Jewelry making comes with tons of options. You can make rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, or broaches.
Just within the earring world alone, there are several different types of pieces you can use to make your earrings. The pieces that hold the beads and jewelry pieces together, called findings, come in many different forms.
For earrings, one of the most common types of findings is the hook group.
So, what are the different types of earring hooks? The most common types of earring hooks are French hooks, V wire hooks, leverbacks, ear threads, and kidney wire. Aside from those, there are other types of earring findings such as hoops, posts, and clip-ons.
Keep reading to find out more about the types of earring hooks you can use to craft your own jewelry, as well as information about some of the other earring findings available.
What Are Earring Findings?
Before we had large industrial factories to mass produce goods, things were made by hand. Jewelry was made by shaping and forming whatever wire or metal could be found, which was usually leftover from another project.
For this reason, the pieces that hold together the beads, jewels, and other intricate designs of jewelry are called findings. Earring findings are the metal pieces that hold together whatever decorative elements are added to them.
Many earrings are made with only metal and gemstone components, but there are plenty of earrings also made with plastic beads or even leather or feather pieces.
All of these decorative components are added onto the metal earring finding. Earring findings come in different categories based on the style of earring desired.
The most common type of earring finding is the hook. Hook earrings are popular because they easily slide through the ear and have mechanisms that make it easy to keep them in place.
Aside from hook earrings, you can also find post findings. The post type of earring finding is usually just a single post of metal with a backing that slides on the back of the post. Post findings are used for single gemstone studs or for metal ball studs.
Hoop findings are another common type for earrings. There are different mechanisms for clasping the hoop securely on the ear, but they all come in a circular shape.
The hoop findings will vary greatly in size. They can be as large as a few inches or as small as half an inch. Finally, there are also clip-on earring findings. These are for people who don’t have their ears pierced but still wish to wear earrings.
Clip-on earrings come in the classic form that clips onto your ear, or in a form called screwback. The screwback findings still clip in place, but you can tighten or loosen the back part that secures the earring to your ear to a comfortable pressure.
The video below from Beads Jar UK showcases a few different types of earring findings. You’ll see French hooks, kidney wires, ear threads, and posts.
Types Of Earring Hooks
Within the world of earring hooks, there are several different types. To offer a variety for your customers, we encourage you to use a combination of the hooks below when crafting your jewelry.
1. French Hook (Shepherd’s Hook)
French hooks, also sometimes called shepherd’s hooks, are the most common type of earring hook.
These hooks are super affordable and easy to use. They have a hook that slides right in the ear, and a small circle at the bottom of the hook for you to attach your decorative elements.
One thing to keep in mind is that French hooks do have a tendency to slide out of the ears if not properly secured.
The remedy, however, is simple! Use a rubber back stopper to keep the earrings in place. If you purchase a pack of shepherd’s hooks, it will come with enough rubber stoppers for each hook.
Your customers can easily slide the rubber stopper onto the hook and press it close to their ear to prevent these from coming out.
2. V Wire (Marquise Wire)
The V wire earring finding, also called a marquise wire, is another popular type of earring hook.
V wires are loved for their elegant and modern look. Instead of having a traditional hook shape, the V wire is in the shape of the letter V.
The point of the V is a little rounded, because that’s the part that sits inside of your earlobe. You’ll thread one half of the V through your ear and allow the point to rest at the top.
On one end of the V is a small hoop where you can add your decorative adornments.
Since the hook of a V wire is much larger than a French hook, you’ll be able to use heavier or larger dangle elements for statement earrings.
Leverbacks are considered to be a premium type of earring hook because of the security they offer.
You’ll notice that it’s still in the shape of a hook, but there is a hinged lever aspect for the closure.
To use a leverback, the earring wearer will pull the hinged lever open, slide the hook through their earlobe, and close the hinged lever over the back of the hook.
This lever will stay latched to the hook because of the way the hinge is designed, so you don’t have to worry about a separate backing piece falling off.
Leverback earring hooks also have the small loop at the bottom to attach your decorative elements for your earrings. Because they’re so secure, you can add a variety of adornments whether large or small and rest assured that the earring will stay right where it is.
4. Ear Threads
Ear threads are different from the other hooks on this list because they’re only a hook shape when worn. When ear threads are taken out of the ear, they look like a straight chain with a post at the end.
Ear threads are popular because they’re delicate, comfortable, and elegant.
They’re made with a short metal post, a chain of varying length, and a small hoop at the end for the decorative elements.
Sometimes ear threads have a solid metal hook in the middle of the chain that rests in the earlobe. This metal hook either has more chain length after it, or has the chain on one end of the hook and the loop for decorative elements on the other end.
To use an ear thread type earring, you simply push the post through your earlobe and pull until the chain is resting securely in your ear. The wearer can pull the chain as much or as little as they want to create different lengths and looks with their ear threads.
Ear threads don’t come with a separate backing piece because they’re threaded through the ear, so they rest naturally in the earlobe. Some common decorative elements that are added to ear threads are small crystals or beads.
Typically, you wouldn’t want to add large decorative elements because the chain is generally the main attraction. You want to add something small and elegant that matches the simple style of the ear thread.
5. Kidney Wire
Kidney wire earring hooks are so named because the hook is in the shape of a kidney.
It’s constructed with one piece of metal wire that forms a U shape. On one end is a straight post, and on the other end the metal wire is bent and curved to create two parts: the loop for decorative elements, and the latch hook to secure the straight end.
Kidney wire earrings are incredibly easy to work with because you can slip the decorative elements on or off with ease. They slide around the latch hook and fall into the loop area.
When worn, kidney wire earrings have a dangling aspect with the wire hanging down from the earlobe.
These earring hooks are popular because they’re simple hooks that are cheap, easy to make yourself, and rest securely in the ear without a separate backing piece.
Other Types Of Earring Findings
Aside from hooks, there are other types of earring findings commonly used for jewelry making. We’ve captured some of the more common types below with some examples and suggested products.
Hoops are a well-loved style of earrings. They come in both large and small sizes, and they certainly make a statement.
Below are the 3 most common types of hoop findings.
1. Hinged Hoops
Hinged hoops are a type of earring finding commonly used for more ornate or extravagant hoop earrings.
Compared to other types of hoops, hinged hoops have a thicker piece of wire to form the circular shape.
This thicker wire usually can’t pass through a standard ear piercing, so there are often smaller posts attached to the hoop to go through the earlobe.
The post is held securely in place by a hinge on the back. It’s also common to make hinged hoops using hollow tubing as opposed to a solid casting.
2. Wire Hoops
Wire hoops are the more affordable, lightweight, and simple version of a hoop earring.
These hoops are simply made with a piece of wire shaped into a circle. One end of the wire is bend into an L shape and the other end is bent into a loop.
To secure, you slide the L end of the wire into your ear and latch it through the loop at the back of your earlobe.
Wire hoops are typically made with thinner pieces of wire, but they’re still able to hold small or lightweight decorative elements like beads, feathers, or leather pieces.
You want to avoid adding heavy or ornate decorative elements on hoop earrings because they’ll pull on the person’s earlobe and cause discomfort.
3. Endless Hoops
Endless hoops have a very different look from the wire hoops and hinged hoops above.
When you look at an endless hoop, it truly looks like one unending circle of metal. Upon closer inspection, you’ll see one part of the metal hoop is smaller in circumference than the rest.
An endless hoop works by having a small post that fits inside of a hollow metal tubing. It can be removed by twisting it out of place.
Once it’s twisted out, you can slide the small post through your ear, then twist it back inside the metal tubing.
Because the closure is built-in and rests inside of a piece of tubing, it’s extremely secure.
Putting on an endless hoop earring can come with a learning curve. If you or your customer have never used an endless hoop before, it may take some practice to get the mechanics just right.
Just as with the other hoops, you can easily slide on decorative elements over the hoop’s post and onto the larger tubing. Make sure the adornments you want to use will fit over the larger circumference of the hollow tubing.
Aside from hooks and hoops, posts are the other type of earring finding commonly used to make earrings.
Posts are popular findings to make beginner earrings for newly pierced ears because they slide in and out with ease. Depending on the setting on the post, you’ll only have a small ball or gemstone on the front with no hanging adornments.
Posts, or studs, can come with different settings. Some are flat-back and intended for you to glue on a small and simple decorative element.
Others have a concave setting where you can still glue on your decorative element, but it will rest inside of a setting with raised edges to help hold it in place.
If you want to use a post but still want to include decorative elements, simply search for post findings that include a small loop on the front. You can still add an adornment through that loop.
The adornment you choose can be as large or small as you want. There are plenty of simply post earrings, and plenty of extravagant post earrings with dangling decorations that hang down an inch.
Ear piercings can be painful, so many people opt to wear clip-on earrings.
Rather than looping through a piercing you’ve had done in your earlobe, a clip-on earring does just that – it clips onto your earlobe with two metal components that are hinged to join together.
There’s typically a lever you can press down on to open the two metal pieces, slide the open earring onto your ear, then release the lever.
Some people find clip-on earrings to be uncomfortable because of the pressure it puts on your earlobe, but they’re a less invasive alternative to ear piercings.
Clip-on findings still come with a loop to add decorative elements, so you can add as much or as little style as you want.
Keep in mind that clip-on earrings aren’t as secure as standard earrings that are loops through a piercing in the ear. To prevent lost earrings, we recommend adding lightweight or small decorative elements to your clip-on earrings.
Screwbacks are another type of clip-on finding, but they tend to be more comfortable to wear.
Rather than two metal components clasping together onto your earlobe, the screwback has a screw that you can twist to tighten or loosen the earring onto your ear.
These are a great alternative to clip-ons for those who don’t have pierced ears but want to wear comfortable, stylish earrings.
Just as with the other earring findings, there’s a small loop on the metal that allows for decorative elements to be added.
Keep in mind that screwbacks are similar to clip-ons, so keep the decorative elements to a light minimum.