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As a sister, daughter, and wife-to-be, I know it can be tough to buy diamonds. Not only is it intimidating, but it’s hard to know what to look for versus what to avoid. Kyle and I don’t do big gifts often, but since we were supposed to get married in Italy this fall– and a new wedding date is TBD, I’ve been very subtly encouraging research on a pair of diamond stud earrings. You know… as a placeholder for my ring (that’s fair, right?!). Anyways, I found a really incredible jewelry brand, Clean Origin, that I’m obsessed with, and they’ve completely changed the way I think of diamonds. Not only are they an online retailer, they sell lab-created diamonds, which I knew absolutely nothing about prior. I’d heard of “blood” diamonds and knew they were often illegally-traded, but I didn’t realize that lab-grown diamonds were an equally real, more ethical alternative.
Now, when I say equally real, I mean lab-grown diamonds aren’t synthetic, nor are they cubic zirconia. A spokesman for the Gemological Institute of America, a nonprofit organization that oversees the international diamond grading system, released a statement saying, “Lab-grown diamonds are not fakes. They have all the same physical and chemical properties of mined diamonds.” This was news to me, so I’m guessing it probably is for some of y’all, as well. So, that said, I thought it’d be fun to ask the experts themselves and share three things everyone should know before buying diamond earrings. Keep reading for all three!
3 Things to Know Before Buying Diamond Earrings
Whether you’re buying diamond stud earrings for yourself or for a loved one, here are a few things you should know and/or consider before purchasing–
1. The Difference Between Lab-Grown and Mined Diamonds
Okay, so… lab-grown diamonds vs mined diamonds. We know that lab-grown diamonds have the same physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds. Those properties aside, I wanted to highlight three major differences, which are–
1. Price– Lab-grown diamonds are up to 40% less than mined, so it can make an earring (or ring, necklace, or bracelet) purchase much more attainable. Why, exactly? Because even though the costs relating to cutting, polishing, and inspection are the same, the lab-created diamond supply chain is shortened by skipping the mining process.
2. Source– As you may know, the mined diamond industry came under scrutiny a few years ago essentially for funding violence. If avoiding the blood diamond trade is important to you, lab-created diamonds provide peace of mind that natural diamonds often can’t, since you’ll always know the exact origin.
3. Sustainability– Lab-grown diamonds are a more ethical and sustainable alternative to mined diamonds. Why? The mining of any natural resource has a significant impact on the environment, and fortunately, it takes considerably less energy to grow a diamond in a lab than it does to dig one out of the ground.
Honestly, though, I’m just barely scratching the surface here. For more detailed information about the main differences between lab-grown diamonds and mined diamonds, check out this helpful page from Clean Origin! The International Gemological Institute also has some great resources and information on lab-grown diamonds, too.
2. The Importance of Carat Weight
From experience, I know the easiest thing to get caught up on when buying diamond jewelry is carat weight. First of all, it’s important to know that a carat is a unique weight measurement used to weigh gems and diamonds. With diamond studs, the carat weight is measured as “TW,” which means total weight. So, a pair of two-carat studs has a total weight of two carats, meaning each earring is one carat.
Understanding the weight of a diamond is important on its own, but it’s also valuable if you have a particular look or style in mind. For example, if you’re looking for a more dramatic earring, then a larger carat weight is probably the way to go. If you want something for everyday wear, something lighter and more subtle (like this pair of Clean Origin diamond stud earrings below– aren’t they gorgeous?!) might be a better fit.
3. How to Pick the Perfect Style
Choosing the right pair of diamond stud earrings may sound simple enough once you’ve selected a carat weight, but there are still a few factors at play– metal color, type/purity, and setting specifically. If you’re shopping for a loved one and haven’t been given any hints or specific requests on style, here are a few noteworthy tips and things to consider–
1. Metal Color– Yellow gold and white gold are the two most popular colors for diamond stud earrings. Unlike some of the more modern metals, they’re classics that’ll never go out of style.
2. Metal Type (ie. Purity Level)– Metal type can have a huge impact on the appearance, feel, and durability of your diamond studs. For example, you know those fake metals that turn green after about six months? Ya, stay away from those. As a rule of thumb, make sure your studs are available in either 14K or 18K gold.
3. Prong Setting– Prong setting simply refers to the number and setting of an earring’s prongs. Generally, a four-prong setting is the classic stud style, while a three-prong setting gives the diamond a more triangular appearance. Clean Origin offers both classic four-prong studs and three-prong martini studs, so you can see the visual difference on their website.
As an example, which may or may not be intended for Kyle, here’s a pair of Clean Origin diamond studs I’ve got my eye on. They have a two-carat TW (one carat per earring), are made with 14K white gold, and feature a trendy three-prong setting. Also, as is the case with all of Clean Origin’s jewelry, these diamonds are lab-grown, not mined.
For more information about choosing the right diamonds, be sure to check out Clean Origin for more info and tips on purchasing diamond studs. It’s probably also worth browsing around their site, too– I’m seriously so in love with all of their jewelry. Also, the International Gemological Institute and GIA are great resources, too.
Anyway, that’s that– thanks so much for reading, y’all! If you have any questions or need some extra tips for buying diamond earrings, let me know in the comments. Diamonds make me happy, so I’m eager and more than willing to help! Happy shopping!
Today’s post is sponsored by Clean Origin. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that make Diary of a Debutante possible!
Photography by Catherine Rhodes.