Earring Guide

From delicate gemstone studs to large, dramatic hoops, earrings add symmetry and grace to any wearer, enhancing any ensemble from casual chic to black-tie formal. Earrings make a perfect gift for a special birthday, an anniversary, or a graduation.

There are dozens of styles to choose from in fashionable earrings. Below is a summary of the various types, although there is certainly plenty of variety within these styles.

Shop for Earrings

Stug Earrings

Stud Earrings

The smallest and simplest of earrings, studs are comprised of a diamond, gemstone, or metal ball that appears to float on the front of the earlobe. This is attached to a post that goes through the ear with a back to hold it in place. Stud earrings are a timeless, versatile choice.

Diamond Stug Earrings

Diamond Stud Earrings

Diamonds are often worn in stud earrings to showcase the fire and beauty of the gem without any other distractions. Like other studs, diamond stud earrings can be worn with anything from jeans to bridal gowns. To achieve maximum sparkle and fire, Brilliance recommends choosing diamonds graded at least I in color and SI in clarity.

Demand for Certified Diamond Stud Earrings has increased in recent years. To ensure a sound jewelry investment, you can hand-pick two matching loose diamonds that have been certified by a trusted gemological laboratory. The diamonds are then set in the stud setting of your choice.

Pearl Stug Earrings

Pearl Studs

A timeless and natural classic, pearl studs can be found in many colors and sizes and serve as an elegant finishing touch. Often accented by a single small diamond, Akoya and freshwater pearls are the most common varieties.

Metal Stug Earrings

Metal Studs or Knots

One of the most popular styles, metal stud earrings are more casual than diamond or colored gemstone studs, but are easier to maintain and relatively inexpensive. Their versatility allows them to be worn with almost any ensemble.

Drop Earrings

Drop Earrings

Regal and feminine, drop earrings dangle from the ear. These earrings vary from gemstone and diamond styles to all-metal designs, and can range from an inch long to nearly shoulder length.

Chandelier Earrings

Chandelier Earrings

This style dangles from the earlobe with several levels cascading to a point an inch or two (or more) below the ear. These drop earrings can be all metal or may be made of diamonds, gemstones, pearls, or a combination of the three. This style of earring is elegant, feminine, and boldly dramatic.

Metal Fashion Earrings

Metal Fashion Earrings

Gold, silver, or platinum drop earrings are modern and trendy accessories available in a wide variety of styles. These designs include circular links that dangle to the shoulder, abstract curves in bright yellow gold, and silver symmetrical designs with textured finishes.

Chandelier Earrings

Diamond Design

Diamond drop earrings are often found in a line or curved shape encrusted with small stones. A popular style is the “journey” earring, with each diamond increasing in size along the curve of the earring. Other diamond drop earrings feature diamonds in circle or square shapes, or set in links that drop to the shoulder. For optimum sparkle, Brilliance recommends using diamonds graded no less than I in color and SI in clarity.

Chandelier Earrings

Gemstone Design Earrings

Gemstone design earrings are similar to diamond designs. They may display one type of colored gemstone, or can alternate gemstones with diamond accents for added sparkle and fire.

Hoop Earrings

Hoop Earrings

These retro favorites have come back into style, available in a wide array of sizes and thicknesses. Large, thin hoop earrings exude a young and trendy look, while smaller hoops make a more reserved and elegant statement. Hoop earrings can be made with solid metal or set with diamonds or gemstones.

Hoops Earrings

Metal Hoops

Classic and trendy at the same time, this earring style can be found in a variety of sizes and metals. Gold, sterling silver, and platinum are the most popular types of metal hoops. They can be perfectly round or oval, or can take on more unique orientations, such as pointed or heart shapes.

Hoops Earrings

Diamond Hoops

Diamonds set into a classic hoop setting add elegance and sparkle to a time-honored style. The number, size, and setting of diamonds on hoop earrings can vary. Some styles feature diamonds set only in the front half of the hoop and some include diamonds in the inner portion of the hoop for maximum exposure.


An updated version of the classic hoop earring, huggies are small, thick hoops that hug the earlobe. For added impact, they can be set with diamonds or other gems. Huggies usually hinge for easier insertion and removal.

Types of Earring Backs

Types of Earring Backs

Backings serve to keep earrings in place and prevent the loss of fine jewelry and valuable gemstones. Below are descriptions of the most popular styles of earring backings.

screw back earings


This backing style has a grooved end on the earring's post – the part that passes through the ear – that screws into a secure back to hold the jewelry in place. Screw backings are more commonly seen in premium gold and platinum earrings, ensuring that valuable jewelry doesn’t slip off the ear.

push back earrings

Push Back

Push backs are the most common earring backing, comprised of a straight post that is inserted into a small metal piece behind the ear to hold the earring in place. This type of earring back is sometimes called a "butterfly" due to the distinctive shape of the metal backing piece.

french back earrings

French Back

Also known as a hinge or omega back, the French back is a loop of metal that hinges around the back of the ear to hold the earring in place and latches over the post where it emerges behind the earlobe. Although secure and comfortable, this backing style is not quite as durable as other types.

latch back earrings

Latch Back

A latch back earring has a fishhook of metal that slides through the ear and catches in a loop on the back of the earring. Latch backs are often seen on hoop earrings.

lever back earrings

Lever Back

Similar to a latch back earring, the lever back relies on a fishhook of metal that passes through the ear and is secured to a hinged lever that folds out of the back of the earring. This backing is perfect for large, valuable earrings.

Tips For Buying Earrings

  • Consider the recipient’s style and tastes, and try to find earrings that will match most of what she wears.

  • Choose a length that will complement the wearer’s face shape. Longer earrings elongate round faces.

  • Platinum is an ideal hypoallergenic metal for those with skin sensitivities or allergies.

  • Stud earrings are a classic, versatile choice, serving as a can’t-miss gift for any jewelry wearer.

  • If you’re looking for a gift that’s personalized to the recipient, birthstone earrings are a beautiful and meaningful choice.

  • The sparkle and brilliance of diamond earrings creates an unforgettable impact, making them the perfect choice for finishing of an eye-catching ensemble and for special occasions.