winter mountain earrings custommadewinter mountain earrings custommade

Custom Earrings: Buying Guide for 2024

Designing a pair of custom earrings is a great way to make a statement. Learn how to create custom earrings with our Buying Guide.

5 Minute Read

HomeDiamond AdviceDeciding Where to Buy a DiamondCustom Earrings: Buying Guide for 2024

IGS may receive customer referral fees from the companies listed in this page.

Some people have big personalities and express themselves by wearing statement jewelry (the bigger, the better!).  Others are more reserved and feel most at ease wearing a few dainty items. The earrings you wear are the first clue about your personality that you project to others. Designing a pair of custom earrings is a great way to create jewelry that says exactly who you are.

You can design custom earrings for a particular occasion, or they can be multi-use with a style that speaks to your personal aesthetic. Let's start by becoming familiar with some of the basic design terminology to help you communicate with your personal earring designer. 

Talk about a conversation starter! These bold sword earrings scream that their wearer is a confident person with eclectic interests. Who wouldn't want to know more? Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
Find these Earrings
at CustomMade

Custom Stud and Cluster Earrings

First, there are "stud" earrings. Studs are the workhorses of the earring world. They are earrings that only have a small decorative detail that is attached directly to the post that fits into your piercing. This feature may be a metal sphere or perhaps a single gemstone.

Earrings that have multiple gems that sit like studs are called "cluster" earrings. There is a limit to how big studs and cluster earrings can be, but they are appropriate for any social or work engagement. Also, remember that inspiration can come from everywhere, including your favorite films, comic books, and legends. So, while studs and clusters may be small, they can still be highly expressive.

These stud custom earrings may be petite, but everyone is going to recognize Batman's symbol. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
Find these Earrings
at CustomMade

Custom Hoop Earrings

Hoops are another design that is extremely popular. Hoops that are so small that they curl around your ear lobe are called "huggies". However, you can commission hoop earrings of any length. Hoops can be plain metal or embellished with gems. 

Custom Drop or Dangle Earrings

You can also choose "drop" or its longer cousin "dangle" earrings. These come in many forms. You might have a flexible chain or a single, straight piece of metal that measures a few inches in length. This piece can be left blank or set with gemstone accents. If you want a fancier look, you can add multiple arms to the drop that are dripping with gems to create a "chandelier" pair.

Custom Threader Earrings

Another permutation is "threaders" which hang both in front of the ear lobe as well as behind. "Ear climbers" are the opposite of drop earrings as they are meant to go up your ear rather than hanging below it. 

Finally, earrings can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who don't have piercings. Your designer can create earrings that close with a clip rather than with a post and backing. 

Important Considerations

The process of working with a designer to create custom jewelry can be intimidating, especially for those who don't consider themselves artistic. But fear not…inspiration can be found all around you.  You can pull from any aspect of your life, including your favorite place to live. There are many ways to incorporate your home into personalized earrings, including using geographic landmarks such as the shape of the river that you enjoy rafting on, or the outline of the mountain with your favorite trails. When in doubt, geography is easy to interpret in jewelry and there are many styles to choose from ranging from literal to abstract.

The mountain depicted in this pair of earrings is shown using beautiful modern geometric lines. While the design itself is flat, the visual impact is incredibly three-dimensional. Giving even more depth to the design are the small diamonds at the peaks that suggest that you are seeing the mountain in winter covered in snow. All the negative space keeps these earrings light and comfortable to wear. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
Find these Earrings
at CustomMade

For those commissioning custom earrings, versatility is often a priority. You put a lot of time and effort into designing your personalized jewelry, so it makes sense that you would want to be able to wear your earrings on as many occasions as possible. This can mean designing earrings that can be worn to the workplace as well as to social events. Such earrings tend to be a modest size but feature personal details like a particular color scheme or shape.

This stunning set of cluster earrings exhibits a timeless design paired with unique details. Clearly, it was important to the commissioner to showcase the beautiful rose gold as well as the diamonds and delicate amethyst accents. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
Find this Ring
at CustomMade

Don't Forget Earring Jackets

Another way to maximize the versatility of your custom pair of earrings is to design a pair of removable earring jackets. Jackets are threaded onto the post of your earrings before you put the earrings on, and they hang below your ear lobe. They can be any size ranging from tiny to massive and fit on any earring with a post so you can pair them with any stud pair you own. Jackets can be simple like a plain metal hoop or something more substantial that features multiple gemstones. Jackets completely transform the look of any pair of stud earrings adding glamor and drama! 

Diamond stud earrings are a classic staple in any jewelry box that can be worn anytime. If you want to add a little punch to your look, just slide on earring jackets like these featuring many tiny diamonds to make the earrings bigger and fancier. It is an effortless yet powerful transformation tool. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
Find these Earrings
at CustomMade

Sometimes, you just want to add some fun to your day! Because earrings are so visible to others, and they are the first thing that you see when you look at yourself in a mirror, they are the perfect accessory to change the attitude of any look. When creating fun custom earrings, the sky truly is the limit. You can play with colors, shapes, as well as plant and animal motifs. You can use inspiration from your own life or choose a random theme that makes you smile. The trick with earrings that are meant to be humorous is to be fearless - create something that is big and noticeable that you can joke about.

Whether you are a farmer or live in a city, these drop earrings showing dairy cows are a perfect conversation starter. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
Find these Earrings
at CustomMade

Hot Tip: Custom Inlaid Earrings

For a truly unexpected look, consider asking your personal designer to use an inlay technique for the gemstones. Few people associate inlaid gems with earrings, but it is a great way to create something colorful and bold, especially if you use translucent or opaque gemstones like turquoise, lapis lazuli, sugilite, or carnelian. Because inlaid earrings can be heavy, you will have to stick with a relatively small size, but the overall effect will still be powerful. 

These earrings are made from solid, opaque gems, yet the birds convey a sense of freedom and joy. Photo by CustomMade. Used with permission.
Find these Earrings
at CustomMade

Emily Frontiere

Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.

Never Stop Learning

When you join the IGS community, you get trusted diamond & gemstone information when you need it.

Become a Member

Get Gemology Insights

Get started with the International Gem Society’s free guide to gemstone identification. Join our weekly newsletter & get a free copy of the Gem ID Checklist!