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The Secrets of the Stud
Nothing could be more basic—or so it would seem. The complex world of diamond stud earrings, from mine to earlobe, is examined in Modern Jeweler's new in-depth column on your core categories.

It's the young diamond buyer's first piece and the perfect accessory to an important evening necklace. A common self-purchase and the mass gift for weddings, christenings, bat mitzvahs, sweet sixteens, and anniversaries. It's the no-fail gift and the most difficult e-commerce purchase.

The diamond stud earring is the item that "any jeweler worth his salt will know which sizes and qualities to stock," as John Sabet of the Washington, D.C. area's upscale jeweler Charleston Alexander puts it. It's also, along with the solitaire, the item most likely to be upgraded.

The stud earring is the destination of much of the world's J/I2 grainers. It's also a true "diamond as hero" piece—and often the diamond brander's highest-turning item. The diamond stud is "the ABC of the jewelry business," says Danny Messing of the New York stud manufacturer, Danny S. Messing, Inc. "It's a brutal business, with a constant weeding out of producers of commercial qualities, which takes more vision than you might expect."

The stud is the most basic piece of jewelry a woman will ever own. "The stud is our industry's little black dress," says Harvey Rovinsky of the Philadelphia area's Bernie Robbins Fine Jewelry. "It can be the beginning of a relationship, or an add-on to a significant purchase by a long-standing customer. It can be the first thing a woman puts on for the day, or for the evening, or it can be the final touch. In either case, the statement is of simple elegance, and because elegance is never simple, it would be a serious mistake to take the diamond stud for granted."

To not take this most basic of basics for granted, let's take an in-depth look at our ABCs.


"Elegance" and "stud" in the same sentence would have seemed strange a decade ago. And "brutal" to describe the business? The stud was the perfect keystone, even double-key item, with jeweler cost limited to findings, labor, and "a matched pair," or two diamonds sharing a 4C's ballpark. If you paired from inventory, it often meant two "faint yellows" (up to two grades apart), and that SI2 and I2 "matched," as did widely skewed weights, table widths, and approaches to cutting a round brilliant. It mattered little if they were headed into a bezel, crown-head, or six-prong setting. A stud may have been elegant, but it had to be secure; often, the metric for beauty was whether it flopped on the ear.

Then came Supplier of Choice, with sightholders—and top-shelf inventories—heading downstream, increasingly in finished pieces. As wholesalers like New York's Julius Klein and Michael Werdiger learned about retail—how to build programs, what markets would bear, how to position—studs were often the item that eased the curve.

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platinum stud earrings by Julius Klein
Diamond micro-pavé platinum stud earrings by Julius Klein Group, suggested retail $15,000 and up, (800) 334-0919.
stud earrings from Hearts On Fire
Diamond and platinum stud earrings from Hearts On Fire, (800) 343-1224.
Diamond stud earrings by Eugene Biro
Diamond stud earrings by Eugene Biro, (800) 223-3535.
© Photo by Chris Trayer

diamond stud earrings from William Levine
Classic diamond stud earrings from William Levine Fine Jewels, (800) LEVINES.
yellow diamond stud earrings by Uneek Jewelry
Fancy studs: Princess cut fancy yellow diamonds totaling 4.23 carats surrounded by white diamonds, suggested retail $67,680, and fancy yellow cushion cut diamonds totaling 4.06 carats surrounded by white diamonds, suggested retail $56,840, by Uneek Jewelry, (888) 238-6335.
rose gold studs from Dynamic Diamond
Not so basic studs: platinum and 18k rose gold studs with 1.11 carat and 1.08 carat radiant cut fancy intense blue diamonds, surrounded by 1.20 carats of fancy intense pink diamonds, from Dynamic Diamond, suggested retail $555,715, (212) 575-8880.
diamond stud earrings by Aronow & Ross
Classic 18k gold stud earrings available from 1 to more than 10 carats total weight, by Aronow & Ross, (800) 822-6065.
Stud earrings from R-Findings
Stud earrings from R-Findings, (800) 422-7624.
Mednikow Jewelers web site
A range of stud earrings as displayed on the web site of Mednikow Jewelers, Memphis, Tennessee.
Stud earrings with diamonds from Stuller
Stud earrings with diamonds from Stuller, (800) 877-7777.