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by Jesus Zabala - 6 min read

Types of Earrings

Earrings have long been used as a medium for self-expression. They highlight a person's appearance and draw more attention to the face. However, with various styles available, understanding the different types of earrings available can be a great asset. 

This guide will explore a tapestry of different earring types and explain their appearance and use. We will look into the history of earrings and their significance and then discuss each type in greater detail. 

Types of Earrings

A Brief History of Earrings

To truly understand the types of earrings we embrace today, we must travel back in time and explore the origins of accessorizing. The art of ear decorations and piercings dates back to ancient civilizations. While pinpointing when people began wearing earrings remains elusive, archaeological findings show they were a traditional form of personal expression. 

Earrings and the ancient civilizations

In ancient civilizations, earrings held a symbolic and cultural significance. In ancient Egypt, earrings were believed to be worn decoratively. Pharaohs first wore them, and later, the idea spread across society. The trend of wearing earrings was immensely popular, and some artworks from this period depict cats wearing earrings, too. 

However, earrings fell out of favor during the Middle Ages and made a comeback during the Renaissance period. They were worn as a fashion statement and preferred, especially within higher society. Moving forward, the trend of wearing earrings is fractionated based on the hairstyles popular within an era. 

Different earring styles emerged and disappeared as societies moved from one trend to another. Earrings were a prestige symbol over time and were not available to everyone. 

However, all changed in the 1980's turnover when ear decorations again became popular among men and women. Handcrafted jewelry gained momentum during this decade, and earrings became an affordable commodity.

Earrings' popularity and symbolism 

Fast forward to the present, we witness a resurgence of multiple-place piercings, indicative of a contemporary embrace of diverse earring styles across various fashion genres. Today, earrings are not limited by gender, with both men and women utilizing them as potent fashion statements. 

Furthermore, the design spectrum has broadened from minimalist metal works to intricately designed gemstone earrings. The resurgence of earrings as a fashion accessory is evident in the diversity of styles that coexist harmoniously in modern society.

Types of Earrings 

So, what are the different types of earrings called? The sections below will discuss the most popular earring styles and how they are worn today.

Stud Earrings

Stud earrings are well known for their straightforward design and the elegance they bring to an outfit with their simplicity. They sit close to the earlobe and are incredibly easy to wear. 

They are the only earring type with a backing mechanism that helps secure them to the earlobe. Due to their subtle appearance, studs are the perfect addition to casual and formal outfits. 

Stud Earrings
Source: Shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Naja_WoW

Drop Earrings

As their name implies, such earrings feature an element that drops below the earlobe. These earrings may vary widely in design, with options such as simple teardrop to elaborate compositions and everything in between. These hanging earrings may feature a gemstone, pearl, some type of metal construction, etc.

However, customers often mistake drop earrings for dangle earrings. One way to avoid this common mistake is to understand that drop earrings appear as an extension of studs made possible via a single unit. 

Cluster Earrings

Cluster piercing is a playful way to decorate the earlobes. Unlike drop earrings, which achieve their appeal through simplicity, cluster earrings rely on the effect of bulkiness. 

Simply put, cluster earrings are usually made from several gems or stones put together to create a cluster. These are a great choice for those looking for an asymmetrical earring to compliment their look. 

Dangle Earrings

Dangle or drop earrings hang below the earlobe and often move or "dangle" with the wearer's movements. These earrings come in various lengths, some being more subtle while others contributing to a bolder appearance. 

To soothe the needs of customers looking to get the best of both worlds with their dangle earrings, we created the Best Wishes design. These are available in small and large sizes and feature a delicate design with a statement piece. 

Dangle Earrings
Source: Shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Tania Afzal

Hoop Earrings

It's safe to say that hoop earrings transcend all fashion trends. These earrings are circular and loop from the front to the back of the earlobe. Hoop earrings are available in several sizes and can be used as subtle decorations and statement pieces. 

They also differ in material, thickness, and embellishment in design. Hoop earrings may be worn to introduce a touch of edginess or sophistication to an outfit, as they offer plenty of versatility.

Huggie Earrings

Huggie earrings are a subtype of hoop earrings. These mini hoop earrings are smaller in diameter compared to traditional hoops. They have a simple minimalist look, which makes them an excellent choice for everyday wear. 

Chandelier Earrings

Chandelier earrings are characterized by their elaborate and cascading design, resembling a chandelier. These earrings feature multiple tiers of decorative elements that hang and sway with movement. 

Typical chandeliers are often chosen for formal events or occasions, while smaller chandelier earrings may also be worn throughout the day, depending on the design. Overall, the design of chandelier earrings may include gemstones, metals, and intricate patterns.

Chandelier Earrings
Source: Shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Peejayvisual

Threader Earrings

Threader earrings offer a unique and contemporary look. These earrings consist of a thin chain or thread that passes through the ear piercing, allowing the decorative elements to dangle freely. 

Moreover, threaders provide a minimalist and modern aesthetic, and their adjustable length offers versatility in styling. They can be worn in various ways, from a simple thread through the ear to more intricate and layered designs.

Jacket Earrings

Ear jacket earrings offer a unique three-dimensional look with their unusual structure. These earrings have the appearance of a stud earring in the front but also feature a decorative element on the back of the earlobe. Often, the decorative element is there to emphasize or mimic the shape of the ear. 

Climber Earrings

Climber earrings have a design that travels up the ear following the curve of the earlobe. When there is a lack of visual representation, we rely on comparing different earrings when it comes to popular earring styles. 

For instance, many like to say that the ear climbers resemble a series of mini studs. In general, many think ear Climbers have gained popularity because they replace the need for multiple piercings. 

Climber Earrings
Source: Shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Praewpatum

Plug Earrings

Customers can often find plug earrings under the name plugs or gauges. These present a distinct type of earring meant to fit in large body-piercing holes in the earlobes. 

Also, plugs have a simple design and can be made from wood, metal, and acrylic materials. Compared to the other types of earrings we mentioned so far, plugs help create a uniquely bold appearance. 

Bajoran Earrings

Inspired by the Bajoran culture in the fictional Star Trek universe, Bajoran earrings are characterized by a chain or dangle connecting the earring to the ear's upper part. This unique and distinctive style adds an element of sci-fi-inspired elegance to ear adornment. 

Ear Spike Earrings

Ear spike piercings are another type of ear decoration that goes beyond the standard earring design. These spike piercings feature a pointed element extending from the earring. They can be worn across the entire ear, and the wearer can choose the place. 

Moreover, ear spikes come in various designs and lengths. Those seeking a bolder aesthetic will find multiple spike earrings a great idea. Individuals looking to introduce just a hint of edge may add a single spike to their look. 

Ear Spike Earrings
Source: Shutterstock.com / Photo Contributor: Alika Obraz


The world of earrings offers a variety of designs, with each offering its distinct expression. The designs we wear today are a product of the rich history of earrings that dates back to ancient centuries. In modern times, earrings are still adorned for their appearance. 

However, wearers decorate themselves for slightly different reasons. While in the past, earrings represented an individual's beliefs or signified they belonged to a certain social group, they are a form of self-expression today. 

Having explored the various types of earrings, we may say that each holds a unique charm that speaks to different fashion styles. For instance, studs are the epitome of simplicity, while plug earrings and ear spikes help achieve a sense of boldness, contributing to an edgy, attractive look.

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