Buying Diamond Earrings: A Complete Guide (Advice Included)

Diamond earrings are a timeless piece of jewelry that is an essential item for anyone’s jewelry box.

These dazzling little earpieces can brighten a person’s face, add to their natural glow and uplift any outfit. They can be worn as a subtle accompaniment or to make a grand statement!😘 To be sure, diamond earrings could be worn every day and never go out of fashion making them a worthwhile investment for any jewelry lover to possess.

Woman Wearing Diamond Earrings

Today, we are going to run you through a comprehensive guide for buying the perfect diamond earrings with a focus on the most popular; diamond stud earrings.

So, before you make any decisions, allow us to shed some light on everything you need to know about buying diamond earrings...

What type of diamond earrings can you shop for?

There are a huge variety of earring styles available in the market. We can easily think of the classics such as the stud, the hoop, the drop, or even the clip-on, but there are many more to be found.

Some modern styles might include huggie earrings, threader earrings, or climber earrings. And, that’s not to mention different types of piercing earrings! Yes, even those that pierce the cartilage and not the lobes can be included in the ever-growing list of earring types available.

When it comes to earrings, diamonds can actually be set in any of these styles.💝

Fancy yourself a diamond barbell earring? Why not!

Yet diamonds are a classy affair and, in reality, are generally used to craft a few specific types of earrings that can easily be divided into two categories…

Solitaire Diamond Earrings

Now, who doesn’t LOVE a classic pair of solitaire diamond earrings?!

We can define these earrings by the one large solitaire diamond feature stone. These can be set on their own or sometimes have extra accent diamonds added to enhance the sparkling quality.

A solitaire diamond is recognizable by the presence of a single stone, it does not matter what shape this happens to be.  A round cut solitaire is the most iconic and classic of these shapes and makes for a timeless set of diamond earrings however, we are not limited to this shape alone.

Solitaire diamond earrings can be purchased in princess cut (square diamond) which is also a popular, more modern style of solitaire. Pear, Asscher, emerald, and cushion cut are also solitaire cuts that are available but not as widely sought after.

Popular types of solitaire diamond earrings include:

Diamond Stud Earrings

These are perhaps the most popular types of diamond earrings and it’s easy to see why.  They are sleek, elegant, timeless, and can be worn for almost any occasion.✅

A diamond stud sits close to the lobe as if floating above the surface of the skin...

This type of diamond earring will never go out of fashion and continues to be the top choice for diamond lovers everywhere.

Yellow Gold Diamond Studs

Diamond Drop/Dangle Earrings

Diamond drop/dangle earrings, in contrast to the diamond studs, consist of a section that attaches to the earlobe whilst the ornamental element hangs below. This could once again consist of a single solitaire or be decorated with accent diamonds for enhancement.

Unlike the diamond studs, these types of earrings have more movement which is fabulous for making a greater impact; glimmering with fire and brilliance as it sways and catches the light.

These types of earrings have grandeur and added intricacies that make them perfect for special occasions. You can certainly make an impression by bringing these to the party!

Alternative Diamond Earrings

Within this category of earrings, unlike the solitaire diamonds, the earrings do not consist of a large center diamond. Instead, they use smaller diamonds, or cluster diamonds, for decoration.

For example…

Diamond Hoop Earrings

As you can see, these smaller diamonds are set facing outward along the surface of the hoop without a specific feature stone to be seen.

These diamonds can be set using different types of settings, such as channel or pave settings, to create different aesthetic effects.

Diamond Huggies Earrings

Diamond huggies are very popular right now and, as you can see, they are effectively a form of diamond hoop earring. However, they fit much closer to the ear lobe "hugging" the ear, if you will.

The diamonds can be set in much the same way as the diamond hoop earrings, using a variety of settings and stone sizes allowing for many stylistic variations.

😎However, in this article we are going to be focussing your attention on the classics; solitaire diamond earrings.  When buying these, the most popular of diamond earrings styles, there are comparatively more factors to consider.  

We want to ensure the quality and beauty of those center diamonds. If there are any flaws in these solitaire diamonds they will be more evident than any smaller stones used; like those in the hoops above, or in a cluster.

And so, they require a little bit more of our attention to make sure we get it just right.

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How much are diamond earrings?

According to the GIA, you could spend anywhere between $100 to $30,000+ for a pair of diamond stud earrings.  Of course, it makes a lot of sense that the final price for a pair of solitaire diamond earrings largely depends on the size and quality of the center diamonds.

Carat weight will be one of the biggest contributing factors to the price of your solitaire earrings, as would be expected.

The larger the stone, the rarer it becomes, the greater the value.

It’s everything we’ve come to know about how to value a piece of diamond jewelry. However, as always there are other factors to consider…

The overall quality of the diamond (4Cs), the type of setting, and the type of metal used can all make a huge difference to the final price point of the earrings.

For example, $4000 could happily buy you a pair of solitaire diamond earrings with a total carat weight of 1.5 carats if set using 14K white gold. However, with the same budget, you might only hope to buy earrings with a total carat weight of 0.92 carats if you were wanting them set in platinum.

Platinum demands a higher price and so you would have to be prepared to compromise on diamond size to remain within your budget in this case.

Also, remember that if the price of diamond studs surprises you, you are effectively purchasing two diamond stones, not just one!

Important information: Carat Weight (ct.) vs. Total Carat Weight (ctw.)
When buying a pair of diamond earrings you want to know whether you are being shown the carat weight for one single diamond or for both diamonds in the pair.

Total Carat Weight is the term used when describing the weight of the diamonds in the pair of earrings, together—so that would be all of the stones used in both earrings. Whereas Carat Weight should be used only when describing the weight of one diamond earring in a pair, and not the total weight for the pair as a whole.

Unfortunately, some jewelers will mislead buyers by not clarifying the differences between the labels which can lead people to believe they are getting more for their money than is true.

Often jewelers will use Total Carat Weight instead of Carat Weight as the larger number sounds more impressive yet it can give the illusion of a good deal when it isn’t always the case.

Always confirm with your jeweler which label they are using before buying to alleviate any doubts.

Buying diamond earrings vs. Buying diamond rings: What are the differences?

Diamonds are diamonds, right?

Yet, buying diamond earrings feels like an entirely different experience than buying a diamond ring.  There are both emotional and rational differences between buying these two items that we are going to look at below;

The symbolism and wearing intentions of these two items

When diamonds are purchased for wearing as a ring, they are often purchased as diamond engagement rings or diamond wedding rings. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but there is a great deal of sentimentality that is going to be attached to these types of rings!

With a diamond engagement ring or wedding band, we expect the wearer to have them on their finger for life. These items do not often go on and off the wearer’s finger. They symbolize love, dedication, and commitment.🥰

They mark what is hopefully one of the happiest days of a couple’s life together!

Diamonds are a long-lasting and worldwide recognized symbol of love and so, when purchased as a way to celebrate a couple’s love for one another, there is a great deal of heart and emotion that goes into the buying process.

Whilst diamond earrings still warrant our time and attention, they may not be worn day in and day out as we would expect these diamond rings to be. Nor might they adopt the same sentimentality.

The Difference Between Buying Diamond Rings vs. Diamond Earrings

How we observe them in day to day life

The quality requirements for diamond earrings can be considered somewhat more relaxed than that of a diamond ring.

It may seem like an insignificant detail however, the proximity in which people can observe and admire these diamond pieces vary greatly and can contribute to the standards we expect from each.

Ask any new bride to be how often her hand has been pulled toward the face of a friend or family member so that they can see the rock that has been placed upon their finger.  Conversely, not many sweep her hair back and get up close and personal to her new pair of earrings.

It’s not so polite, is it?😄

People will often like to observe the beauty of a diamond ring closely and so we want it to be the best it possibly can be. Whereas, we can get away with slightly lower quality when it comes to the diamond earrings that are observed from a distance.

Fun Fact!
Because of the distance in which people observe our diamond stud earrings compared to our diamond rings, many stones that aren’t considered "eye-clean" for diamond rings CAN be considered "eye-clean" for diamond studs.

It is difficult to determine flaws within a diamond if we aren’t within close proximity. Great for the buyer on a lower budget!

Build your own vs. Buy pre-set diamond earrings

Diamond earrings are like the little black dress of jewelry… They add a touch of glamour, sparkle, and dazzling shine to an outfit. A "never-lets-you-down" option for any day of the week.

As discussed above, the way we observe diamond earrings in comparison to diamond rings can make a difference in our buying decisions. Any flaws that may be subtle and unnoticeable in a pair of diamond earrings may be more visible and easier to spot in a diamond ring of similar quality.

With all of this in mind, we can add another layer to the buying process with the decision of purchasing pre-set diamond earrings or building your own.

Pre-set diamond earrings are the complete and finished pieces that we might find in a storefront window. Loose diamond stones that have already been matched and mounted, ready to buy. Build your own is as fun as it sounds! Pick your diamonds, pick your metal, pick your setting, and build it the way you choose!

Let’s look a the pros and cons of both...

Pre-set Diamond Earring Pros

  • It is highly convenient and takes a lot of time and effort out of the buying process.
  • Pre-set diamond earrings can save us a lot of money, especially if we are about to buy small diamond earrings.
  • Most pre-set diamonds are non-certified which also saves money as the certification process can increase the cost of the earrings by up to 35%. However, because the quality of diamond earrings matters far less than the quality of a diamond ring, we can forgo this process with little concern.

Pre-set Diamond Earring Cons

  • Without the presence of a quality certification upon buying your diamond earrings it requires a great deal of trust in the retailer to provide the size and quality of diamonds that they tell you they are.
  • If a certification is important to you then pre-set diamond may not be the best option.
  • You don’t have as much control over quality as you would if you were to build your own.
  • It may take longer to find a combination of stones, metals, and settings that fit what you are looking for if you have something specific in mind.

Build Your Own Pros

  • You have full control over the quality of diamonds to ensure you get the best diamond earrings that you can for your money.
  • By opting for carat weights that are slightly below the "magic sizes" of 0.50ct, 0.75 ct, and 1ct, you can reduce the price without a visible difference in the size of the stones.
  • You have full control over every element of your diamond earrings including metal type and settings.
  • If you plan to purchase earrings with a higher stone carat weight then you may want to opt for build your own. Such a pair will be more expensive whether you buy pre-set or build your own but at least with this method you have greater control over the quality.
  • Certain reputable jewelers can provide grading reports for the diamonds in build your own diamond earrings. Jewelers such as Blue Nile, James Allen, and Brilliant Earth can all guarantee the quality of their build-your-own diamond earrings.

Build Your Own Cons

  • The labor involved in designing and building your own earrings does make this a more expensive option.
  • For those who are wanting to walk out of the jewelers with diamonds in their ears, the build your own option does require time and patience.

Buying diamond earrings: A step-by-step guide (With advice)

We are now going to guide you through the ins and outs of buying diamond earrings. As the most popular diamond earrings available, we’re going to use diamond stud earrings as the example here to walk us through each of the relevant factors to consider in the buying process.

Are you ready? Let’s go!🚴🏻‍♂️

Build Your Own Diamond Earrings on James Allen

Decide on your budget and keep it in mind

It seems so simple but it’s one that can easily get overlooked when you’re stunned by a window full of shimmering diamond earrings.

As we’ve mentioned previously, the cost of a pair of diamond earrings can vary from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars! You need to know what you’re working with so that you can be realistic in what it is that you can buy.

Decide which diamond shape is ideal for you

Diamond stud earrings can be cut into a variety of shapes and what is best for you is mostly a subjective personal preference.

However, the two most popular shapes for diamond stud earrings are round brilliant cut and princess cut (square shape).

  • Round Brilliant Cut diamond studs are carved to optimize the fire, brilliance, and scintillation of a diamond.🌟 This shape is most popular for engagement rings and so the stud earrings are often bought to match.
  • Princess-Cut diamonds stud earrings offer a modern, edgier take on the classic round brilliant solitaire. The facet arrangement also makes for outstanding sparkle and shine whilst offering something slightly different in appearance.

📝When choosing the shape of the stone you can take into consideration what would best compliment your own face shape, what may give the illusion of a larger stone, and what shape is best depending on the quality of color and clarity.

Consider diamond size

It is difficult to understand the different diamond sizes available when talking in terms of carat weight. Here we have added a simple chart to help you differentiate between different carat weights and their sizes.

As mentioned above, the size of diamond that we can invest in is not only determined by the budget we have available but also the size of our earlobes and face.

🤔Although bigger always seems better, this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s about finding the balance for a nice aesthetic ratio. A face with petite features and smaller earlobes for example may look unbalanced with large diamond studs!

Going smaller would better complement and enhance their natural features rather than overwhelming them.

Consider this…
If we come to find that smaller diamonds are better suited to us then the defined shape of fancy cut stones may not be that noticeable. Heart and pear-shaped diamonds, for example, may not be easily distinguishable when they are smaller in which case a classic round cut diamond may be better.

Use the 4Cs to find quality diamonds

Although we are unlikely to receive a certification report from most high street retailers, it is still wise to consider the 4Cs of diamond grading quality to assess the quality of our diamond studs.

Most reputable jewelers offer high-resolution diamond images and 360-degree video presentations online to help us inspect the quality of a diamond. When in doubt, seek the support of a non-commissioned expert to help compare diamonds of different qualities.

Below are the recommended grades within the 4Cs for diamond stud earrings:

Cut

You’ve heard us say it before and you’ll hear us say it again… CUT IS KING.

The final cut of a stone will determine the overall value. The cut can enhance a stone to extraordinary lengths and a bad cut? Will do the exact opposite. The craftsmanship of the cut is integral to creating a "stop you in your tracks" radiance of light that only the CUT can deliver.

If the budget allows, opt for an Excellent or Ideal cut grade however it is still possible to find brilliant diamonds in a Very Good cut which can also save us money!

Use 4Cs to Find the Diamonds of Your Studs for Your Budget

Clarity

With diamond studs, as opposed to diamond rings, we can be more flexible with our clarity expectations.

Although it is dependent on the buyer’s budget, a VS2-SI2 is an acceptable clarity range and sometimes we can even go for an I grade if the stone is considered "eye-clean".

As mentioned before, because we are unlikely to be in such close proximity to the diamond earrings in comparison to a diamond ring, we can afford to choose a lower clarity grade as the flaws are less likely to be noticeable to the naked eye.

Color

A color grade of H-J is perfectly acceptable for a pair of diamond studs.  Whilst this might feel on the lower end of the spectrum when buying a diamond ring, this color range is considered mostly near-colorless to the naked eye and any yellow-ish hue will be less noticeable in a smaller stone viewed at a distance.

Along with clarity, the color will make a difference dependent on the shape that has been chosen. Certain cuts with a larger surface area such as the emerald cut, for example, would require a higher color and clarity grade as the flaws and slight yellow-ish hues might be more visible.

Carat

Carat weight is fully dependent on our budget. The larger the diamond carat weight, the more expensive the earrings will be. It is also worth noting that as we increase the carat size, we would want to consider finding higher quality color and clarity as any flaws or color within the stone will become more obvious as we increase in size.

Remember to keep in mind the difference between Carat Weight and Total Carat Weight to ensure that you are getting what you think you’re getting!

Two things to keep in mind!
If you are choosing the build-your-own route for buying your diamond stud earrings, make sure that you are choosing two diamonds that match! You will be buying two diamonds, not one, so it is important that they are well suited for one another.

Secondly, when buying pre-set diamond earrings it is generally not always possible to filter them with our desired grades. In this case, we need to make sure we check all of the details one by one and use the guidance of a professional to help us with understanding the quality of our diamond studs.  The cut is king! So, we still recommend buying diamonds with an Excellent (Ideal) or even Very Good cut grade.

Choose a setting style

Whether buying pre-set or building your own, there is a variety of setting styles to choose from. Some of the most popular setting styles might include the following…

Prong Basket Style Setting

The Prong basket style setting has a flat bottom from which the claws extend, forming the basket-shape that gives it its name. With this setting, the diamond sits higher and further away from the ear lobe which enables it to capture light to great effect and feels very comfortable to wear.

Prong Martini Setting

Prong Martini Settings are aptly named as the V-shape of the cone-like setting resembles the shape of a Martini glass. Very fancy!

With this style, the diamond often sits closer to the ear which means it is less likely to tilt downward with the weight of the stone. Despite its suave name, the prong martini setting isn’t loved by all as some claim the V-shaped design makes the stud stick into their earlobe and can feel uncomfortable.

Bezel Setting

The diamond in a bezel setting is wrapped in a silky band of metal. The diamond sits tightly into the metal of a bezel setting and is incredibly secure and smooth to the touch. The bezel setting offers a modern and sleek appearance while giving the added reassurance that diamond is set firmly within a band of metal and less likely to come loose.

Halo Setting

The Halo setting is incredibly popular as the center stone is encircled by a ring of smaller diamonds. This provides maximum impact, sparkle, and brilliance as the light dances between the feature stone and its smaller surrounding stones.

Consider the metal type and color

Take durability, price, weight, anti-allergenicity, and color into account when considering the metal type you’d like to pair with your diamond stud earrings.

If you’re looking for a premium product then platinum is considered a premium, white-colored metal that is also anti-allergic. The durability of platinum is highly desirable for those who can afford it as it is an incredibly tough metal. This gives the buyer reassurance that it should have a longer life span and is perfectly suited for holding a diamond.

However, platinum is a heavier metal, and with this comes the potential for discomfort for some wearers, especially if the earrings are holding larger diamonds.

The use of platinum will make a hefty difference to the price tag in which case 14K and 18K white gold are great and more affordable alternatives. Both white, yellow, and rose gold are more affordable options and can be long-lasting if taken good care of.

Find the Right Metal and Color for Your Diamond Earrings to Complement Your Skin Tone and Overall Look

While white-colored metals can help accentuate the whiteness and purity of a colorless diamond, diamonds with a lower color grade can be greatly enhanced by the assistance of a yellow or rose gold metal. The warmer tone of these metals can help neutralize the yellow hue and make the diamonds appear whiter. Whereas, if you’re diamond is already high on the color grading scale, a white metal will only optimize its brilliance and sparkle!  

Find an earring backing type right for you

Two of the most common type of backings for diamond earrings are the push back and the screw back.

Push Backs

These can also be known as friction backs and are perhaps the most common type of earring backs.

A push back simply slides over the earring post and holds the earring in place through the use of friction. A small notch at the end of the post helps the backing to stay in place without slipping off.

This backing is very easy to use, affordable, and comfortable to wear.  Due to their small size, they are not easily visible and nicely hide behind the back of the ear. However, it is the least secure stud earring back.  They can loosen over time and lose their friction which is what holds them in place.

Screw Backs

You guessed it! Screw backs are earring backs that literally screw into place.

Threaded posts are needed in order to use screw backs as they work in the exact same way as to how we would screw a nut onto a threaded bolt. As you can imagine, this makes them incredibly secure and longer-lasting than the push-back alternatives.

They are small and discreet however, they do require more time and effort to put on but it may well be worth it for the added security. Some minor discomfort may also be felt as we pass the threaded post through our ears. However, this discomfort would be very brief and may be worth compromising for the reassurance of added security.

Pro Tip!
We can also wear diamond earrings as clip-ons, without an ear piercing! However, we would only recommend this option with diamonds of a lower value as these can easily come away from the ear and so the risk of losing them is higher.

Where to buy diamond earrings?

We recommend the following vendors when seeking quality assured diamond earrings with expert help and guidance in both build-your-own and pre-set diamond earrings;

Build Your Own Diamonds

James Allen - James Allen offers both Earth-created and lab-grown high-quality diamonds. They offer a handy diamond sizing chart with comparative prices for easy viewing and a 360-degree video presentation for extensive viewing!

Blue Nile - Blue Nile offers extensive and detailed information across their website to help you find and build the perfect pair of diamond earrings to your specification and budget. They have everything you could ever need to know about buying diamond earrings and offer a quick shipping service!

Brilliant Earth - At Brilliant Earth you can find dazzling pre-set and build your own options for your diamond earrings. They offer excellent after-care services that can put the buyer at ease and will guide you through the buying process to ensure that your needs are met.

Diamondstuds.com - Diamondstuds provides a very easy step-by-step build-your-own system that takes the stress out of build-your-own jewelry. It has a user-friendly interface that makes decision-making easy whilst providing all of the necessary information.

Pre-set Diamonds

Blue Nile - Blue Nile boast an unrivaled variety of styles to choose from in their jewelry collections. They have a zero-tolerance policy toward conflict diamonds which guarantees that all diamonds are ethically sourced.  All items can be returned or exchanged within a 30-day window.

Zales - Zales has a stunning collection of diamond earring that include diamond earrings for men and women, how great is that?! Zales nurtures a policy of ensuring that all customers feel comfortable with their purchase and so you can rest assured knowing that they will help you find the right pair of earrings for you.

BONUS: Diamond alternative earrings will also fascinate you

Perhaps your budget won’t stretch to the cost of real diamond earrings or, perhaps you are simply searching for some alternatives. After all, diamonds aren’t the only colorless stones on the market!

Here are three diamond earring alternatives for you to consider:

  1. Lab-grown diamond earrings - Lab-grown diamonds are synthetically grown diamonds. They have the same genetic make-up and can produce some top-quality "lab-grown" diamonds. The 4Cs apply to these diamonds as with any other and as always, the cut is king. Whilst the price difference between lab-grown and earth-grown diamonds is not dramatic, it could mean the difference between diamond earrings that are within your budget and those that are not.
  2. Moissanite Earrings - Moissanite is a stone that fell from the stars. Found in a crater following a meteor crash means that these diamond simulants are incredibly rare to find naturally and so most on the market are lab-grown. They offer more brilliance and fire than that of a diamond which is incredibly unique in its appearance. For some this is desirable, for others it highlights that it is not the diamond stone they hoped to mimic.
  3. White Sapphire Earrings - White Sapphires are a stunning diamond alternative. Whilst they can sometimes have a cloudy or milky effect, they are certainly a more affordable option for those seeking a colorless tone. The White sapphire does require more care and attention as they are easily scratched in comparison to the other stones and gather dirt and build up over time.
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Diamond earrings are a necessity

Without a doubt, diamond earrings are not going to go out of fashion any time soon.💃🏻 The beloved diamond stud remains one of the most popular earrings of choice offering elegance, simplicity, and a touch of luxury.

They can be matched with any outfit and there are a variety of design options available for those seeking a statement piece.

For now, you can use this buying guide to get you started down the path of buying your first set of diamond earrings, or your tenth, or your one-hundredth!

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