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Buying a pair of diamond studs is often considered an excellent investment, as this is one type of jewelry that’s extremely versatile. Diamond studs can be worn in a variety of ways and for a range of occasions, making for the perfect unisex gift. Because diamond studs aren’t typically viewed from up close like diamond rings, the quality requirements are lower, making it easier and more affordable to purchase diamond studs.
However, purchasing from a quality vendor is important as this will determine both the quality of the studs and the value/price ratio you’ll get them for. There are also many additional services that some vendors provide and others don’t.
Let’s take a look at the top diamond stud retailers online as well as what you need to know when searching for diamond studs.
When it comes to building or buying pre-set diamond studs, James Allen has facilitated the process, making it even easier than shopping in a physical store. The diamond imagery they offer allows you to inspect every angle of every diamond and earring almost as if you’re doing it in person.
There’s a wide range of diamond stud settings on offer, from basic prong settings to more elaborate scalloped styles. These can come in a pair of lab-created or mined diamonds of your choice, in Total Carat Weight (TCW) starting from .25 and upwards of 1 carat. There are over 598,000 matching pairs of diamonds to choose from!
With reasonable prices, excellent quality and customer service, and endless choices, James Allen is an excellent place to begin your search for the perfect pair of diamond studs.
An easy choice for all diamond needs, Blue Nile is one of the largest and most trusted diamond retailers online. They offer handcrafted diamond stud earrings, allowing you to build your own earrings using their user-friendly online tool. Their process is simple – start by selecting your matching pair of diamonds from an inventory of close to a million diamonds, then select your setting and have the pair made for you. However, if you’re after a quicker process, choose from their ready-made diamond stud earrings.
Blue Nile is known for their excellent track record, reasonable prices, high quality, and excellent customer service.
Brian Gavin is a smaller retailer, compared to the others listed here, but offers high-quality, excellent-cut diamonds with superior light performance. This is the place to go if you’re after dazzling stones that stand out. While the collection is small, and the options to build your earrings are limited, Brian Gavin has a dedicated client base who seek diamond quality above all else.
One thing to note is that inventory moves quickly at Brian Gavin, so if you spot a pair of diamond earrings you love, you’ll have to move quickly as they tend to go quickly.
Whiteflash is known for its cut quality and for offering only the very best diamonds – those stones with dazzling sparkle and exceptional cut. Their diamond stud earrings are among the very best and this reflects in their higher price. At present, they only feature around 400 diamond pairs.
If you’re looking for the very best in cut and don’t mind paying a premium to secure a pair of eye-catching diamond studs, Whiteflash is the place to go.
Amazon is a tricky retailer to rate as they work with a wide variety of vendors and offer an absurd amount of choices. They do offer high-quality diamond studs, however, and offer lots of options for their consumers. So, we decided to break their review down into pros and cons.
Amazon pros for diamond studs shopping:
- An overwhelming amount of diamond studs in all price ranges.
- Lots of budget-friendly options if you don’t want to spend too much.
- Amazon is a great place to browse for alternatives to what you have in mind and to form an idea of what you’re after.
- Amazon also offers a lot of good alternatives to diamonds such as cubic zirconia, moissanite, and zircon studs.
- Many well-known diamond retailers offer their products via Amazon, allowing you to make use of the benefits that come with your Prime
Amazon cons for diamond studs shopping:
- Not all vendors selling through Amazon can be categorized as “reputable” – you’ll need to carefully research the sales policies of each vendor as well as their overall reputation.
- The quality of the presentation is also up to the individual vendor – some may offer sufficient quality images and videos for their diamond studs, others – not so much. It’s common for vendors to use stock photos for their diamonds and studs.
- The return policies in case you don’t receive exactly what you’ve ordered also vary from vendor to vendor.
- A lot of products on Amazon have titles and descriptions that are too misleading and inaccurate. If you’ve ever shopped for anything on Amazon you’ve no doubt noticed that.
- Diamond studs on Amazon are typically pre-set and don’t come with detailed and specific grades.
- The reviews on Amazon are often fabricated and are not 100% trustworthy.
The cons of Amazon as a diamond stud vendor do look like they outweigh the pros, however, we’d still recommend it as long as you know what you’re looking for when you go there. Amazon does offer plenty of choices and price ranges so it’s great both for a casual browse and for a budget-friendly purchase.
What To Look For In A Good Diamond Retailer?
Whichever of those vendors you decide to go for or if you have another preferred shop, here are the main things we’d recommend you look for in a retailer:
- Diamond studs are not s cheap and inconsequential so you should always make sure that every product you consider buying is of high enough quality.
- The best diamond retailers have wide assortments of products in different price ranges. If you need to jump between several vendors because you can’t find what you’re looking for, there’s likely no reason to go back to them.
- Pre-set vs. build your own is not the only choice a good retailer should give you. The more options in terms of metals, settings, size, and price you have, the easier it’s going to be to find and get the best diamond stud for you.
- A good retailer should give you more than just a pair of studs for your money. Good shipping and return policies are the bare minimum you should for with other policies to look for including care & maintenance, trade-in, and good warranty policies.
- 3D images and videos. If you’re shopping for diamonds online you should always make sure that you’re able to get a really good look at what you’re buying. Avoid vendors with low-resolution 2D images and definitely steer clear of stock photos.
- Customer service. This is a quality-of-life feature to look for but it’s almost always significant when it comes to shopping for diamond jewelry. You want the customer service of your retailer to be quick, effective, and with a focus on your needs and problems, not on overselling your things.
Pre-Set vs. Build Your Own Studs
Most vendors will give you the option of buying diamond studs with pre-set stones in them or choosing the diamonds for your studs yourself. The general rule of thumb here is to go for pre-set studs if the diamonds are smaller than 1 carat each and to build your own studs if you want diamonds bigger than 1 carat.
The reasoning here is that for bigger diamonds you want to make sure that the stones are certified, well-cut, clear enough, and offer enough brilliance to be worth it. Pre-set diamonds on studs rarely come with their own certificates and are generally not of very high quality.
You can still inspect the pre-set diamonds visually, of course, and they offer sufficient brilliance and are clear of any inclusions – that’s great! Going for pre-set stones does save quite a lot of time at the end of the day. However, if you’re going for larger stones you’ll probably want to maximize the quality you’re getting for your money.
What To Look For In A Good Diamond Stud?
As we mentioned, the quality requirements for earring diamonds are typically lower than those for ring stones. However, there are still plenty of things to look for:
As with ring diamonds, the cut is the most important of the 4Cs in diamond studs. The cut determines how much brilliance and sparkle the diamonds offer which is key for diamond studs. While the other characteristics of a diamond stud usually require the viewer to be very close to the stud, the brilliance is and should be easy to observe from a distance.
Diamond color is one of those characteristics that need you to be relatively close to notice. That’s why going for D-F color grades on a diamond stud is generally a waste as people won’t notice the difference between a D and an H color grade. Instead, the H-J grades typically offer the best value for diamond studs.
The clarity of diamond studs is arguably even less important than their color – as long as there are no glaring inclusions in the stone that will hamper its brilliance or be overly noticeable, you don’t need to overpay for clarity grades such as VVS2 or VS1. Instead, VS2-SI2 are the most common choices for diamond studs. I1 clarity can also work as long as the individual stone is of decent quality. Just make sure to inspect the stones you’re buying personally – some vendors may try to sell low-quality I1 diamonds or even I2 stones.
4. Carat Weight
The carat weight is entirely up to you and your budget. The important thing here is to make sure that the two diamonds are of almost equal weight with no more than a 0.05 difference.
5. The Metal
This is largely a matter of personal preference but we recommend gold, either 14k or 18k over platinum. It’s durable enough for studs without being needlessly hard and it doesn’t have an overinflated price tag. Make sure that the stud is not too heavy too.
6. The Setting
The most common settings for diamond studs are:
- Three-Prong Settings (Also Called Martini Settings)
- Halo Settings
- Double Halo Settings
All of those can work great with halos being preferred for more formal occasions and both halo and bezel working better with lower-quality diamonds as they can hide their inclusions. Prong settings, on the other hand, are great for high-quality diamonds as they expose as much of the stone as possible.
Choose your diamond stud retailer carefully as this is typically a high-ticket purchase. By putting in careful thought, you’ll ensure that you don’t get ripped off or purchase a pair of studs that you don’t end up loving.
If you want to learn more about how to buy diamond studs, check out our popular guide here.