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Types of Earrings

Like any exceptional piece of jewelry, earrings can transform how you look and feel about yourself. From petite emeralds to sleek silver hoops, the right pair can bring out the most radiant characteristics of your face and your outfit.

The sheer number of styles, sizes and shapes of earrings available can complicate your shopping. As you browse jewelry cases in shops or scroll through online store listings, you can find yourself asking, "What's the difference between a dangle earring and a drop earring?" or "Which kind of earring closure can protect my sensitive ears?"

To help you navigate these questions and familiarize yourself with earring fundamentals, we came up with an in-depth guide to earrings.

Different Types of Earring Styles

The shape, structure and closure way of your earrings determined how they sit on your lobes. Over time, jewelers have developed creative ways to position earrings, and now there are numerous style options. There are six main categories of earring styles.

1. Earring Type: Climbers & Crawlers

Climbers and crawlers are the latest design, and they follow the curve of your ear upward. Climbers start at the bottom of the lobe, then rise along the edge of the ear. They stay in place thanks to a sturdy wire that acts as a backbone.

This style frequently features a series of gems that get slightly smaller toward the top. Crawlers and climbers appear chic and innovative.

2. Earring Type: Dangles & Drops

The dangle and drop styles both hang from a stud-like back, but drop earrings have a longer, thinner section. Drop earrings can also sport a decorative end piece after the skinny part.

Dangle earrings have more body, and they also have movement — hence the "dangle." Sometimes dangle earrings have a thin crescent wire that holds the earring.

Chandeliers are another kind of dangle earrings, but their shape cascades like the mounted fixture. They have branches of dangling segments that come together at a low angle.

3. Earring Type: Hoops

As their name indicates, hoops are round earrings. The circle of the earring flows through the ear, and it reconnects on the other side of the piercing.

The loop can be smooth, or it can have a pattern. It (can you re word this, don't like it can find pairs?) can also find pairs outfitted with gemstones. Hoops can be tiny or so large they touch the tops of your shoulders.

4. Earring Type: Huggies

Similar to hoops, huggies are circular and attach through the lobe, but they also fit on the cartilage areas. The difference between hoops and huggies is that huggies sit snug against the ear.

They're a cozier version of hoops, and they stay firmly nestled by your lobe through the bustle of your day. While huggies are usually circles, they can also be made in other forms that have openings.

5. Earring Type: Studs

Studs are the most basic and essential kind of earring, and they give the illusion that the earring is hovering without support, although a backing locks them into position.

They have a narrow bar with an object at the end, and the object can be an anchored stone, metal ball or bauble. They lay flat on the ear without dropping down, looping back or climbing up.

6. Earring Type: Jackets

earring jackets

The jacket style has extra detail that adds interest to the front and back of the ear. They retain the security of studs but the appearance of longer, dazzling earrings.

Jacket earrings have a regular stud piece, but they also feature a portion that extends underneath the ear and pops back out the front. It wraps around to introduce an embellishing covering to your lobe.

Types of Earring Backs

It's just as important to have the right option for fastening your earrings as to find the right style. You don't want to put your hand up to your lobe to discover that it came loose in the middle of an event. Let's review the types of earring closures that can keep your earrings stable throughout the day and night. 

1. Post Earrings

Posts or push backs are typically used for studs, and they're a popular way to secure earrings. It's effortless to slide on the back once you put the post through the ear hole, and post backs have two loops that allow you to grip them — some compare the double prong to a butterfly shape.

There is a notch on the end of the post where the earring clicks into to keep the two sides together. They stay together based on the resistance of the single notch.

2. Screw Back Earrings

Screw backs function the same way as the screws you use for DIY projects. They also consist of two parts. One goes behind the ear and has ridges that intertwine with the main post, which fits through the ear hole. The creases in the post are tiny.

You can twist screw backs until they feel steady, and when you're ready to take them off, you can spin them the opposite direction until they're separated.

As a more intensive process than using post earrings, screw backs are highly effective in pinning your earring down. It's unlikely you'll feel it slipping out when you're enjoying conversation at a party. (screw backs are usually for larger value items to keep secure, can you say something like that too i.e diamond studs)

3. Lever Earrings

For curved earrings, a lever backing is practical. The spring-loaded mechanism on this type is handy because it has a hinge that automatically snaps into place, which means you don't have to exert much effort.

Although the levers can make the back bulkier and more noticeable, they are convenient. They're also useful for sensitive ears because they offer room for the skin to breathe.

4. Latch Earrings

Working latch backs is like shutting a garden gate. They can appear on drop earrings, hoops and huggies. The back metal part of the earring swings into a stationary catch that goes through the ear hole.

It's frustrating when you're removing your earring, and you fumble with the back only to lose it on the floor. Since the latch is built into the earring, you won't misplace part of your earring.

5. French Back Earrings

The French back is almost identical to the latch, but it has a wide loop at the back that bends inward and flips up. It's also known as an omega-shaped back, and they're ideal for clip-on earrings for those who haven't pierced their ears.

French backs are flattering because they don't pull your ear lobe harshly. Instead, they use their leverage to prop up your lobe and display your elegant earrings.

6. Fish Hook Earrings

Fish hooks represent their name well, and their crook gently drapes through the piercing. The front has a circular ring that the charms or jewels can hang off of.

The short hook sometimes stands alone, but occasionally it has a plastic cap or additional clasp to prevent it from falling out.

7. Ear Wire Earrings

Ear wires are comparable to fish hooks but have a longer length. They can also display a hanging chain that weighs down the lighter part. Ear wires are a graceful choice for earring backs because they're slight and discreet.

An ear wire earring back forms when the front is balanced by a slender metal piece. The metal wire that hangs down is typically so long that there's no need for a stopper.

What Type of Earring Style Is Best for Your Face Shape?

Everyone's face has a general shape. Figuring out your face shape can help you with your accessorizing.

While earring shapes, styles and closures are considerable factors, learning how they pair with your facial features is beneficial. We'll break down the earrings that can heighten the most common face shapes.

Best Earrings for Diamond-Shaped Faces

Featuring wide, angular cheekbones, a diamond face shape is rare. The forehead and chin are slim, coming to soft points, and many earrings suit this structure.

Diamond shapes go well with elongated earrings like dangling ones. Lavish climbers are also a modern and charming look that go with diamond faces.

Best Earrings for Heart-Shaped Faces

If you have a heart-shaped face, your forehead will be full and your chin sharp. Heart shapes have lower temples and a gradual jawline.

Drop earrings can lead the eye down from a broad chin. Jacket earrings can also reinforce your best qualities, which amplify your overall look.

Best Earrings for Oval-Shaped Faces

Lab Grown Pink Diamond StudsThis face type is fairly even, and with the right earrings, you can create further dimension. Ornate studs can be particularly glamorous, and button-like earrings can emphasize the middle section of your face. The alternative for oval faces is hoops, which can be delicate and polished.Oval face shapes are extended with gentle edges. Face shapes that are more oval are versatile, so you can take your pick from the different types of earrings.

Best Earrings for Round-Shaped Faces

With round face shapes, your eyes, mouth and nose are spaced equally, and the sides of your face are round. You can offset the uniform length and width with a shapely earring.

Round face shapes benefit from defined angles, so pointed earrings are optimal. However, robust chandeliers also look lovely next to prominent cheeks.

Best Earrings for Square-Shaped Faces

Square face shapes carry a sharp jaw line and corners in the forehead. With dramatic features, the square shape appears arresting.

Huggies and hoops can diminish the angular lines in square faces. Also, circular studs can refresh your fashion, and smaller earrings let your natural beauty stand out.

Tips for Choosing Earrings

Shopping for earrings is exciting, but the choices can be overwhelming. Whether you're getting a celebratory gift or updating your accessories, selecting your next pair of earrings should be a pleasure, and this advice can elevate your experience. Check out these tips on how to buy earrings.

1. Select a Beautiful Metal

Fine jewelry features many attractive metals, and they all have specific advantages. They can also differ in purity levels and grades. If you have a metal preference, this can assist your earring search.

Maybe your wedding or engagement ring is gold, and you want to coordinate these earrings with your treasured rings. Alternatively, you might be looking to add a valuable, high-carat piece of jewelry to your collection. The most popular kinds of top-quality metals for earrings are:

  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Platinum

2. Pick a Stunning Gem

desirable gems for earrings

Precious stones are a worthy investment — plus, they can bring shimmer to your earrings. Gemstones have cuts, sizes and purity levels, and they also have different settings.

Landing on a jaw-dropping gem can be a matter of visual appeal, or you can make it sentimental. You can decide on gem that symbolizes something special to you, or you can choose a birthstone for you or a loved one. Here are some desirable gems that can shine through in your earrings:

  • Diamonds
  • Rubies
  • Sapphires
  • Emeralds

3. Choose the Right Size

The size of your earrings can serve a range of purposes. It has the potential to make a statement or scale back your look for a refined style.

If you're aiming for a powerful image, large earrings can accomplish your goal. Big and bold earrings can reach your jawline or all the way down to your shoulders. They're eye-catching, and they can carry momentum when you walk across a room.

Small earrings produce an understated look that's appropriate for conservative styles. While they're minimal, they are no less interesting. They can promote a dainty impression, which can seamlessly transition from day to night occasions.

4. Consider Colors and Design

The accenting hues and patterns of an earring make a significant impact. Colors in the metal or gems can help you pinpoint the supreme earring for you. You might like a deep red or indigo in your gemstones, or maybe canary yellow or green can make you feel more lively.

As far as designs go, they can encompass varieties like Art Deco, contemporary, royal and more. Are you drawn to alluring geometric shapes or straightforward lines? You can find patterns that reflect your aesthetic tastes.

5. Match to Your Style

Everyone's style is unique, and your earrings affect your look each day. To stay true to your personal style, you can tie your earrings into your typical fashion choices.

As you examine earrings, ask yourself if they can enhance your favorite outfits. Your signature look deserves the perfect jewelry to give a positive impression.

There's always an opportunity to stretch yourself by trying new accessories, but you can still let these changes reflect your inspired tastes.

6. Decide When You Will Wear the Earrings

You don't want to receive your earrings only to tuck them away in your jewelry box — they're for showing off. So, what sort of occasions can you don your new pair for?

If you attend plenty of high-end galas, benefits and receptions, you might want to indulge in a sparkly pair of diamond drop earrings. But if you're expecting to complement your tasteful work ensembles, you might opt for subtle pearl studs. Coordinating your new earrings to your lifestyle can guide your decision.

Purchase Earrings From Little Switzerland

After exploring this earring guide, you can be confident in purchasing your next pair of earrings. You know which styles, backs, shapes, colors and materials to look for. Now it's time for the fun part — shopping.

At Little Switzerland, we offer an extensive selection of fine jewelry, including magnificent earrings. As an authorized retailer for many top luxury jewelry brands, we have an assortment of earrings perfect for you available at our stores and online.

Little Switzerland offers excellent financing options, including up to 36 months of interest-free financing. We encourage our customers to apply for financing before buying so you know your credit limit during the sales process. Browse our selection of striking earrings or contact our Personal Shopping Team to place your order.