If you are looking to buy diamond stud earrings on the cheap, keep reading. Here we have put together the most essential tips to help you reduce the price you pay for diamond studs next time you go shopping.
What Determines the Price of Diamond Studs?
In general, the price of diamond studs depends on two main factors – the quality of the diamonds and the kind of metal the earrings are made of.
So, to find cheap diamond studs, you need to focus your search on pieces made with cheaper diamonds or cheaper metal, or both.
Choosing Cheap Diamonds for Your Earrings
Diamond prices depend on four main quality characteristics: the color of the stone, its clarity, cut, and the diamond’s carat weight.
The lower a stone is graded on color, clarity, and cut, and the smaller the diamond, the lower its price.
This can give you some hints on how to pay less for diamond studs:
Selecting a Cheaper Diamond Color
The color grade of a diamond depends on whether there are yellow tints in the stone and how visible they are.
One of the most popular color grading systems is that of the GIA (Gemological Institute of America), and on that scale, color is graded using letters, starting from D, which is the highest grade.
Colorless stones command the highest prices, whereas diamonds with visible yellowish hues sell for less.
If you want to reduce the price you pay for diamond studs, go for earrings with stones of a lower color grade. Usually, G and H grades look reasonably colorless, and you can often go as low as I or J color before yellow tints start to become an issue.
You can go even lower than J color, but stones with a grade of K or lower are visibly tinted.
However, if the earrings are made of yellow gold, the color of the metal will absorb the yellow in the diamonds, and they will look white against the colored setting. Do not go lower than M color, though.
If you do choose yellow gold diamond studs, make sure that you are not allergic to nickel, which is often used in gold alloys.
If you have such an allergy, avoid lower-karat gold such as 10K or 14K gold, which usually contains more nickel, and choose the purer 18K, 20K, or 22K gold instead.
Picking Smaller Diamonds
Another way of finding cheaper diamond studs is to look for earrings with smaller diamonds. Since the bigger a diamond, the rarer it is, larger stones cost more per carat.
Conversely, the smaller a diamond, the cheaper it is per unit of carat weight. So, a relatively small drop in carats can result in a significant reduction in price.
Choosing Diamonds with Lower Clarity
You can also save some money on diamond studs by choosing diamonds with lower clarity. Stones of the highest clarity have no visible flaws inside them, but these diamonds are also very expensive.
If you go down the clarity scale, you will see that some of the lower grades also look clean to the naked eye, and the difference between them and the highest grade is in how visible the flaws are under 10x magnification. (And this is not something anyone would notice unless they look with a loupe at your earrings.)
Usually, with clarity, you can go as low as VS1 or VS2 grade and still not see visible flaws in the stones.
If the diamonds in your studs are smaller (say, 0.50 carats or less), even a lower clarity grade such as SI2 may look pretty decent and not have black spots or lines readily noticeable with the naked eye when the studs are worn.
Choosing a Cheaper Metal for Your Diamond Studs
If you want to pay less for diamond studs, pick a cheaper metal. For example, platinum is very popular among people looking for durability, but this metal is also very expensive and not the best choice if your goal is to save money.
White gold is cheaper and relatively durable.
However, keep in mind that this material is plated with rhodium, and with time, the plating wears out, exposing the lower layer, which is somewhat yellowish. When that happens, you will need to have your earrings replated. Depending on how often you wear them, you may need to do so every couple of years or so.
If you think you might be allergic to nickel, make sure that your white gold studs either do not contain this metal or are of high enough karat for nickel not to be a problem (usually, at least 18 karats).
Yellow gold is also cheaper than platinum, but the problem with yellow gold is that it is much less durable – it is softer and wears out more easily, even compared with white gold.
As already mentioned, you also need to be careful about nickel content in gold. Higher karats are generally safer when it comes to allergies, but gold that is 18K or purer is also softer, so there is a tradeoff between purity and durability.
Where to Buy Diamond Earrings?
For diamond earrings and studs, we highly recommend James Allen (read our review) because it shows real photos and videos for each diamond so you can take a 360-degree look at any stone before having it set in the earrings of your choice.
For colored diamonds, we recommend Leibish & Co., which specializes in fancy color diamonds (use code JewelryNotes200 at checkout to get a 5% discount).
Also read our Diamond Buying Guide and check out our selection of eye-clean diamonds that we've vetted for quality.