Custom Earrings: Buying Guide for 2023
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Emily Frontiere is a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She is particularly experienced working with estate/antique jewelry.
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