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by Jesús Zabala - 5 min read

What Are Clip-on Earrings?

Earrings are a great part of modern fashion. The two main earring styles are pierced and non-pierced earrings. Non-pierced earrings like clip-on earrings have been around for over a century and have only recently become popular. What are clip-on earrings, you might wonder. Well, stay tuned to discover.

In this guide, we will reveal its meaning, the types of clip-on earrings, and the pros and cons of wearing them. Plus, we will give you a bonus tip on how to choose the right clip-on earrings.

What Are Clip-on Earrings?

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Redumbrella Europe

What Are Clip-on Earrings?

Clip-on earrings are a great alternative for those who don’t have their ears pierced but still want to make a bold fashion statement by wearing their favorite pair of unique earrings. These non-pierced earrings are fastened to your earlobe with a clip made of metal or plastic.  But since they are only attached to the earlobes, is there a chance for the clip-on earrings to fall off during the night or event you attend? As long as you properly adjust the clip-ons to stay in one place, there’s no need to worry about them falling off.

Yet, their comfortability depends on the design and materials used. While some people find them comfortable, others may feel discomfort after wearing them for an extended period. Other factors, like size, weight, and tightness, influence the comfort level. That is why we advise you to try on clip-on earrings and buy the ones that feel more comfortable. When shopping online, start with the smallest ones to get used to wearing them.

Clip-on earrings are made from different materials. The clip is usually made from metal, like stainless steel, which is hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin. The earring part can be made from gold, silver, or other metal, plastic, crystals, etc. Opt for high-quality materials if you want to have clip-on earrings that last long.

Pros and Cons of Clip-on Earrings

As with other jewelry pieces, clip-on earrings have both advantages and disadvantages. 

Pros of clip-on earrings

  • Easy to put– clip-on earrings are a hassle-free way to accessorize your ears. They are practical and convenient, especially for those with previously pierced ears or sensitive skin issues. You can put and remove them easily.
  • Hypoallergenic– you will not risk an infection or allergy by wearing them. Besides this, they are a great option if you do not want to get your ears pierced.
  • Versatile and adjustable– clip-on earrings come in many designs, styles, and sizes, offering many options. You can find clip-on earrings for any outfit and occasion. Unlike traditional earrings, clip-on earrings often have adjustable tightness. So, you can choose how tight or loose you want to wear them.

Cons of clip-on earrings

  • Risk of falling off or being stolen–  although most clip-on earrings are secure, you may still face falling off if they are not secured properly. Also, they are easier to steal. Therefore, wearing expensive clip-on earrings is sometimes risky.
  • Potential discomfort– you might feel clip-ons uncomfortable or heavy to wear after some time. This is because pierced ears can bear heavier earrings than non-pierced ears.

Types of Clip-on Earrings

Since clip-on earrings have been around for a while, they have undergone many adaptations. We will show you all the types of clip-on earrings.

Types of Clip-on Earrings

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Redumbrella Europe

Screw-back clip-on earrings

These are the first clip-ons that date back to the 19th century. They do not have hinges, and one could fasten them by tightening the screw against the back of the lobe. So, if you still have a pair of these earrings, consider them vintage!

Hinge clip-on earrings

The next model was more convenient than the screw-back clip-on. The clip worked as a hinge to open and close the earrings. This is how one could have fastened them to the lobes. This was a quick and simple mechanism, ideal for lightweight earrings.

Paddle-back clip-on earrings

The 1950s were all about clip-ons. So, one of the models was the one we most relate to clip-on - the adjustable paddle clip with the spring bar on the hinge. These earrings had a simple, easy-to-put, and cost-friendly mechanism. 

Screw-hinge clip-on earrings 

This mechanism was a level up from the hinge clip and the screw-back. This was a great option for those whose lobes swell up during the day. The screw mechanism ensures a secure fit.

Invisible clip-on earrings

Invisible clip-ons are one of the newly invented styles. They are ideal for people prone to metal allergies or feeling discomfort with traditional clip-on. These clip-ons are designed to be discreet and blend with the earlobe, giving the illusion of a pierced earring.

Sliding spring clip-on earrings

These earrings have a sliding mechanism and flexible spring that allows the clip to adjust and fit comfortably on the earlobe, providing a secure and comfortable fit. This type of clip-on offered the possibility to people whose ears are not pierced to wear hoop earrings. 

Ear cuffs

These clip-ons wrap around the ear and are versatile, allowing different placement options. They often have decorative elements like gemstones or unique designs. They have become popular because they provide a look at multiple piercings without actually getting piercings.

Mini clip earrings

These earrings have a small clip mechanism and are usually lightweight, making them ideal for people with sensitive wars, young girls, or those who prefer minimalistic jewelry. Remember that this style is not as adjustable as others. 

Bonus Tips: How to Choose the Right Clip-on Earrings

Clip-on earrings are proof that not all ears are the same. So, we will give several professional advice for you to find the right clip-ons.

We recommend avoiding paddle-back or hinge style if you have thick earlobes. Choose something comfortable, such as vintage clip-ons like screw-backs.

If, on the other hand, you have thin earlobes we advise you to opt for mini clip-ons or sliding spring clip-ons. This way you will not risk the earrings to fall off. 

How to Choose the Right Clip-on Earrings

Source: shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: AnasLe


What are clip-on earrings? They are easy-to-use ornamental jewelry that embellishes your ears without piercing them. They can be made from different materials and are usually comfortable, with a limited risk of falling off.

While they are versatile, adjustable, and infection and allergy-safe, they also have some cons, such as slight discomfort and risk of falling off or being stolen.

There are many types of clip-ons, so it will not be difficult to find the ones that best suit your earlobes and style.

Jesús  is the founder and designer of JewelryLab. He is the Head of Design and also oversees production, quality control, and precious metal sourcing.