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Best Places to Buy Diamond Stud Earrings in 2024

A review of the best diamond stud earrings and tips on which quality to focus on

By Mike Fried,

Diamond stud earrings are classic, elegant pieces featuring single diamonds set into a precious metal setting, like gold or platinum, and held on the ear with a backing. Stud earrings are available in a wide array of shapes and sizes. The weight of diamond studs is measured in CTW, or carat total weight, which represents the combined weight of both diamond earrings. The majority of diamond studs sold for every-day wear fall in the 0.25 to 2ctw range.

When purchasing, it’s crucial to find “matching pairs,” ensuring the diamonds are visually as close as possible. For this reason, we recommend purchasing diamond stud earrings only from reputable jewelers who can match the 4Cs of the diamonds properly. 

The simplicity and timeless appeal of these earrings set them apart, making them suitable for any occasion.

In this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about finding the best studs for your budget. We’ll help you balance the different qualities, find the right size and make sure you are getting the best bang for your buck.

Diamond stud earrings on a person
Veronika showing off stud earrings on a secret shopping trip

What we cover in this article:

What size studs can I get for my budget?
Best 1 carat total weight diamond stud earrings
‘Build-your-own’ diamond stud earrings
Best place to buy diamond stud earrings
Best metal and styles for diamond studs
Which earring back is best for diamond studs

To help you with the diamond buying process we lean on our expertise and experience. The author of this article, our CEO, Mike Fried has over 20 years of experience in the diamond industry. Mike started from the bottom, sorting and evaluating hundreds of thousands of diamonds to learn every facet (pun intended) of diamond quality and value. Mike followed that up by spending years buying and selling diamonds on the wholesale market as well as selling tens of millions of dollars worth of diamonds to diamond retailers.

What Size Diamond Studs Can I Get For My Budget

This may be the most difficult question, but we can’t help you settle on a budget. I’m sure you want to buy the perfect gift, but we would never recommend compromising your finances for jewelry. What we can do is give you an idea of what you can get for your budget range.

If you are considering diamonds with a TCW (carat total weight is shortened to TCW or CTTW) up to 1.00cts, you should probably stick with preset studs. We discuss this below, but we recommend purchasing from James Allen or Blue Nile. They are the best diamond jewelers for diamond studs.

Natural Diamond Pre-set Stud Earrings Price Chart

1/4 Carat Total Weight1/2 Carat Total Weight3/4 Carat Total Weight1 Carat Total Weight
Blue Nile$370$770$1,540$2,570
James Allen$320$780$1,480$2,510
Brilliant Earth$375$850$1,550$2,495
You can click on the price to go to the product page for more details.
Deal Alert: Get up to 30% off select bridal jewelry at Blue Nile

Natural vs. Lab-Grown Diamond Stud Earrings

We have an article dedicated to lab-grown diamonds vs. natural. It’s a complex question that has economic factors and emotional ones. From a technical point of view, they are the same. They are both diamonds and will look identical.

Lab-Grown Diamond Pre-set Stud Earrings Price Chart

1/4 Carat Total Weight1/2 Carat Total Weight3/4 Carat Total Weight1 Carat Total Weight
Blue Nile$370$540$820$1,500
James Allen$300$540$820$1,500
Brilliant Earth$275$495$795$1,450
You can click on the price to go to the product page for more details.

You can even find a nice 1.50 cttw pair of pre-set stud earrings. Anything over that we recommend building your own.

Best 1 Carat TCW Diamond Stud Earrings

The most popular size of diamond stud earrings is 1 carat TCW. This size is big enough to be noticeable and fits a popular budget people have for diamond earrings. My favorite pair of 1 cttw studs are these stunners in a white gold martini setting from Blue Nile.

If you want to reach 1 carat TCW and that’s too far out of your budget, you have two budget options. You can go with the lab-grown diamonds like this pair from James Allen to save a thousand dollars. And if you need to get your budget to the $1,200 range this 0.90 cttw pair is very close in size.

How to ‘Build Your Own’ Diamond Stud Earrings

If you are buying studs that are two carat total weight or higher (1.00ct each) you will probably want to “build your own pair.” You do this buy choosing specific certified diamonds that match and having them put in the setting of your choice. When going this route, you might need some help making sure the two stones match, and making sure you’re not spending too much on features that will go to waste.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions. We’ll gladly look through the inventory online and send you recommendations for specific stones.

Vendors often give you the choice to buy a pre-designed set of earrings or create your own. With a pre-set, the diamonds are already selected and placed in the setting. To build your own pair, follow a step-by-step guide where you choose your diamonds and your setting. Both are great options. 

The build-your-own choice allows you to review several sets of loose diamond pairs and pick the ones you like the best. No matter which route you go, ensure your diamonds are of Excellent or Ideal cut for maximum brilliance. 

If building your own, make sure your two stones match.

If you’re creating your own diamond stud earrings, ensure your two diamonds are similar. They should be equal—or almost equal—in carat weight (i.e. 0.51 and 0.52 carat diamonds are fine). They should have the same Color, Clarity, and Cut grades. This ensures that your earrings match and complement each other. 

Quality recommendations for ‘build your own’ diamond stud earrings.

Opting for a pair of stud earrings that are already designed can be a great option. You might even be able to find a recycled set, which is an environmentally friendly choice. If you decide on pre-set earrings, keep these guidelines in mind.

  • Carat Weight: The carat weight should be nearly equal (within 0.05 Carat of each other).
  • Diamond cut: The cut quality should be Ideal or Excellent.
  • Diamond color: Aim for a color grade of G-I. The diamonds will look white but cost far less than D-F graded diamonds.
  • Diamond clarity: A clarity grade of VS2-SI1 will likely give you eye-clean diamonds for a much lower price that better-graded diamonds. 
  • Metal: We recommend 14K or 18K gold, because these are the most durable and long-lasting. Platinum is not necessary for the price tag, and sterling silver doesn’t provide the best quality long-term.

Best Place to Purchase Diamond Stud Earrings

For those who want the bottom line right away, here is a quick summary of my research presented in a table, ranking the vendors.

OverallCustomer ServiceDiamond QualityEase of Return
1A) Blue Nile★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
1B) James Allen★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
2) Brilliant Earth★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★★
3) Diamondstuds.com★★★★★★★★★★★★★★

As I previously mentioned, most of the major online diamond vendors sell their studs blindly, without certification.  The reason for this is that generally, studs are a cheaper gift product, and adding the cost of two certificates often knocks the product out of affordability.

While this benefits the consumer in that it keeps prices down, it also creates some major problems.

Consumer Concerns

  1. How can the consumer trust what the vendor claims about the diamonds they are selling?
  2. How can the consumer reliably compare prices across different vendors if no objective 3rd party can attest to the fact that they are comparing an equivalent product?
  3. Customer reviews are great for giving the consumer confidence in a particular vendor, but how can the consumer compare customer service across different vendors?

The Diamond Vendors in Review

That’s when I came up with the idea for the Complete Diamond Stud Earrings Review.  This report seeks to address the three issues just mentioned.

To accomplish this, a pair of studs from three leading diamond vendors online were purchased and inspected. For our evaluation, we ordered 1/2 carat total weight (1/4 carat diamond in each ear) round diamond stud earrings from each of the above-mentioned vendors.

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Each vendor has at least two different quality levels.  To keep things consistent across each vendor, we tried to find comparable diamonds in the same SI2/I1 sweet spot. This is difficult as they were all over the map when it came to quality claims. For example, Blue Nile’s 1/2ctw were the best diamonds in terms of clarity, yet they labeled them I1. Century Diamonds, on the other hand, claimed their studs were SI2, but they were horrific diamonds.

Given that, we tried to get earrings as comparable as possible. We’ll comment on their quality and value to give you an accurate idea of which is the best bang for your buck.

We evaluated each pair of studs and then returned them to their respective vendors when finished.  We documented every step of the process: the ordering process, diamond quality, and ease of return. We also had the same photographer take the photos. Other than your typical touch-ups, there was no photoshopping of the earrings to edit their appearance.

1A) Blue Nile

Website and Ordering Process:

Well, this one’s the easiest of the bunch. Blue Nile is the largest online retailer (by a long shot). Their website is first-rate, and the ordering process was completely seamless. I’ve ordered from them multiple times (we’ve secret shopped them for engagement rings and for European readers), and the purchasing process was fast and smooth. They were the fastest to deliver the product of all the companies we worked with.

Round cut Stud Earrings from Blue Nile

The Earrings

This is where Blue Nile really shines. The earrings were stunning. The diamonds were very well cut and were incredibly brilliant. The diamonds appeared white, and none of the inclusions were visible at all.

I had a few people choose their favorite pair of the bunch, and four of the five picked this pair without hesitation.

Ease of Return

Blue Nile’s return process is super simple. You just need to send it back by registered mail. After sending it back, we received a confirmation email, and our account was credited a few days later.

1B) James Allen

Website and Ordering Process

Another easy recommendation for us is James Allen. Along with Blue Nile, they dominate the online retail field. I would rate our secret shopping with James Allen as the best experience. From site navigation, product options, and customer service to price and quality, James Allen is the cream of the crop. 

The Earrings

Diamond Stud Earrings James Allen

We absolutely loved the stud earrings we bought from James Allen. The only reason we put Blue Nile first is that James Allen’s pieces are slightly higher quality, which comes with a higher price tag. Both are fantastic options, and if you want to go the extra mile, they are worth every penny.

Ease of Return

Seamless return process. I had the money credited back to my card in no time. The process was quick and easy.

2) Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth is a fantastic choice for stud earrings as well. We did not test them at the same time as the other companies, but their popularity has grown tremendously over the last few years. They have a phenomenal selection of natural and lab-grown stud earrings.

Brilliant Earth stud earrings

The Earrings

While I did not order a pair for testing, I have inspected their stud earrings at a couple of their showrooms. I was impressed with their quality and consistency. I found them to have quite a bit of sparkle, even when I moved them to parts of the room with less light.

Ease of Return

As mentioned, I did not purchase a pair of studs from Brilliant Earth, but I did purchase a ring from them. It was a simple and painless process sending the ring back and I received the full refund on my card within a few days.

3) Diamondstuds.com

While the Diamondstuds’ website is streamlined and easy to use, we found the customer service to be a bit lacking. My sister had some issues ordering a pair and it was not easy to get someone on the phone or answer an email. Eventually, we managed to get the order placed. But the earrings did arrive promptly.

round cut diamodn studs from Diamondstuds

The Earrings

Unfortunately, this is where they fell a bit flat. The diamonds were by no means terrible. For the price point, they may be a good option.

But the cut on the diamonds was noticeably worse than the Blue Nile pair. They just didn’t have that extra oomph in their sparkle that makes them stand out (which is paramount in earrings).

They also were a bit deeper cut which made the pair look a little smaller. The craftsmanship was ok, the color was fine and the inclusions weren’t terrible. While the quality was head and shoulders above the next two sites, it didn’t quite reach the level we would like.

If you are really stretched on the budget, this is a good alternative to Blue Nile, but I do think you get nicer pairs of earrings by spending a little more on one of those sites.

Ease of Return

Again, it was a pain getting someone on the phone. However once we did speak to them, everything went smoothly. They also provided a return shipping label (they emailed it to us once we informed them it will be returned).

Choosing The Best Metal And Style For Your Diamond Stud Earrings

Depending on your style and preference, pick the precious metal and color for your settings. Consider a few main factors when choosing your precious metal.

  • Metal color: Yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum are the most popular colors for diamond stud earrings. The choice is based on personal preference. Consider the other jewelry in his or her collection if you’re unsure. Or choose a color that’ll be unique among their other jewelry. Gold will be cheaper than platinum, and durable enough for everyday wear.
  • Metal weight: For gold, you have the option of 14K or 18K gold. There’s more gold in the 18K gold mixture, but the metal is less sturdy and more scratch-prone than 14K gold. To save on cost and get the most durable choice, 14K is a good bet. Platinum is more durable than gold but is more expensive and more scratch-prone. 
  • Metal allergies: If the wearer has any allergies to metal, consider that during shopping. Be sure that they won’t have a reaction to the earrings, especially if they wear them all day. 

More than anything, opt for a setting from a reliable vendor made of gold or platinum. Sterling silver might also be an option but isn’t as durable or long-lasting. Plus, most reputable vendors don’t even sell silver settings.

Choosing a Setting Style

Diamond stud settings tend to be classic, usually with prongs holding the diamond in place. There are slight variations depending on your diamond shape and the vendor. For instance, pear shaped stud earrings have three prongs, while these princess cut stud earrings have four prongs. The prongs help ensure the diamond is secure in the earring. Another option is to go with halo studs.

In fact, industry experts like National Jewler, are predicting “as multiple ear piercings continue to trend, customers require more earrings that are relatively low-profile and easy to wear daily”.

Check out celebrity looks for inspiration.

Which Earring Backs Are Best for Diamond Stud Earrings

The backs of your earrings play a vital role in securing your earrings and ensuring they don’t unlock. There are a few types of earring backs that offer you security. Ultimately, the style you choose is a matter of personal preference. 

  • Friction back: Made with a post with an indent in it. When the backing presses to the post of the earring, it locks into the indented section.
  • Screw back: The back screws into the post, which some people feel makes the two pieces lock more securely together. 
  • Guardian back: A straight notched post with a locking back. By squeezing the tabs on the sides when pushing them on, the back slides over the notch and holds the earring in place. Popular for diamond stud earrings over 1 carat. 
  • Push back: Slides over the notches to hold the post in place. Doesn’t provide the extra security like a lock guardian backing, but sufficient for earrings weighing less than 1 carat. 

Depending on the carat weight of your earrings and the style, the size of the backing will range. The backs provided by a high-quality vendor will be large enough to support the weight of the diamonds you’re buying.

Bottom Line Recommendation

Quality requirements for diamond stud earrings can be significantly relaxed when compared to diamonds to be set in engagement rings. This is due to the fact that the average distance at which they are viewed is notably farther than the distance at which engagement rings are viewed. Many stones for engagement rings that aren’t considered eye-clean can be considered eye-clean for diamond studs.

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.
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. 
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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About the author

Mike Fried Mike Fried Mike Fried has over 25 years experience in the diamond industry working with Leo Schachter Diamonds, Moshe Namdar Diamonds, and joining The Diamond Pro in 2007. He is recognized as an industry expert and has been quoted in publications such as Us, People, Page Six, The Next Web and more.

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