Centrioles are surrounded by pericentriolar material (PCM), which is proposed to promote new centriole assembly by concentrating gamma-tubulin. Here, we quantitatively monitor new centriole assembly in living Caenorhabditis elegans embryos, focusing on the conserved components SAS-4 and SAS-6. We show that SAS-4 and SAS-6 are coordinately recruited to the site of new centriole assembly and reach their maximum levels during S phase. Centriolar SAS-6 is subsequently reduced by a mechanism intrinsic to the early assembly pathway that does not require progression into mitosis. Centriolar SAS-4 remains in dynamic equilibrium with the cytoplasmic pool until late prophase, when it is stably incorporated in a step that requires gamma-tubulin and microtubule assembly. These results indicate that gamma-tubulin in the PCM stabilizes the nascent daughter centriole by promoting microtubule addition to its outer wall. Such a mechanism may help restrict new centriole assembly to the vicinity of preexisting parent centrioles that recruit PCM.