French-set diamonds – also known as pavé diamonds – are small diamonds, set very close together on a piece of jewelry. The word ‘pavé’ is French for ‘cobblestone’, describing the effect of the diamonds sitting very close together.
The style was popularized in the 1920s, as part of the art deco fine jewelry trend. A new technique at the time, it was used to make jewelry look more dazzling and luxurious.
The diamonds are secured with tiny beads that act as bonding agents, keeping each diamond in place. The overall appeal is that you can barely see the metal between the diamonds, making for an apparently seamless line of brilliance.
A french-set engagement ring can have a band set with pavé diamonds, a center diamond bordered with a french-set halo, or both. As such, pavé diamond rings can look very different from each other, depending on the overall style.
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