Buying Melee Diamonds For a Ring – Handpick or Let Vendor Choose?

melee diamonds

Cognac Melees

Question: I am intending to get an anniversary gift for my wife this coming November and she mentioned that she wants a diamond ring with pave sidestones.

So, as I was doing my research online, I found that vendors only offer pre-set pave settings with melee diamonds which came in various ranges of clarity and color (for example, F to G color – SI1 to SI2 clarity). 

I am pretty concerned with the quality of the melee diamonds used as there is no mention of the cut quality at all. Here’s my question, should I handpick my own melee diamonds (if possible, how could I do so?) or am I worrying too much about the small details?

Hope you can get back to me with some advice soon.

Answer: That’s a very good question. From your query, I can tell you are pretty experienced in diamond shopping. Melees are something most consumers overlook when selecting ring settings. Most people tend to place a lot of emphasis on the main center diamond when doing their research and making purchases. However, I had seen some rings which had their overall WOW factor dragged down by dull looking sidestones.

So, the answer to your question is yes. The cut quality of the melee stones does play a part in the overall beauty of the ring. Usually, vendors will have a pre-chosen quality of melee stones and these are typically based on color and clarity like what you had mentioned. Cut quality is not the main concern of most vendors but rather, it is the costs to procuring these small stones that is a major factor.

However, there are some vendors like Brian Gavin Diamonds who believe in providing the highest quality jewelry to their customers. Unlike most vendors who use generic melees that are bulk-purchased, Brian Gavin utilizes signature hearts and arrows melees in their ring settings. To them, cut is of the utmost importance and you will find that their in-house setting designs are all mounted with signature cut melees.

signature melee diamond cut grade

Ring settings with F/G color, VS clarity – Brian Gavin signature melees

Click here to view more details on the above ring setting…

Of course, quality comes along with a higher price tag with it. Many consumers choose Brian Gavin Diamonds for their settings even though they are expensive because they are assured of the best possible quality in the piece of jewelry they are getting.

The take back is, selecting your own melee diamonds for a ring setting isn’t an option most vendors would allow. At best, they would only give you the option to customize the melees based on color and clarity grades. Hope this helps answer your questions…


The signature diamonds from represent the top 1% of ideal cut diamonds in the global market. With precise craftsmanship, every facet is carefully polished to create a diamond with unsurpassed brilliance and fire.

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  1. Cynthia J. Davis-
    September 30, 2012 at 12:44 am


    Thanks for the great tips and advice in the article. I have a question though. When it comes to 3 stones settings, is it a good idea to let the jeweler choose the diamonds used on my behalf?

    It seems like the degree of customization for such settings is limited by what the jeweler has to offer.

  2. Paul-
    September 30, 2012 at 5:50 pm

    Hi Cynthia,

    You need to ensure that the sidestones have matching colors to the center gemstone. Usually, jewelers will customize the ring based on the choice of center stone that you had purchased.

    It doesn’t hurt to double check with the jeweler that you intend to work with on the details of the ring setting. After all, you are the paying customer.


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