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We often receive emails from readers interested in help choosing diamond earrings. Recently, a reader contacted us to ask for a recommendation for a pair of princess cut diamond studs. They were willing to pay up to $2,000 and wanted to get the best diamonds possible for their budget.
Here’s the reader’s original email:
Diamond stud earrings:
2/3 cw total
Willing to consider price up to $2000.
What would you recommend?”
After a bit of back-and-forth, the reader mentioned that they’d prefer a pair of diamonds of 0.50 carats each, for a total carat weight of 1.00 carats. They also said that they prefer the princess cut instead of the more common round brilliant cut.
Princess cut stud earrings can look absolutely gorgeous, and this reader’s budget is enough to pick up a beautiful pair of stud earrings in the 0.75 to 1.00 total carat weight range.
When shopping for diamond studs, the same “rules” of buying a princess cut diamond for a ring still apply. However, there’s less of a need to emphasize color and clarity, as diamond studs are seen from further away (and often in less ideal lighting conditions) than an engagement ring.
This means that you can generally choose a color grade in the H to J range and a clarity grade that’s eye-clean. However, it’s imperative that you choose a pair of diamonds that are very well cut, as the brilliance of a pair of diamond studs is arguably their defining characteristic.
This reader’s budget of $2,000 is perfect for birthday, anniversary and holiday gifts, giving us an excellent opportunity to talk about what to look for if you’re also considering buying princess cut diamond stud earrings for your loved one.
So, let’s go over this in more detail and provide some specific examples of what to look for when choosing a pair of diamonds in this price range.
The princess cut is one of the most elegant and versatile diamond shapes available, with a truly timeless appearance that will never look out of style.
It’s also a great buy from a value for money perspective. As we’ve discussed in our guide to the most affordable diamond shapes, the princess cut is significantly less wasteful to cut and polish, resulting in a lower price per carat than the round brilliant cut.
This makes it a wonderful alternative to the round brilliant cut if you prefer a diamond that has a high level of brilliance and fire.
Although it’s already achieved classic status, the princess cut is relatively new. According to the GIA, the first princess cut diamonds were created in 1981 by Betzalel Ambar and Israel Itskowitz. It’s since become an extremely popular shape, ranking behind the round brilliant in terms of total sales.
When it comes to buying princess cut diamonds, cut quality is essential. A well-cut diamond will look absolutely stunning and command attention, whereas a poorly cut diamond will appear dull and lifeless, even if its other characteristics are optimal.
Cut quality is particularly important for stud earrings, as the brilliance of the diamond is the first thing people will notice when viewing them.
As always, when buying a pair of diamonds, we suggest starting with a cut quality of either Excellent (if sold with a GIA certificate) or Ideal (if sold with an AGS certificate). Then, selecting the lowest clarity and color grades that provide aesthetically pleasing diamonds.
So, where to start? When buying a round cut diamond, assessing cut quality is simple. The GIA and AGS provide detailed information and accurate grading that you can use to tell if a diamond is well cut or poorly cut, then decide appropriately.
With the princess cut, it’s slightly more complicated. The GIA only grades princess cut diamonds for polish and symmetry, without providing such a clear, simple assessment of how perfectly cut any single diamond is.
To identify well-cut princess cut diamonds, we recommend limiting your search to diamonds with the following parameters:
These parameters will provide a princess cut diamond that reflects light well, resulting in optimal brilliance and fire. Cut quality is absolutely paramount, and selecting a pair of diamonds that are well cut should be your first priority when shopping for princess cut stud earrings.
If you need help assessing the cut quality of a pair of diamonds, feel free to contact us and our team of diamond experts will assist you.
As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to the color grade of diamond stud earrings, it’s alright to choose diamonds in the H to J range.
This is because any coloration of a diamond isn’t obvious at the typical distance from which you look at someone’s ears, meaning paying for a higher color grade simply using money that could be better put towards a larger pair of diamonds.
Likewise, when it comes to clarity, eye-cleanliness is essential. If you choose carefully, you can find excellent princess cut diamonds suitable for stud earrings in the VS2 and SI1 clarity range, provided you inspect the diamonds carefully before purchase.
This is much easier to do if you choose an online vendor that provides high-resolution diamond images, such as Blue Nile or James Allen.
When it comes to actually choosing diamond earrings, you have two options. The first is to pick a pre-set pair of earrings with diamonds selected by the vendor. This option saves time, but can limit your ability to check for color or clarity issues.
For example, Blue Nile offers these 1.00 carat total weight princess cut diamond earrings in 14K gold for $2,600, or these slightly smaller 0.75 carat total weight earrings for $1,550.
Both pairs of earrings can look fantastic, although it’s important to note that the minimum clarity grade is in the I range and the cut quality of the diamonds isn’t mentioned.
A better option, as long as you’re comfortable with comparing diamonds and finding a matching pair, is to select your diamonds on your own.
Blue Nile allows for this with their Build Your Own Earrings tool, which gives you a vastly greater level of control over your choice of diamonds. By choosing carefully, you can often find superior deals by selecting a matching pair of diamonds on your own.
For example, this set of 0.40 carat, I color princess cut diamonds (with a total carat weight of 0.80 carats) is available for $1,771, or a total of $2,021 when mounted in beautiful 14K white gold earrings.
This pair of 0.42 carat princess cut diamonds from James Allen, with color grades of H and VS2 clarity, also look stunning and are available as a pair for $1,770, including the set of earrings.
Both sets of diamonds look absolutely stunning and will offer exceptional brilliance once set in the right pair of earrings.
The princess cut is an elegant and timeless diamond shape, and it works particularly well as a choice of diamond shape for stud earrings.
When choosing princess cut diamond studs, look for cut quality above all else. Prioritize polish, symmetry, depth, table and an optimal length/width ratio, then choose diamonds with eye-clean clarity and a color grade in the H to J range.
Make sure to avoid overspending on a better color grade or flawless clarity, as these are costly features that will go completely unnoticed in a pair of earrings.
If you need help buying a pair of diamond earrings, you can consult our diamond stud earrings buying guide. You can also contact us to talk to our team of diamond experts and get help with everything from selecting a pair of diamonds to choosing the right metal for your earrings.
We help hundreds of our readers with questions and inquiries like the one above every month, and we’re happy to help you find the perfect earrings, engagement ring or other jewelry to suit your tastes and budget.
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