Most Common Earring Clasp Types with Pictures
There are many names for the different earring clasp types. Many times, the names are used interchangeably, making things confusing and difficult to know which earring clasp types are best.
Below are the most common names and synonyms for each of the earring clasp types, with a brief description of their characteristics and ease of use. With the exception of screwback, lever, or latch, most earring backs can be used interchangeably so long as the gauge of the earring post is the same.
This is especially helpful because it allows you to wear the right clasp based on an earrings type. In the sections that follow, we will get into the specific details that make each earring clasp unique and how to determine the best for each style of earring.
Butterfly Backs (Push Backs or Friction):
Butterflies or friction backs are the most popular choice for stud earrings. These modestly priced backs can last a very long time, depending on the quality. But, over time, they can wear out or become loose if they’re made of a lower-quality metal. But due to their small size, this type of earring backing is also the most frequently lost down the drain or misplaced.
Fortunately, it is quite easy to get replacements as necessary. In addition to stud earrings, a butterfly clasp can be used for partial hoops and dangle earrings with a straight post.
They are versatile clasps but may not be the best choice for valuable or heavy earrings.
These clasps deserve a mention as a great option for added security to many different types of earrings. They work just like a friction back, but they’re made of clear rubber or plastic. They can be added behind a friction back clasp or used on their own.
These plastic backs are also very popular for securing fish hooks. Due to their very low cost, it is a good idea to have a few extras in your jewelry box as they can be helpful if an earring back ever goes missing.
It is important to note that due to their small size, both metal and rubber friction backs can be a potential choking hazard to small children and pets. Please make sure they are always stored somewhere safe.
Bullet Clutch Earring Backs:
This type of earring back is similar to butterfly or push-back earring backings because it slides onto an earring post and relies on friction to keep it in place.
However, the bullet part of the earing contains a piece of rubber that slides over the post and provides a more secure hold.
The large, usually plastic, disc also helps support the earlobe and works great for heavier drop or dangle earring types.
Fish Hook Backs (French Wire or Shepherd Hooks):
French hooks or fish hook earring backs are the second most common types of earring backs. They’re most often used with different styles of dangle and drop earrings. These backs are made from a thin piece of metal that hooks through the ear.
Shepherd hooks are fairly durable, but the ear wire can usually be bent easily, causing it to become brittle and potentially break with frequent everyday wear. They’re also one of the riskier earring clasp types because they can often be pushed or fall out of the ear while wearing. This is especially true for lightweight or very small earrings.
However, this can easily be avoided by adding a small rubber friction back to hold the earring snugly in place. Though French wire backs offer an elegant, fluid, and simple design choice, they are not ideal for large, heavy styles like chandelier earrings.
Lever Backs or French Clip :
Lever or French clipbacks are one of the most secure types of earring closures and are less likely to wear out. These backs are commonly used for larger, heavier earrings, like drop or dangle earrings.
Because the lever back clasp style creates a completely looped closure, they can add some bulk to the overall look of the earring. This type of fastening is a good choice for semi-precious to precious earrings like dangle and drop earrings.
Omega backs have a hinged, padded back that secures the earring in place. They are considered a specific variation of a lever back as they share many of the same characteristics.
However, the omega back is often used for higher-end stud earrings in addition to hoops. You can identify it right away by the distinct shape of its lever, which resembles the Greek letter Omega.
These backs are very easy to use, and earrings with them can often be put on or taken off with one hand. Since the back just hinges, you also won’t have to worry about misplacing or losing the earring clasp as you do with detachable backs.
Latch Backs (Hinged):
This style of clasp can also called a saddle-back earring clasp because of the slight drop or curve to the post. Latch-back clasps can be confusing because they will also be referred to as a lever back.
However, latchbacks typically do not have the spring action or force that a true lever-back clasp will have. Instead, the hinged post of the earring is pushed down into a gate with a slight snap to signify that it is secure. This closure can be most commonly found on hinged hoop-style earrings like huggie hoops.
It is important to note that these earring clasp styles are one of the most common to deteriorate over time, causing earrings to fall out. Most jewelers can easily mend the issue by tightening the gate so it holds the end of the post more securely.
Screw backs are a moderate to costly style for securing the back of the earring. They require a threaded post that the back is then tightened onto. Screw backs are very durable and secure. They’re not likely to loosen or fall off when put on correctly.
For these reasons, this clasp style can often be found on gemstone or diamond studs and fine pearl earrings. Since they require a little more effort to get on and off, they are great for valuable earrings worn for special occasions.
La Pousette Backs (Locking Clasps) :
La Pousette backs are one of the least common types of backs typically reserved for valuable earrings made of precious metals. These earring clasp types are very durable and were designed for long-lasting use.
They’re also known as locking clasps. The clasp has two buttons opposite each other that are gently depressed to slide the back on and off the earring. When released, the internal mechanism of the back will tightly clamp down on the earring post. In some cases, the post may have a notch where the clap will fit more securely.
La Pousette backs provide extra security for valuable earrings like precious gemstone earrings and high-value studs. In addition to studs, locking clasps can be found for any earring with a straight post.
Earring Clasp Types By Earring Styles
Different back options are better suited than others for specific earring designs. Below, we have listed all the different options of earring clasp types and indicated which is the best option for each style of earring.
Types of Earring Backs for Studs
- Rubber friction backs: the least expensive post-back option. Great for simple studs and lightweight everyday earring styles
- Butterfly friction clasps: A good option for earrings with post backs that need a little more support on the earlobe. These are likely the most common type of earring back.
- Bullett clutch backs: Better for earlobe support and security when wearing mid to heavy earrings.
- Screw posts: Very secure, more expensive, and best suited for semi-precious to precious earrings. This clasp type is also used for barbell earrings and other body jewelry.
- La Pousette clasps: Another very secure option great for high-end jewelry like diamond earrings.
The Best Earring Clasp Types for Larger Size Earrings
Drop, Dangle & Chandelier Earrings
Any lever-back style or bullet clutch clasp will be ideal for heavy earring styles like ear climbers, or cluster earrings, and more. Different sizes of earrings will require more or less support. Opting for a back with a larger support and more secure hold will be your best bet for ensuring your jewelry stays in place.
What is the most secure clasp for hoop earrings?
Endless hoop designs or lever backs will be the most secure earring clasp types for hoop earrings.
Backless Earring types
- Clip-On Earrings: Are used for non-pierced ears and come in different qualities. They typically rely on the pressure of a spring to secure the earring to the ear lobe. The strength of the spring, weight of the earring, and sensitivity of the earlobe will determine how comfortable this clasp style is for the wearer. Historically clip-on earrings were a popular choice for elaborate costume jewelry. However, as personal preferences toward ear piercings have evolved, clip-on closing designs have become more difficult to find.
- Magnetic Earrings: Magnetic earrings use magnets to hold the front and back pieces together, with one piece inside the earlobe and the other on the outside. These can be considered a variation of clip-on earrings and do no require a piercing.
- Ear Cuffs: Ear cuffs are designed to slide onto the outer edge of the ear, creating the appearance of a cuff without requiring a piercing. These earring styles are popular as cartilage earrings. Like magnetic and clip-on earrings, cuffs do not require piercings, which makes them a very convenient accessory for anyone to enjoy.
- Endless Hoops: Hoop earrings that don’t have a traditional clasp but use the continuous loop of the earring itself to stay in place. These hoops are often made of a hollow alloy that gives them some flexibility. The thinner side of the hoop that passes through the earlobe will then fit inside the larger open tube of the other side to close the loop and secure the earring.
- Threader Earrings: Threader earrings have a thin chain or thread that goes through the pierced ear hole, and hangs on either side of the earlobe. These earrings rely on friction and the weight distribution of the earring itself to keep them in place. Since these earrings do not have backs, you can easily adjust the length by simply pulling on either side of the earring as it hangs. Threader earrings can have a very elegant look but are not a great option around small children or while doing activities that may cause them to get caught or pulled out.
- Plugs or Guages: Are a distinctive jewelry style that was pioneered by indigenous people thousands of years ago. Plugs are designed to fit a specific size of stretched earlobe. Gauged jewelry pieces come in various materials and sizes, often featuring intricate designs or decorative elements. These earring styles can be considered backless because they typically rely on the tension of the earlobe to hold them in place; hence, they plug the earlobe.
Most Comfortable Types of Earrings
Modern styles have brought about new innovative design features that eliminate some of the discomfort of wearing earrings frequently. Below are a few trends that have become the new favorite earrings of influencers and fashionistas alike. If comfort is a staple of your personal style, then these earrings are for you.
These earrings use a special kind of threaded or screw-back earring that has a flat back. The term nap earrings arose as wearers could comfortably sleep in the earrings without the post-backs pushing into their necks. This unique feature is quickly giving nap earrings their rise to classic earring style status.
Huggie Earrings are petite but chunky hoops that hug close to the earlobe.
They’re quite a contrast to the larger thin hoops we might expect to see trending along with the rest of the 90s fashions currently making a comeback.
But like the nap earrings, the soft contours and relatively lightweight feel of these earrings make them easy to wear every day for just about every type of occasion.
Lightweight Alternative Earrings
With more customers becoming sustainably minded, shoppers have begun to seek out alternatives to precious metals and gemstones that often present unsafe working conditions and environmental impact to produce. Leather, plastic, acrylic, clay, and other potentially upcycled materials are on the rise. A few other considerations aiding their popularity are their lightweight nature, even for large and elaborate designs. Threads and fabrics have even been incorporated as a way to create texture, add patterns, or a bright pop of color.
Earring Allergies & Materials Guide
Ensuring a secure fit is important for comfort while wearing your earring, but so is choosing the right materials to prevent any possible allergic reactions. Get answers to common jewelry allergy questions and more below.
Closing Notes on Earring Clasp Types
Earrings come in many styles, various sizes, and different price points, so it is no surprise that there are also so many different types of earring clasps. With this definitive guide, you will have no trouble matching the right earring clasp type with the right earring. To recap the key points, always consider the frequency of wear, the value of the earring, and the weight of the front of the earring relative to the size of the back to ensure the earring lays properly.
Whether you prefer simple push back earrings or more elaborate chandelier earrings that require sturdy locking earring backs, now you know exactly which earring clasp types to shop for.
Marly is a lifestyle writer and creator of simplylivinghappy.com, a site dedicated to helping readers improve their health, wealth, mindset, and overall happiness. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her listening to audiobooks while gardening, visiting with family, or traveling.