Next to an engagement ring, diamond earrings are the most popular diamond gift in the world. There are many reasons for this, but the biggest is that they stand the test of time. Diamond earrings are traditional, sophisticated, and most importantly, they tell her you love her in a way unmatched by anything else except an engagement ring itself. In short, diamond earrings win the day virtually every time.
There are, however, some big differences between buying diamond earrings and other diamond jewelry – the most obvious is that you need to buy two sizeable stones, not just one. This means that the cost could be significant unless you understand a few simple truths about diamond earrings.
It’s a funny statement, but none-the-less true. Give her an engagement ring and she (and her friends!) will gaze at her ring finger everywhere: in the sunlight, under the moonlight, under candlelight, in a restaurant, etc. The very nature of an engagement ring leads people to get lost in its fire and brilliance from time to time. That’s part of “the show.”
Diamond earrings are more subtle. While they sparkle and are beautiful, a woman does not spend the rest of her life studying them daily like she does her engagement ring. She does not hold her ear out for all to see, nor does she stare at her ear lobe in the mirror (except when getting dressed) and she certainly doesn’t hold it up next to her friend’s diamond earrings to see which is bigger or more brilliant. Because of this, you can go down the quality curve and still end up with a set that is absolutely stunning, knocking her out with how great you are and saving 40-60% in the process.
One of the best things about giving diamond earrings is that you can surprise her with your gift. Yes, an engagement ring often comes as a surprise as well, but you either need to know her ring size (which is a difficult conversation to have without giving away what’s coming next), or you need to buy a ring that’s too big or small and have it resized.
Diamond earrings are one size fits all. Because of this, you just need to find great diamonds – even the setting is secondary if you’re buying diamond studs!
First understand diamond price break points. Where is the intersection between best price and greatest quality? In our book, Buying a Diamond Online is Easy, we talk about diamond quality “break points.” These are points where quality drops noticeably in each of the Four C’s of color, cut, clarity and carat weight. This is particularly useful to know, because price tends to decline linearly. So going to the edge of each break point without going over will give you an excellent diamond at a good price.
Color: Diamonds come in three-color categories: colorless (grades D, E and F), near colorless (grades G, H, I, and J) and noticeable color (grades K to Z). The reality is it would take close inspection by a well-trained jeweler to ID the difference between a mid grade colorless (say E) and a mid grade near colorless (say H or I) diamond, and even then the jeweler would need to inspect the diamond using a jeweler’s lope. In other words to get the best color for your money choose grades H or I.
Clarity: Clarity is a measure of microscopic specs in or on your diamond. Diamonds are measured as: flawless (1 out of 5000 diamonds), internally flawless (3% of diamonds), very, very, slightly included (VVS-1 and VVS2) very slightly included (VS-1 or VS2) slightly included (SI-1 or SI-2), and included (I-1, I-2 or I-3). Clarity is the easiest of the 4 C’s to give up, because the eye can’t see the microscopic spec without a jeweler’s lope (with 10X magnification) if the diamond is Slightly Included (SI-1) or better. So unless you’re going to continually view the diamond with magnification, it makes no difference to the naked eye if the diamond is SI-1 or Flawless.
Cut – Now, cut DOES matter on so many levels. Shape, light reflection, brilliance, scintillation, etc. What you gave up in color and clarity, you should take back in cut. Diamonds come in Ideal, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor cuts. In reality you should only choose Ideal, or Very Good cut (or as GIA labels them, Excellent cut). The other C’s above will fall into place, but you need to get the cut right.
Carat Weight – this is a personal choice, but if you’re buying diamond stud earrings and want to achieve the best price, choose a diamond that is slightly under, not slightly over, your target carat weight. For example choose a diamond that is 0.99 carats instead of 1.01 carats. Why? Because emotionally, people don’t want to cross the line downward even if it’s essentially the same sized diamond, which means less demand. Less demand means a noticeably better price. Enough said.
Certification – Make sure your diamond has a GIA diamond certificate. There are many good diamond-grading labs, but GIA is the best and most accurate. If you want to drastically reduce surprises, don’t mess around on this. GIA invented the 4C’s in the 1930s. More diamonds are graded by GIA than any other, so this should be an easy one for you. Our recommended online diamond stores all offer GIA graded diamonds.
Finally, Shop at a Reputable Online Diamond Store to Save 40% off Brick and Mortar Stores
If you read our Online Diamond Store Review (link in the menu above), we review the diamond market’s most well-known online diamond stores. These websites offer great discounts (40%, on average) because they don’t have expensive storefronts or highly paid salespeople. The current all around winner is James Allen. James Allen did well in all key categories: diamond quality; price; HD 360 degree display (this is cool) of the actual diamond you’re buying; 30 day, no questions asked, return-policy; gift packaging and Better Business Bureau rating (they’re A+ rated as of the writing of this article). Further, James Allen has an extensive collection of diamond earrings for sale so there is a good chance they have what you’re looking for!
That’s all you need to know to get started. Whether for yourself or someone else, diamond earrings are truly special. Enjoy giving or receiving them!