What You Need to Know About Backless Earrings (and Secure Backs)

What You Need to Know About Backless Earrings (and Secure Backs)

Your earrings aren’t just another outfit accessory. They make a statement about who you are, as a person, and as a member of the fashion savvy crowd. So, imagine your embarrassment when you dress to dazzle, and halfway through the night you realize that one of your fabulous backless earrings is missing! How did this happen?

Did you choose a pair of earrings that still had the backs with which you purchased them? Or, did you have to do a mix-and-match with backs from a different pair of earrings, or dig through your extra backs and find a set that “sort of” worked? This is an earring no-no! Unless you know exactly which earring backs will fit snugly on the posts, this type of disaster is sure to happen time and again!

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Backs out of which your earrings cannot slip

Many women don’t realize that the pushback earring clasps aren’t suited for every type of earring. Although these are the most common earring back, they are also the least stable. They were primarily designed for tiny studs and lightweight earrings; they were never intended for your super dangly or heavier ear pieces. Yet, many women will go buy a pack of pushbacks as replacements for all sorts of backs, and try to use them on a multipurpose basis.

Secure earring back choices

Omega backs (a.k.a.: French clips). Suited for both unpierced and pierced ears. The clasp of these backs hugs your earlobe, securing the earring fit without pinching your ear, and ensuring that your earring doesn’t get caught in your hair or snag on your clothes and slip out unnoticed. These are typically designed for earrings with precious stones.

Screw backs. These backs are a grade above the common push back. Similar to some facial jewelry, they secure the earring in place by twisting around a tight groove along the post. If done properly (if the earring is “screwed” into place straight, not crooked), the back cannot unwind itself back down the groove, which means earrings like your valuable gemstone studs, or smaller, delicate designed earrings, will stay in place.

Lever-backs. These have a lever-and-spring combination latch that help support some of the heavier earring style. Take care, however, that the spring hasn’t come loose, and that the latch pieces are perfectly aligned when wearing earrings secured with these backs.

Latch and saddle backs. These backs are very similar in design, with both relying on a hinge clasp to keep your dangly or hooped earrings secure. The snap fastening of these backs keeps the earring closed, therefore keeping your precious jewels snug and preventing the embarrassing disappearing act of a suddenly backless earring.

French wire. ONLY for use with your drop style earrings. These backs need the earrings weight to stay snugly in your ear, and can easily slip out of place if the gemstone or metal design is too light. Conversely, if the jewelry is too heavy, the French wire backs can stretch out the hole in your ear and cause discomfort and irritation to your ear lobe.

How do I know which backs are the most useful?

Any earring back that does more than slip loosely in place is favorable to the less secure ones (or backless earrings). However, make sure you know which backs are used primarily for which styles of earrings. For example, the screw backs are great for expensive studs and small, light earrings, such as tiny crosses, halos, etc., but they might not hold studded hoops or dangly diamond beauties in place as well.

If you own more heavy, large, or bulky earrings, you might want to stock up on latch backs and lever backs. If your earrings are more pricey than large, screw backs and French clips are probably your best bet.

If you’re still not sure, try experimenting with various earring back types. Do this at home, preferably in only 1-2 rooms of the house. See which backs hold up to hair tugging, ear scratching, or any other habit or situation to which they might be exposed during the course of a typical event. This way, if one falls out, you can find it easily, and safely narrow down your earring back options for each type of earring you have.

Popular earring back styles that are good backless earring alternatives

In short, knowing which earrings put the least amount of strain on which earring back styles will help you choose the right set for your gorgeous ear accessories. For quick reference, here is a list of the popular earring back styles, in order of reliability and practicality (and, no, backless earrings don't make the list at all):

  • Saddle back
  • Latch back
  • Lever back
  • Screw back
  • French clip
  • Push back
  • French wire
  • Clip (for unpierced ears ONLY)

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