Earrings Buying Guide – All You Need to Know
Earrings are very handy pieces of jewelry that can elevate your spirits and bring a glow and ethereal beauty to your face. Earrings are the simple and elegant accessories that can accentuate your personality and add a touch of class to your attire. Though the choice of wearing earrings is a personal one, most women will not forego the opportunity of flashing these glittering jewels and earning glances of appreciation!
As with any other jewel, earrings too have a history spanning over 7000 years. Initially, it was predominantly worn by men of higher caste, in Assyrian and Egyptian civilizations. Greek and Roman women also wore earring as symbols of status. In India and China, earrings of gold, set with rubies, emeralds, sapphires and garnet were fondly crafted and worn.
Choosing your Earring
Earring s can add the perfect finishing touch to any outfit. Many women tend to shop for accessories like earrings, only to match their overall style, color and occasion. Some shop for earrings to match their specific outfit. But more important than all these is the classification of the shape of one’s face. If you select your earring to complement the shape of your face, you will stand out in a crowd for your beauty and elegance.
Here is an illustration of the common types of faces.
Choosing earrings that are a good fit for a face type will ensures that the earring is worn often and is not away in the armoire for posterity!
Oval shaped face
The forehead will be as wide as the cheekbones. The face narrows down from the cheeks to the chin, creating the oval shape.
Best earrings for oval face
Women with oval – shaped faces look charming in almost every style of earring. However, they appear their best by wearing oval-shaped dangling earrings. Such earrings will bring out the remarkable features of their face without adding length or width. Women of oval face also look great when they choose to wear teardrop earrings. The teardrop shape complements the natural shape of the face and creates a symmetric look.
Round Shaped Face
These are also called circular faces. They are widest at the cheekbones. The cheekbones do not taper down to the chin as with the other face shapes.
Best earrings for Round shaped face
Women with round faces will try to elongate their faces. They will attempt to reduce the visible roundness of the face by wearing tear drop or dangling earrings. Always look for earrings with narrow, angular designs that are long, instead of rounded designs. Round faced women should avoid wearing danglers that have circular discs. Such designs will only make the face look even wider. It is advisable to choose earrings of thin to medium width, that look slender.
Heart shaped face
In this type of face, the forehead is wider than the cheeks. The cheeks further taper down to the chin.
Best earrings for heart shaped faces
Always look for earrings with elongated curves and lines. Such elongated lines will help to balance out the face and bring the attention to the eyes, cheekbones and jaw line. Women with heart shaped face look very good in dangles, teardrop, and chandelier earrings. Wearing chandelier earrings in diamond shape will create an interesting and alluring contrast to the face.
Square shaped faces
The width of the forehead, cheeks and jaws are all about the same width in a square face. Women with square shaped face tend to have strong jaw lines.
Best earrings for Square shaped faces
Women with square faces should choose earrings which have rounded designs that will soften the cheekbone and jaw line to some extent. The best choices are elongated, dangling earrings and hoop earrings. If you need to over – emphasize the softness, you could wear huge hoops that brush the jaw line or extend below the jaw line. Such over-sized hoops soften the face and make it look smaller. Women with square faces should not wear very wide earrings.
Diamond shaped face
Women with a diamond shaped face will have a forehead and chin that are narrower than the cheekbones. A diamond shape face will have a strong jaw line.
Best earrings for diamond shaped faces
Earrings with long, elegant curves are best suited for women with diamond shaped faces. Both dangle and hoop styles accentuate this face. Earrings with soft curves will help minimize any sharpness along the cheek bone or the jaw line.
These types of faces are also called rectangular faces.
Best earrings for narrow faces
It is ideal to buy pearl earrings that add softness to the face and minimize length. Choose cluster earrings of pearl that dangle below the ear lobes. Such long dangling earrings will tend to minimize the length of narrow faces. When you buy dangling earrings, look for the one with elongated curves that will accentuate your cheekbones and add softness to the face.
Here is a summary of the general face types and the earrings that suit them most.
Popular Earring Styles
Earrings can be seen in many different styles. Distinct styles suit each event and preference to a particular style of earring will depend on the wearer’s style and discretion. If you are shopping for earrings, it is a good idea to decide on the earring style first. This will automatically narrow down your options in the vast range of available choices.
Given below is a list of the popular styles of earrings that have withstood the test of time.
True to its name, it is in teardrop or dewdrop shape. These earrings are generally made of gold, silver or gemstones. They are made to dangle just below the earlobe. They are suitable adornments for most types of faces.
These earrings derive their name from the fact that they dangle below the earlobe. Dangles may be made of beads, rounds, squares, curved pieces of metal, or die-cast metal designs. These earrings are available in both wide and narrow styles. Take care to select the dangle earring of a suitable width, in accordance with the face type.
These earrings are composed of a single stone, a ball, a bead or any small design that is mounted on a metal frame. They feature traditional earring posts. Pearls are particularly suitable for stud earrings. They look elegant and match outfits of all types and colors. They also suit all face types.
These earrings combine the design elements of stud and drop earrings. These usually feature a decorative stud that is on the earlobe and a dangling part that is below the earlobe, usually tapering to a small point.
These classic earrings are all time favorites, defying age and current trends. They are made from rounded or flat pieces of metal or plastic and are in the form of a ring, running from the front to the back of the earlobe. They are available in a wide variety of widths and circumferences.
These earrings are very much like hoops but are usually smaller. They have wide, small hoops that clamp onto the ear with a post or clip on mechanism. They are made from both plastics and metals.
Cluster earrings sit on the earlobe but feature clusters of gemstones, rhinestones, small pearls or corals that will extend below the earlobe. These are perfect for formal occasions and social events as they tend to glitter and catch the eye of the beholder.
Earrings of different materials
Just as there are innumerable styles of earrings, there are as many materials from which earrings could be designed. Though it is beyond the scope of this article to enumerate and discuss all of them, we have some information on the more popular materials
Gold and Silver Earrings
Gold and silver have been the favorite metals for making earrings for centuries and are likely to remain in the top spot for years to come. They are valuable metals and have proved to be suitable for making jewelry that last for generations. Gold does not tarnish and can be mixed with other metals to create exquisite designs. More importantly, gold and silver are not allergic to skin.
Sterling Silver Earrings
Sterling silver is only 92.5% silver and the rest is an alloy. This form of silver is very shiny and does not tarnish (oxidise) with time. It can be used to mount all precious and semi- precious stones of all colors. The neutral color of silver helps to highlight the brilliance of all colors of stones.
White gold Earrings
White gold jewelry is the perfect alternative to people who want the luxury of gold with a cool and modern silvery tone. If you find the cost of platinum too expensive, white gold gives you the very look for a lesser price.
White gold has its advantages over silver too. It is not soft like silver and does not tarnish. It is harder and more scratch- resistant than silver. White gold is less expensive than platinum.
Usually, 14- carat white gold jewelry has 58.5% pure gold with other metals added to it. This makes it durable and stronger. It is coated with rhodium for lasting brightness. The 18- carat white gold has more gold and is, therefore, heavier and more valuable.
Nothing can ever surpass the class, grace and magical beauty of a pair of diamond earrings. Diamonds are, after all, considered a woman’s best friend! If you plan to invest in a simple diamond stud or a tantalizing diamond cascade earring, it is important to know your diamond basics. Take a look at the information provided below and choose your diamond earring with confidence.
If you plan to acquire a pair of diamond earrings, you’d better get your basic Cs right – Color, Cut, Clarity, Carat weight.
Every diamond is unique. Nature has ensured that the diamond you are to gift your loved one is peerless! It is one of a kind.
A diamond’s color is graded by GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The GIA color scale categorizes colors on a scale of D (colorless) to Z (light yellow/brown). It is extremely difficult to find a colorless diamond and most of the jewelry is made with colorless diamond with a brown or yellow tint. A diamond is color graded by comparing it to a master set. Each letter denotes a specific color and grading is done by observing how noticeable that color is.
The GIA standard for cut of a diamond ranges from Excellent to Poor and applies to diamonds that are color graded by GIA standards. A polished diamond’s beauty depends on its interaction with light. How the light strikes the surface, the amount of light entering the diamond and the way it finally reaches the eye of the beholder, will determine the diamond’s sparkle.
There are three attributes to the cut.
Brightness is the total of all white light that is reflected from the interior as well as the surface of a diamond.
Fire refers to the flares of colors that are emitted by a diamond.
Scintillation is the flashes of light observed whenever the diamond, observer or the light moves.
All these attributes contribute to the overall quality of a diamond. So, it is important to cut a diamond in perfect proportions and symmetry. It must be polished to optimize its reflective quality and have maximum brightness, fire and scintillation.
The GIA has eleven grades for judging the clarity of a diamond. It starts with Flawless, which is nearly impossible to find. Since diamonds are formed as a result of being subjected to very high temperature and pressure, some innate characteristics are unavoidable. In fact, these very ‘imperfections’ are helpful in distinguishing an original from a fake!
One carat of diamond equals 200 milligrams in weight. If the weight is lesser than this, then points are used. Each carat is equal to 100 points.
So, 1/2 carat = 50 points and 3/4 carats = 75 points.
Earrings crafted out of beads of different sizes, materials and colors have been vastly popular through the years. Beads have the versatile ability to blend with most outfits. They are particularly suitable to complement contemporary wear but can be worn with formal and traditional wear too.
Famous personalities like Queen Elizabeth, flaunt them with a royal grace. Celebrities consider pearls, a symbol of elegance. Can we afford to fall behind? Pearls are loved by women of all ages for their timeless charm and simple grandeur. Here is some basic information about pearls. Be aware of these facts before you buy pearls. They will make your job easier.
All about Pearls
Pearls, whether they are natural or man-made, are produced by a mollusk. It produces layers of nacre (pronounced as NAY ker) around some irritant inside its shell. In the case of natural pearls, the irritant may be another organism from the sea. When pearl is cultured, the irritant will be a bead of mother-of- pearl or a piece of tissue that is manually inserted into the mollusk, to start the process. In both cases, the quality of pearl, its luster and shine, will be determined by the quality of the nacre.
Ideally, a pearl should have a smooth surface free from any marks. Generally pearls have definite shapes – round, oval, pear- shape. Sometimes they are misshapen. Such pearls are called baroque pearls. There are many types of pearls to choose from. Each of them has its own peculiarity. Have an idea about the common types of pearls available in the market.
These are the rarest and the most expensive. They were once found abundantly in the Persian Bay. Unfortunately, they have all been harvested and no longer available.
These are grown on pearl farms. Mollusks are raised till they are old enough to get mother-of-pearl bead inside them. A technician implants them by performing a delicate surgery and releases it back. It is cared for till the pearl is formed. Not all produce a pearl and not all the pearls are of sterling quality.
Salt water pearls
These cultured pearls are usually 2mm to 20 mm in size. The Akoya cultured pearls grown in Japanese and Chinese waters are of this type. They are white or cream in color and have a round shape. Such pearls are also cultured in Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines and go by the name, South sea pearls. They are large in size, from 9mm to 20 mm and can be natural white, cream or golden in coloration. Tahitian pearls are grown not only in Tahiti but also in various islands of French Polynesia. They range between 8 mm – 16 mm in size and are in gray, blue, green or purple. Collectively, they are called black pearls.
These pearls are grown in fresh water sources like rivers, lakes, and ponds and are predominantly grown in China. They resemble the cultured Akoya pearls in shape and color, they can be made in a myriad of shapes and a multitude of pastel colors. Most of them don’t have a nucleus in the bead. So. This type of bead usually has a much thicker nacre than the Akoya pearl.
These are not pearls at all but glass beads that are coated. They have high shine and luster. But the depth of luster is not as much as it is in high quality cultured pearls. Imitations can be immediately recognized by seasoned jewelers. Identifying a cultured pearl from an original can be a challenge.
Pearl Buying Tips
- Only buy from a company with a genuine return policy. Pearls always look great in a photograph or a showroom but may look very different in natural light. So, it is important to be able to return or exchange your pearl if necessary.
- Purchase from a retailer who specializes in pearls. A vast majority of the jewelers are misinformed or simply ignorant when you enquire about cultured pearls.
- Don’t be enamored of brand names. Tiffany’s may be famous for high quality jewels, but remember that there are many more outlets just like them. If you research well, you could save a tidy sum in your purchase of pearls.
- A simple way to check the authenticity of pearls is the ‘Tooth test’. Gently slide the pearl across the front of your teeth. If it feels smooth, it is definitely a fake. Real pearls will feel gritty.
Earrings of other materials
Earrings can be made of a host of other materials depending on current fashion and trends. As consumers get more adventurous in their choices, there is no end to the materials to experiment with!
Earrings have been made with glass, plastic, Niobium, acrylic, Polyester, silicone, rubber, paper, crystals, and coconut shell, to name a few.
Caution for sensitive ears
People who are allergic to certain metals are likely to develop soreness of skin or even pain, near the ear-piercing on the lobe of the ear. Certain nickel- based metals are known to cause allergies on sensitive skin. Small amounts of nickel can be found in stainless steel also. If metal allergies are a problem for you, look for earrings made of hypo- allergenic metals like titanium or niobium.
Tips for buying earrings
- Choose your earrings after extensive research. Don’t be afraid to experiment with an assortment of styles until you find the ones that are right for you. Your earrings can help you create the effect you desire – professional, casual, classy, romantic, vintage, cute or fun! Select a design with your intent in mind.
- People with sensitive skin should be cautious when they buy earrings made of metals. It is wise to avoid nickel-based metallic earrings and invest in earrings made of hypo – allergenic metals like titanium and niobium.
- Choose the color of your earrings to complement the color of your eyes and you skin tone. Buy earrings in colors that dominate your wardrobe.
- Gemstones can add an interesting sparkle to your ensemble. Decide on the size and choice of gemstone depending on the occasion and your personal preference. Small gemstones are perfect for daily wear. Larger stones and clusters are usually reserved for special occasions. Be aware that larger the gemstone, bigger will be the price tag.
- Be judicious when deciding on the size of the earring. An inordinately large earring may be the cynosure of all eyes, but it will draw away attention from your general appearance. If the earring is too small, it will go unnoticed. So, strike the right balance.
- The weight of the earrings makes a huge impact on your comfort and appearance. If your earring is very heavy and droops, it could cause pain and potentially damage the earlobe.
- Hoops and dangling earrings are usually long and add a touch of regal elegance. But, make sure that the length of such earrings does not hinder your head movements. The earring should not get caught in tour collar, shoulder, or hair.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Avoid using hoops and dangle earrings if you have very young children. They tend to reach out and try to grab these swaying earrings!
Beware of stone-studded jewelry!
Though breathtakingly beautiful and elegant, stone-studded jewels made of gold need to be investigated thoroughly before buying. Here are the most common problems that arise with such jewels.
Problem of unknown costs
Whenever you buy a stone studded gold jewel, it is weighed in its entirety. Though the jeweler does give a break – up of the price of gold and the price of stones, he doesn’t give the exact weights of gold and the stones. So, if your jewel has 50% of gold and some semi – precious stones, you may end up paying more for the gold.
Problem of Purity
There are many ways to check the purity of gold but it relatively more difficult to verify the authenticity of gemstones.
Loss at the time of sale
We will always lose the making charge in any transaction of jewels at the time of sale. In case of studded jewels, you will lose even more. At the time of selling, the stones are usually removed to determine the weight of gold. The piece is valued as per the weight of gold only. Stones that are semi precious will not give you any returns.
High making charges
Most studded jewels involve intricate designs and patterns that would need expert workmanship. Consequently, the making charges are much higher.
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