What to Know When Changing Earring Posts

Maybe they’re broken. Maybe they’re irritating your ears. Maybe you want something more secure. Whatever it is, you want to change the posts on your favorite pair of earrings. It’s a simple procedure in most cases, but what does the work really entail? Read on to learn more about how to change earring posts.

What You Need to Know About Earring Posts

The little sticks on the back of your earrings that go through your ear piercings aren’t quite that simple! Whether it’s the metal type, the thickness of the post, or even the design of the post, all of these factors affect how you wear your earrings. We’ve broken this down into a few essentials that you should know:

  • Metal type: Jewelry comes in different metals, such as silver, gold, and platinum. Costume jewelry can be made out of brass, copper, zinc, and various commercial alloys. Due to this, some people have varying allergic reactions to certain earrings when their skin comes into contact with posts made from these metals. Changing your posts to something hypoallergenic, such as sterling silver, gold, or even stainless steel will allow you to wear your earrings again.
  • Post thickness: Posts actually come in different thicknesses called gauges. Standard earrings are typically 16-20 gauge, or 1.2 mm to .8 mm. Thicker gauges require a larger piercing hole, so if you bought a 14 or 12 gauge post earring it may hurt your ears if your piercing is not wide enough to accommodate for the thickness of the post. To avoid this issue, you can have a jeweler switch the posts out for something in a thinner gauge.
  • Post design: Typical earring posts are friction posts. That means that the post is a little stick with a notch cut near the end. The earring back “clicks” into place by sliding down the stick until it hits that little notch. While the design is simple, it’s often not secure enough for some jewelry lovers. A jeweler can change the earrings from these basic friction posts to screwback posts.
    change-earring-posts-gold-knot

    These gold knot earrings have friction posts; see the notches at the bottom of each stick.

    Screwback posts are designed just like their name: there’s a “screw” like component to the stick. The back fits into the post and is “screwed” in to secure the earring, which prevents it from simply slipping back out like a friction post. This type of earring post is extremely secure; the only downside is that if you lose the back it will be hard to find something that matches the screw portion of the earring post. Nevertheless, it’s a great investment for jewelry lovers who wear their earrings 24/7.

    change-earring-posts-screwback

    This is a close-up of a 14k white gold screwback earring.

The Earring Post Change Process

It’s usually a pretty easy job to change earring posts. The jeweler has to provide or source the earring posts from a supplier. Standard posts, such as friction posts, are very easy to procure. Earring posts with thicker gauges or specific designs such as screwback may take a little more time to source, as they’re comparatively less common for suppliers to have in stock.
Once the jeweler has the components, then it’s just a matter of taking off the original posts by cutting them off with a pair of wire cutting pliers. Then depending on the earring’s design, the jeweler either solders or lasers the new posts to the back of the earring at the exact same spot. Any rough surfaces or excess metal is polished off, and the piece is cleaned with steam or water in an ultrasonic tank.

change-earring-backs-white-gold

These earrings were converted to new and shiny screwbacks.

It should be noted that the procedure is more complicated with costume jewelry or fragile stones. Plastic gems and natural jewels such as pearls or coral will not be able to handle the heat from the soldering/lasering process, so the jeweler will have to unset them before proceeding to attach the posts.

Earring Post Change Turnaround Time and Cost

The turnaround time can vary from 1-2 days to a week depending on what type of posts you requested. Again, the jeweler will need time to source the right components for your earrings, so if you want white gold screwbacks they will need to receive them from their supplier before they can work on the piece.
Cost varies depending on the type of post and the metal. On average, the price starts at $35 for a pair of sterling silver posts, and goes up accordingly based on metal type. Screwbacks are double the price, as they need to come with their specific backs in order to work.

Now you’re all set to get your earrings fixed! Check out our earring post repair/replacement service here.

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