• How to choose comfortable earrings

    In this blog article, Starry talks about how to choose earrings that will be comfortable for you. The image shows several pairs of earrings of different size and ear wire type
    In today's post I'm writing about how to choose earrings that will be comfortable for you. Over the years I've talked to many people about earrings, especially at markets and in person events, and its no surprise that comfort is a very individual thing - however there are factors you can consider that will help make buying and wearing earrings a much more enjoyable experience for you.
    On any day at market I'll have people ask me a tonne of questions about earrings, and they will also remark on what is and is not comfortable for them. One lady will enjoy wearing large statement earrings and another will sigh and say they wish they could wear such a gorgeous design but they can't stand long or bulky earrings. Others are very sensitive to earring weight, and others sensitive to the material of the ear wire. And there are other lesser known factors - but I'll cover everything I have learned in my years of designing, making, and wearing earrings in this post. So please, read on...
    A couple of housekeeping issues first - this article discusses earrings for ear lobe piercings only, not other types of earrings that I don't create and have less expertise in, and the information is about earring preferences that relate to comfort not personal taste for example its about how the earring makes you physically feel not whether you prefer the look of it.
    earrings range from tiny studs, all the way up to long, or chunky statement earrings
    I'm going to break this down into whether you feel uncomfortable with the size, shape, and length of an earring regardless of its weight and how it makes your ear feel, versus whether you are fine with those factors as long as the way it makes your ear lobe feel is good and comfortable.
    For many people I have met, comfort of the earring size, shape, and length has nothing to do with the other attributes of the earring besides those very things. By this I mean regardless of its weight or pull, or the material it is made with they are irritated by having something hanging from their lobes - perhaps they don't like it tickling their neck, or tangling in their hair, or simply don't like the distraction of it swinging, moving, or making small sounds. I have met women who love long earrings if they are streamlined and not too chunky, others are fine with a chunky or bulky earring if it is not too long. This is very personal, and over time you will have a fair idea of what size and shape of earring bothers you.
    On length I will say, it is best to be aware of the length of your earrings, if they are long enough to skim your shoulders you are going to want to be careful they don't catch under your bag straps if you use a shoulder bag or backpack, and the same thing with seatbelts. One great thing about long earrings is they accentuate your neck, great if you want to draw attention to how long or lean your lovely neck is.
    Its also important to wear an earring that is appropriate for the activity you are undertaking - like sport and physical exercise, working in occupations where dangly earrings may be dangerous, even sleeping in some earrings will be uncomfortable or unsafe. Wearing a stud earring for sports and certain working conditions is the most appropriate option, and I recommend removal of most earrings for sleep.
    Once you know how you feel about the dimensions of an earring - its length, its width or shape, you can move onto considering the factors that will separate one pair of earrings from another in terms of comfort for you, within the range of designs you are considering.
    The weight of earrings is one of the most important considerations for choosing earrings, and deciding how often and for how long a period of time you will wear them. The weight of an earring, and how it hangs, can contribute to stretching your ear lobe, as well as stretching the size of your piercing, and in some people it will contribute to headache. It is fine to occasionally wear statement earrings, especially if it is for special occasions or short periods of time - a night out for example - and give your ears a break with small and light weight earrings on other days. Earring free time is also a good idea and I routinely have "earring free" time from my evening shower and overnight.
    In general most people who are happy with the size and shape of an earring won't be bothered by weights up to and around 4 grams each. From there it tends to differ, some people will be uncomfortable with a 6 gram earring, and others are fine with 8 grams  or even 10 grams. It varies from person to person, so here is my best advice when considering whether or not a pair of earrings will be comfortable for you:
    Compare the weight of the earring to earrings you already own. I list the weight of all my earrings where weight can be considered a factor: chandeliers and complex dangle earrings or anything over 4 grams have their weights listed in my product "details" tab here at Starzyia.
    You can weigh earrings very easily and accurately on a digital kitchen scale. The two most important comparisons you can make are:
    • between a pair of earrings the same size and shape that you wear comfortably. If they are the same weight or less, this will be a fairly good indication that you will be comfortable with the weight of the earrings you want to buy.
    • The other comparison is to weigh a pair of earrings you know are too heavy or uncomfortable for you - this can help you rule out a pair of earrings before you buy them.
    The way that weight is carried (or distributed) as it hangs is another factor worth considering. Hook style ear wires will carry the weight more forwardly - especially if you don't wear an earring stopper on the back. That's right, those little clear rubber stoppers I put on every pair of earrings I sell is not just there to keep the earrings on my branded cards, they are there to help keep your earrings from pitching forward in your ear or even falling out. Other types of earwires like lever back and kidney style can potentially help balance the way that weight is carried - think of it as one of your arms carrying a shopping bag or using both arms to carry it. 
    an assortment of hook style earrings
    certain style of ear wires help distribute hang weight more evenly, like lever back and some kidney style earwires
    I also have to state that you can't necessarily tell how heavy an earring is by looking at its size alone. Many larger or longer earring designs are purposefully designed with light weight materials, for example filigrees that are a fine stamping rather than a thick, large chunk of solid metal. Avoiding heavier beads like tiger iron in favour of lighter or a more typically weighted bead is another way to keep earrings light enough for comfortable use. The earrings below are a design that many people would consider large or even oversized but is incredibly light weight due to the fine or thin brass material, weighing in at 4 grams each.
    this pair of earrings is an example of a design that many people would consider medium or even large or oversized but is very lightweight due to the materials used
    The Lotus Flower Earrings are new, and available here 
    Finally, we come to the ear wire material and its condition, this is vitally important because it literally passes through your body - and the comfort of your ear lobe plays a large role in how much you enjoy wearing your earrings. Discomfort due to ear wire material ranges from feeling irritation, burning, and stinging within your piercing only to a spreading discomfort including redness, itchiness or infection that involves your lobe. Some people are simply sensitive to certain metals, others may be truly allergic, others are fine with ear wires in general until they deteriorate and need replacing - when plating erodes, materials tarnish, or interactions between the ear wire and the cells inside your piercing  become hostile it can be time to replace the ear wires. Never forget an earring is a foreign body.
    The gauge (or thickness) of the wire used to create ear wires has a role in earring comfort. Generally ear wires are created with 20 gauge wire, most people are wearing this gauge without ever choosing to, only people who experience discomfort venture into requesting a smaller gauge wire ,21 gauge, as a substitute. For the record all my earrings are offered on 20 gauge ear wires, though I usually have a small amount of 21 gauge Argentium wire on hand if someone makes a special request for it.
    The length of the ear wire is another factor in comfort - stud posts that are too short for your ear lobe contribute to pinching (at best) and your piercing starting to absorb or intake part of your earring or the earring stopper (at worst), on the other hand stud posts and hooks that are too long can poke into the skin at the back of your ear or neck, especially if you wear them while sleeping. If the end of the ear wire that passes through your piercing is too sharp and hasn't been rounded off properly by the maker, it may be uncomfortable to poke through your piercing or bother the backside of your ear or neck.
    And here we come to it, at last, the actual type of wire used to create ear wires is ultimately one of the most vital parts of earring comfort. In my time I've heard everything - people want surgical steel, people don't want surgical steel, people are allergic to gold, people can't wear silver, people want plastic or aluminium.......
    Every pair of earrings I make is available on a standard ear wire made with a material that matches the colour tone of the earring design - it may be gold plated surgical steel, it may be silver plated brass, it may be a high quality copper, or a bronze coloured brass. Many people are happy with this, and it allows me to offer the jewellery at a base cost they are comfortable with.
    However the two best alternatives I can easily work with are the upgrades I offer on every pair of earrings I create to help cover people who don't do well with basic metal and plated coatings.
    Niobium is my go to upgrade for my gold, bronze, or copper toned earring designs. This material is an inert, hypoallergenic material that is silky smooth and long wearing, easy to care for and extremely comfortable. Being inert means there is no biochemical interaction between the ear wire and the cells of your body.
    For my silver coloured earring designs I offer an upgrade to Argentium Silver® this, in my opinion, is the best silver option for ear wires, it is a very high quality that is tarnish resistant, easy to care for, and comfortable.
    And when cared for properly your ear wires and earrings will remain comfortable for a long time, even your fashion jewellery.
    This is going to sound yucky, but when you remove your earrings, you should really wipe your ear wires with a soft, clean cloth (t-shirt jersey is just fine) they usually have some residue on them from inside your piercing, removing this gently should help prevent tarnish or build up and keep the ear wire silky smooth.
    Also storing your earrings so they don't get exposed to moisture and dust will help keep the earrings and the ear wires in top condition for the longest time. If your ear wires start to look yucky, with the plating not intact or the metal begins to hurt your ears you should consider replacing the ear wires, especially if the earring still looks lovely and you'd like to keep wearing it. At market, where I have time, I usually offer a service where people can have their earring wires replaced on the spot for a small fee. I really love earrings, and I love to help people keep wearing and enjoying the jewellery they love.
    I really hope this will help you to choose earrings that will be a joy to wear, but if you do have further questions don't be afraid to pop a comment on this post or send a message to me through the contact page of my site.
    And just quickly, as a little piece of housekeeping, I'd like to point out that when I was speaking of talking to people about earring comfort at market - they were not trying on my earrings. I never sell earrings that have been modelled, tried on, or returned... that's just yucky and can NEVER HAPPEN!
    By the way I am trying to see if we can have such a thing as World Earring Day... wouldn't that be awesome? I hope there's a day free on the calendar for this...
    how do we make it happen? 
    * The earrings used in this article are all Starzyia designs available in store (at time of publishing) you can find my store sections
  • Comments on this post (2 comments)

    • Starzyia says...

      Thanks Kaz, for your comments, I’m glad you found the article interesting and helpful, I hope it serves you well for a lifetime of comfy and gorgeous earrings

      September 08, 2020

    • Kaz says...

      Such a fantastic article with excellent tips and tricks on choosing the perfect earrings for you! I especially like the info about choosing length, weight, gauge and material! :)

      September 08, 2020

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