As fashionable accessories, status indicators, and acts of rebellion, earrings have been part of our culture for thousands of years. This jewelry staple is incredibly versatile with countless earring styles to love from classic studs, artisan chandeliers, and punk rock industrial piercings.
So, what are the different types of earrings? There are 3 types of earrings, Classic, Modern, and Alternative. Within those 3 types, there are 26 styles of earrings. Here are the different types and styles of earrings:
- Diamond Stud Earrings
- Pearl Earrings
- Hoop Earrings
- Chandelier Earrings
- Drop Earrings
- Teardrop Earrings
- Clip-on Earrings
- Cluster Earrings
- Threader Earrings
- Crawler Earrings
- Huggie Earrings
- Jacket Earrings
- Tassel Earrings
- Ear Cuff Earrings
- Ball Earrings
- Streamlined Hoops
- Mismatched Earrings
- Cartilage Earrings
- Hypoallergenic Earrings
With every pair of earrings, there are endless styling possibilities that will have you looking your best from the office, to the gym, Sunday brunch, to a wedding, and everywhere in between.
Keep reading as we cover the most popular types of earrings, daring earring styles, and avant-garde designs that are sure to become modern classics.
Classic Earring Types
The most Classic types of earring have endured the test of time and look just as fashionable today as they did decades ago. These timelessly popular earrings are the perfect accompaniment to your office couture, date nights outfits, and Sunday best.
Diamond Stud Earrings
There is no earring style more beloved or timeless than elegant diamond studs. This minimalistic type of earring features a single diamond that rests closely to the earlobe. While round diamonds are the most popular style, diamond stud earrings can be enjoyed with a variety of diamond cuts such as modern ovals, sleek cushions, or romantic hearts. Find out which size is best for your face type: How Big Should Diamond Stud Earrings Be?
Reminiscent of classic Hollywood glamour, pearl earrings will have you feeling like a vintage beauty with their subtle gleam. Pearl earrings can be worn just like diamond studs, or they can playfully dangle from your ears. With cultured freshwater pearls, organically shaped pearls, and pearls in a natural rainbow of colors, there is a pearl earring to suit every style and occasion.
Hoop earrings are the perfect blend of sophistication and daring. Depending on their length, thickness, and adornments, hoop earrings can be a graceful accessory or a bold statement piece. While traditional hoop type of earring is round, these kinds of earrings come in an amazing array of variations, such as artful squares, ovals, and triangles.
With earrings as elaborate as these, its only natural that their name comes from their resemblance to opulent chandeliers. Distinguishable by their multiple levels and sizes of adornments and jewels, chandelier earrings add an air of grace to their wearers as they flow with the wearer’s every moment. These feminine earrings will easily captivate as their diamond adornments effortlessly capture the light and sparkle as they dangle from your earlobes.
Drop earrings are the streamlined version of chandelier earrings, making them an easy choice for daytime wear. Rather than elaborate layers of adornments, drop earrings feature a simple chain or sold metal stem that drops below the ear with charming designs such as golden baubles, sleek pearls, and brilliant gemstone clusters.
Similarly to drop earrings, teardrop earrings dangle below the wearer’s ear and feature a teardrop design. These kinds of earrings may be crafted with a stunning pear cut diamond, an outline of a teardrop accented with pave diamonds, or a long and curving teardrop composed of smooth metal.
Don’t think that clip-on earrings are just for kids, plenty of adults swear by clip-on earrings to this day. As surprising as this sounds, in America from the 1920’s to the 1950’s, clip-on earrings were mainly worn because actual piercings were considered rebellious. Today, plenty of luxury jewelry stores such as Chanel offer the choice of clip-on earrings for the modern fashionista in countless styles.
Modern Earring Types
Style is ever-evolving as we are influenced by radical designs from the runway, Instagram influencers, and twists on classic designs. Modern trendy earrings offer plenty to love with their fresh designs that redefine jewelry essentials.
With brilliant clusters of diamonds to create geometric or asymmetrical patterns, cluster earrings expand upon the simplicity of diamond studs. Custer earrings can feature a round diamond encircled by baguettes for a unique halo, marquise diamonds arranged to form a flower, or a mashup of different diamond shapes for a playful statement.
Threader earrings are a minimalistic take on elegant drop & dangle earrings with a slim chain that enters the earlobe and dangles on both ends of the ear. Wearers can opt for a pair of streamlined chain, gemstone bobbles at either end or a sharp geometric shape to contrast against the fluidity of the chain.
Also known as cuff and climber earrings, crawler earring types begin at the base of the ear and climb upwards toward the top of your ear. Crawler earrings are all about bold presences and can be designed as trailing flowers, golden constellations, or chain of gently curving diamonds.
For a modest take on hoops, huggie earrings are a must. Huggie earrings sit close to the ear, unlike hoops, which can be graciously sized. Traditionally thicker than hoops, huggie earrings can accommodate rows of pave diamonds for extra brilliance.
One of the latest earring trends are jacket types of earrings. Jacket earrings have a simple stud at the front of the lobe that shares a backing with a more complex design peeking out from behind the earlobe, such as petals and stars. This innovative earring design easily creates depth from the juxtaposition of different shapes emerging from each side of the earlobe.
Tassel earring types are incredibly playful with their layered, colorful, and free-flowing designs. These shapely earrings come in an array of materials such as silk, embroidery floss, beads, and gold that instantly liven up any look.
Ear Cuff Earrings
Ear cuff earrings are essentially effortless to wear as they nestle around the shell around your ear. Even women with no piercings can wear a pair of ear cuff earrings because of their snug fit. These sleek earrings can act as a charming minimalistic piece on its own or be part of a personalized earring stack.
As you may have guessed from its name, ball earrings are shaped like a ball resting directly on the post. The ball design rests closely on the wearer’s earlobe like a stud earring for a sophisticated style. Most ball earrings are made with smooth metal, but more daring earring lovers may opt for textured gold or metals with a mirrored shine.
Hoops without gemstones or jewels are the perfect choice for wearers who want earrings that offer the glamour of hoops without the opulent sparkle or weight of gemstones. Just like gemstone adorned hoops, these streamlined hoops can come in a variety of widths and sizes to accommodate the wearer’s taste and metal types to complement any outfit.
One of the runway’s biggest trends are mismatched earrings that throw out all of the earring style rule books. Fashionistas enjoy wearing unexpected earring combinations such as a smooth pearl stud in one ear with a trailing geometric design that sweeps shoulders in the other. Dare to combine a couple of different earrings in your jewelry box for surprising and delightful combinations.
Cartilage Earring Types
For the perfect blend of modernity and edge, cartilage earrings are a must-have. Cartilage earrings come in an array of designs, sizes, and shapes, such as thin bands, delicate gemstones, and graphic shapes like stars and moons. These kinds of earrings rest on the wearer’s cartilage and look just as great when worn alone as they do with several other piercings.
For those who have had their jewelry dreams ruined by harsh allergic reactions, hypoallergenic earrings are the best earrings for sensitive ears. Many people experience allergic reactions to metals in earrings such as nickel. Hypoallergenic earrings can come in countless styles and backings, which are crafted with metals that are less likely to trigger allergic reactions. More jewelers are selling this skin-safe option, so earrings lovers never need to give up their favorite accessories.
Alternative Kinds of Earrings
Who doesn’t love to spice up their wardrobe with a little bit of punk influence? These alternative earring types can transform any simple outfit into something remarkable.
Reminiscent of free weights from the gym, barbell earrings have long been a counter-culture staple. Barbell earrings feature a straight bar that pierces through the shell of the ear with rounded beads at each end. The rounded beads can be simple metal bobbles, gemstone adorned, or feature playful shapes such as stars.
Circular Barbell Earrings
Circular barbells are another punk earring staple. Unlike straight barbells, circular barbells can form a complete circle with a rounded bead at its center or half circle with beads at both ends. This style of barbell is also incredibly popular for nose pricings.
Also known as gauges and earspool earrings, plug type earrings are not for the faint of heart. These earrings sit in the space where your ear was pierced and can incredibly expand the area. Plug earrings vary in sizes, from elongating earlobe piercings to just a few extra millimeters to an incredible several inches, people dare to be bold with plug earrings.
Popularized by the people of Bajoran on the show Star Trek: The Next Generation, the Bajoran types of earring combine several styles into one distinctive look. A thin, decorative chain links a lobe piercing to a cuff clip high on the shell of the wearer’s ear, with plenty of opportunity for adornments placed throughout the chain. For a taste of edgy sci-fi fashion, Bajoran earrings check off every box.
Ear Spike Earrings
What young punk hasn’t enjoyed wearing ear spike earrings for adding extra flair of rebellion to their outfit? Crafted like a long narrow cone with a spike at its end, the sizes of ear spike earrings are traditionally 1mm diameter and 1.5cm length, letting wearers’ embrace their gunge roots without the long-term commitment of gauges.
What is your earring style?
Jennifer Lopez once said, “Women should never go without earrings. Passing on them is an opportunity missed.” Earrings are incredibly easy to wear and effortlessly elevate any look. No matter your style, face type, face shape, or daily activities, there is a pair of earrings to suit whatever the day might throw at you while keeping you and your earlobes looking your best.
After reading our list of the different types of earrings, which earring styles are your favorite and which daring designs will you choose to try out?
Learn More about Buying Earrings:
- How Much Should Diamond Stud Earrings Cost?
- When is the Best Time to Buy Diamond Stud Earrings?
- How Big Should Diamond Stud Earrings Be?
- How To Tell if a Diamond Earring is Real
- The 26 Most Popular Types of Earrings and Earring Styles For Women
- The 6 Different Diamond Earring Settings and Mounting Styles
- Hypoallergenic Earrings: Buying Guide and Common Questions
- What Types of Earrings are Best for Sensitive Ears?
- What is the Best Cut for Diamond Earrings?