Advertisements promoting diamond earrings priced as low as $9.95 often tempt the unwary consumer. The diamond is claimed to weigh 0.25 points. Following simple arithmetic, since there are 100 points to a carat, what is being offered are actually stones weighing 1/4th of one point, which is 1/400 of one carat and consequently worth about $2. The bottom line is, it is possible to get both expensive and inexpensive diamonds, but they are all precious and hardly cheap.
Most often, earrings made out of cheap diamonds are marketed by jewelers claiming to buy the diamonds directly from the cutter, by passing the middlemen. Cheap diamond earrings do not always refer to the massive discount afforded by wholesale jewelers.
In 2001, Gemesis, a company founded by General Carter Clarke, initiated the mass-production of synthetic diamonds. The diamond industry, headed by the De Beers company, fought against this move, asserting them unfit to be regarded in the same league as the natural diamonds. Since diamond detecting machinery could gauge the difference, the synthetic diamonds were priced 3% lower than the naturals. However, the real savings are in the colored synthetic diamonds, which typically cost about 75% – 80% less than what a natural colored diamond would cost.
Many laboratories are also committed to creating imitation diamonds that look almost real. Cubic zirconia jewelry was highly popular in the 1980s. At $5 a carat, it was highly affordable and a cheap substitute. However, it loses luster over time. It is not scratch-proof and can easily be differentiated from the natural stone. Contrary to this, Moisannite, an astounding fake, is almost as hard as diamond and even more brilliant. It costs about $600 a carat, ten times less than a natural diamond. A trained gemologist, however, can easily distinguish this from a real diamond.
Looking for diamond earrings at affordable prices, the general emphasis is on the awareness of cut, color, clarity and carats, but the importance of purchasing from an accredited, reputable institution cannot be understated.