What type of earring posts and backs should I look for?

There are a variety of earring styles readily available and different ones will suit different people.

Earrings posts and hooks need to be thick enough to keep their shape when pushed into and pulled out of the ear, but not too thick that they stretch your holes.

Sterling silver should be between .7mm and .9mm in diameter, whereas gold can be .6mm to .9mm in diameter.

The actual thickness should also relate to how heavy an earring is; a heavier earring requires a stronger hook or post.

For post earrings you have a choice of a smooth wire with a butterfly back, or a threaded wire with a screw-back. Threaded posts with a screw-back are stronger but tend to be on the thicker side. You will most often find them in higher end earrings but can request them for pieces made to order in sterling silver.

Many people have sensitive earlobes and costume jewellery causes their ears to swell. This is most often because of the nickel content in costume jewellery. Although sterling silver does not have nickel, it can still cause a reaction in the earlobes of some people due to the copper in the alloy. To avoid this look for earring posts and hooks that are hypoallergenic. Search out stainless steel for less expensive jewellery and rhodium plating for sterling silver or nickel white gold jewellery.

Rhodium is from the platinum group and is hypoallergenic.

Rhodium plating can wear off over time so check that the piece can be re-plated if necessary or opt for the more expensive palladium white gold version (or full platinum) which will be hypoallergenic.

’20 Tips on maintaining our Jewellery’, Gillian E. Batcher, 2013

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