Most Common Types of Earrings

Stud Earrings

Stud Earrings (a.k.a. Post earrings) most often consist of a single pearl, semi-precious stone (or faux pearl and glass stones), anchored to the top of a straight rigid post inserted through a piercing in the earlobe.  The post is secured on the back by either a friction (a.k.a. tension) back or a screw back.  Stud earrings are often a person's first type of earring and the style most used when the earlobes are first pierced.  Stud, or post, earrings remain a classic style earring and a minimalist favorite for virtually any occasion.

Cluster Earrings

Cluster Earrings consist of a small arrangement, or cluster, of pearls and/or semi-precious stones (or faux pearls and/or glass stones) which, like a simple stud earring, are anchored to the top of a single metal post (usually to a small faceplate welded to the top of the post).  Cluster earrings cover more of the earlobe but do not typically hang below the lobe.  Cluster earrings that are large and/or heavy may be anchored on the back of the earlobe with a wider jumbo back to help keep the cluster earring sitting snug against the front of the earlobe preventing it from drooping or sagging.

Hoop Earrings

Hoop earrings are circular, semi-circular or oval-shaped earrings typically made of thin gold or silver plated metal tubing formed to resemble a hoop that is worn through a piercing in the earlobe and secure in the back.  Hoop earrings range greatly in size from small and discrete to large and pronounced (hoops can be so large they brush the shoulders).  While classic hoop earrings feature an almost minimalist simplicity of design, some contemporary hoop earrings may incorporate other decorative elements and embellishments, such as beads or fringe strung onto the hoop or dangles that hang from the bottom of a hoop.  Some dangle earrings made from other materials but fashioned to resemble a large open hoop may also be commonly referred to as a hoop earring. 

Huggie Earrings

Huggie earrings, or huggers, are basically very small hoop-shaped earrings that snugly wrap around the bottom of the earlobe and attach in the back (typically with a tension spring).  Huggers are often designed to be a bit wider than hoops (so they stand out) and most often have a simple polished or textured metal face, with, or without, inset stone embellishments for added sparkle.

Drop Earrings

Drop earrings most often refer to a stud (or post) earring that has an additional single element that hangs below the earlobe to create a flattering and elegant vertical line or teardrop shape.  The hanging element may be any length and either stationary (one solid piece with the top element and stud) or flexible so that it will swing about with movement.

Dangle Earrings

Dangle earrings are designed so that the main decorative element hangs (or dangles) below the earlobe.  With dangles, the main decorative element may either be one solid piece with the post or ear wire (so the earring remains somewhat stationary when worn) or attached separately to the post or ear wire so that it can swing freely with physical movement.  Dangle earrings come in virtually every shape and size.  More common styles of dangle earrings have their own sub-category names,  some of which include; fringe earrings, tassel earrings, chandelier earrings, shoulder duster earrings and threader earrings.

Fringe Earrings

Fringe earrings are most often dangle or hoop style earrings that feature a flat, thick “mane” of short, blunt-cut fibers, extending from the edges of a semi-circular, or circular base (similar to fringe cut bangs).  Fringe earrings are typically on the larger side and designs can range from casual fun to upscale fancy.

Tassel Earrings

Tassel earrings consist of long strands of fiber, chain or strung beads that hang from a single top knot or cap (used to conceal multiple knots or anchor points) and which swing freely with any movement.  While tassels have a long history adorning everything from robe ties for religious and intellectual elites to modern day graduation hats, decorative pillows, and curtains ties, tassel earrings are a relatively new and increasingly popular fashion trend enjoyed with both casual or formal wear.

Chandelier Earrings

Chandelier earrings most often consist of an ornate flat triangular shaped dangle earring that features several independent, equally spaced apart, drops of crystals or beads extending from the wide base of the triangle that has a lot of movement and sparkle.  Chandelier earrings take their name from chandelier light fixtures due to their sparkling ornate design and upscale appearance.

Shoulder Duster Earrings

Shoulder duster earrings refer more to a specific length of earring than any one specific style.  Shoulder duster earrings are most often some version of a dangle or threader style earrings that, as the name implies, reach, or nearly reach the shoulders.  Common styles of earrings made to be extra long so they reach the shoulders include chandelier earrings, tassel earrings, threader earrings and dangle earrings (that incorporate any number of multiple elements such as beads, hoops, links, and chain for added length).

Threader Earrings

Threader earrings, similar to traditional hoop earrings, are designed to be threaded through a piercing in the lobe and do not require a separate ear wire or back to be secured.  Threader earrings typically consist of a long length of very thin chain with a decorative solid post on one end that allows a portion of the chain to be fished through pierced hole.  The other end of the chain may be plain, have a similar decorative post, or a small beaded embellishment.  When worn, both ends of the chain hang straight down and swing freely with any movement.

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