For years, all jewelers really needed to know about earrings were the basics: studs, hoops, or drop styles for those with pierced ears, and clip-on varieties for those whose lobes weren’t pierced. But there’s a whole new crop of styles—cuffs, climbers, front-to-backs, modern jackets, and mismatched pairs—that jewelers need to know about because they’re chic, whimsical, and irresistible to shoppers.
To help you identify these looks at the shows this week in Las Vegas, here is a visual guide with styles’ names and pictures of how to wear them. Bookmark this page for reference and for the confidence to offer shoppers all these cool new pieces now.
1. Ear cuffs
These are ornaments that hug—not pinch—the lobes by way of a tiny cuff. Ear cuffs can be dramatic like wings or subtle like micro bracelets on the ear. Variations include ear cuffs with a stud and chain, an ensemble featuring a stud earring with a chain that connects to a cuff on the upper part of the ear. (It resembles guy’s wallet chain of sorts, but for gals on the ears.)
2. Ear climbers
Climber earrings snake upward on the ear and stay in place via a post and back (mainly for short climbers), a long shepherd’s hook that slips through the pierced ear while the wearer positions the ornament up, a cuff on the upper cartilage or the lower back portion of the lobe, or a post and back earrings with a cuff for longer motifs.
Courtesy Jack Vartanian
3. Front-to-back earrings
These function as they sound: an earring in the front that attaches to one in the back (think of a seesaw effect). The jewel or ornament in the rear is always bigger than its front-facing companion so that it’s weighed down just enough for all to see. Plus, there’s a variation with drops—decorative on both ends—that has been popping up at the shows this year. Click here to see a pair on.
4. Earring jackets
Everyone knows what traditional jackets look like: They slip onto front sides of earrings for embellishment (sometimes it’s a drop and sometimes it’s a halo). But with all of the newer varieties available now, it’s a good time to get reacquainted with the category. For example, some jackets look like skirts on the ear because they slip onto the backsides of host earrings and flare out underneath the lobe like peplum or a frilly skirt. (These are sometimes sold as singles in order to give shoppers options to mix and match.) There are also skirts with a linear silhouette, like a long bar or spike, à la straight skirts. Myriad variations of these also exist.
Courtesy Pamela Love
5. Mismatched pairs
Pairs of earrings no longer mean perfect matches. Mismatched mates are the norm among certain designers, giving consumers plenty of freedom for personal expression and customized looks.
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