Making your own earrings can be a fun way to explore your creativity and get some fun accessories in the process. As you start to learn more about jewelry making and become more skilled in making earrings, you can start to explore the different types of earring backs to make various types of earrings.
Earring backs are not only essential in earring making, mainly because they help to hold your earrings in place when you wear them, but they can also add to the overall aesthetics of your piece as well.
When you choose earring backs, the main considerations are not only how well they fit with your earring design but also how secure the earring backs are and how replaceable they are.
Of course, the inexpensive earring backs are quite easy to find, but they often don’t provide a lot of support, especially for heavier earrings.
On the other hand, more expensive earring backs can provide a lot of support to keep your earrings in place, but if you happen to lose a part of the back, it may be a bit difficult to find replacements.
So, what are the types of earring backs? There are several types of earring backs, including ones that are added onto a stud, clasp closed, or are built into the earrings. A few types include clip-ons, French wires, jumbo backs, push backs, lever backs, and more.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the different types of earring backs and how you can play around with them to get some unique pieces for your collection.
Clip-on earring backs are designed to be worn if you do not have pierced ears. They are very versatile and quite popular in earrings designed for young girls.
Although clip-on backs are designed for people who do not have pierced ears, they are made to secure your earrings by holding them in place using a little hinge.
Clip-on earrings can stay in place quite securely, but if you are wearing heavier pieces, they can really hurt your ears, as they can pinch and pull your ear lobes down.
However, with light pieces, they are perfect for those who don’t want to pierce their ears, those whose piercings have closed, or those who need costume jewelry.
2. French Wire
The French wire is probably the most popular earring back design out there because of its simple design and simple-to-use mechanism.
The French wire back resembles the fish hook, which works nicely with drop earrings.
They are simple to use because you simply have to slip the earrings on, and the weight of the drop earrings will balance the fish hook and keep your earrings in place.
The curved backs of these are designed to fit through your ear and secure it. They do not have a back, so you don’t have to worry about missing back pieces.
This type of earring back is popular for heavier drop earring pieces because they are very lightweight but can provide superior balance and support.
3. Jumbo Earring Backs
Jumbo backs are often made of plastic or rubber, which is why they are very inexpensive, though they can also be made of metal.
The design resembles a fat disk that secures the earring post and helps the earring stay flat on your earlobe, which is why you often see this type of back for simple stud earrings.
These backs are made to enhance the look of an earring, and the plastic or rubber material actually makes them more comfortable. They are also more durable and can withstand wear.
If you are looking for earring backs that are comfortable to wear and will keep your earrings in place, then the Jumbo Backs might be the best option.
However, because this is a separate part, you may risk losing the backs if you’re not careful. The Jumbo backs can often only support lightweight stud earrings, so if you have heavier pieces, it’s better to find options that provide more support.
4. Plastic/Rubber/Silicone Backs
This type is usually made out of plastic, rubber, or silicone. These are great for keeping your earring in place and are usually less expensive than other types of earring backs.
Similar to the Jumbo backs, plastic backs have a different design but the same kind of mechanism – it’s a small plastic tube with a hole in the middle where you can squeeze in the earring post.
While this type of back is inexpensive easy to use, they don’t provide a very secure connection, so they are only suitable for lightweight stud earrings.
Heavier pieces that pull down on your ears can slip out from these backs quite easily, so we don’t recommend using plastic backs for heavier earring designs.
5. La Pousette Backs
La poussette earring backs feature dents on the post and a spring locking mechanism on the back that secures the post in place.
This type of back is popular among stud earrings or heavier pieces that need to lay flat on your earlobe because the spring locking mechanism provides a very secure “lock” for the earrings.
Despite the complicated mechanism, this type of earring back is not complicated to put on at all. You simply have to apply a little bit of pressure on the sides of the earring back to open it and put it on the post.
When you remove your hand, the earring back will lock and keep your earrings in place. Of course, people with bigger hands or those who have motor control issues don’t love using this type of back because it takes a bit of extra effort to put on the earrings.
However, the secure lock makes it quite worth it, especially if you have expensive and heavy earrings that you don’t want to slip out of your ears while you wear them!
Chrysmela backs are marketed as the most secure earring backs available.
Although they have a similar mechanism as the La Pousette backs, they have a patented material that helps them lock up securely in place without ever slipping out.
To get the lock to release, you will need to pull back on the endplate.
These are designed to be a good fit for all sizes of posts, but because they are quite expensive, these type of earring backs are more often seen in fine jewelry pieces, where you need to make sure that your earrings are secure.
If you have an expensive piece of jewelry that you don’t want to lose, then this type of earring back is a really good investment, giving you peace of mind when you wear your expensive earrings.
7. Push Backs
Stud earrings usually feature a push back (also called butterfly backs). The back is shaped into two little loops on a flat plate, and in the middle, you can see a small hole to fit with the earring post.
Push Backs are usually made with a tight fit to make sure they stay in place.
Because these are separate, small metal parts, this type of earring back is also the easiest to lose, so we recommend having several spare ones in case you lose the part.
This type of earring back is the most popular with stud earrings or earrings that are designed to stay flat on your ears.
8. Screw Posts
The screw post is another variation of stud earring backs, but the post and the back have a screw mechanism so that you have to twist the back in place when you wear them.
As you can imagine, this is a very secure connection that can support quite a bit of weight while staying put on your ear.
The downside? It takes a while to put on, and for those with motor control problems, it can take several minutes to secure the back on the post.
Since this type of back is not very popular, the backs can be a bit hard to replace if you happen to lose them, which can happen a lot because of the separate parts that sometimes make up these earring backs.
9. Ball Backs
Ball backs are very fun to wear and are often part of the design of an earring, which is why you see this design a lot in body piercings and cartilage piercings, rather than traditional earrings.
Rather than a traditional back, these backs are metal balls with a hole to secure your post, usually with a mechanism similar to the screw post.
Keep in mind that this back design can be a bit hard to find. In addition, the ball-backs can only support very lightweight earrings and work best with stud earrings and body or cartilage piercings.
LOX backs are really engineering marvels.
Although the LOX backs have a similar mechanism to others with a post and an earring back that slides on to secure the post in place, the earring back has some more complicated mechanisms that prevent the post from sliding out.
LOX backs are quite comfortable to wear, mainly because you can slide the backs in the exact position that you find comfortable, and the backs will lock in place without moving.
To take off the earrings, you will need to grip the little metal levers on the back carefully to release it.
Since this is a two-part back, you will also risk losing the back without a lot of luck finding replacements. Because of its sophisticated design, LOX backs are not easy to find.
However, the security that this type of back provides is still a huge bonus, especially if you won’t want to lose your expensive earrings while you are wearing them.
11. Push-On Stopper
A push-on stopper has a similar mechanism as the plastic back, but it also has an additional metal bullet clutch in place to help the backstay on more securely.
This is a very popular type of earring back that is a combination of easy-to-use and secure, so you can easily find these backs almost anywhere.
The only downside to this design is that it only comes in one size, so although they work with most types of small earring posts, they are not suitable for very big or very small pieces.
12. Lever Backs
Lever backs have a similar design to the French clips and the lever back mentioned above. They have a hinged post and a metal catch that fits together, but in the case of the lever backs, the metal catch is the part that is flexible.
The lever backs are usually made with a spring to help keep the earrings in place when they are worn. Because of the spring mechanism, some wearers can experience uncomfortable tightness when wearing this type of earring, but the connection is quite secure.
13. Kidney Wires
Kidney wire backs have a design that is a mix between saddleback and the French wire backs.
This back has a very long wire that forms a partial loop (which resembles a kidney – hence the name kidney wires), designed to go through your earlobe. After putting the earring on, the wire is secured with a latch at the bottom that secures it in place.
Thanks to this design, the kidney wire backs are a little bit more secure than the French wire back (because the loop is closed off) and a bit more comfortable to use than the saddleback.
This is a beautiful back design that works great with dangling earrings and can support quite a bit of weight. You don’t have to worry about the earrings slipping out as you go through the day, and this playful design can also contribute to the overall look of your earring design as well.
Earring Backs That Are Built Into The Earring
1. French Clips
French clips (also sometimes called omega backs) can be worn with both a pierced or un-pierced ear. They are designed to clasp onto your earlobes and help the earrings stay in place, whether you have pierced ears or not.
There are various types of French clips out there. Some of these are designed to have a screw that can be used to secure the back in place, while others have a post that can be secured by the clasp.
This style of earring backs is quite popular because the back clasp is a part of the earrings, so you don’t have to worry about missing parts. This mechanism is also very secure, but the design is simple and elegant enough for fine jewelry pieces.
French clips are available in various sizes, which can fit perfectly with all sizes of earrings. When you select this type of earring backs, make sure that the clasp is not too tight, or it can pinch and really hurt your ears.
2. Latch Backs
Latch backs have a similar mechanism to the french clip backs, but the latch hook is a lot smaller, which holds the earring post securely in place until you want to remove them.
With the latch backs, the post needs to be flexible to be able to click in place when you put the earrings on and can snap out of the latch with a little bit of pressure.
Dangling earrings and hoop earrings often have latch backs, which can sometimes be a part of the design. Since the back is attached to the earring itself, you don’t have to worry about losing parts of the earrings, and this type of back provides secure support to light and medium-weight earrings.
If you are looking for something simple and elegant, then the latch back is a great option.
The saddleback has a similar design to the latch back and the lever back in that it has a flexible post and a metal catch on the other side that can secure the post in place while you wear them.
The saddlebacks don’t have a spring mechanism to secure the earrings in place, and the catch can have an opening on the side instead of on top, which makes the connection still secure while making the earrings more comfortable to wear, compared to the other types of earring backs with similar designs.