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17 Types of Earrings (Pictures + Bonus Choosing Tips)

Earrings have been worn by people for thousands of years. Over time, they have evolved to serve lots of different purposes. Today, different types of earrings are worn for different reasons, including as fashion accessories, as status symbols, or to make a specific statement, for example, as a sign of rebellion.

There are three different categories of earrings; 👉🏻classic earrings, modern earrings, and piercing earrings. Generally speaking, all earrings will fall into at least one of these categories.

Because there is such a wide variety of earrings to choose from, it can sometimes be rather difficult to settle on just a single pair. This article will act as a basic guide🧭 to all the various types of earrings available to you. It will also analyze the most important parts of an earring that you need to know, as well as offering pointers on how to choose the best earring type for your look.

Different Types of Earrings for Females and Males, for Different Occasions

17+ different types of earrings with pictures

Category I: Classic Types of Earrings

When we think of classic types of earrings, we picture the popular, everyday styles that people enjoy as part of their work or casual wardrobe.💃🏻 These are the more “traditional” styles that have been around for years, if not centuries. For example, hoop earrings can be traced all the way back to Nubia, a civilization that existed in the fourth century in what is now present-day Sudan.

These types of earrings are the tried and tested types, still a firm favorite today:

Stud Earrings

White Gold Diamond Stud Earrings - VOLUKA
Image: VOLUKA / Amazon

Stud earrings are also often called minimal earrings. They are the most basic types of earrings. Their most recognizable characteristic is their appearance to float on the earlobe. This is because the point of connection in most stud earrings is not visible from the front.

Most types of stud earrings usually feature an ornament that is held in place by a removable clutch on the other side of your ear piercing. Some types are also designed to have a threaded post, such that the removable clutch can be screwed on and off. This helps to better secure the earring in place to minimize the risk of losing them especially when they are made of expensive materials like precious stones and metals.

Drop Earrings

Cubic Zirconia Drop EarringsDrop earrings are made up of two sections. The first part attaches to the earlobe while the other ornamental part hangs from the attachment. This design makes the earring look like it’s dropping, hence its name.  

👉🏻Teardrop earrings are a subtype of drop earrings. In this case, the earrings flow below your earlobes and feature a teardrop design. The “teardrop” is usually crafted from a gemstone. The outline of the teardrop can also either be made from a curved smooth metal or feature diamond accents. Most drop earrings have a clutch to secure the earring as well.

Dangle Earrings

Vintage Style Dangle Earrings With Freshwater PearlsDangle earrings are designed to have the hanging part of the earring dangling and swaying below the earlobe. They are usually larger than drop earrings and have more movement.

Some dangle earrings feature a thin crescent-shaped wire that attaches the earring to your earlobe. Most of them will also have intricate designs on them.

Dangle earrings are popular among younger women.📈

Hoop Earrings

Classic Hoop Earrings - Yellow, White and Rose GoldHoop earrings have a circular or semi-circular design that makes them look like rings. As the name suggests, they are simple hoops that can be opened to go through your ear, reconnecting from the other side of your piercing.

There are several types of hoop earrings. They can either have conventional smooth designs or have patterned designs. They can also vary in size, from tiny ones to ones big enough to touch the top of your shoulders.

Chandelier Earrings

Bohemian Style Chandelier Earrings With Crystals in Gold Tone
Image: Amazon

These earrings are a type of dangle earrings, featuring elaborate designs that make them look like chandeliers. Most of them have multiple levels of decorations that might dangle.

Chandelier earrings may form a teardrop shape that is composed of several pieces hanging from the main piece. These earrings are perfect if you are going for a fancy, elegant look.🍷

Clip-On Earrings

Stud Style Clip-on Earrings for Non-Pierced EarringsClip-on earrings are the oldest type of non-pierced earrings. The clip of the earring is comprised of a two-part piece that is connected to the back of the earring. When the earring is closed, the two pieces attach using mechanical pressure. This holds the earring in place.

Clip-on earrings are some of the most common types of men’s earrings. This is mainly because they do not require any ear piercings.

Category II: Modern Types of Earrings

In contrast to the classic types of earrings already mentioned, modern types feature designs that are more cutting-edge, unique and innovative. They can be described as cutting-edge and non-traditional; perfect for pairing with fashion-forward outfits that make a statement.👰🏻

Huggie Earrings

Yellow Gold Huggie Earrings With Diamond AccentsHuggie earrings are a type of hoop earrings. As the name suggests, huggie earrings hug the ear. Instead of looping down like hoop earrings, they leave little or no space under the earlobe.

Huggie earrings have the circular shape of hoop earrings, but they are smaller and thicker than them. They look like rings, except with a small thin wire piece connecting the hoops.

Cluster Earrings

Cubic Zirconia Cluster Earrings for BridalCluster earrings feature a sophisticated design where ornaments like diamonds and other precious gems are arranged to create geometric or asymmetric patterns. They are a more sophisticated version of your basic diamond studs.

Diamonds in cluster earrings can also be arranged to form unique shapes, from flowers to halos to abstract patterns.

Threader Earrings

MANZHEN Star and Moon Threader EarringsThese types of earrings are a minimalist version of drop and dangle earrings. They feature a thin chain that passes through the ear piercing and dangles on both ends of the ear.

You can choose to go for a streamlined chain or have gemstones bobble at either end of the chain. You can also go for sharp geometric shapes on either end to create contrast on the fluidity of the chain.   

Climber Earrings

Climber Earrings in 14K Rose Gold With Cubic ZirconiaClimber earrings are also known as crawler earrings and cuff earrings. They are a non-pierce kind that wraps around the outer cartilage of your ear.

Climber earrings are available in several designs, from golden constellations to trails of gently curving rare stones to flower trails.🤹🏻‍♀️ They offer the perfect way to make a bold statement.

Tassel Earrings

Colorful Rainbow Layered Tassel EarringsTassel earrings feature a layered, free-flowing, and colorful design. They come in different shapes and are made of different materials. The most commonly used materials include embroidery floss, silk, beads, and gold. Tassel earrings exude a certain playfulness that instantly brightens up any look.  

Ball Earrings

14K Gold Ball EarringsAs suggested by the name, ball earrings have a ball-shaped design. The ball is attached to a post that, in turn, attaches to a clutch.

Ball earrings are worn so that the ball rests close to the earlobe. This creates a fancy look, similar to that created by stud earrings. The ball’s surface of most ball earrings is usually made of soft metals. However, some are made of textured gold or other precious metals with a mirrored shine.

Jacket Earrings

Jacket Earrings With Cubic Zirconia Leaves and FeathersJacket earrings are a new earrings trend. They consist of a basic stud at the front of the earlobe and more sophisticated and complex designs at the back of the earlobe. For example, the design peeking at the back can be a row of petals or stars. This earring design creates a sharp contrast with the different shapes emerging from either side of the earlobe.

Mismatched Earrings

Mismatched Earrings With Moon and StarMismatched earrings are a modern trend that is designed to go against conventional earring styles.🛶 They involve pairing two types of earrings that have a sharp contrast. For example, you can wear a smooth ball earring in one ear and pair it with a dangling geometric design earring in the other ear.

Category III: Types of Piercing Earrings

While all earrings are technically piercing earrings (except clip-ons and cuff styles), it is easier to categorize earrings that do not go through the lobe as “piercing earrings”. 🧸These are the earrings that pierce cartilage—or the types of earrings that can be used to space the holes in the ears.

Barbell Earrings

Barbell Earrings in Multi Materials and ColorsBarbell earrings look like gym free weights in their design. They are made of a slim, straight metal rod with a spherical bead fixed on one end. The other end is threaded and inserted through the ear. This threaded end is then screwed shut and fixed into place by another bead.

⚠️Barbell earrings that are threaded externally can be rather uncomfortable because they can irritate your piercing. The best kind, therefore, are ones with internal threads or threadless ones.

Circular barbell earrings are a type of barbell earrings. They are similar to ball-closure rings in design. However, they have a wider gap with a bead permanently attached at one end. The other end, similar to regular barbells, is threaded. The threaded end passes through the ear piercing and fixes in place with a bead.     

Plug Earrings

Plug Earrings (Gauges)Plug earrings are also known as earspool earrings or gauges. Most plug earrings are cylindrical in shape, with some designs having flared ends to hold them in position.

Plug earrings are fit in the space where your ear was pierced, after which they expand the area. They are available in a variety of sizes, with some elongating your earlobe by only a few millimeters while others by several inches. They are quite popular types of earrings for guys.

Ear Spikes

Ear Spikes: Silver, Gold and Black Colors (Stainless Steel)Ear spikes feature a spike on one end of the earring. The spike is found at the end of a narrow cone, usually 1mm in diameter and 1.5cm in length.

Ear spikes let the wearer add a little extra flair to their outfit. You also do not have to commit yourself to gauges, which is great.

🧐How do you choose your earring types?

Earrings are an important wardrobe essential for many women. But how can you choose the right type for you? Here are some of the most important things to consider:

Face Shape

Understanding your face shape will help you find the right earrings that’ll suit you best. For instance, women with oval faces can wear almost all styles of earrings. However, oval-shaped earrings elevate their look more than any other type.

Dangling earrings with elongated curves would be the perfect fit for women with long face structures. They will accentuate their cheekbones and add softness by minimizing the length of the face.

For round faces, dangle and teardrop earrings are excellent choices. However, they should have an angular design instead of being rounded to give an elongated look to the face structure.

Different Types of Face Shapes: Pair With the Right Earring Type
Click the image to view the full size.

Earrings with slightly elongated, rounded designs would go very well with women who have a square face structure. They will help soften the appearance of their strong cheekbones.

Women with a heart face look stunning in chandeliers, teardrops, and dangling earrings. The earrings should have elongated curves to accentuate their eyes, jawline, and cheekbones.

Women with a diamond face structure look great in hoops and dangles. The earrings should also have soft curves to soften their appearance.

Skin Color

Your earrings should highlight your skin tone. Silver goes well with both light and dark skin tones. Warm skin tones look stunning with earrings with more color such as gold and orange. Cooler skin tones go well with purples, blues, and reds.🎨

Ear Sensitivity

If you have sensitive skin, you should go for earrings made with hypoallergenic materials. Even if you do not have sensitive skin, you need to be cautious about the materials your earrings are made of. Some metals like nickel can cause allergic reactions in some women.  

Comfort

You should also go for earrings that are comfortable to have on. Your earrings should not be too heavy. You should also avoid exaggerated earrings that may end up scratching your neck or face as you move, unless the occasion calls for something dramatic, of course.

It is important, however, to always opt for earrings made from a material that your skin does not react to. Plenty of people need sterling silver or gold, or surgical steel, to avoid skin irritation.

Wearing White Tassel Dangling Earrings in a Casual Outfit for an Outing

Outfits

The earrings you wear should complement your outfit. Simple outfits are great for keeping the focus on your earrings, allowing them to make a statement for you. As stated, the different types of earrings you wear can enhance your particular look.

For example, edgy and modern earrings with innovative designs will give a modern, fashion-forward look to any outfit, while non-traditional piercing earrings can add an edgy look, enhancing grunge or punk-rock outfits.

Occasions

Various occasions will influence the earrings you need to wear. If you are attending a casual event, there is no need to put on your most expensive diamond earrings. However, a formal dinner or event may warrant a different look altogether.

Classic styles such as drop earrings are great for power-dressing at work or keeping glam at a formal event, while something more exciting and vibrant such as a barbell would look out of place. However, such a style would look great at a concert or nightclub.🎼 The key is to consider the occasion, pick the outfit—and then select the earrings to match, enhance, or contrast with the outfit in order to fit the occasion.

Final Thoughts

The right set of earrings can elevate any look. Because everyone has their own unique sense of style, it is important to find that right set to meet your own needs. Hopefully, this guide will help you do exactly that.😎

Finally, you should also remember that it is very important to always keep your earrings clean to avoid infection.