Do You Have the Right Earring Backs?
Written by Anna Currell
October 28, 2022
Do you know what kind of earring back works best for you? The answer will vary based on a few factors: the material and size of the earring, your skin sensitivity, and even the size of your earlobe. Some heavier earrings might require extra support to protect your ears, or you might find that you begin the day with two earrings and come home with only one — losing an earring is way too easy if you’ve got the wrong earring back. Getting the right earring back (and there are many options) will make your earrings more comfortable and more secure, and it can help you bring forgotten pieces out of the corners of your jewelry box. Read on for a deeper look into the most popular earring back types so you can determine which one is best for you:
A stick post is a simple earring back type; the earring itself is fastened to a tiny metal stick that pokes through your ear piercing and is kept in place by a small end piece, sometimes called a “butterfly” due to its winged shape. They are very common with stud earrings since the end piece that secures the earring to your ear can’t be seen from the front. Stick posts are a great choice for lighter earrings, but keep in mind that the end piece can become separated with just a little effort. That’s great for taking off your earrings at the end of the day, but not so great for making sure they stay in your ears. If you have long hair, it could get caught between the end piece and the post, or if your earring is particularly heavy, a stick post might not be as secure. The end piece will come with most stick post earrings you purchase, or you can purchase a different kind at most jewelry stores and even some craft stores.
A screw back earring looks a little similar to a stick post, but because the end piece actually screws on, it keeps earrings more secure so there’s less of a chance of them falling off or getting lost. While this is a much more secure option than a stick post, it’s still best that the earring isn’t too big or too heavy. The danger there won’t be losing an earring (the screw-on end piece will keep it very snug), but rather stretching your ear in uncomfortable ways. If your earrings came with a screw back and are bothering your ears, consider getting them adjusted to another earring back type that will distribute the weight better.
A wire hook earring, sometimes called a shepherd’s hook, is a curved wire that simply hooks onto your ear by slipping through your piercing. This is a relatively insecure option since there’s no end piece to keep the earring in place, so you’ll want to be sure that the earring is lightweight and well-balanced so it doesn’t slip out of your earlobe (dangling earrings are usually the go-to option for wire hooks). However, you always have the option to use a rubber stopper at the back of your wire hook earring, making it a bit more secure in the same way you’d attach an end piece to a stick post. Some benefits of wire hook earring backs is that they’re very easy to put on and they’re very simply made, which can help make them less expensive.
Leverback earrings are made of a curved piece of metal that glides into your ear piercing and fastens to your ear by connecting to a hinged back piece, creating a closed loop. They have a similar aesthetic to wire earrings but with a bit more security, making them a good fit for medium weight earrings. Leverbacks are an excellent option for people with arthritis, because it’s easy to run the curved earring wire through the piercing and then nudge the back to spring up so the clasp closes on its own. Leverbacks are also great if you tend to lose separate earring backings — those tiny little pieces can get lodged in couch cushions and fall down drains so easily.
This type of clasp is sort of like a crossover between a clip on earring and a stick post earring, and it’s named after its appearance: a hinged back piece snaps up over the stick post to fasten it in place, forming the shape of the Greek letter Omega (Ω). Omega clasps fasten securely, with pressure from the hinge staying snug against your earlobe, making them a great option for heavier earrings. However, some people find that the pinching pressure of this backing is uncomfortable.
If your ears are unpierced, or if anything has irritated the skin around the site of your ear piercing, a clip-on earring is a great solution. Clip-on earrings can come with a variety of back types: spring-loaded, hinged, paddle back, and more. A big benefit to these types of earrings is that they won’t irritate your skin the way that other earrings meant for piercings will. They’re also very safe; even if they come off, you won’t risk tugging or stretching your ear piercing. Similar to omega clasps, some people find the pressure of a clip-on to be uncomfortable on the earlobe.
There’s no right or wrong earring back, but one might be a better fit for you based on what you’re looking for, whether that’s a dangling appearance, a comfortable fastening, or extra security. Consider these factors when shopping for new earrings or when assessing your own earring collection. You always have the option to change your earring backs to a whole new style; Quick Jewelry Repairs offers earring back conversions and has an easy mail-in service. Take a look at your options and get started today.