Earrings: Education & Buying Tips
Earrings 101: Types & Backs
Because earrings are a fundamental basic for any woman's jewelry wardrobe, it helps to be familiar with some of the common names and terms associated with earring styles. Before you invest in earrings, consider the style that will best complement your face most. The most common face shapes include round, narrow, square, oval, heart and diamond. Now, the fun part. Browse these earrings by style to see if your face shape is a match. Remember, these are guidelines. Always wear what makes you feel your best!
Hoops are a classic style that will endure the passing of time and trends. Basic in design, but with the potential for dramatic effect, a hoop earring is a sweeping circle that starts at the front of the ear and curves all the way to the back, leaving some space between the earring and back of the earlobe. Sizes can range from large to small. Generally, tighter hoops are seen as subtler and larger ones as more dramatic. Diamonds or gemstones can add sparkle and color for a fancier look.
Simple and perfectly designed for any occasion, studs are arguably the most popular style of earring. Classic stud earrings feature a single diamond or gemstone. Stud earrings may also feature tiny clusters of gemstones or may simply be gold or sterling silver in petite shapes, such as balls, hearts or knots. Studs will generally be on the small side and lay snugly on top of the earlobe. From pearls to diamonds, you can hardly ever go wrong with a stud.
Huggie earrings eliminate the risk of catching or snagging. As the name implies, this earring hugs the earlobe by curving around it and attaching with a back latch. Huggie earrings are ideal for those who are active but still want some sparkle and shine.
One of the hottest earring trends out there, climbers are elegant with just the right amount of cool. They get their name from the way they sit on the ear, starting at the base of the earlobe and curving, or climbing, upward. A wire hugs the back of the ear to keep the earring in place and achieve the climbing illusion. Climbers can be worn to dress up a look up or add a little glamour to a more casual ensemble.
Common earring closures and backings
Screw and friction back closures
This closure is quite simple. A single post goes through the piercing and is held in place by a separate piece of metal designed to fasten onto the post itself. The backing allows the post to go through it, but holds on securely when pushed in.
Not unlike the friction back style, a post attaches to a separate closure piece, except the post and the closure screw together to fasten. This type of closure is something you might see on more expensive earrings and children's earrings since it is more secure than a friction back.
Hinge and latch back closuresHinge
Also referred to as omega or French back, hinge closures feature a post that fits snuggly within an upside-down U. In Greek, the omega symbol resembles this mechanism, thus why you may hear "omega back" used frequently.
Sometimes called lever back or euro wire, latch back closures feature a hook shaped wire. Often used for dangling earrings that hang, a latch provides added security to keep the earring locked and looped through the piercing.
French wire closures
Think of a fish hook, a French wire closure is a similar shape. A thin piece of curved metal threads through the piercing and rests in place. This closure does not lock or attach the way some others do, but generally the weight of the earring aids in the ability of the closure to hold on. You'll usually see this type of backing on long and dangling earrings.