Guide to Earring Findings

Confused about the terms used for different earring findings? Read our glossary guide here...

Historical References

Median Man in Persepolis Relief (515 BCE)
Median Man in Persepolis Relief (515 BCE)

First popular among men, earrings have been referenced throughout history from carved images dating back to the Persian Empire to a written account in The Holy Bible (Exodus 32: 1-4).

Pirates were rumored to wear gold hoop earrings for numerous reasons: they hung wax off of them that could be used to plug their ears when handling the cannons, they helped with seasickness, they were a badge of honor given when a sailor first passed the equator and lastly the gold was meant to compensate for burial if their body was washed ashore after a shipwreck.

Bust of Tutankhamun found in his tomb, 1922
Bust of Tutankhamun found in his tomb, 1922

The trend continued amongst men throughout the centuries, until tables turned and women began to dominate ear adornment. In the 1970’s piercing reached new heights as nurses began attending ear piercing parties at department stores, alleviating the need for home piercings using a needle and a prayer that infections wouldn’t occur. Eventually ear piercing guns were invented and improved sterilization techniques promoted further adoption of fashion piercings.

Piercings continue to evolve with variations in body adornment. However, this blog will focus on traditional earring findings.

Post or Stud Earrings

Earring Findings - Studs and PostsThese types of earrings create the illusion of floating on an earlobe, they are also the first earrings you wear after piercing your ears. Post earrings consist of the post that goes through the piercing and an embellishment that is fused or soldered to the front. Designs can be enhanced with drop rings for dangles. Post earrings stay in place using a clutch or butterfly backing.

Earwires

Earring Findings - EarwiresFrench or Shepherd Hooks – the most popular of all pierced earrings, hook earwires are inexpensive and easy to make by forming wire. Many variations exist by changing the shape, altering the wire or adding ornaments to the hook itself. The drawback of earwires is that they often push forward out of the ear when the end-user wears certain hairstyles, scarves or turtlenecks. A rubber back stopper can help to secure these earrings in place to avoid losses.Earring Findings - V-wiresV-wires or Marquise wires – this is currently a popular variation on the standard hook shape. V-wires are typically larger than standard earwires and can support heavier dangles.

Earring Findings - Ear ThreadsEar Threads – these long earrings thread through the ear and out the opposite side so dangles appear both in front and behind the lobe for an interesting illusion effect.

Earring Findings - Kidney WiresKidney wires – are made from wire shaped like a kidney with a hook that latches the finding together. Kidney wires are inexpensive and more secure since they rarely push out of a piercing. Current variations include larger wires that hang lower from the ear.

Hinged Ear Findings

Earring Findings - LeverbacksLeverbacks – are a premium ear finding option. These findings have a hinge backing that securely snap into place behind the ear lobe.

Earring Findings - EarharpEarharp – shaped like a harp, these findings consist of a post and hinge backing that snaps in place for a secure hold.

Hoops

Earring Findings - HoopsWire Hoops – these lightweight and inexpensive hoops are ideal for beading or wirework additions. Wire hoops usually have one end flattened and pierced so the hook end can latch into the hole. Or, they may have a circular loop at one end to receive the bent latch hook. Wire hoops come in all shapes and sizes.

Earring Findings - Hinged HoopsHinged Hoops – are a more expensive, premium option. These earrings have a hinge that securely latches it into place. Hinged hoops are often made with hollow tubing or solid castings. The larger surface area on the hoops allows for more ornate patterns, shapes and designs.

Earring Findings - Endless HoopsEndless Hoops – are primarily made from hollow tubing. The top arch is a finer gauge wire that goes through the lobe and then inserts into the open end of the tubing to create an “endless” loop shape.

Non-pierced Earrings

Earring Findings - Clip-onsClip-ons – are the most popular non-pierced earrings. They just snap to the lobe to hold it in place but do tend to slip off fairly easily when dangles are too heavy.

Earring Findings - ScrewbacksScrewbacks – literally twist into place, holding the finding securely to the lobe.

Others

Earring Findings - Ear CuffsCuffs – wrap around the cartilage in the middle of the ear. They are purchased as a pre-made cuff or many designers create their own using ear cuff blanks. These are often embellished with a charm or a chain is added linking it to another earring located elsewhere on the ear.

Earring Findings - ChandeliersChandeliers – usually hang from an earwire. These resemble a chandelier and create a cluster effect in jewelry designs.

Ear Climbers –  These non-traditional earrings are usually oriented with the design “climbing” up the ear lobe instead of dangling down below. Use these ready-to-wear bestsellers as upsell items with your jewelry collection. Or, alter and embellish them as base findings

Further Reading

How to Create Your Own Earring Collection

Explorer Earrings with Nealay Patel

6 Steps to Soldering Earring Posts

Video: Tassels & Earring Cards


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