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Types of Earrings

Earring are considered to one of the most essential type of jewelry. Earrings are of various types to suit the varying requirements of a wearer. However, earrings are available in two basic types - pierced and clip-on, and from there they branch out into a wide variety of shapes and styles. Regardless of the type, modern standard pierced earrings have two primary means of attachment - posts and wires.

Given here is a description of various types of earrings commonly available in present times.

Stud Earrings

Stud earrings are worn as everyday wear by both women and men. Chief characteristic of stud earrings is the appearance of floating on the ear or earlobe without a visible (from the front) point of connection. Studs are invariably constructed on the end of a post, which penetrates straight through the ear. The post is held in place by a removable friction back or clutch. Occasionally, the stud earring is constructed so that the post is threaded, allowing a screw back to securely hold the earring in place. This is useful in preventing the loss of expensive earrings containing precious stones or made of precious metals.

Hoop Earrings

Hoop earrings, popularly known as 'baali' or 'baliyan' in Hindi are circular or semi-circular in design, and look very similar to a ring. They are often constructed of metal tubing, with a thin wire attachment that penetrates the ear. The hollow tubing is permanently attached to the wire at the front of the ear, and slips into the tube at the back. The entire device is held together by tension between the wire and the tube.

Hoop Earrings are also quite popular. Hoop earring can be of following types:

  • - Some hoop designs do not complete the circle, but penetrate through the ear in a post, using the same attachment techniques that apply to stud earrings.
  • - A variation is the continuous hoop earring. In this design, the earring is constructed of a continuous piece of solid metal, which penetrates through the ear and can be rotated almost 360'. One of the ends is permanently attached to a small piece of metallic tubing or a hollow metallic bead. The other end is inserted into the tubing or bead, and is held in place by tension.
  • - One special type of hoop earring is the 'sleeper earring'. This is a very small continuous piece of (typically) gold wire which essentially hugs the base of the earlobe with the ends connecting in the back. Because their small size makes them comfortable, sleepers are sometimes worn at night to keep an ear piercing from closing.
  • - Yet another type is spring hoop earrings. These are almost indistinguishable from standard hoop earrings and stay in place by means of spring force.
  • - The Kashmiri Brahmin women wear jewels on long strings, hanging from the inner soft cartilage of the ears that is locally called, the atteroo.

Dangle Earrings or Jhumkas

Dangle earrings called 'jhumka' in Hindi are designed to flow from the bottoms of the earlobes. These are available in various lengths from a centimeter or two, to jhumkas reaching the shoulders. They are generally attached to the ear by the use of thin wires, which go through the earlobe and connect to themselves in a small hook at the back. A variation is the French hook design, which merely hangs from the earlobe without closure, although small plastic retainers are sometimes used on ends of French hooks. Rarely, dangle earrings use the post attachment design. Long ornate danglers are usually worn on formal occasions.

Slave Earrings

Yet another type of earring is the slave earring. In this a stud is connected by a delicate chain to an ear cuff or a cartilage pierce worn higher on the ear. This looks extremely ornate and is worn by Indian women on traditional occasions such as wedding. This also helps to divide weight in case of heavy danglers.

Clip-on Earrings

Clip-on earrings have existed longer than any other variety of non-pierced earrings. They are designed with a tension clip that attaches them to the body by pinching the earlobe. Once extremely popular with American women, they began to fade with the rising popularity of pierced earrings in the 1960s and 1970s, and are now relatively rare.

Ear Cuff

An ear cuff is a curved band of metal that is pressed onto the helix of the ear. It stays on by pinching the ear.

Magnetic Earrings

Magnetic earrings simulate the look of a (pierced) stud earring by attaching to the earlobe with a magnetic back that hold the earring in place on by magnetic force.

Stick-on Earrings

Stick-on earrings are adhesive-backed items which stick to the skin of the earlobe and simulate the look of a (pierced) stud earring. They are considered a novelty item.