Diamond stud earrings are easily one of the best pieces of investment jewelry to own; they are simple, elegant and you can wear them to most occasions. They’re great heirloom jewelry and will be in your jewelry collection for decades.
In this comprehensive guide to buying your best diamond stud earrings, we outline everything you need to know before you make that purchase.
1. How Do You Choose Diamond Earrings?
How to choose diamond earrings can be difficult with all the options available out there. The first step is working out what’s important to you.
- Do you want a pair of earrings from an iconic brand, such as Harry Winston?
- Are you working on a budget?
- Is there a design you’re already head over heels about?
- What metal will these earrings be made from?
- Would you wear a pair of vintage diamond earrings?
Answering these questions will help narrow down the myriad of choice that is out there when choosing your earrings.
2. What’s the Best Size for Diamond Stud Earrings?
Is bigger always better? The ideal size for diamond stud earrings comes down to two key points: Cost and preferences.
Cost is a careful balancing game between the 4Cs whereas personal taste is all about the color, cut, and setting. When it comes to preferences, some people want to go big or go home whilst others seek out a more minimalist pared-back style.
If you’re looking online at diamond stud earrings then the total carat weight listed will be the combined carat for both studs together, not each stud. If you want a pair of 1 carat diamond earrings this actually means having two 0.5 carat earrings.
As the diamond carat increases, the flaws in the stone will become more noticeable as well, often requiring you to choose higher quality diamonds.
The size of the diamond can be enhanced by the earring setting and style. Choose a setting such as halo, cluster or pavé which are made with lots of small diamonds.
Small diamonds are always more affordable than a single diamond of the same carat weight. So for example, if you have three diamonds of .33 carats and a single 1 carat diamond, the three smaller diamonds will be much more affordable than the single stone.
This is a smart way to minimize the cost while still having fabulous looking diamond studs.
Some sites, like James Allen, allow you to build your own diamond studs, giving you control over the diamonds you choose. This lets you keep to your budget while still choosing a great pair of diamonds.
3. What’s the Best Clarity for Diamond Stud Earrings?
Compared to buying a diamond ring, color and clarity are less important when you are looking at diamond stud earrings. People are unlikely to stick their faces up close to have a look at the stone. What’s more, stud earrings can also be obscured by long hair.
Clarity is a measure of the inclusions inside the diamond. Generally, the higher the clarity grade the clearer the diamond but it’s worth noting that this doesn’t necessarily translate to how sparkly a diamond is.
Take a look at the images above. Which of these pairs of diamonds has an Internally Flawless clarity grading and which has a Slightly Included 2 grading? Would you have guessed that the second pair is SI2 and $2790 lower in price than the first pair?
Diamonds are usually graded with a letter to denote the clarity grade which ranges from FL (Flawless) to VS2 (Very Slightly Included) all the way to I2 (Included).
The best clarity for diamond stud earrings is probably an SI1, Slightly Included, as it’s unlikely you’ll be able to see these inclusions with the naked eye.
To keep costs low, skip out on anything with a higher clarity, such as a VVS1 (Very, Very Slightly Included) as these diamond stud earrings will be a lot more expensive and the price tag is probably the only visible difference you will see.
4. How Do You Choose Diamond Color for Your Studs?
The color of diamond stud earrings can be looked at in two ways. The first is the colorless scale which is highly applicable for colorless diamonds. This refers to the letter grade that diamonds are given and indicates any hues in the stone.
At the top of the scale are true colorless diamonds which are graded with a D and at the bottom of the scale are Z diamonds which may have yellow or gray hues.
It’s best not to buy a diamond at the top of the color scale. We don’t often view earrings up close, and it’s unlikely someone else will be able to tell if your diamond earrings are an E or a G.
The H-J color grade gives you the best balance between value and beauty.
Compare this pair of H color diamonds with this pair of D color diamonds. Although they look nearly identical and share similar features, the H grade diamonds are much more affordable.
Color can also refer to the actual color of the diamond. Fancy colored diamonds have seen a massive rise in popularity which has given the jewelry world a bit of a shakeup.
No longer are you limited to just white diamonds; champagne, brown, pink white and yellow are all popular colors for diamond stud earrings. Opting for a colored stone is a perfect way to add some personality to your studs.
It’s best not to get too caught up in the grading of diamonds. At the end of the day, these gradings are just to confirm the properties of the diamonds you are buying. What’s most important is to check the diamond studs carefully and see if they have any visible inclusions or unsightly tints that take away from the beauty of the stones.
5. What’s the Best Cut for Diamond Studs?
Classic diamond cuts such as princess and round solitaire studs are the styles you will most commonly encounter. As these styles are so popular it will be easy to find this at all the best places to buy diamond stud earrings.
However, you can find diamond studs in all the popular diamond shapes although these are less commonly used as cuts for stud earrings.
Square and circular cuts are symmetrical from every position and make it a lot easier for a jeweler to match two similar stones.
On the other hand, cuts such as heart, oval, pear or marquise settings can only be worn in one position, leaving you wondering if the earring has rotated to an unbecoming position. It is also more difficult for jewelers to source stones with identical cuts as they are less in demand and can be more difficult to cut.
6. What’s the Best Setting for Diamond Studs?
The setting is the part of the studs that holds the diamond. Prong settings contain about 3 to 4 claws that hold the diamond in place. While prong settings can make the diamond appear bigger as there is no metal encasing the stone, the stone is also more liable to falling out or being damaged.
In contrast to a prong setting, a bezel setting completely or partially surrounds the diamond with a metal strip, holding the diamond safely in place. If safety is a priority, a bezel setting will be ideal for you.
Bezel settings can look more traditional and are often seen on vintage diamond earrings as they are a more secure way of setting a diamond. One drawback with bezel settings is that it hinders the visibility of the diamond and can make it appear smaller.
7. What Are Diamond Stud Setting Styles?
There are several types of diamond stud earring styles that offer varying pros and cons for the wearer.
These are conical in shape, and has a very minimalist appearance. A benefit is that as the diamond is set close to the setting, the earring will not sag. The pointed end of the cone, however, can push into the ear-hole, which some people find uncomfortable and also stretches the ear-hole.
Basket Style Setting
This setting holds the diamond in a basket, which has a flat bottom. The setting does appear larger but the earring does not dig into the ear-hole, which can make it more comfortable for some.
Crown Style Settings
A crown style diamond stud setting is very solid and secure, as it has a lot of metal holding the diamond (although not as completely as a bezel). As you can see from the image, the setting is substantial which can cause the stud to sag against the ear. However, it provides more protection for the diamond.
In recent years, diamond settings have become much more stylized and modern. Designers like Alison Lou have taken the jewelry world by storm offering cool diamond stud earrings in settings shaped as hearts, letters or even emojis! These settings are fabulous if you have multiple ear piercings as they look stunning when layered.
8. What About the Backing of Your Diamond Studs?
This is an aspect that most people tend to forget when it comes to buying diamond stud earrings. What type of earrings backs should you opt for and which provides the most amount of safety for your studs? The last thing you want is for your carefully chosen and expensive studs to fall out of your ears and get lost!
Some vendors charge for the earring backs separately and don’t include these with the diamonds. Check if this is the case before you purchase your studs. Also, note that no earring backing is a 100% secure, and there is always some risk of the backing falling out.
There are three main types of earring backs and posts, varying in security and price. These are:
Screw Back Earring Post and Nut
This is a very secure method to hold your earring in place, with the earring post and nut working as a regular nut and bolt. There is little chance that the nut will slide out or loosen up over time, making it a great choice.
It’s important, however, to carefully thread the nuts through the grooved posts and to ensure that you don’t just push the nut up the post as this can damage the threads. One main con is that putting on and taking off the nut takes longer than the other methods outlined here.
La Poussette Locking Earring Backs
This is the most secure of the three types mentioned here. While it contains smooth posts and a nut, similar to the Friction Back, it has a small locking mechanism that securely holds the nut in place.
All you have to do is slide the nut as you normally would, and once in place, slide it back a little until you hear the lock ‘click’. These are rarer to find and can be costly.
Friction Earring Posts and Nuts
Friction backs are also known as Butterfly backs. These are the most common type of earring backs and features a smooth post with a small notch near the end. The earring nut is held by this notch and slides easily up and down the post when you want to put on or take off the earrings. One main downside is that over time, the nut can get loose through wear and the tension that holds the nut firmly behind the ear can get lost.
9. What’s the Best Metal for Diamond Stud?
The world’s your oyster when you come to choosing what metal you want your diamond studs to be made from. Ideally, precious metals are best as they are an investment. Gold and platinum are two of the best choices, with 14K and 18K generally considered the best gold options.
Opting for an affordable metal is a savvy idea if you want to spend more money on the diamond carat or clarity. Most jewelers work with affordable metals such as 9K gold and sterling silver. There are also newer industrial metals that are great for jewelry and are also highly affordable, such as titanium.
If you’re treasure hunting for something that looks really unique, choose a different colored metal such as rose or black gold. These make interesting and unusual colored settings for showstopper stud earrings and a bold statement.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure what to go for. Think about what metal suits your skin tone and if you’re matching these to another piece of jewelry you own. Mixing and matching metal colors can look really striking (for example, black gold diamond earrings with a white gold necklace). For a more classic look, try wearing yellow or rose gold exclusively.
10. What if I Don’t Have the Budget for Diamond Stud Earrings?
A great alternative to natural diamond stud earrings is to opt for a pair of synthetic diamonds. The other option is to go for a different stone, such as a moissanite, that looks like a diamond but does not come with the steep price tag.
Check out this pair of moissanite stud earrings. They sparkle as beautifully as a diamond and it is impossible to tell them apart simply by looking at them. Note that moissanite is more than just a diamond look-alike. It is a gemstone in its own right.
11. What Should You Look For When Buying Diamond Earrings?
If you’re shopping online make sure that you see a photo of the earrings worn on a model. Model shots give a good indication of size as often stand-alone photos can make jewelry look much bigger than you think.
As well as seeing the jewelry on a person it’s important to see the back of the earrings. Surprisingly this is one of the most overlooked factors when buying diamond stud earrings.
Before you buy, it’s important to consider the technical aspects of the purchase. Is there any aftercare included in the cost? Guarantees, insurance and warranties may not be the most exciting part of the process, but a more expensive pair of diamond earrings could save you a lot of money if there is a comprehensive aftercare service.
It would also be worth knowing the returns policy, just in case. You would hope this would never be a problem, but some retailers have specific requirements regarding the returns for earrings due to hygiene reasons.
The Best Place to Buy Diamond Stud Earrings
Shopping online gives you access to competitive pricing, endless options, and quality diamonds. Look for a retailer that specializes in diamond jewelry and is able to offer expert advice and support throughout the process.
We recommend the following retailers.
James Allen offers competitive prices without compromising on quality. They provide high quality videos and images of their diamonds, so you get to really inspect the item properly. You can also design your own ring, as they have over 200,000 diamond pairs to choose from to create your own unique diamond studs. They also offer excellent customer service and assistance in choosing your item, as well as very good warranty and returns policies.
Blue Nile offers a large inventory and a stunning range of diamond studs. They have very competitive prices and good service. They have images and videos for almost all their inventory and great after sales service as well.
Amazon offers a range of diamond stud earrings in a variety of prices. You can also find imitation and look-alike diamond jewelry. Always check the after sales policies of the vendor you buy from.
A platform where you can find every type of jewelry, from genuine antiques to artisan boho pieces, Etsy is one of the best places to search for diamond studs. As always, due your due diligence and check that the vendor is reputable and that the jewelry is what the vendor claims it to be. For more information, check out our article on shopping for jewelry on Etsy.
If you would like more in-depth information about these vendors, check out our reviews on James Allen, Blue Nile. For an overall comparison, check out our article on the Pros and Cons of Engagement Ring Retailers.
Diamond studs are a timeless classic and a staple in most jewelry collections. Whether you choose genuine diamonds, synthetic, look-alikes, or imitations, you’ll have lots of options. However, genuine diamonds are always valuable, prestigious and can last for lifetimes.