Back It Up

Friction backs, locking disc backs, protector backs, nuts, stoppers. All these terms refer to the piece that holds a post-style earring on. Here’s a primer, the lowdown on some designer earrings backs, and a hack or two.

A friction back is a standard back. They come in many sizes, materials, and even forms. Several Hamilton Hill designers have designed their own.

  • Niessing’s backs, called stoppers, are handmade, designed to be attractive and more than simply functional (no surprise), engineered to have a gasket that creates a smooth stopper experience! Due to the fine nature and therefore price of the stoppers, Niessing collectors often use the same pair of stoppers with various earrings. Niessing typically sells stoppers separately from the earrings.
  • Majoral’s handmade backs have three loops rather than the usual two and are as distinctive as their jewelry. They have some “baby backs” too. These screw onto their collection made for babies, leaving no post exposed so as to protect the babes. Adults sometimes choose these earrings for upper ear holes.
  • Antonio Bernardo designs simple, fine backs to complement his simple, fine earrings.

A large back will support a falling-forward earring keeping it flat on your lobe. A back hack for times when you need but don’t have a large gold (or other metal) back it to use a plastic disc. Put your post earring on, add the plastic back, follow it with the small metal back.

A locking disc or protector back is the anecdote to screw backs of old which can be annoying, lose their threading, take forever to put on/off. The buttons/ears/pushy things protruding from the back allow them to lock/unlock. We highly recommend these for everyday, all-the-time wear including when swimming, showering, etc. The screw back style can be altered to have the locking disc backs (posts must be removed as the locking backs require a particular post).

A hack for posts that are too long to be comfortable when sleeping: have them shortened! Then no more poking into your sweet neck while you sleep. We can do this for you.

Backs that can help with your metal allergies include: stainless steel, gold containing no nickel, platinum. And occasionally just cleaning the earring posts and backs or taking a break from wearing them for a while will solve the problem.

Not all posts and backs work together. Some posts are too thick to pass through the back’s hole, some backs have holes that are too large to stay on the back. Hamilton Hill sells many different backs, some of which are in stock while others need to be ordered.

Best back hack of all for me has been learning to tighten an earring back with my own hand or a plier: Squeeze the loops on the earring back and they will tighten up. Not always, but usually. Platinum or steel ones might be impossible; gold and silver usually will be pliable.

Sarah Hill, Owner/Gemologist

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