The Best Diamond Necklaces

A woman touches her diamond necklace as it's clasped around her neck.

Buying Guide for Diamond Necklaces

An intricate diamond necklace on a woman's neck.

Why buy a diamond necklace?

There are quite a few reasons that a diamond necklace might be a smart purchase. For starters, they’re pretty. And if you’re a jewelry fan—especially of diamonds—there are a wide variety of designs and carat sizes that can appeal to your tastes. Yet they’re more than a pretty bauble to adorn a body. When you do your homework, diamonds can also represent an investment. In general, diamonds tend to hold their financial value. If you opt for rarer cuts or colors when you pick genuine diamonds, their price can increase over time. These days you can also find conflict-free or genuine lab-created diamonds that can give you the bling you want without a guilty conscience.

What should you consider when shopping for a diamond necklace?

  • Materials: While “diamond necklace” used to simply mean either genuine or simulant (synthetic), the times have changed. Originally, a genuine diamond meant one that was mined from the ground and was certified authentic by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). But these days, “genuine” can also include lab-grown diamonds. These are considered real diamonds as they maintain the same chemical composition and markers required to be considered a diamond; however, they’re made entirely in a lab rather than mined from the earth. For people concerned about blood diamonds (or simply looking for a cheaper way to get a larger carat), genuine lab diamonds are a solid alternative. However, synthetic alternatives have come a long way as well. Once relegated to cubic zirconia (CZ) and zircon, both of which are known to get cloudy over time, these days, you have more options which include moissanite, white sapphires, spinel, and even Asha diamonds (a CZ stone covered in carbon to mimic the brilliance and radiance of a diamond).
  • Color: When most people think about diamonds, they think of a white stone. But diamonds come in an array of colors. First, consider whether you want a colorless (white) diamond or something colorful (think pink, yellow, blue, or even brown). And if you do prefer white, remember that even white stones can have a tinge of color. White diamonds are rated by the absence of any color. And the more colorless a genuine diamond is, the more expensive it will be.
  • Clarity: Again, for genuine diamonds, clarity describes what imperfections (known as inclusions or blemishes) are present inside the stone and on its surface. Grades can range from “flawless” (no visible imperfections) to “included” (significant visible imperfections). For simulant stones, this usually isn’t an issue as they’re made to look perfect.
  • Cut: Cut refers to the facets on the stone rather than the actual shape. Depending on how a genuine stone is cut will impact how well it catches and reflects the light, referred to as brilliance and radiance. Again, this is a grade that’s usually only relevant for genuine stones and can range from excellent to poor.
  • Carat: Carat refers to the weight of the stone. But when shopping for diamond necklaces, it’s important to keep in mind that carat weight often refers to all the diamonds on a necklace if your jewelry contains more than one diamond stone. While total carat weight can impact the cost of a necklace, keep in mind that if there’s a main or center stone, the carat size for that stone will also be a factor that impacts the price of genuine diamonds. With CZ or simulants, don’t be surprised if the stone is referenced by size rather than carat. It’s not uncommon to see them listed by diameter or dimensions (depending on the shape) in millimeters.
  • Shape: Shape refers to how the stone is cut. There is a wide range of shapes, and the “right” option will come down to preference. But typically, solitaire diamond necklace pendants will tend to feature round, cushion, and square-cut stones. However, you can have a diamond necklace with any stone shape that you desire, like baguette, Asscher, princess, teardrop, and more.
  • Setting: Usually, the setting will refer to the metal material used to hold the stones. In most cases, this is going to be a precious metal like gold, sterling silver, platinum, or palladium.
  • Certification: If you’re focused on a genuine diamond, you will want to buy from a reputable jeweler (in-store or online). They will be able to provide documentation that the diamond is genuine and has been rated by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) as authentic and where it sits within the 4Cs grading system.
  • Price: With genuine diamonds, the better the grade for cut, clarity, and color, and the bigger the carat, the higher the price. Many people opt for a faux diamond because you can technically get more bang for your buck. However, it’s important to keep in mind that many simulated diamond materials aren’t meant to last forever. So, if you go that route, just be aware that you may need to replace your necklace after a while.

Can you tell the difference between simulated and genuine diamonds?

It depends. In truth, how easily you can spot real from fake is going to depend on the type of simulated diamond you’re comparing and the quality of the genuine diamond you’re comparing it against, plus your familiarity with the materials. Traditionally, cheaper simulants like CZ, zircon, and moissanite tend to be too brilliant or have a slight yellowish tinge when placed next to a real diamond of good quality. So, you can easily spot the difference with the naked eye. However, more premium simulants like Asha diamonds are so good that you must be a jeweler with a loupe to spot the differences.

Our Picks for the Best Diamond Necklaces

Pros: If you’re trying to build a jewelry collection, this classic diamond necklace is a solid starting point. The twisted design of the pendant, set with three real diamond stones plus smaller ones along the loop, offers a timeless, elegant look that will never go out of style. The necklace can be set in your choice of real sterling silver or yellow gold plating with a matching 18-inch chain. There’s also a heart-shaped version if you decide to opt for a different but still classic look.

Cons: As is often common with metal plating, if you opt for the gold plated option, it will likely wear off or rub off over time and lose its yellow gold color. Also note that the chain is on the thin side, so it’s more likely to become knotted and tangled during transportation or if stored in a jewelry box with other necklaces.

Bottom Line: If you just need a simple everyday necklace that goes with anything but can still be dressed up, this is a solid pick. The reasonable price and timeless design will be a fit for almost anyone and will add elegance without overwhelming the eye.

 

Pros: If you’re after a diamond necklace that will make a great gift and/or match almost any outfit, you can’t go wrong with this model, especially since you get a better bang for your buck thanks to the matching earrings that come included with the necklace. It’s another timeless design that can easily transition from the office to date night to a cocktail party, with a classic love knot that makes it a great gift for that special someone in your life. It even comes with a pretty complimentary gift box for such scenarios. Yet it’s not too fancy for everyday wear. It’s available in lengths ranging from 16 to 24 inches and with numerous real 0.25-carat diamond stones. The durable sterling silver settings are also plated with rhodium to prevent them from tarnishing.

Cons: The silvery settings and chain is your only option, no alternate colors or shades are available. Additionally, actual reviewers noted that the chain is thinner and not quite as high-quality as the rest of the necklace and earrings, so it may break somewhat easily.

Bottom Line: If you’re shopping for yourself or a loved one on a budget but don’t want to sacrifice on bling, this love knot diamond necklace and matching earrings are a great way to get the shine and sparkle you want without breaking the bank. You’ll get two pieces of jewelry for the price of one—made with real diamonds to boot.

 

Pros: If you previously avoided real diamonds because you were concerned about conflict diamonds and how they still manage to creep into jewelry stores that claim all of their inventory is conflict-free, you’ll love the fact that lab-grown genuine diamonds are a thing now. This diamond solitaire necklace is available with a gemstone ranging from 1/2 to 3 carats in size and is set on a 14-karat white gold chain.

Cons: Although this is cheaper than a mined natural diamond, it still might be a pricy upgrade for someone who’s used to getting more stones or a larger stone for their money when shopping with simulants.

Bottom Line: If you love diamonds but not the moral regret, then this lab-grown genuine diamond solitaire necklace is going to be an excellent alternative for you. However, if you’ve been spoiled by the “a lot for less” nature of simulants, the sticker shock of upgrading to real diamonds might be hard to stomach.

 

Pros: For those who feel like a solitaire is a bit too austere for their tastes, this diamond heart pendant necklace might make a great alternative. It’s set on 925 sterling silver, and you can also opt for rose or yellow gold plating. This necklace features genuine baguette diamonds with a total carat weight of 0.25. Note that the chain is 18 inches in length.

Cons: This is a cute option for gifting, but some people might balk at a diamond necklace with a total weight that’s less than a carat.

Bottom Line: If you prefer a necklace with a bit more visual interest, the swirling diamond heart pendant helps to create more drama. And considering that it’s made with genuine diamonds, it’s a reasonable price. But if you are put off by the total weight being less than a carat, you might want to look elsewhere.

 

Pros: If you’re someone who wants your jewelry to draw the eye without overbearing it, you’ll love the timeless nature of this round-cut diamond pendant necklace. The high volume of real stones is set in a sleek sterling silver setting with a matching chain, with a small but nonetheless eye-catching pendant that’s almost entirely covered with diamonds. No one will miss this piece sparkling around your neck. And the 18-inch chain is a decent length that should work for most people. The reasonable price makes it an excellent budget-friendly present as well, especially since it comes with a gift box included.

Cons: The sterling silver setting and chain are your only options, with no gold or gold-plated colors from which to choose. This necklace will also require more cleaning than most to keep it sparkling, as reviewers noted the diamonds get cloudy quite easily.

Bottom Line: If you like classic necklaces, this round pave design is going to be the perfect option. The pendant may not be large, but its beauty and high volume of diamonds will garner you plenty of attention nonetheless.

Final Thoughts

Diamond necklaces are a staple for any jewelry collection—even for those who don’t usually rock baubles. Whether you prefer traditional styles or something more modern, there’s a necklace out there that speaks to you. Just be sure to pay attention to your budget and the quality of the stones to ensure that you’re making a sound investment.

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