence of side stones or a halo, pavé settings can be designed to complement and enhance the beauty of the main diamond.
For example, an engagement ring may feature French pavé diamonds halfway down the shank, with a halo of small diamonds encircling the main diamond. This combination of pavé diamonds and a halo adds brilliance to the ring and creates an additional half carat of diamond sparkle.
Pavé settings can have diamonds lining the entire band, known as an eternity setting, or they may stop halfway, referred to as a half eternity setting. Another style is the pavé wrap, where the diamonds are placed on the prongs holding the main diamond, adding extra sparkle to the setting.
If you choose a pavé setting, there are several additional considerations to take into account, such as the specific type of pavé and whether to include gemstones other than those on the band. These choices can further personalize and enhance the overall look of the ring.
What are the Differences Between Solitaire and Pavè
1. Enhancing Brilliance with Pavé Settings
One of the most sought-after qualities in a diamond ring is its brilliance—the captivating display of white light reflecting off its facets and captivating the viewer. However, even a ring with a sizable center diamond can lose its appeal if its cut fails to optimize light performance.
Enter pavé settings, the secret to unlocking enhanced brilliance in diamond rings. By incorporating additional facets that reflect light, pavé settings go beyond the traditional focus on the main diamond, infusing the entire ring with a mesmerizing sparkle.
One notable advantage of pavé settings is their ability to create an illusion of a larger diamond. If you’re working within a limited budget and can’t afford a larger stone, a pavé setting can compensate for this by augmenting the visual impact.
Moreover, even if you opt for a diamond with a cut grade other than excellent—where the diamond’s cut significantly affects brilliance—a pavé setting can help mitigate any potential lack of sparkle from the center stone. The pavé diamonds on the shank of the ring can infuse it with additional brilliance, preventing it from appearing dull.
Furthermore, for those who prefer step-cut diamonds like emerald or Asscher cuts, which typically exhibit a soft glow instead of the traditional brilliance, incorporating pavé detailing can be a wise choice. By placing pavé diamonds strategically alongside the step-cut diamond, you can enhance its overall radiance and create a stunning contrast.
To visualize the impact of a pavé setting, consider the example of a Pavé Diamond Ring. Featuring 60 round-cut pavé diamonds, this setting perfectly complements the elegance of the emerald cut, resulting in a breathtaking display of brilliance and sophistication.
It’s important to note that solitaire settings, while classic and timeless, do not offer the same advantage as pavé settings when it comes to maximizing brilliance. In solitaire settings, the overall brilliance primarily relies on the cut, clarity, and color grade of the single center diamond.
2. The Prominence of Center Diamonds in Solitaire Settings
For those seeking to highlight the magnificence of the center diamond without distractions, a solitaire setting proves to be an ideal choice. By eliminating competing elements, the solitaire setting ensures that attention remains focused on the centerpiece of the ring.
In solitaire settings, the center diamond takes center stage, enjoying enhanced prominence and becoming the star of the show. This setting allows the diamond’s inherent beauty to captivate observers without any visual interference.
To further accentuate the center diamond, selecting a setting that positions it high above the band is recommended. This elevation optimizes the diamond’s exposure to light, allowing it to brilliantly sparkle and shine. An excellent example is this engagement ring, featuring a high setting that creates a noticeable gap between the diamond’s culet and the setting itself.
In contrast, a more traditional solitaire setting sits at a lower height, with a smaller gap between the diamond and the band. While this option may not capture as much light, it retains the timeless elegance associated with solitaire designs.
When considering a pavé setting, it’s important to note that the main diamond may face competition for attention. This is especially true when the pavé diamonds are abundant and if the setting places the main diamond at a lower position, causing it to blend in with the surrounding pavé stones.
For instance, let’s take a look at this exceptional petite pavé setting. With pavé diamonds cascading down each side and forming a basket to hold the diamond, the setting exudes a stunning display of light. However, most buyers would not choose this setting for a large center diamond, as it might detract from the prominence and individuality of the main gem.
3. Pavè Settings are More Expensive
It is true that pavé settings generally come with a higher price tag compared to solitaire settings due to the additional diamonds involved. The cost increase primarily stems from the inclusion of small gems on the shank and the increased labor required to craft the intricate pavé design.
In contrast, solitaire settings are often the least expensive option. Their minimalist design is relatively straightforward to manufacture, and there are no added costs for diamonds or intricate detailing.
To provide a concrete cost comparison, let’s consider real examples of pavé and solitaire settings:
For instance, a solitaire engagement ring crafted in 14k white gold can be priced at $780, providing an elegant and straightforward design that highlights the center diamond.
On the other hand, a similar setting made from the same metal but featuring French cut petite pavé diamonds on the shank may be priced at $1,030. This represents a 32 percent increase, amounting to an additional $250, compared to the solitaire counterpart.
Prices at reputable retailers like Blue Nile tend to align with these patterns. For example, a petite solitaire setting in platinum could be priced at $890, offering a classic and understated elegance.
It is worth noting that pavé settings can provide a means to increase the total carat weight of the ring without incurring the same cost increase that would result from a larger center diamond. By incorporating pavé diamonds, typically adding between 0.1-0.2 carats to the overall weight, you can achieve a visually impactful effect without having to pay the same premium for a larger main diamond.
To put this into perspective, adding that same weight directly to the main diamond could often cost more than $500.
4. Ease of Care for Solitaire Settings
Solitaire settings are low maintenance compared to pavé settings due to the absence of multiple diamonds that can become loose, fall out, or accumulate debris. When a strong metal is chosen for the engagement ring and protective prongs or bezel settings are used, the upkeep and cleaning requirements are minimal.
If the solitaire ring becomes dirty, a simple cleaning process involves placing it in warm water with mild dishwashing soap, gently brushing it, and allowing it to air dry or using a soft cloth.
On the other hand, pavé settings are more prone to maintenance issues. It is highly recommended to remove the ring during physical activities, and this precaution becomes even more important with pavé settings. The small spaces between the pavé diamonds can catch and loosen, leading to potential snags on clothing or furniture.
Furthermore, resizing solitaire settings is relatively easier. Jewelers can remove part of the ring and reform it to reduce its size, or shave part of the inside to make the ring larger. However, these resizing techniques become more challenging when pavé diamonds are present on the shank of the ring.
To avoid maintenance and resizing challenges with pavé settings, it is advisable to have certainty regarding the desired size before making a purchase.
5. Pave Settings comes with Wide Range of Designs
While solitaire settings offer simplicity in terms of metal choice and diamond setting style, pavé settings provide a broader range of design possibilities.
With a solitaire setting, your primary considerations typically revolve around the metal type (such as 14K or 18K yellow, rose, or white gold, as well as platinum) and the specific method of securing the diamond, such as double claw prongs, V-prongs, or a bezel setting.
However, pavé settings not only offer these design options but also provide variations in the type of pavé itself.
Two popular choices are French pavé and petite pavé.
French pavé settings, also known as “fishtail pavé,” feature diamonds set into V-shaped grooves that rise and fall along the shank. When you rotate an image of a French cut pavé ring, you’ll notice the presence of eight grooves on each side of the main diamond, creating an intricate and eye-catching pattern.
The advantage of the French pavé style is that due to the smaller carat weight of the individual diamonds, a higher number of stones can be incorporated into the ring compared to other types of pavé settings.
Choosing Between a Solitaire vs Pave Setting: Factors to Consider
Deciding between a solitaire and pavé setting requires understanding the distinctive features of each style. Both are popular choices for engagement rings and other jewelry pieces, so here are some guidelines to help you make your decision.
Opt for a solitaire setting if:
- You have a sizable center diamond and want it to remain the focal point of the ring.
- Cost savings are important to you, allowing you to invest in a diamond with better cut, clarity, carat weight, or color.
- You appreciate the elegance and simplicity of a clean design.
Consider a pavé setting if:
- You desire a ring that exudes brilliance and sparkle from every angle, particularly when it catches the light.
- You are willing to pay a higher price for additional carats of diamonds set along the band.
- The center diamond is smaller or lacks a high-quality cut, and you wish to enhance the overall aesthetic of the ring.
By exploring various combinations of diamonds and both pavé and solitaire settings, you will find the style that perfectly suits your preferences.