Blog / Pave Styles Part 2: Modern Pave

Modern pave techniques came about through advancements in gem cutting that allowed precisely cut melee at small sizes, the general use of microscopy in diamond setting and the demand by designers and consumers to minimize the amount of visible metal above and beyond traditional pave. These advancements allowed modern forms of pave to come to the forefront in modern day pave diamond setting.

Modern Pave

Modern forms of pave such u-cut pave, v-cut pave, french-cut, (also called craponia or fish tail pave) and our own neo-french are typically set on rounded rather than flat surfaces. This produces the allusion of the diamonds floating, with the metal steeply rounding off away from the melee. Additionally, the lack of the bright cut walls found in traditional pave allows for larger melee to be set. These two points taken together produces the minimal metal look that modern pave is known for. Modern pave styles are typically done with melee that are smaller than 1.6mm in diameter. Although technically larger size melee can be used, most designers would prefer to use traditional bright cut pave or other forms of diamond setting for these larger sizes.

From left to right: Neo French Pave, U-Cut Pave, and French Pave Bands

The best results in modern pave are achieved when very consistent and precise melee are used. Typically consistency of 0.02mm in melee are required in order to achieve the best results. As an example, if a metal surfaces requires melee of 1.10mm, stones measuring smaller than 1.08mm and larger than 1.12mm are not used in order to achieve that almost machine made quality in modern pave. Consistent sizing of the melee also allows for tighter and even spacing between each and every stone.

One of the most popular forms of modern pave is u-cut pave. The title of this style of pave comes from the U shaped grooves visible from the profile of the pave. Similar to other forms of modern pave, u-cut features a high percentage of melee to metal maximizing the amount visible diamond producing that minimal metal appearance.

Victor Canera offers two variations of u-cut pave which we term “shallow u-cut pave” and “deep u-cut pave”. With deep u-cut, a craftsman’s burr creates the u-grooves by perpendicularly burring the metal to a relatively deep depth. With shallow u-cut, a spherical burr is used and much less metal is taken out of the metal surface. Deep u-cut exposes a large portion of the side profile of a stone whereas with shallow u-cut only a small portion of the girdle of the melee is exposed. Shallow u-cut is therefore more durable because less of the side of a stone is exposed decreasing the likelihood of inadvertent damage. Shallow u-cut pave is also more durable because less metal is taken out of a piece of jewelry which helps it to retain more strength.

Within this modern pave family is French Pave sometimes coined Craponia or “Fish Tail Pave”. This type of pave also features the minimal metal look like the other modern pave styles. French pave can be described as having a more angular or “geary” appearance due to the additional bright cut facets that resemble a “w” shape as seen from the profile. French Pave and Neo French Pave gray the lines between engraving work and diamond setting. In fact the finest French Pave is typically done with the aid of an engraving motor that adds vibration to a sharp “graver” that allows a diamond setter to basically engrave the facets on the metal.

A style of pave that is exclusive found at is Neo-French pave. This style of pave bridges the gap between u-cut and french pave. Neo-French begins very much like u-cut pave but adds additional etching along the side metal walls. The additional work involves the etching of the metal underneath individual melee that serves to delineate the prongs holding the stones much more. This style almost resembles prong setting because of this addition. Neo-French has a more vintage feel to it that seems to suit antique inspired designs especially well. Additionally, Neo-French Pave eliminates the “geary” angularity of French Pave.

Jocelyn Solitaire with multi-row U-Cut Pave
Jocelyn Solitaire with multi-row U-Cut Pave

These modern forms of pave can also be set in multi-row arrangements whether it be 2,3,4 or 5 rows of pave. Modern, multi row pave produces a spectacular aesthetic that from a distance resembles a diamond encrusted piece of fabric. Multi row pave in and of itself is a delicate form of diamond setting because of the exact characteristics that make it beautiful; diamonds set extremely tight together, with almost no visible metal.