First, let’s dispense with the smaller stones: if you are buying one half carat or less total weight (meaning that each diamond weighs a quarter carat), then just about any setting style will be fine because it is very light weight.
However, if you are buying a one carat, two carat or larger pair of earrings, you need to carefully consider the setting style. There are three basic setting styles which are described below.
- Crown style settings: Most retail jewelers sell a crown style setting that pushes the diamond (and the weight) forward. The heavy weight of this setting will often cause the earring to droop downward in your ear lobe, which results in a sloppy look. The crown style setting looks like a solid metal cup with oval cutouts which extend into the 4 prongs that secure the diamond.
- Basket style settings: Better diamond studs are mounted deep in a basket setting, which balances the weight more evenly and and results in an earring that displays more or less straight forward in the ear. The basket setting is not solid metal. It is lighter open wire and looks like a hoop at the bottom with four perpendicular prong wires, and a second hoop near the top. If you purchase basket settings, the diamond should be set low in the basket, to keep the center of gravity as close as possible to the ear lobe, for a proper fit.
- Martini style settings: The best setting, however, is difficult to find, and it is called a martini style setting. In this style, the back of the diamond (or culet) rests most nearly against the ear lobe. Because the center of gravity is further backwards, the diamond rests straight forward in the ear lobe, for a neat, clean forward look. Martini style settings hold the diamond with three prongs as opposed to four prongs as in the previous two styles of setting. This shows off the brilliance and fire of the diamond more effectively because there is less metal covering the actual stone itself. If you hold the martini setting with the post downward, it appears like a martini glass, with three simple wires that secure the diamond and extend to three prongs.