So you’ve decided to take the plunge and get some brilliant new earrings. Congratulations! The hard work is done, but you still have an important decision to make; what type of earring backs are the best to hold the earrings securely in place on your ear? The choice will depend upon the type and size of earring, your lifestyle, and to some extent your earlobes themselves. While Whiteflash does not sell earring parts separately, we do provide various back options for the earrings in our catalogue. And we will accommodate requests for spare parts from customers who have purchased earrings (for instance, in case of loss). The following information is intended to help you select the option that is best for you.
Various Types of Earring Backs
The basic choices in earring backs are friction backs and screw backs. There are variations such as “jumbo’ backs (oversize friction backs) and La Pousette backs which are cleverly engineered with moving parts for both convenience and security. Additionally, clear plastic disks are sometimes used in conjunction with backs to provide extra support.
Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each option to decide what is right for you.
Friction Earring Backs
This is the simplest and most common type of earring back (also known as “push backs”). It consists of a flat plate with a hole the size of the post. It slides onto the post and goes against the ear. It has scrolls of metal that curve up and press against the post with a light spring tension that holds the back in place. Friction backs are easy to pop on and off so are very convenient. They come in a variety of sizes, with the smaller ones being the most affordable type earring back.
The drawback of friction backs is that they tend to lose their grip on the post through repeated use. The tension can sometimes be readjusted, but eventually friction backs may need to be replaced.
Screw Back Earrings
The most secure type of earring back is the screw back. It consists of a threaded post and a nut that is spun on to the post up to the back of the ear lobe. It cannot be pulled off- it has to be fully unscrewed. This is both a blessing and a curse - much less likely that you will lose an earring, but more time consuming putting them on and taking them off. Screw backs therefore tend to be a good option only for high value earrings.
Another consideration is that depending on the size of the hole in your ears the threaded posts may cause some irritation as threads make them slightly thicker and ‘edgier’ than friction posts. In addition, the backs must be threaded carefully to avoid “stripping” the threads which would result in having to replace post.
La Pousette Earring Backs
The La Pousette back is a finely tooled and cleverly designed mechanical back. It features a spring loaded mechanism that is pressure activated. You pinch the back by the tabs thereby retracting small connections inside the back that contact the post. Releasing them engages the connection which holds the back tight to the post. The post also has a safety notch near the end. If the back was able to slide down the post it would catch at the notch without falling off.
La Pousette backs and posts are more costly because of their manufacturing complexity, but offer the best of both worlds; the security of screw backs and the ease of use and comfort of friction backs.
Essentially just oversized friction backs, jumbo backs are both easier to manipulate and provide a larger flat plane that helps support the earring. Jumbo backs can be helpful in keeping larger stud earrings from drooping. Because of their larger size, gold and platinum jumbo are more expensive than small or regular size friction backs.
3 Prong Martini Diamond Earrings
Handmade Full Bezel Diamond Earrings
Optional Plastic Earring Disks
For added support, simple clear plastic disks are sometimes added between the back of the earlobe and the back. This has the same effect as jumbo backs increasing the stability of the earring. This can be helpful in getting earrings to sit straight on certain types of earlobes. If you are having trouble with earrings not presenting straight forward, try this simple and inexpensive solution.
Choice of Precious Metals
Also part of the decision making is choice of metals. Fine jewelry is generally made with gold or platinum alloys. Gold alloys are generally yellow and white, and that decision is based upon taste and preference. Platinum is a premium price alternative to white gold, and although it looks very much the same, a small percentage of people have skin sensitivity to some white gold alloys. In this case we recommend platinum as it is hypoallergenic.