Diamonds studs are the white t-shirt of the jewelry wardrobe. If you’ve ever shopped for the perfect white tee, then you know what we mean—finding “the one” seemingly solves all of your wardrobe problems. The same can be said for the perfect diamond stud earrings—the elusive set that walks the line between modern and traditional, comfortable and noteworthy, great quality and affordable. That’s a lot to ask when you’re often dealing with less than a carat of diamonds.
But, among the most versatile earrings a person can own, diamond studs are, by virtue of their simplicity, quiet workhorses that do double time; they look smart by day and stylish by night, add a little pizazz to jeans and a sweater and lend understatement to a glittery dress. Their versatility and ease of wear make them a foundation essential in any jewelry box. Sure, design matters, but when it comes to owning a pair of diamond studs, it’s really all about the, well, diamond.
Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Harry Winston, Chopard . . . all the older houses offer this beautiful basic. But you can also find a terrific selection of contemporary diamond stud earrings by Lorraine Schwartz, Temple St. Clair, Stephanie Windsor, Nikos Koulis, Sydney Evan and Sylvie et Cie among others. It just goes to show that classic beauty transcends time.
You wouldn’t believe it, but long before the diamond stud became an earring, it began life as a button. When the First Duke of Buckingham, a personal friend of King James I, turned up at a ball in 1620, his attire was covered with diamond buttons. Some 200 years later, the diamond button was liberated from its practical role and instead became diamond cluster earrings, more ornamental than functional. But it took Queen Victoria, the jewelry trendsetter of her day, to kickstart a real fad for diamond studs when, around 1870, she had a couple of her own loose diamonds turned into noticeably large diamond studs. (Victoria’s timing was no accident, for only a few years earlier, in 1867, diamonds had been found in South Africa.) From then, history was made. Society ladies took note and sought out the glowing orbs for themselves. Embraced by the upper classes of the 1940s and 1950s, the diamond stud came to symbolize good taste and wealth.
Nowadays there are a slew of diamond stud styles, and in a range of prices. The first thing that matters is the cut. The round brilliant cut is used the most often because for a small-carat stone it gives off a lot of sparkle. With its square outline, the princess cut is less conventional and has plenty of fire. More luxe versions are rose cuts, emerald cuts, sometimes pear and even Marquise. Most people think that diamond studs are only made with diamonds; true, but nowadays they also include sapphires, fancy sapphires, emeralds and rubies. Pearls, paired with diamonds, might seem ultra-conventional but in fact the pearl softens the diamond, making it more noticeable and also prettier.
Settings vary too, from platinum to the three shades of gold (white, gold and rose). And what about the back of the earring? There are plenty of options, from the usual post to the screw back (guaranteed to hold fast, but tedious to secure) to the omega to la pousette (also known as the butterfly or pinch back).
Of course, these details are all part of the basic diamond stud, and represent the ways in which each jewelry house/designer puts their own stamp on the piece.
Luckily you don’t need family ties or enormous piles of money to enjoy the pleasure of owning diamond studs. Nowadays, everyone from royals to red carpet celebrities to working women rock diamond studs. And that (hopefully) includes you and me.
They were the “something old” in her wedding trousseau: Meghan Markle wore Galanterie de Cartier diamond studs for her wedding to Prince Harry on May 19, 2018. Not only had she worn the earrings during their courtship, but she purchased them for herself after working on her TV series Suits. Now that’s a modern bride.
Lupita Nyong’o always combines style with grace, something proven in this shoot for Essence magazine. Her purple Vera Wang dress and emerald swoosh eye makeup give center stage to her Alexandra Mor Diamond Snowflakes. But rewind to 2014, and see that Lupita tended to favor diamond studs: she wore yellow gold and diamond studs by Graziela Gems at a Marie Claire party in L.A. as well as at a Golden Globes after-party, and a darling pair of stylized diamond flower studs to the Veuve Clicquot Classic.
The camera loves Kylie! For the glam annual Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala in 2018, Kylie Jenner wowed with endless skin peeking out from her black Vera Wang dress, but it was those gold sequin cat eye sunglasses by Gentle Monster x Alexander Wang that commanded attention. The one nod to tradition were her gorgeous Chopard diamond studs. A case when simple is seductive.
When doesn’t Lady Gaga surprise us? With her closets of clothes and many hairdos, the singer/actor/philanthropist always gets our attention. That was certainly the case when she wore a pair of signature Winston Cluster diamond stud earrings of 15.49 carats to an amfAR event in 2015. Meanwhile, her pale pink gown, with its criss-cross exposed back, was pure Valentino and her Queen Diamond Necklace of 113.87 carats was also Winston.
Oprah is every woman’s champion and best friend. Here she turns up the volume on the classic diamond stud earrings with this super-large pair during a press tour in 2011. Meanwhile Hailey Beiber has perfected the art of allure, knowing just how to make sure all eyes in the room are on her. Not content to wear just one pair of diamond studs, the young beauty wears three, in graduated sizes, to the 2019 Metropolitan Museum of Art Gala. Now that’s confidence!
Pop music sensation Taylor Swift proved she was an all-star at the 2019 Billboard Music Awards. She paired an ear cuff of pink gold and diamond stars from Stefere Jewelry opposite a Diamond Shooting Starburst Earring set in white gold by Graziela Gems. The girly ruffled lavender dress is by sister designers Raisa & Vanessa.
Julia Roberts, with her mega-smile, knowingly combined the classic stud with the classic white button-down shirt at the 2014 Golden Globes; her emerald-cut diamond ear studs were from Harry Winston, and white shirt and black strapless gown by Dolce & Gabbana.