Ask a Diamond Pro: Diamond Stud Earrings on a $1,300 Budget

Michael Fried
Michael Fried

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If you’ve spent any time perusing our diamond buying guides, you’ll notice that the majority of our content is focused on buying a diamond for an engagement ring. 

However, we’re also happy to help our readers buy other diamond jewelry, from bracelets and pendants to earrings and more.

Recently, we received an email from a reader asking for our help buying a set of diamond stud earrings. The reader had a budget of $1,000 to $1,300 and wanted to buy a set of earrings that would look mostly flawless when viewed up close.

Here’s the reader’s original email:

“I’m looking to pick up a set of diamond studs in a 3 prong, or simple and small 4 prong white gold setting, about 2/3ct total (1/3ct each).

My budget is somewhere around $1000-$1300, and I certainly don’t expect to find something completely flawless and colorless.

From what I’ve read, something with an I or H color rating would be great value for the studs that aren’t going to be viewed next to each other in the setting like a ring with multiple diamonds would.

I’d like to find something that even when viewed up closely should look mostly flawless.

I’ve found these two sets that seem like a good combination, and based on the 3D photos they look great (granted, that’s to my untrained eye!).

0.64ctw, I/VS2 

Blue Nile LD08536050-LD09144987 

0.66ctw, E/SL1 

Blue Nile LD08866157-LD08978062

I’m leaning more towards the first pair, and would certainly be open to any other suggestions. Thanks for everything!”

3/4ctw round stud earrings
an example of 3/4ctw round stud earrings (Photo: James Allen)

Before we get into specifics, let’s get one thing out of the way: this reader already has a strong understanding of what to look for in a set of diamond studs. The pairs of diamonds they chose are both worth considering, and they ended up selecting the first set . 

Now, this email gives us a great opportunity to talk about purchasing diamond stud earrings in the $1,000 to $1,3000 range. This is a price range that’s appealing to a lot of people, since it’s affordable enough to work for anniversaries and other occasions without breaking the bank.

If you have $1,300 to spend on round diamond stud earrings, the same rules as usual apply. Look for an Excellent or Ideal cut grade, opt for an eye-clean diamond over a specific clarity grade, and stick to diamonds with a color grade in the H to J range for optimal value. 

With this said, it’s okay to be a little more relaxed with your requirements than you would with a diamond for an engagement ring, since diamond studs are usually viewed from further away.


We’ve discussed all of this, as well as why we make these specific recommendations, in more detail below.

How to Buy Diamond Stud Earrings for $1,300 or Less

We’re big fans of diamond stud earrings. In many ways, they’re the perfect gift for anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions. Not only do they look stunning, but they’re very versatile, with an elegant, simple appearance that can be dressed both up and down. 

If (like this reader) you’re looking for an ideal gift for your wife, fiancé or girlfriend, a high quality set of diamond stud earrings is a safe choice that’s sure to satisfy. 

Beyond their elegance and versatility, one huge advantage of diamond stud earrings is that they can be quite affordable, provided you understand what to look for.

In general, whenever we give advice on buying diamonds, we recommend taking all of the four Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat weight) into account, then allocating your budget towards those that have the biggest impact on a diamond’s appearance. 

Round cut diamond studs in a martini setting
Round cut diamond studs in a martini setting (Photo: James Allen)

This almost always means choosing a diamond with an Excellent or Ideal cut quality, aiming for a target carat weight, then selecting a diamond that’s eye-clean (meaning it doesn’t display any inclusions that are visible with the naked eye) and colorless in relation to its setting.

When it comes to diamond studs, the same rules apply, but you can relax your requirements for clarity and color. This is because the normal distance from which people will see diamond studs on your partner’s ears means that most tiny inclusions and color issues simply aren’t visible. 

For example, in our guide to diamond stud earrings, we recommended the following parameters when comparing studs online:

  • A cut quality of Excellent or Ideal. This is essential, as the main thing you’ll notice in a pair of stud earrings is their brilliance.

    When it comes to diamond studs, never compromise on cut quality in order to choose a pair of diamonds with better color or clarity. Doing so is simply wasting your money on a feature that will go completely unnoticed by you, your partner and other people.
  • A clarity grade of SI1 or SI2. There’s no need to obsess over clarity when it comes to diamond studs, especially as the round brilliant cut is excellent at concealing inclusions. It’s okay to be a little more generous with your use of “eye-clean” than normal.

    If you need help finding a pair of diamond studs that’s eye-clean while offering excellent value, feel free to contact us for recommendations within your budget.
  • A color grade of H to J. There’s no need to go higher than this, as diamond studs are viewed from a reasonable distance and often covered by shadows, hair and reflections that can affect their perceived color anyway.

    Like with clarity, it’s pointless to overpay for color when your budget could be put to far better use by choosing a larger pair of diamonds.

There are two ways to choose a pair of diamonds for stud earrings. The easiest option is to pick a pre-set pair of diamonds from a reliable online vendor. 

Blue Nile and James Allen both offer pre-set pairs of diamond studs in a range of carat weights and clarity/color grades, with consistent pricing and a range of earring backs. 

This method is quick and simple, but it has some major drawbacks. The first is that many of the pre-picked pairs of diamonds marketed for stud earrings have obvious inclusions, meaning they aren’t eye-clean. 

The second is that some diamond pairs have differences in cut that may make one stone more brilliant than the other. 

A better option is to search for two diamonds with near-identical specifications, then select them for a pair of stud earrings. This option allows you to pick great diamonds that will have minimum inclusions, cut issues and other factors that may affect their appearance. 

With a budget in the $1,000 to $1,300 range, finding a pair of beautiful diamond stud earrings is rarely a difficult process.

Stud earrings graphic

For example, these 0.42/0.43 carat, J color, SI2 clarity diamonds from James Allen have an excellent cut quality. Although they display some inclusions, these issues are invisible to the human eye from a typical distance and outside a brightly lit studio environment. Especially since all of them are placed on the edges of the diamonds where they can be covered with prongs.

Paired with classic three or four-prong stud earring mountings, they’re available for slightly over the reader’s $1,300 budget ($1,400 in total).

By slightly reducing the target carat weight, it’s possible to get a stunning pair of diamond studs for under $1,000. For example, these 0.40 carat, J color, SI2 clarity round diamonds with this pair of 14K white gold four prong stud earring mountings are available for a total of just $1,230. 

In general, we recommend James Allen for diamond stud earrings, as their high quality images and large selection give you plenty of competitively priced options to choose from. 

Blue Nile also offer a range of excellent diamonds in the 0.40 carat weight range, also with excellent pricing. Just make sure to check the GIA reports before purchasing. This 0.40 carat, J color, SI2 clarity diamond and this 0.41 carat, J color, SI2 calrity diamond will look fantastic in this four-prong 14K white gold setting. The total cost of these gorgeous earrings is $1,221.

Our Recommendation

As always, we recommend spending as much of your budget as possible where it matters: on cut quality and carat weight. Then, select a pair of diamonds that have eye-clean clarity and a color grade that allows them to appear colorless when set inside stud earring mountings.

Since stud earrings are often viewed from a distance and hidden by shadows cast by the face, it’s okay to be more relaxed when it comes to clarity and color. This allows you to put an even greater percentage of your budget towards cut quality and carat weight.

If you need expert help buying a pair of diamond stud earrings from James Allen or Blue Nile, feel free to contact us.

Not only do we help hundreds of readers find and purchase engagement rings every month — we can also help you to find the perfect pair of diamond earrings for your loved one, all while understanding your unique tastes and budget. 

James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. They have the largest exclusive loose diamond inventory online and fantastic prices. They also have the nicest collection of lab created diamonds online.  Save 10% off select lab grown diamonds and 25% off ring settings during limited time sale!
What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. James Allen will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free International Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisals
  • One free resizing within 60 days of purchase
  • Free ring inscriptions
  • Best-in-class high quality imagery of all diamonds in stock
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • Best-in-class packaging
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have a very large exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. Blue Nile have generously offered our readers an exclusive one-time use coupon. (Click Here to save $100 off $1000 purchase)

Please enter your email address to receive your personal one-time use unique coupon code:

What we love about them:
  • No questions asked returns within 30 days of shipment. Blue Nile will send you a paid shipping label to return the ring.
  • Lifetime Warranty
  • Free Shipping
  • Free prong tightening, repolishing, rhodium plating and cleaning every 6 months
  • Provide insurance appraisal
  • One free resizing within the first year of purchase
  • High quality images of about half of their diamonds
  • 24/7 Customer Service
  • 100% credit towards future upgrades (must be at least double in value)
  • Best in class fulfillment
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