How to Buy Diamond Studs

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How to Buy Diamond Studs

Diamond studs are timeless pieces of jewellery, and versatile. These earrings can be understated accessories to wear at work, or paired with an elegant necklace for an evening out. Diamonds are an investment as they retain their value over long periods of time. When buying diamond studs, shoppers should learn how to distinguish the various features of diamonds in order to make a confident purchase. Buyers need to consider the overall quality of the diamonds as well as their size, cut, and shape. Also important is the material used for the diamond settings and the style of fastening used to secure the stud. Finally, buyers should set a budget based on the characteristics of the diamonds that they desire. Diamond studs can be purchased from fine jewellery shops and department stores, as well as online retailers, such as eBay, where a large selection can be found to suit every budget.

The Four Cs for Diamonds

Throughout history, diamonds have been sought after by wealthy and powerful people, including monarchs. In addition to being prized for their brilliant shine, they were believed to have mystical properties. Since the 1800s, diamonds have become more widely available, although they are still associated with prestige and wealth. Many diamonds may look the same, especially to the untrained eye and without the aid of special tools. However, expert gemologists can distinguish the various grades of diamonds.

Diamonds are evaluated on four key criteria, often referred to as The Four Cs: colour, cut, clarity, and carat. The Four Cs should play a role in any buying decision. In most cases, a colour rating of H-J and a clarity rating of I1 or I2 is sufficient for anyone on a budget, but higher quality earrings are also readily available.

Colour of Diamonds

An absolutely colourless diamond is exceptionally rare. However, good quality diamonds are still considered colourless or nearly colourless. Diamonds are given a letter rating to indicate their colour quality, from D to Z. D is considered absolutely colourless, while E and F ratings are colourless. Diamonds with E and F ratings have only faint indications of colour that can be detected by gem experts. Diamonds with a G, H, or I rating also have slight traces of colour, but it is only detectable when compared with higher quality gems. J and K ratings indicate slight colouration that is visible to the naked eye, especially when compared with other diamonds. A diamond with a G-K rating is a good choice for fine jewellery.

Cut of Diamonds

Cut refers to the proportions of a diamond. The best cut diamonds have great brilliance; that is, they reflect a great amount of light towards the viewer. When gauging cut, gem experts take into account a variety of factors, such as uniformity, how deep or shallow the diamond is, and the proportions of individual parts of the diamond. Buyers should note that ratings for cut are not standardised and can vary by the seller.

Clarity of Diamonds

Clarity is a measure of the flaws that a diamond has, or the markings found on a diamond's surface or interior. Almost all diamonds have flaws; some affect the appearance of the diamond more than others. The best diamonds have extremely tiny flaws or small ones that do not affect their brilliance, but these command a very high price tag. Flaws can take several forms. A flaw on a diamond's surface is called a blemish, and a flaw on the interior is called inclusion. Inclusions can include bubbles, fractures, or crystals. The highest ratings for diamonds are flawless (FL) and internally flawless (IF), both of which are extremely rare. The table below describes the clarity ratings for diamonds.

Clarity

Meaning

Description

FL

Flawless

No blemishes or inclusions visible under a 10x magnification

IF

Internally flawless

Very minor surface blemishes that are visible under 10x magnification

VVS1, VVS2

Very very slightly included

Inclusions and blemishes are few, very small and difficult to distinguish under 10x magnification

VS1, VS2

Very slightly included

Slightly more or larger flaws than VVS1 or VVS2, and only visible under 10x magnification

SI1, SI2

Slightly included

Small flaws easily seen under 10x magnification, but hard to distinguish with the naked eye

I1

Included

Flaws visible under 10x magnification and visible to naked eye, but no effect on brilliance

I2

Included

More and larger flaws visible to naked eye, with some effect on brilliance

Buyers should remember that even an imperfect diamond can still shine radiantly. Choosing a diamond with a VVS or SI rating can help shoppers to save money on diamond studs. The flaws do not diminish the stone's beauty because they are not visible to the naked eye. Buyers should examine the diamonds before they buy in person, or look at photographs if buying online.

The Four Cs should play a role in any buying decision. In most cases, a colour rating of H-J and a clarity rating of I1 or I2 is sufficient for anyone on a budget, but higher quality earrings are also readily available.

Carat of Diamonds

Carat it is a measure of a diamond's weight. One carat weighs approximately 200 mg. However, because the cut and shape of a diamond can vary, a 2 carat diamond is not by default twice as large as a 1 carat diamond. Carat weight has a significant effect on price. Larger diamonds are more rare and therefore, more expensive. Buyers can choose a lower grade diamond, which can decrease the price. Buyers should note that carat weight for diamond studs is often stated for the pair, rather than for a single earring. The total weight for a pair is called TDW. Always check with the diamond seller to be sure of the actual weight of the diamonds before making a purchase.

Diamond Studs Certification and Origin

Diamonds are a long term investment and are highly prized by their owners. For that reason, buying from a seller that offers independent certification and origin guarantees may be an important factor. Purchasing certified diamonds, or those that have been inspected by an independent gem rating institution, gives buyers proof of the quality of the diamond. It is not an appraisal, but it can be used to help to gauge replacement value for insurance. It is also a good idea to check the origin of the diamond. Many reputable sellers offer guarantees that the diamonds that they sell are not sourced from countries where there are illegal or unethical diamond mining practices.

Choose the Diamonds for the Studs

After identifying the type of diamonds, shoppers can turn their attention to its shape. The most traditional style for diamond studs is a round brilliant shape, which is circular and has 58 facets, or individual planes, that allow it to deliver the most light of any cut. Another popular option is the princess cut, which is square and designed to reflect more light than other square and rectangular shapes. It is also less affected by flaws in the diamond.

Choose the Setting for Diamond Studs

The metal used to set a diamond should be of similar quality as the gem. Two of the most common settings for earrings are platinum and gold. A pair of IF diamonds should be in an equally high grade setting, such as platinum. A lower grade coloured diamond should be set in lower grade gold or silver.

Platinum Setting for Diamond Studs

Platinum is a whitish, silver precious metal that is extremely strong. In most jewellery, platinum is about 90 to 95 percent pure, with around 5 percent of another metal, such as iridium. Platinum is much more expensive than gold.

Gold Setting for Diamond Studs

Gold takes a variety of forms and colours, including white, rose, and the traditional yellow. Gold is soft and easily malleable by nature, so it is rarely used in its pure form for jewellery. It differs from platinum, as buyers can choose from a variety of purities. Solid gold is 24 carats, whereas 18 carats is a 75 percent purity, and 14 carat gold is 58.3 percent gold. The colour of gold is affected by its purity, as well as the other metals used. Rose gold gets a reddish sheen from high amounts of copper, whereas white gold gets its colouring from rhodium plating. Traditional yellow gold uses a combination of red copper and silver with a green tint to enhance the warm colouring.

Silver Setting for Diamond Studs

Far less common in earring settings is silver, or sterling silver. Like gold, silver in its pure form is too soft for jewellery, so it is mixed with other materials. Sterling silver has the highest purity, consisting of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent of other metals, typically copper. Buyers should pay attention to the supplementary metals used because some wearers have an allergy to nickel. Allergies are less of a problem with platinum, but gold and silver may have quantities of nickel that can trigger a reaction.

Choose the Setting Style

Diamond studs look best when they lie flat against the wearer's ear. To some extent this is affected by the size of the diamond, but the setting style also plays a large role. Many stud earrings use a prong setting, with small clips that hold the diamond in place. The number of prongs can range from just three, called the martini prong, to as many as eight. A martini prong is often considered ideal because it obscures less of the diamond, but an eight prong setting makes a dramatic statement and holds the stone more securely. A four prong basket style is a widely available choice. In addition to the prongs, this style cradles the stone in a basket like enclosure.

Another style is the bezel setting, which has no prongs. Instead, a ring of solid metal encases the diamond. Bezels are distinctive and more secure than prongs, so they are an ideal choice if the wearer has an active lifestyle. One style to avoid is a crown setting, which is similar to a four prong basket setting. Crown settings push the diamond far forward and can create a heavy, droopy look.

Choose Diamond Stud Fastenings

Buyers should consider the earring fastenings, or backs, when buying diamond studs. There are two main types of fastening: friction and threaded back. The friction back, sometimes called a push back, often has notches on the post of the earring that help to prevent the back from falling off. This is also sometimes called a butterfly back because the back curls around in a shape that resembles butterfly wings. The threaded back, also referred to as a screw back, uses threads similar to a screw, so the back is much more secure. More expensive earrings are more likely to use threaded backs.

Budgeting for Diamond Studs

Before making a purchase, shoppers should identify exactly how much they are willing to spend for the diamond studs. Factors to consider include, the quality of the diamonds and the precious metals used to make the posts and setting. Buyers should do some research to find the best deals and the most reputable sellers. Exploring several sellers should also give buyers an idea of a fair price for the quality of diamonds chosen. Also bear in mind that diamond studs are not as closely or easily scrutinised as an engagement or wedding ring, so it is possible to choose lower grade diamonds.

Buying Diamond Studs on eBay

When you are ready to buy diamond studs, visit the eBay homepage. You can start your search easily by entering what you are looking for, such as "diamond studs" in the search box. The results page displays all of the items that meet your criteria. To narrow down the number of results, you can apply filters such as, price range and condition. In addition, you can limit the number of results by being more specific in your search. Terms such as "1 carat diamond studs" or "princess cut diamond studs" provide more precise listings.

Buying with Confidence

You should get to know sellers by checking their feedback histories. The comments left by other buyers are good indicators of what you can expect from your own transaction. You should also read the product listing carefully. If the listing does not answer all of your questions, you can contact the seller using the "Ask a question" feature on the listing page. Finally, check the seller's returns policy before making a purchase, and enquire about postal insurance before the item is dispatched. If you have additional questions about the eBay buying process, you can visit the eBay Safety Centre and Customer Support.

Conclusion

Diamond studs are a classic accessory, as well as a valuable investment. Before buying any diamonds, buyers should learn about how they are evaluated and certified. Buyers should set a limit for how much they can afford to spend. Several factors can affect the cost of diamond studs, including the quality and size of the diamond, as well as the setting material. Diamond earrings are less likely to be scrutinised by friends and family, so shoppers can choose a lower grade diamond than might be found in an engagement ring. Besides the quality and size, the shape of the diamond is important. A round brilliant shape is the most common, followed by the princess cut. Both reflect a great amount of light, which means that they can truly dazzle anyone who looks at them.

The setting material plays an important role. Gold and platinum are the most common options, with silver being a more difficult to find alternative. Metals are rarely are used in their pure forms, so it is a good idea to check the composition, especially if the wearer has a nickel allergy. Finally, buyers should consider the earring fastenings. Push backs are common, but high-end jewellery designs may use thread backs. eBay sellers offer a range of diamond studs.

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