Channel Setting or Pave Setting?

pave engagement ring settingsWith all the different kind of engagement ring settings out there, it can be helpful to know a little more about what sets one apart from the other, and the advantages and disadvantages of both. Today we look at two commonly confused types: channel and pave engagement ring settings.

What Exactly Are They?

  • Channel Engagement Ring Settings: A ring setting where the stones are set within a channel created by the metal edges of the shoulders of the ring. The edges (the widest point of the stone, also called the "girdles") of each diamond are fitted into parallel grooves inside the channel. Cuts most often used for this setting are square or rectangular, such as the princess cut, the emerald cut, or the baguette cut.
  • Pave Engagement Ring Settings (pronounced "pah-vay"): A ring where tiny diamonds cover the visible surface of the metal. This setting often utilizes round-cut stones, set very close together with prongs, but the metal of the prongs is virtually invisible within the overwhelming sparkle of the diamonds, and the final effect is a ring that appears to be made of diamonds.

What's the Goal of Each?

  • As mentioned above, pave engagement ring settings provide a virtual carpet of diamonds and a miniature sea of glittering fire. In fact, a pave setting placed in a circle around a main stone can actually increase the apparent magnitude of the main stone by up to 30%, given the almost indistinct nature of their brilliance.
  • Channel setting engagement rings, on the other hand, provide a unique, highly-structured geometric pattern that is the result of the diamonds themselves and the way they reflect the light that enters them, rather than a pattern created by a designer.

Are There Advantages and Disadvantages?

  • The size bump offered by the pave setting's "halo" effect described above can allow a purchaser to save money by buying a slightly smaller main stone. However, given their inherently more intricate nature, pave engagement ring settings require more frequent and diligent cleaning to maintain their sparkle.
  • Channel settings generally contain larger stones than pave settings, and are therefore slightly more expensive on the whole. But the channel setting is a great choice for anyone who doesn't want a protruding diamond that might catch on clothing or scratch other people. For example, medical professionals prefer a channel setting since the inset diamonds won't puncture nitrile gloves.
Which one is your favorite? And why? Feel free to share your answer in the comments section below.