Earring Backs Types: A Guide to Choosing the Right One
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Earring Backs Types: A Guide to Choosing the Right One

Earring Backs Types: A Guide to Choosing the Right One

Earring backs are the small pieces that secure your earrings in place, and there's a surprising variety to choose from, each with its distinct features and uses. The type of earring back you select can influence both the look and comfort of your earrings. From the classic butterfly backs to the secure screw-backs and the easy-to-use lever-backs, the options are tailored to fit different earring types, earlobe thicknesses, and personal preferences.

When selecting the right earring backs for your jewelry, consider factors such as the weight of the earring, the activities you'll be doing while wearing them, and any sensitivities you might have to certain materials. The right back can make your earrings feel more comfortable, secure, and look just the way you want. Understanding the various types available, along with their advantages and potential drawbacks, can guide you in making an informed decision to enhance your earring-wearing experience.

Understanding Earring Backs  


Earring backs play a crucial role in ensuring the security and comfort of your earrings. They are designed to keep the earring in place and to minimize potential irritation to the ear, with various types and materials available to suit different earrings and preferences.

Types of Earring Backs

Earring backs come in a multitude of styles; each type offers a unique balance of security and ease of use.

Push Backs:

Butterfly back earring.
  • Also known as butterfly backs, they are commonly paired with stud earrings.
  • Utilize a small, metal piece that pushes onto the post.

Screw Backs:

Screw back earring.
  • Ideal for valuable earrings, as they screw onto the post and are less likely to come loose.
  • Typically seen in diamond stud earrings.

Lever Backs:

Lever Backs earring
  • These backs have a lever that closes over the post, securing the earrings.
  • Suitable for drop or dangle earrings.

Latch Backs/Omega Backs:

Latch Backs earring.
  • A latch folds over the post for a secure fit.
  • Omega backs have a hinged back that snaps onto a post.

French Clip Earring Back:

French Clip Earring.
  • A hinged clip secures the earring without the need for a post.
  • Effective for heavy or large earrings.

La Pousette Backs:

La Pousette Backs earring.
  • Feature a spring mechanism and two notches to keep earrings in place.
  • Provide a secure hold and are easy to put on and take off.

Plastic and Rubber Backs:

Rubber Back earring.
  • Offer a hypoallergenic option.
  • Often used to stabilize larger earrings against the earlobe.

Saddlebacks and Ball Backs:

Saddlebacks earring.
  • Saddlebacks are often seen with hoop earrings, snapping into place to secure the earring.
  • Ball backs provide an aesthetic and secure backing with a ball-shaped clasp.

Earring Back Materials

Different materials cater to aesthetics, functionality, and individual needs such as metal allergies.

  • Gold Earrings: 14K or 18K gold backs provide durability and are less likely to cause allergies.
  • Plastic Earring Backs: An alternative for those with metal allergies, offering a lightweight option.
  • Metal Earring Backs: Commonly made of the same metal as the earring, providing a cohesive look.
Earrings Collection


Functionality and Comfort

Choosing the right earring back is not only about security but also comfort, especially for heavy earrings.

  • Weight of the Earrings: Heavier earrings may benefit from backs that distribute weight more effectively, such as disc backs or la pousette backs.
  • Comfort: Backs made of soft materials like plastic or rubber can reduce irritation and are suitable for daily wear.
  • Metal Allergies: Opt for hypoallergenic materials like plastic, rubber, or high-quality metals like platinum or gold if you have sensitivities.

Earring Types and Appropriate Backs

Choosing the right earring back ensures comfort, security, and enhances the appearance of your earrings. Different earring styles often require specific backs for optimal wear and function.

Stud Earrings

Stud earring kept together.

Stud earrings, including those adorned with gemstones or diamonds, are best with secure back types that lay flat against the ear. Butterfly clutches, also called pushbacks, are the most popular due to their ease of use. They consist of two metal pieces that press together over the post. For larger studs or
diamond studs, jumbo earring backs might be preferable as the larger surface area provides more support and stability.

Hoop and Huggie Earrings

Hoop earings

Hoop earrings and huggie earrings typically utilize a latch back mechanism, where a hinged piece snaps onto a post or fits into a notch on the opposite end of the hoop. This style is generally comfortable and secure, preventing the earring from slipping out of your earlobes.

Dangle and Drop Earrings

A lady wearing drop gold and pearl earring.

With dangle earrings and drop earrings, including elaborate designs like chandeliers and clusters, your back options may vary. Fish hooks or French wires are common, passing through the ear and hanging naturally, although they may lack a closure. For added security, you might seek designs with a lever back, where a hinged loop snaps into place, ensuring your earrings stay put.

Specialty Earrings

Specialty earrings, such as ear climbers, threader earrings, and jacket earrings, may require unique or less common types of backs. Threader earrings often have a thin chain that slides through the ear and adjusts to your desired length. Ear climbers need a firm backing to keep them in position, which might involve a butterfly back or a specially designed supporting piece. Jacket earrings attach to traditional posts with an additional decorative element that sits behind the earlobe, usually held in place with a standard earring back.

Earring Backs for Different Lifestyles

🌟 Push Backs

Ideal for everyday wear. Provides a secure fit for active lifestyles.

💃 French Wire

Adds elegance and movement. Best for special occasions or evening wear.

🏋️‍♂️ Screw Backs

Offers maximum security. Perfect for high-impact activities or sports.

👂 Clip-Ons

Great for non-pierced ears. Provides versatility and easy adjustment.

Choosing the right earring back is crucial for complementing your lifestyle, ensuring both comfort and security for any activity you engage in. Different backs are designed for various levels of activity and aesthetics, matching the needs of your ear lobes and piercings.

Everyday Wear and Comfort

When it comes to daily wear, you'll want earring backs that provide ease and comfort. Push backs, also known as butterfly backs, are a popular choice for their simplicity and effectiveness. They are easy to put on and take off, making them ideal for your busy mornings. Lightweight earrings with push backs offer a comfortable fit for long-term wear throughout your day.

Active Lifestyles and Security

If you lead an active lifestyle, it's essential to have secure earring backs that can keep up with your movements. Screw backs offer the most secure earring backs, minimizing the risk of losing precious earrings during physical activities. Alternatively, lever back earrings or french wires with a secure closure can also provide you the confidence that your earrings will stay in place during your workouts or outdoor adventures.

Special Occasions and Aesthetics

For those events where you want your earrings to make a statement, consider backs that enhance the earring's appearance. French clips provide both aesthetic appeal and security, ensuring that your earrings maintain their position and catch the light beautifully. The right back can elevate the elegance of your earring style, perfect for a wedding or gala.

Children and Safety

Safety is particularly important when selecting earring backs for young girls. Opt for plastic earring backs or backs with rounded, smooth edges that minimize the risk of injury or discomfort. The clip-on backs are a practical choice for children without pierced ears, while screw backs can ensure that earrings remain securely fastened, reducing the chance of accidental loss or swallowing.

Considerations for Earring Backs

A lady wearing gold earing after getting her ear pierced


In choosing earring backs, it's essential to consider factors such as comfort, security, ease of use, and the potential for allergic reactions. Different styles cater to the varied needs of earring wearers, from casual accessories to fine jewelry.

Comfort and Fit

Comfort is paramount when it comes to earring backs. For a snug fit that doesn't irritate, push backs, also known as butterfly backs, are straightforward and prove comfortable for daily wear. Larger jumbo backs offer even weight distribution, minimizing discomfort for heavier earrings.

Ease of Use

Your lifestyle might necessitate ease of use in your earring backs. Lock backs and friction back earrings typically offer a balance between secure fit and convenience, but if you have trouble with small clasps, consider screw backs for a more accessible grip.

Allergies and Sensitivity

🧼 Keep Clean

Regularly clean your earrings and earlobes with mild soap and water to remove dirt and bacteria.

🚫 Avoid Nickel

Choose earrings made from hypoallergenic materials like surgical stainless steel or titanium.

💧 Stay Dry

Remove earrings before swimming or showering to prevent moisture buildup.

🌿 Test New Materials

Patch test new earrings on a small area of skin before wearing them regularly.

🧴 Use Barrier Cream

Apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to the earring post to create a barrier between your skin and the metal.

👂 Listen to Your Body

If you experience itching, redness, or swelling, remove the earrings immediately and consult a dermatologist.

If you have metal allergies or sensitive skin, the material of your earring backs matters greatly. Plastic earring backs or hypoallergenic options like titanium and surgical steel can prevent reactions. Rubber backs can also be an alternative, though less durable.

Earring Backs and Pierced Ears

After an ear piercing, healing is your top priority. Earring backs that provide excellent airflow to pierced ears, such as those made from surgical steel, can promote better healing. A secure fit is also crucial to avoid accidental tugs that might cause discomfort or damage.

Earring Security

The most secure earring backs prevent loss and damage to your jewelry. Lock backs and screw backs provide a higher level of security, ideal for valuable or sentimental earrings. For non-pierced ears, clip-on backs offer an alternative that can be equally secure and stylish.

Types of Non-Pierced Earring Backs

When you have non-pierced ears, choosing the right earring back is crucial for both comfort and style. Non-pierced earring backs provide various secure attachment options without the need for earlobe piercings.

Clip-On Earrings

Clip on earring kept on hand.


Your traditional clip-on earrings use a hinged clip to secure the earring to your earlobe. These are an easy-to-use solution and widely available in various styles, including the popular saddleback and French clips. They press against the earlobe, ensuring the earring stays in place without piercing.

Screw Back Clip-Ons

Screw Back Clip-on Earring.


Screw back clip-ons offer an adjustable fit through a screw mechanism that applies pressure on the earlobe. This allows you to tighten or loosen the earring for personalized comfort, making them suitable for longer wear and heavier earrings.

Magnet Backs

Collection of magnetic earring.


Magnet backs employ a two-part magnet system, where one magnet is placed behind the earlobe and the other is part of the earring itself. Magnet backs create a strong hold by attracting through the earlobe, ensuring your earrings stay secure without any pinch or pressure.

Stick-On Earrings

Collection of stick on earrings kept together.


Stick-on earrings use an adhesive to attach the ornament directly to the earlobe. While they are mostly used for costume jewelry and lighter designs, they provide a simple and pain-free way to wear earrings for short periods.

Other Variations

There are other variations of non-pierced earring backs you might encounter, such as omega backs and French clips, which are designed with a hinged back that closes around the earlobe. While these styles are less common, they offer an alternative to the traditional clip-on mechanism and can comfortably secure heavier earrings.

Maintenance and Care of Earring Backs

A lady renovating earring for her client.


Proper maintenance and care are crucial for ensuring the longevity and functionality of your earring backs. Whether you're dealing with jumbo backs or smaller, more delicate fasteners, attention to detail is key in keeping your jewelry accessories in optimal condition.

Cleaning Earring Backs

Materials Needed:

  • Warm water
  • Mild soap
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Lint-free cloth


  1. Create a soapy solution by mixing warm water with a few drops of mild soap.
  2. Soak the earring backs in the solution for a few minutes.
  3. Gently scrub the backs with a soft-bristled brush to remove any buildup.
  4. Rinse the backs thoroughly with clean water.
  5. Dry them completely with a lint-free cloth before wearing or storing.


  • For jumbo backs, ensure the entire surface area comes into contact with the cleaning solution.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals as they can damage both metal and non-metal backs.

Replacing Lost Backs

  • Always keep spare earring backs at hand, as they can be easily misplaced.
  • Ensure the replacement backs fit snugly to prevent loss of earrings.
  • For special earring types like those with jumbo backs, consider purchasing specific backs designed for their size and weight so the earrings lay evenly when worn.

Storage Solutions

A jewelry box compartment to store earring.


Storing Earring Backs:

  • Use a dedicated small compartment box to keep your earring backs organized.
  • For jumbo backs or larger accessories, allocate appropriately sized sections or use individual pouches to prevent scraping.
  • Separate metal and soft backs to prevent scratching and to retain their shape and structure.

Storing Earrings with their Backs:

  • Fasten earrings to a soft felt board or within a jewelry box with separated slots.
  • For heavier earrings with jumbo backs, provide sufficient support to avoid bending of the posts or the earring itself.

Customizing Earring Backs

Customized heart shaped earring.


When selecting earring backs, not only is it important to consider the comfort, security, and aesthetic that suit your personal style, but you also have the option to customize them. Below, explore different customizations from DIY methods to professional services that enhance your jewelry experience. 

DIY Solutions

You can personalize the backs of your earrings using DIY solutions suited for your needs and preferences. For instance, you may opt to add a layer of hypoallergenic coating on a standard butterfly clutch to prevent metal allergies. Alternatively, you could create your own jumbo earring backs from soft materials for added comfort and stability, especially for heavier earring designs.

  • Materials: Soft felt, silicone, hypoallergenic coat
  • Tools: Brush, scissors
  • Steps:
    1. Cut the material to size
    2. Apply any adhesives or coat
    3. Affix to your existing backs

Professional Customization

A lady customizing earring.


Seeking professional customization ensures high-quality results and a perfect pairing with the earring design. Professionals can offer services such as creating earring backs in precious metals like 14kt or 18kt gold, or in platinum, which can be essential if you have sensitive skin. Moreover, a jeweler can tailor the backs to enhance the overall look of your earrings and ensure a snug, secure fit.

Adaptive Earring Backs

For those requiring adaptive earring backs, customization can result in improved ease of usage and accommodation of specific physical needs. Replacing traditional posts with screw-backs or lever-backs can be a game-changer for individuals with dexterity challenges. Likewise, large, disc-shaped backs can help distribute weight and reduce strain for extended wear.

  • Types:
    • Screw-backs: Easy grip, secure hold
    • Lever-backs: Simplified closure mechanism
    • Disc-shaped backs: Added support for heavy earrings
  • Advantages: Accessibility, extended comfort, security

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to choosing earring backs, the variety of options can be overwhelming. This section answers common questions to help you make an informed decision about the different types of earring backings, their security, comfort, materials, and suitable choices for different scenarios.

What are the names of different earring backings available?

You'll find several earring backing types including push backs (also known as butterfly backs), screw backs, lever backs, hinged backs, La Pousette backs, and locking backs. Each has its unique design and functionality.

Which earring backings are considered the most secure for everyday wear?

For everyday use, screw backs and La Pousette backs offer a high level of security with their twist-on and locking mechanisms, ensuring that your earrings stay in place throughout your daily activities.

What is the safest type of closure for earrings to prevent loss?

Locking backs, which sometimes require a special key to remove, and screw backs are considered the safest closures to prevent earring loss as they provide a snug fit and are less likely to come loose.

Which type of material is recommended for hypoallergenic earring backs?

For hypoallergenic earring backs, materials like platinum, titanium, and surgical stainless steel are recommended. These are less likely to cause allergic reactions or irritations for sensitive skin.

How can I identify the best earring back type for my studs?

To identify the best earring back type for your studs, consider the weight of the earring, your activity level, and your comfort preference. Secure options like screw backs or locking backs may be suitable for heavier studs or active lifestyles.

What are some comfortable earring back options that won't poke while sleeping?

For comfort while sleeping, consider earring backs with a flat design, like rubber friction backs or larger disk-like backs, which disperse pressure and prevent poking into the skin.

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