There are as many earrings available as there are types of earring backs. Earring backs evolved throughout history as a response to the different ways that jewelers designed earrings.
From classical gold earring backs to more modern and secure earring backs of today, there are so many types of earring backs to choose from. You can even buy silicone earring backs now if the backside of your ears is allergic to metal, as is the case for some people who wear earrings.
Everyone knows the feeling: after buying your first pairs of earrings, the next step would be to find the most secure match in terms of earring backs. Of course, earrings come with their own backs, but the generic or default pairings aren’t always the best. As a result, people look for better options to keep their earrings secure, especially the high-value ones.
Different types of earring backs
The types of earring backs that you will find useful will depend on the type of earrings you have, the heft of the earrings, and ultimately, how comfortable you are with wearing the earring backs.
Some earring backs can pinch when used inappropriately, while still others can be less effective when the earrings are heavy. This is our ultimate rundown of different earring backs that differ based on their mechanism and materials used in manufacturing.
Push Backs/Friction Backs
Push backs or friction backs are so-called because they utilize friction and slight spring tension to keep earrings in place. These are one of the easiest to use because you simply need to align the earring pole with the hole and push it in until the desired tightness is achieved.
Many gold earring backs are friction backs and are preferred by many women because they’re easy to put on and remove. Silicone earring backs are designed to mimic the spring tension and “bite” of metal friction backs, but they may not be as effective in securing heftier earrings.
Push backs are best suited for lightweight jewelry like dangle earrings or drop earrings. As long as the earring is not too heavy, you can try them. They also come in jumbo sizes that may or may not come with additional silicone padding, so you may want to look at those also if your heavier earrings are more difficult to secure.
Screw backs are considered the most secure earring backs because these literally have threading running across the earring pole and the back itself is a nut that latches tightly onto the threading system. The grooved post allows the user to secure the earring for the entire day with little risk of loosening or dropping off.
Screw backs are recommended if you want secure earring backs for high-value earrings, or if you want to make sure that your children’s earrings will not fall off when they are at school. The only downside is they do require a bit of dexterity to put on, and children may have to practice a few times before they get it right.
You have to be careful when affixing the nut on the grooved post as the threading system in small pieces of metal are fragile and can easily corrode. This leads to a situation called a “stripped thread” where misalignment during affixing causes a part of the groove system to become smoothened out or stripped, essentially breaking the system.
Stripped threading is the number one problem with screw back earrings. Luckily you can still use push backs and other types of earring backs on screw back earrings because the poles are still usable even if the threading is damaged or gone.
Leverbacks probably has the longest history among the types of earring backs. They have been around since 300 BC in Greece, and have long been used to secure jewelry settings with precious and semiprecious stones like sapphires and emeralds.
Of course, the Greeks used a variety of metals to secure stones such as gold. A lever back earring is comprised of a hinged lever with an accompanying lock on the opposite side of the earring.
The tip of the lever is guided toward the opposing pole and then securely locked in place by the spring tension, similar to what push back scrolls do when you push a post into them.
Leverbacks earrings have two main advantages. The first advantage is it is quite fashionable, which is the main reason why a lot of people choose lever backs in the first place. The second, more important advantage is that it sits perfectly atop the piercing, which makes it one of the most comfortable earring backs around.
There is rarely any pressure felt on the piercing, and if the lever backs have been manufactured to the highest standards, then you can be assured that your earrings will be relatively secure throughout the day. Lever backs are also called “snapbacks” for obvious reasons. ‘
Latch backs make use of a slightly different locking mechanism that is simpler than lever backs and friction backs. Instead of a larger region securing the opposing pole, it uses a small notch that grabs the tip of the latch, similar to what latches do on doors. What this creates is the illusion of a continuous ring in most cases. Latch backs are secure, easy to operate, and are a crowd favorite as well.
The French wire does away with latches, poles, and notches and just uses the weight of the earring itself to keep it in place. The big disadvantage of the French wire is it can only be used with drop earrings. A small wire goes through the pierce and just curves there, preventing the earring from dropping off because of the weight on the other side. It’s easy to use, but there’s a huge chance that you will lose your earrings if you tend to move around a lot.
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