Diamond Earrings 101

So I’m on a quest to find a matched pair of ideal cut diamonds for an old client of Nice Ice and thought I’d share my thought process with you since the holidays are just around the corner and diamond earrings are always a popular gift. Today’s search brought me through the online diamond inventories of Brian Gavin, Infinity and James Allen.  I also looked for Diamond Stud Earrings at Blue Nile which are conveniently sorted by price range, but limited in terms of how I like to search for stuff.

The first question that people usually ask about diamonds being selected for diamond earrings is “do they need to be as nice as the diamond we selected for her engagement ring?” and the answer depends on your individual need for precision… in my case, I truly prefer to stick with super ideal cut diamonds because I prefer the increased visual performance that they offer in comparison to diamonds of lower cut quality.  One reason for this is that I’ve seen many women pull the diamonds out of their ears and suggest using them as accents in a three stone ring with their engagement diamond as a center stone… it’s a pretty clever tactic on their part because it creates the necessity for a new pair of diamond earrings that can be presented to them to celebrate the next holiday (for the record, women are not manipulative, they are strategic).

All right, so I’m on a quest for a pair of earrings… the parameters are “just as nice as the diamond I bought for her engagement ring” and about 3.00 carats total weight with a budget of around $20,000.00 and since the diamond in the engagement ring is an H color, SI-1 clarity round brilliant super ideal cut diamond, I started poking around to see what a 1.50 carat puppy in that quality is going to cost to determine whether the desired expectations are properly aligned with current diamond prices…

I find this gorgeous 1.568 carat, H color, SI-1 Brian Gavin Signature diamond which is exactly what the doctor ordered, but at a little more than $17K the total cost for two matching diamonds is going to be around $34K which clearly exceeds the desired price range of $20K so something is going to have to give… so the client and I email back and forth a bit and determine that the most important factors are size, price, and visual performance.

So I expand my search parameters to include diamonds in the 1.40 – 1.60 carat range, I – J color, SI-2 to SI-1 clarity range, because the body color and clarity of the diamonds is going to be less noticeable when worn up in the ears than it would be in a ring and there is no possibility of these diamonds being used in a three stone setting with the original engagement diamond… And the adjustment in clarity and color does make the project more affordable.  Here’s what I found:

This 1.53 carat, I color, SI-1 clarity ideal cut diamond from James Allen matches really well with this 1.54 carat, I color, SI-1 clarity diamond from James Allen.   One diamond is graded by the GIA Laboratory with an overall cut rating of GIA Excellent, which is the highest rating available from the GIA.  The other diamond is graded by the AGS Laboratory with an overall cut rating of AGS Ideal, which is the highest rating available from the AGS.  I consider the grading practices and consistency to be equal between the GIA and AGS gemological laboratories and thus consider the paper to be of equal value in terms of my diamond selection process.

The next thing I look at are the diameter measurements of the diamonds which are 7.36 – 7.42 x 4.56 and 7.39 – 7.41 x 4.58 mm so they are extremely well matched to each other in terms of the minimum and maximum outside diameters, so they’re going to look well matched when set next to each other.  The crown and pavilion measurements for both diamonds are a little outside of the center sanctum of perfection that I practically insist on when selecting diamonds for engagement rings, but I’m willing to bend the parameters a little bit for diamond earrings and this helps with the cost in this particular instance… and I’m told that the diamonds are gorgeous and I trust the opinion of the person I spoke with at James Allen.  The combined price for these two diamonds is $19,870.00 which puts them within reach of the desired price range and makes them a suitable option.

Another pair of diamonds which I found which I think is interesting is this 1.40 carat, I color, SI-1 clarity ideal cut diamond from James Allen matched with this 1.41 carat, I color, SI-2 clarity ideal cut diamond from James Allen.  Now if you’re paying attention, you might have noticed that one of the diamonds is SI-1 in clarity and the other is SI-2 in clarity and while that might drive me bonkers if the pair were to be used as accents in a three stone ring, it’s not so critical for diamonds being used for earrings because they’re going to be separated by the width of the person’s head who is wearing them and nobody is going to be looking at them that closely… and you probably picked up on the fact that they weigh less than 1.50 carats each, so we’re not going to hit the 3.00 carat mark, but one of the diamonds measures 7.18 – 7.19 x 4.44 and the other measures 7.17 x 7.19 x 4.44 and that’s not much of a difference from the average diameter of the diamonds paired in the previous set, so it’s worth considering…

Both diamonds are graded by the GIA Laboratory with an overall cut rating of GIA Excellent and the cost for the pair is $16,980.00 which is a little more affordable for a similar look ~ this is because of the price per carat increase which occurs between the 1.49 – 1.50 carat marks.  Here again, the proportions for the diamonds are not quite as precise as I’d insist on for use in an engagement ring, but they are excellent candidates for diamond earrings where light is going to be dancing off the diamonds and peeking out from behind strands of hair.

Now since I have a passion for truly well cut diamonds of exceptional cut quality, I’m personally more likely to choose diamond cut quality and visual performance over size… so for my preferences, I’m more apt to go with this pair of 1.23 carat, I color, VS clarity diamonds from Brian Gavin which I found for $19,580.00 (combined price) via the diamond matched pairs option on Brian Gavin Diamonds web site.

Both diamonds are graded by the AGS Laboratory with an overall cut rating of AGS Ideal and have center range zero ideal cut proportions and exhibit a crisp pattern of Hearts & Arrows.  Sure they’re a little smaller in terms of outside diameter, but they’re also going to be a little brighter and exhibit more light return than the zero ideal cut diamonds mentioned previously because they have tighter proportions and better visual symmetry… that said, uh, size matters, so maybe the other options are the better choice ~ I suppose it comes down to personal preference and price.

I like to have two to three months to look for matched pairs of diamonds for earrings and side stones because they can be extremely difficult to locate and the task becomes more difficult during the holiday season due to the increase in demand and lower production… so if you want me to help you find diamond earrings for the holidays, let’s get that project started ASAP.

About the AuthorTodd Gray

Todd Gray is a professional diamond buyer with 30+ years of trade experience. He loves to teach people how to buy diamonds that exhibit incredible light performance! In addition to writing for Nice Ice, Todd "ghost writes" blogs and educational content for other diamond sites. When Todd isn't chained to a desk, or consulting for the trade, he enjoys Freediving! (that's like scuba diving, but without air tanks)

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