Are you in the market for a beautiful pair of diamond earrings?
You're in the right place.
In this Learning Guide, I'll lay out all the things you need to know when it comes diamond earrings prices as well as answers to these questions:
- How much does a diamond stud cost?
- What diamond clarity is right for diamond earrings?
- Are lab diamond earrings cheaper?
- What’s the difference between a dangle earring & a drop earring?
Comparing a Diamond Earring to a Diamond Engagement Ring
Everybody knows that diamonds are expensive. Lots of people spend months saving up to buy the one diamond engagement ring that’s going to change everything.
Today, we’re not here to talk about diamond rings. No, we’re talking about one of classic staples in every jewelry collection, a pair of the best diamond earrings.
There’s so many articles all over the web about how an engagement ring center stone is priced, but not as many about diamond earrings.
Are Diamond Earrings More Expensive Than A Diamond Engagement Ring?
We used to have limited options of where we could buy diamond jewelry. Instead of the many different online diamond retailers we have now, we were reduced to shopping at overpriced jewelry stores like Zales and Kay Jewelers.
Yes, if you’ve purchased a diamond ring from those stores or similar, you probably paid more than it’s worth. Not because it’s the diamond industry trying to rip you off, but because of the stores themselves.
First, you have to understand how diamonds are priced.
Every diamond has a set of diamond grades called the 4Cs. It was a system invented by the Gemological Institute of America. They are the world’s authority on all things diamond and gemstone.
The major cost factors of an engagement ring are:
- Cut Grade
- Clarity Grade
- Color Grade
- Carat Weight
- Ring Setting
Then there are smaller factors like fluorescence, polish, symmetry, higher karat gold, etc.
A jewelry store will tell you that every single factor above is just as important in a pair of diamond earrings.
I think that’s debatable. With an engagement ring, your hand and that center diamond are front and center all the time. Everybody’s eyes are drawn to that sparkle.
With your ears, some will appreciate the sparkle emitting from your earlobes. However, they appreciate it from afar. No one wants someone’s face that close, especially in these times.
But I do agree these same factors also make up the price of a diamond earring.
That doesn’t mean YOU have to pay for them.
Average Price of a Pair of Diamond Stud Earrings (With Chart)
Cost Factors of a Diamond Earring
The 4Cs are the biggest factors in a diamond earring. The difference between a diamond ring and diamond earrings is that there are 2 of them. You’re searching for a pair of diamonds, not a single center stone.
Here’s my take on important factors when purchasing diamond earrings
- Cut Grade
- Carat Weight
- Color Grade
- Clarity Grade
Read on to find out WHY I think these factors are important and HOW you can save money when choosing your own pair of diamond earrings.
You might be wondering why I chose the setting to be the most important cost factor for diamond earrings.
That’s because the type of earring will determine how much diamond earrings cost.
The more complex your diamond earrings are, the more diamonds or precious metal they’ll use. Ere go, they’ll hike up the price.
But if your earrings are made up of a bunch of tiny diamonds, the price falls. There’s more metal, but the diamonds are smaller. Now if it’s made up of a bunch of big diamonds, the price will be higher.
Types of Diamond Earrings
So there’s a bunch of different kinds of diamond earrings. But for time’s sake, we’re going to cover the big types you’ll most likely see in store stock.
1. Diamond Studs
A pair of diamond studs is a classy option, perfect for every occasion. They can enhance a cocktail dress, or complement your boot cut jeans.
Like a solitaire engagement ring, a solitaire stud only has one diamond per earring.
Most solitaire diamond stud settings are a simple 3 or 4 prong setting per ear.
These martini style or prong settings cost between $200-500 when you build your own diamond earrings. The grades of your solitaire studs will have the bulk of the cost.
Studs can also have multiple diamonds, or cluster settings as we call them. The number of diamonds or gemstones doesn’t make it a stud earring. The simplicity and stationary position in the earlobe is what makes it a stud.
Read also: Best Fake Diamond Studs
2. Diamond Hoops
Hoop earrings are another popular style of diamond earrings. They range from small to large, but you’ll most likely see small and medium sizes in stock. I have a pair of black and white diamond hoops in sterling silver that I love.
Hoop earrings can be round, oval, teardrop, or any shape really, so long as it's empty and enclosed. They may have many small diamonds to complete the hoop or a few large ones with more metal.
Diamond hoop earrings are only available preset in stores because you need more than one diamond per ear. Majority of hoop diamonds are small melee stones. Their prices will range based on the size, count, and how much precious metal is used on the earrings.
3. Diamond Dangle Earrings
You’ve probably heard of dangly earrings or dangles in the formal sense. These earrings are the opposite of diamond studs. Diamond dangles can be any shape or style, but they must hang from the earlobes and move freely when you move your head.
Because the style of the dangle is so versatile, it’s difficult to give you a ballpark price on them. These earrings will be broken down usually by how much metal there is, size and count of diamonds, and the intricacies of the design.
4. Diamond Drop Earrings
Drop earrings are often confused with dangle earrings. That’s because the two are very similar. Dangle earrings can fall into the drop earring category, but drops can’t be dangles.
Stay with me now.
Drop earrings are a cross between studs and dangles. They are somewhat stationary like a stud and may even be a stud. Drop earrings “drop” straight down below the ear. They have limited movements, not freely like a traditional dangle.
Long diamond drop earrings look fantastic with an evening gown or cocktail dress. Some drop earrings start as a stud and end below the ear with no movement.
If you’ve read anything in our site about engagement rings, you’ll know that diamond cut is the most important aspect of your diamond. That’s because your cut sets the stage for its brilliance and overall durability.
If you’re choosing a pair of solitaire diamond studs, you’ll want to make sure you can choose your cut grades, or at least know the specs of the preset pair.
Some jewelry stores give you a general range of the grades, while others do not. They won’t usually tell you the cut grade either.
Keep in mind only round diamonds have official cut grades. Some online stores will have other shapes categorized as Very Good and Ideal Cut. That means those are going to have the closest recommended proportions for that shape for best cut.
Here’s how you save money on your diamond earring cut grades.
Now, I’m only talking to the people who are buying a pair of solitaire diamond studs, not cluster studs or any other type of diamond earrings.
For round diamonds, having an ideal cut pair is up to you. But you don’t need it. I recommend dropping down one cut grade and going with a pair of Very Good round diamond earrings.
Don’t even touch the Super Ideal cut grades. Those are more money for a few more unneeded facets. Every brand seems to have their own branded Super Ideal diamonds, but it’s less about the diamonds and more about the extra stuff you get with them like a GemEx light performance report or ASET images. Super Ideal isn’t a recognized cut grade by GIA standards.
You should stick to the recommended proportions for your diamond earrings if you’re choosing a fancy diamond shape. Fancy shapes are any other shapes than round.
Recommended Proportions for Choosing Your Own Fancy Diamonds Studs
It takes more time and a patient eye when browsing diamonds. Some diamond retailers will let you narrow your search filters to table and depth, but most of them only allow the 4Cs and type of grading report.
If you’ve got the patience, you’ll be rewarded in the long run by sticking to these numbers rather than how a diamond is categorized in a store inventory.
Diamond Carat Weight
The carat weight of your diamond earrings is going to be one the biggest price factors, even more so than your cut grade.
Diamond carat weight isn’t a simple calculation. Two pairs of 1 carat diamond earrings isn’t the same price as a pair of 2 carat diamond earrings.
Remember that when you choose a pair of 1 carat studs, you’re really choosing two .50ish carat studs-one for each ear. So a 2 carat pair would be 1 carat in each ear.
Don’t confuse the carat weight of a pair of solitaire studs with the carat weight of diamond earrings with multiple small diamonds. A 2 carat pair of drop earrings won’t cost the same as a 2 carat pair of diamond studs.
In cluster earrings or settings with more than one diamond, they will tell you the total diamond weight (TDW) of all the diamonds together. It’s possible to see diamond earrings that are 3 carats total to be less expensive than solitaire studs that are 2 carats total.
The reason is because the larger a single diamond is, the better it’s other diamond grades have to be. If you have a poor cut grade on a large diamond, it’ll appear dulled and gray. A perfect waste of a diamond.
It’s harder for gem cutters to find clear and colorless diamond rough when cutting larger carat stones than it is to cut a bunch of smaller stones. They’re more likely to find gem quality rough for smaller diamonds than big ones.
The problem is, if you’re wanting to buy solitaire studs, you kind of have to go big if you want them to be noticed. If you’re wanting a small pair for children or other piercing, that’s a different story.
Most people choose diamond stud earrings weighing between .5 carats and 1 carat total. Be aware that most preset studs come in “dream sizes”.
Dream sizes are popular carat weights like ¼, ⅓ ½,¾ , and 1. I recommend that you choose your own solitaire studs instead of buying preset solitaire studs.
The dream sizes might have a little more premium than if you were to select a pair with similar carat weights. A .48 and .53 pair of studs will probably cost less than a 1 carat preset pair at your local mall jewelry store.
Diamond color is a factor that you can really choose based on what suits you best. You’ll want to make sure your diamond pair is on the same color grade tier. The tiers are Colorless, Near Colorless, Faint Yellow, and Light Yellow.
Personally, I’m sensitive to warmer diamonds, so you won’t see me with any JKL diamond earrings. However, I don’t think we need to spend the extra money on colorless diamonds.
The reason why is because people aren’t going to notice a faint tint from far away. In reality, JKL color grades probably aren’t noticeable either. I, however, will notice them and it will bother me.
But that’s my eyes. Choose the color grade that fits your preference. If you prefer cooler diamonds, don’t assume you gotta go for colorless ones. The near colorless spectrum will do you just as good for a better price usually.
The final cost factor I want to discuss is clarity. I surprise myself by putting clarity at the bottom. Normally, I consider it one of the most important factors when buying an engagement ring.
Diamond clarity is how eye-clean your diamonds are. Eye clean diamonds are diamonds that have no visible inclusions to the naked eye.
When diamonds form, minerals and impurities can enter the diamond and become trapped as it grows, creating inclusions. Some blemishes happen during the cutting process.
The reason why I don’t consider clarity as important in diamond earrings vs diamond engagement rings is I can’t see my ears, nor does anyone get close enough to notice any inclusions in them. When you take a look at how much are vvs diamonds going for, you might agree that going for a lower clarity in something like earrings is a sound idea.
Your eye-clean diamond grades are usually VS1, VS2, VVS1, VVS2, IF, and F diamonds. Eye clean SI and even I clarity diamonds are possible, though less likely.
All diamonds have inclusions, but your job is to choose the ones that don’t have obvious ones. For engagement rings, I don’t choose lower than a VS2. But I also don’t have the patience to sift through every diamond in the inventory to find a lower eye clean grade.
But my laziness is your gain.
If you want eye clean diamond earrings at a lower price, make sure you’re buying from a retailer that offers a 360˚ view on their diamond pairs. Narrow your clarity filters down to the lower clarity grades and begin sifting through them, starting at the lowest price.
If you don’t want to do all that, you’d be fine choosing a pair of SI1 or SI2 clarity diamonds. By choosing a clarity tier lower, you can save between $500-$1500 on your diamonds.
Cost of Lab Diamond Earrings vs Mined Diamond Earrings
The last part of the price breakdown of diamond earrings I want to get into is about the type of diamond you get.
Lab grown diamonds are all the rage right now. They use less energy, they’re 100% ethical and conflict-free, and they’re also much cheaper than mined diamonds.
A lab diamond can be between 40-70% less expensive than a mined diamond of the same grade.
The best part about lab diamonds is they are real diamonds in every way. You just can’t resell them for profit. Here’s a few examples of price differences with brands and their lab diamonds vs their mined diamond prices.
Like most pieces of jewelry in a collection, the price of diamond earrings depends on many different factors.
The most important ones are its grades, the carat weight, and complexity of the diamond earrings.
If you're looking to get more bang for your buck, I definitely encourage you to check lab grown diamond stud earrings.
Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of what kind of budget to have when choosing diamond earrings.