Earrings are a great accessory. They draw attention to the face and simply swapping out one pair of earrings for another can completely change the tone of an outfit. Whatever your personal style, there’s sure to be a perfect pair of earrings to complement it. To help you navigate through the virtually endless array of earrings, The Diamond World offers the following descriptions of common earring styles and post and back types.
Stud Earrings – Stud earrings are small and simple. They typically consist of a single stone, a cluster of stones, or a metal ball or shape attached to a straight post. The post goes through the earlobe and the mounting fits snuggly against the ear, giving the illusion that the mounting is floating on the earlobe without a visible point of connection. Stud earrings that use a single stone are also called solitaire earrings.
Hoop Earrings – Hoop earrings are circular or semi-circular earrings that continue most or all the way around from the front of the earlobe to the back. Hoop earrings typically have a wire that goes through the ear and secures the front of the earring to the back. They can also use a straight post. Hoop earrings come in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. While they are usually round, they can be other shapes as well. Hoop earrings can be all metal or they can be set with diamonds or gemstones.
Drop Earrings – Drop earrings, sometimes called dangle earrings, hang below the earlobe. They are available in a range of sizes and can vary in length from just an inch or two below the earlobe all the way to dusting the top of the shoulder. Drop earrings can be all metal or they can be set with diamonds or gemstones.
Post and Back Types
Different types of earrings require different types of posts and backs. The backs keep the earrings in place and prevent them from falling out or getting lost.
Friction – Friction backs are the most common type. They work with a straight post and simply slide on and off. Friction backs are also sometimes called butterfly backs or push backs.
Lever Back – With a lever back, a curved hook slides through the ear and is secured by a hinged lever that opens and closes to latch behind the ear. A lever back is commonly used with drop earrings.
Latch Back – Latch backs have a curved wire on a hinge that slides through the ear and snaps into a notch in the back to secure it.
French Wire – A French wire is a curved wire that goes through the ear and hangs down below the back of the ear. It does not usually use a back. French wires are also sometimes called fish hooks. They are typically used with drop earrings.
Push on/Screw off – With a push on/screw off back, the back slides onto a straight post but needs to be unscrewed to remove. It is commonly used with stud and drop earrings.
Screw on/Screw off – The screw on/screw off back has a grooved end on the post and must be screwed onto and off of the post. They are usually used on earrings of significant value.