Two of the most popular precious gems, diamonds and emeralds, have different associations. As the hardest bulk material in the world, diamond has come to symbolise eternal love and is also affiliated with glamour, wealth, and power. Emeralds, with their vivacious green colour, are the birthstone for the month of May and considered by many to be a lucky gem. Diamond and emerald earrings match these two stones together in a unique, winning combination of sparkle and colour. The possibilities are endless when it comes to choices of design, length, and size.
Those looking to purchase emerald and diamond earrings should inform themselves about their many options. First they should be familiar with different earring styles and which face-shapes they are best suited to. Other factors like gem shape, setting type, and metal should also be considered. Finally, they need to be familiar with how emeralds and diamonds are evaluated. With a little know-how, consumers can find an elegant, quality pair of emerald and diamond earrings.
Diamond and emerald earrings come in a variety of different styles, from delicate studs to dramatic dangling pieces. Choosing a style depends on the wearer's individual style and taste, as well as how formal they wish the earrings to be. Finally, certain styles complement different face shapes.
Stud earrings sit on the earlobe, and may be very small and delicate or of a larger, bolder design. Studs can be very versatile, working with casual, professional, and formal dress, and they suit every face type.
Hoop earrings form a loop that extends under the earlobe. They range in size from close-fitting huggies, to large, flirty circles, and the gems may be embedded along the loop, or may hang in a pendant below it. Hoop earrings work well with angular faces, including square and diamond face types.
Chandelier earrings are dangling earrings that feature tiers much like a chandelier lamp. Emerald and diamond chandelier earrings are a highly elegant choice, and work well with rectangular and square face shapes.
Cluster earrings feature several smaller stones tightly packed together into a larger design, such as a flower, star, or heart. Clusters may be studs or dangling, and generally work well with oval and diamond faces.
Drop earrings feature a drop-shaped gem that either hangs just below the lobe or at the end of a longer metal earring. Long drop earrings are an excellent accessory for dressy occasions. Drop earrings are particularly flattering on heart-shaped faces.
Together with style, the shape of the gemstones are a highly prominent feature of a pair of earrings. Gems come in many different shapes, including round (particularly for diamonds), rectangular (particularly for emeralds), square, oval, pear, marquise (oval with tapered ends), triangle, and heart.
Emeralds tend to be step-cut, meaning their facets are broad and flat, similar to stairs. This emphasises their colour, clarity, and depth. Diamonds are traditionally cut in the so-called brilliant cut, which features multiple small facets that optimise the stone's reflective sparkle. Some diamonds are step-cut, for a strikingly different effect that highlights clarity rather than sparkle.
Settings for Emerald and Diamond Earrings
An earring's setting is another important consideration for shoppers. There are two basic types of settings, claw, bezel, and pave. Claw settings feature three or more metal prongs that hold the gem in place, while with bezel settings, the metal surrounds and frames the jewel. Claw settings showcase the gem and allow more light to pass through it, maximising its brilliance. Bezel settings are favoured by some because they have the ability to make a stone appear larger, and also may be even more secure than claw settings. Pave settings create the appearance of a continuous surface of precious stones by embedding small gems in between beads of the setting metal.
Precious Metal Settings
Choosing a metal is another step in deciding on a setting. The most common metals are gold (yellow, white, or rose), platinum, and sterling silver.
Pure 24 carat gold is considered too soft for jewelry, so it is alloyed with other metals for more durability. 18 carat gold is considered ideal for jewellery, while 14 or 9 carat gold is more affordable. Yellow gold has been mixed with copper or zinc, white gold with silver or palladium, and rose gold with copper. Yellow gold may be plated with rhodium, a hypoallergenic metal, for the look of white gold.
Buyers should not confuse gold purity, expressed in carats, or karats, with gem weight, also expressed in carats.
Platinum is a highly durable, hypoallergenic metal that is prized for its cool luster. It is often in 90 to 95 per cent pure form, mixed with iridium.
For jewelry purposes, silver is alloyed with 7.5 per cent copper to form sterling silver, labelled 925, .925, 92.5 or "Ster". Sterling silver is less expensive than other precious metals, and its malleability means that it can be sculpted into intricate designs. Over time silver tends to tarnish, however, so regular polishing is needed, and proper storage ensures it keeps its form.
Evaluating Emeralds and Diamonds
Precious gems are evaluated according to four major criteria: cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight. Cut refers to the way in which the stone has been shaped and facets cut into it; ideally, a cut should maximise the stone's innate colour and clarity. Colour analyses the presence or absence of colours within the mineral. Clarity indicates the amount of internal marks, called inclusions, and external marks, called blemishes. Finally, the stone's weight in carats indicates its size.
With emeralds and diamonds, these criteria are prioritised and evaluated differently, so it is important for buyers to know what to look for concerning each gem.
Emeralds: Colour is Primary
Emeralds are treasured for their green colour, which is the result of the presence of chromium and vanadium. When evaluating an emerald, therefore, colour takes precedence, with the analysis of three considerations: hue (the stone's general colour, which may included tints other than green), tone (from light to dark, the colour's depth), and saturation (indicated the purity of the green and the amount of other tints that are present). Vivid green is the most highly valued colour.
That said, colour must be weighed with the other aspects of the stone to determine its final value. Clarity is the second-most important factor. Emeralds are among the most highly-included precious gems; indeed, inclusions are what give them their trademark colour. Fissures or cracks can weaken an emerald's structure; however, most emeralds are oiled through a special process that strengthens and protects the stone. Clarity grade in emeralds is not standardised as it is with diamonds, although some jewelers use the diamond clarity grades as a guide for emeralds.
As mentioned above, emeralds are generally step-cut to complement their colour. Cut is evaluated according to symmetry, evenness, and a proportionality that allows maximum brilliance.
Diamonds: Cut and Colour Dominate
Diamonds are very different in character from emeralds, and are evaluated according to different standards. With diamonds, the emphasis is on brilliance and fire. Cut is the most decisive factor, with the right depth and faceting maximising the amount of light the stone reflects. Cut is graded as excellent (superior reflectivity), very good (nearly ideal, with some reflectivity sacrificed to preserve the stone's size), good (nearly all light is reflected), and fair (size is prioritised over reflectivity, though still good quality).
Colour is generally regarded as the second-most important aspect of a diamond. As opposed to emeralds, however, colour in diamonds devalues the stone, since it reduces transparency. Colour ratings range from D to Z, with D as the most valuable. To the naked eye, gradations may be undetectable, so the different grades can be classified as follows: colourless (D, E, F), nearly colourless (G, H, I, J), faint yellow (K, L, M), very light yellow (N, O, P, Q, R), and light yellow (S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z).
Clarity is one area where budget-minded consumers can compromise with diamonds, since many inclusions are invisible to the naked eye. The ratings for clarity are outlined in the following chart.
Diamond Clarity Grade
No inclusions or blemishes can be detected when magnified 10X; exceedingly rare
Internally Flawless (IF)
No internal flaws, though there may be some slight surface flaws when magnified 10X; very rare
Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1, VVS2)
Has a few tiny inclusions and/or blemishes that are very difficult to see under 10X magnification; excellent quality
Very Slightly Included (VS1, VS2)
Inclusions can be seen with effort when magnified 10X, though generally invisible to the naked eye; very good quality
Slightly Included (SI1, SI2)
Inclusions are visible when magnified 10X; though very difficult to detect with the naked eye; good value
Included (I1, I2, I3)
Inclusions are obvious when magnified 10X; I1 inclusions may be difficult to see with naked eye; I2 and I3 have inclusions visible to the naked eye and may obstruct passage of light
It may be helpful to keep in mind that while a higher clarity is more valuable, even SI diamonds are usually eye-clean. Slightly included diamonds represent a substantial savings, and even certain visible inclusions in included stones may be strategically concealed by settings.
Gems are measured in carats, where one carat equals 200 milligrams. Carats are divided into 100 points. Weight cited for earrings is the total weight of all the gems in both earrings.
Conflict-Free Diamonds and Emeralds
Choosing conflict-free diamonds and emeralds helps assure buyers that their gems have been sourced in an ethical manner. This is especially of concern with diamonds, since some mines are controlled by rebel groups and factions opposed to internationally-recognised governments. Profits from so-called conflict or blood diamonds fund illegal activities, including arms acquisitions and violent anti-government actions.
How to Buy Emerald and Diamond Earrings on eBay
eBay's online auction website has a wide array of fine jewellery, including many different styles of emerald and diamond earrings. To search for your own pair, begin on the eBay home page. Enter key terms like "emerald and diamond stud earrings", and once you get your search results, you can further refine them by limiting factors and sort them according to things like price or auction date.
When you find a pair of earrings that interest you, take a few moments to get to know more about the item and the seller. Always read the product description carefully, noting specifics about the materials, item condition, and the seller's return policy. Note postage fees and conditions, too. You can contact the seller with any questions you may have.
Check the seller's feedback rating and browse comments left by previous customers. This helps give you an idea of how reliable they are. After you've completed your transaction and received your item, you can help the seller by leaving constructive feedback yourself.
No matter the style or size, emerald and diamond earrings are a classic combination of rich colour and elegant sparkle. This beautiful pairing of two precious gems brightens everything from casual outfits to evening gowns. Before setting out to shop, buyers should inform themselves of the different styles available, the options for settings, and the various means of evaluating both emeralds and diamonds.
Overall earring design is determined by the style, such as hoop or stud, the shape of the gems, the setting type, and what kind of metal is used for the setting. Choosing among these options is a matter of individual preference. As for the gems themselves, emeralds and diamonds are both evaluated according to cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight. For emeralds, colour is prioritised, while the cut takes precedence with diamonds.
Familiarity with the different options helps buyers find a pair of emerald and diamond earrings that highlight their jewellery collection.