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The Vintage Clip-on Earring Myth

The Clip-on Vintage Earring Myth

If you're like me, getting your ears pierced was an exciting birthday gift somewhere between the ages of 8 and 12. A recent study showed that 72% of the female population currently have their ears pierced. And while people have been getting their ears pierced for millennia, during the early 20th century we went through a phase where piercing ears was frowned upon. At that time, women were asserting their power and revolting against barbarous customs. So we welcomed in the clip-on earring, which was popular until the late 1970's when piercing ears started to come back around. When Claire's accessory stores opened in the malls during the late 70's, the ear piercing trend was able to spread rapidly. 

Since the majority of our vintage jewelry collection spans from the 1950's to the 1970's, most of our earring collection is clip-on. My favorite thing about vintage jewelry are statement earrings. I'm obsessed with shopping and have yet to find someone who designs earrings today as cool as they used to. I personally think that clip-ons look better on, especially for statement, crawler and drop styles. Have you ever seen someone wearing statement earrings that don't cover the entire lobe and look droopy? That's because they are too heavy for a pierced post. 

While most people tend to associate clip-on earrings with pain, they are a few things you need to know in order to make that decision for yourself. The great news is that there are three different types of clip-on backs to choose from. 

1. Screw backs were the first clip-on version and can easily be adjusted for comfort.  

2. The spring back is the most widely used type, and most commonly associated with being uncomfortable. However, we sell foam pads for $3 to help any type of clip-on back be more comfortable and they are especially great for this type of back. I wear this type a lot and don't have any trouble so I just think it's up to your personal preference and how much you're willing to do for cool earrings! 

3. Designer signed pieces tend to be most comfortable because they tooled their own clip-on designs. Most designers were inspired by Monet's revolutionary design in 1943, which patented their backs to hold with friction, a revolutionary idea without using the snap back spring. Here's an insider secret worth bookmarking, Monet clip-on earrings are the most comfortable type out there! 

The truth about vintage clip-on earrings

Converting clip-on earrings to pierced can be costly, upwards of $30, and is really challenging for most jewelers as they need to heat the metal in order to add a post. As a result, the heat can damage stones and delicate designs. The other option is to super glue on a post but that can result in breakages, especially if the earring is heavy. 

Hopefully you're now open to forming own opinion about clip-on earrings! And remember, we always note which type of back an earring has in the product descriptions and accept full returns within 30 days. If you've already given clip-ons a shot, I'd love to hear what your experience has been. Or, you can stalk our pierced earring collection for new arrivals but, we can't seem to keep them in stock!xx, Jillian Signature   


Do you have a favorite pair of earrings? How do you like to wear them? Shop all vintage earrings. Count on us anytime for styling help! Email us at and we'll get back to you within 24 hours. Make sure you're on our email list to hear about our new collections first and follow along on Instagram for daily inspiration and behind the scene happenings at S&S.