Diamond studs are a popular choice for earrings, whether you are buying them for yourself or as a gift for someone else. Let’s take a look at the most important factors you should consider when choosing diamond earrings.
Choosing Diamond Color for Earrings
Diamond color is graded using letters, with grade D being the highest, followed by E and F; all these grades indicate a colorless stone.
However, buying diamonds of such a high grade for stud earrings would be a waste of your money: The stones are small and will be viewed from such a distance that nobody would be able to make out whether their color is D/E/F or a lower grade such as G/H/I/J.
A diamond with a color in the H-J range will serve you just as well as stones with a better color – the difference will be invisible, but you will save yourself a good amount of money by not going with the absolutely top option.
Diamond Clarity and Earrings
Similar to color, diamond clarity is graded using letters, and just like choosing the best color won’t make a visible difference, opting for the top clarity grade over a slightly lesser alternative will cost you a lot but won’t yield a noticeable benefit.
That’s why it’s best to skip the diamonds graded FL (Flawless) and IF (Internally Flawless) and go for stones graded SI1 or SI2, whose flaws won’t be visible when the earrings are worn.
Keep in mind that diamonds in the same clarity grade may differ with respect to how visible their flaws are, and some SI2 stones may have noticeable inclusions.
This is why you should take a good look at the studs you are about to buy and select diamonds that look clean when viewed with the naked eye.
And if the clarity of the stones is not graded, pick the cheapest ones that look reasonably clean from a normal viewing distance.
Choosing Diamond Cut for Earrings
The top cut grade according to the G.I.A. (Gemological Institute of America) is Excellent, followed by Very Good, Good, Fair, and Poor.
In general, a Good cut is good enough for a diamond stud; the difference between this grade and Excellent will not be readily noticeable.
If you are choosing diamond studs with round stones, make sure that they are not too deep because such diamonds will have less visible surface compared with better cut diamonds.
Size of Diamonds in Earrings
The size of the diamonds in stud earrings is a matter of taste, but you should keep in mind that as stones get bigger, their flaws increase in number and become more noticeable, and any yellow tints in stones of a low-grade color will be more visible.
This is why you may need to pay extra attention to these quality characteristics if you are buying 1-carat diamonds, for example, and make sure they look clean and reasonably colorless.
Settings for Diamond Earrings
There are different types of settings available, and the most popular are prong settings and bezel settings. Generally, bezels are more secure as they hold the diamonds by encircling them with metal bands.
The downside to bezel settings is that they also hide more of the diamond compared with prong settings. Prongs are less safe as they can bend or break more easily, but they leave more of the stone visible.
Regardless of your choice, you should make sure that the structure of the earrings is sturdy enough and doesn’t look like it is going to fall apart easily.
Choosing Metal for Earrings
One of the factors to consider when choosing a metal for diamond earrings is durability. For example, yellow gold is softer than white gold, which is a better choice if you are looking for earrings whose parts will not bend or scratch easily.
An even better choice is platinum, but it is also much more expensive.
If you are set on gold, whether white or yellow, ask if the earrings contain nickel – not all people are allergic to it, but to be on the safe side, it is advisable to purchase jewelry with low nickel content (as in 14-karat or 18-karat gold) or no nickel at all.
You can also take into account clothing, hair color, and skin tone, and consider them when choosing the color of the metal. For example, yellow gold complements darker tones, whereas white metals are a better match for lighter tones.
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.