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Pavé vs. Channel-set: What’s the difference?

4 min read

Pavé vs. Channel-set: What’s the difference?

Here at Lebrusan Studio our ethical engagement rings, wedding bands and unique bespoke commissions are brought to life by expert Hatton Garden craftspeople who each specialise in their important stage of the production process. Our cheerful stone-setter Michael has been securing precious gemstones in metal for most of his life, and can skilfully turn his hand to any setting style we ask of him. That said, in the context of milestone jewellery designed to be worn every day, some styles are more fitting than others. This blog post will answer the question: What is the difference between channel and pavé set?– comparing the specifics, pros and cons of each style.


What is the pavé setting?

Our microset and pave set Altair wedding bands, crafted using conflict-free ethical diamonds and recycled platinum
Variations of our pavé-set Altair eternity wedding band

Pronounced ‘pah-vey’, the pavé setting involves placing a number of small gemstones extremely close to one another, creating a continuous surface of sparkle. The stones are typically held in place with tiny beads or prongs, barely visible to create the appearance of a paved finish.

The term ‘pavé-set’ is often interchangeable with ‘micro-set’ on account of virtually identical setting techniques, but technically the difference between the two variations is the size of the gemstones in question. Broader by definition, pavé setting is generally favoured for smaller gemstones but can ultimately use gemstones of any size. Meanwhile, ‘micro-setting’ tends to use gemstones smaller than 1mm in diameter.

“Is pavé setting good?”


✧ Maximum sparkle: A pavé-set jewel is greater than the sum of its parts! The close arrangement of small diamonds or gemstones maximises brilliance, creating an uninterrupted surface of light-reactive facets that glitter loudly en masse.

✧ Versatility: There’s room for small pavé-set gemstones on almost any surface. This setting style is a means of optimising every facet of your jewel for sparkle, from your ring’s band to a halo encircling your centrepiece.

✧ Budget optimisation: Loading up your jewel with pavé-set gemstones is also an opportunity to obtain maximum carat weight for your budget, with lots of smaller gemstones generally costing less than one large gemstone alone. The pavé setting is often used to enhance the appearance, size and brilliance of low-set or low-quality gemstones, affording you maximum bang for your buck.

Our Cybele oval-cut sapphire engagement ring with pave set conflict-free diamonds in the recycled gold band
Our Cybele engagement ring with pavé-set band


✧ Durability concerns: The tiny prongs inherent in pavé settings are little more than hair-thin strands of metal, and can wear down over time. Even when executed by an expert like Michael, the pavé setting poses a little more risk of gemstones becoming damaged or falling loose than some other setting styles, particularly after prolonged wear. All this means is that pavé-set jewels require some extra love and attention. Alongside our standard jewellery care tips, please take the time to examine your pavé setting regularly to ensure your gemstones are secure. Look out for any hairs or fibres that might be catching, run your fingers along the surface of your gemstones to feel for any areas that are more raised than others, and give your jewel a gentle shake close to your ear, listening carefully to ensure you can’t hear a rattling sound.

✧ High maintenance: Pavé settings are characterised by a multitude of tiny crevices, which can accumulate debris and dirt over time and prove pretty challenging to clean. In turn, this can cause gemstones to appear dull. We recommend washing your pavé-set jewel once a month to remove any film left behind by household or cosmetic products. To do so, fill a bowl with warm water and washing-up liquid. Let your jewel soak for around 30 minutes, then brush it with a soft-bristled children’s toothbrush. If this doesn’t do the trick, it might be worth enlisting the help of a jeweller with an ultrasonic cleaning machine – though we wouldn’t recommend leaning on this technique too regularly, since the extreme vibrations can in themselves cause gemstone settings to loosen.

✧ Repair and resize difficulty: If a pavé-set stone falls out, it can be difficult to replace and repair without affecting the surrounding stones. Likewise, resizing a pavé-set ring can prove pretty tricky.




What is a channel setting?

Our channel-set Accademia shaped wedding band with conflict-free diamonds and eco gold band
Our channel-set Accademia wedding band

Channel setting involves securing gemstones side-by-side within a groove – or channel – cut into the metal. The borders of this groove are what hold the gemstones firmly in place, creating a sleek, contemporary and minimalist finish.

“Is channel setting good?”


✧ Durability: Shielding the gemstones from impact with high metal borders at either side, channel settings are sturdy and secure, reducing the risk of the gemstones being knocked and coming loose. In the context of an engagement ring or wedding band, the channel setting is particularly well suited to an active lifestyle.

✧ Smooth profile: The streamlined nature of the channel setting also minimises the risk of the gemstones snagging on hair and fibres.

✧ Ease of cleaning: With fewer prongs and beads in the mix, channel settings are generally a little easier to clean and maintain than ‘busier’ setting styles.

Our channel-set Promise ethical eternity wedding band with small conflict-free diamonds and recycled gold band
Our channel-set Promise eternity ring


✧ Less light exposure: Though the channel setting’s borders are practical in how they secure the gemstones from both sides, this does inhibit light from passing through, which can reduce their brilliance when compared to more open setting styles, like pavé or grain setting.

✧ Limited design flexibility: The channel setting is best suited to linear arrangements of equally-sized gemstones, like those in an eternity ring’s band. Unfortunately, it’s not a setting style that lends itself readily to curved forms or halos, since it’s incredibly difficult for stone-setters to ensure complete security without parallel channels and equal spacing between gemstones.

✧ Potential for metal wear: Without due care there is a small risk of the channel setting’s metal borders wearing down gradually over time, which may require maintenance to ensure the gemstones remain firmly in place.



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Love, Arabel & Team
Ruby McGonigle
Ruby McGonigle

Ruby McGonigle is a copywriter and digital marketing professional with over five years of jewellery industry experience. After graduating with a BA in Linguistics, she combined her passions for written word and all things sparkly by joining the Lebrusan Studio team as in-house wordsmith and content creator. Among bi-monthly blog posts, notable examples of Ruby's work include a think-piece on the ‘natural diamonds vs. lab-grown diamonds’ debate, a probe into why traceable and third party certified ASM gold is so important, and an investigation of why platinum is no longer more expensive than gold.