We’ve all seen diamond earrings, right? Well, have you ever wondered why does the majority of diamond earrings feature screw-back mechanisms? Do all real diamond earrings have screw backs?
That’s something we’ve asked ourselves, too, and, well, we decided it’s time to get to the bottom of the matter. Before we get to it, though, it’s worth noting that diamond earrings are pretty popular these days – and that’s because they’re small, relatively affordable, and, most importantly, safe.
Now, some of you will ask, “What does safe even mean in this context?” And that’s exactly what we’re here to discuss: Screw back earrings are some of the safest jewelry to wear – as in, the risk of the earrings falling out by accident is kept at a minimum.
And with that said, let’s get deeper into this topic!
What Are Screw Back Earrings?
Before we discuss their functionality, quality, and popularity, let’s see what screw-back earrings are, shall we?
The name implies a thing or two about their design: These earrings feature a threaded back coupled with a second component – the metal part that’s screwed onto the earring instead of getting pushed to the back end.
Usually, earrings feature the push-back mechanism, where the earring itself has an unthreaded pointed end that serves as the base for plastic, silicone, or rubber end that’s simply pushed back onto the earring’s base.
While convenient in the sense that you can quickly put them on and take them off, push-back earrings struggle with the safety aspect of their design. It’s all too easy for the push-on part to slide off the earring’s base – and for you to lose your earring.
Screw back earrings, on the other hand, don’t have that problem since they require much more time, force, and rotation to come undone and fall out of place.
That’s the basic idea behind these types of earrings – and it was well thought out, might we add. The other alternatives available on the jewelry market do not provide the same level of safety in terms of preventing the earring from getting loose and falling out.
Now, these earrings aren’t the easiest ones to put on, but they’re certainly not the easiest to fall out, either – and that’s the whole point. The threading on the back of the earring holds it in place firmly and doesn’t allow the earring to move an inch once you’ve secured it.
Of course, with bigger earrings, the treading part should be thicker, and the screw-on back also needs to be bulkier to hold the earrings in place. But the point remains: This mechanism will hold your real diamond earrings snug and secure – and our guess is that’s your number one priority.
Related Read: How to Tell if Diamond Earrings Are Real or Fake?
Any History Behind Screw Back Earrings?
Do you know what the biggest downside of screw-back earrings is? The fact that they weren’t invented sooner.
All jokes aside, diamond earrings existed long before the screw-back mechanism entered the stage. And that turned out to be a major issue: Of course, it’s not like people were losing their diamond earrings left and right. But there was an evident problem with the safety of the available mechanisms until someone finally decided to do something about it.
And that’s how screw-back mechanisms for earrings came to be.
Now, let’s discuss the when and where of this invention: The screw-back earrings were first developed at the beginning of the 20th century – the early 1900s, to be precise – and first became popular somewhere around the 1930s.
Given that diamonds weren’t as easy to come by, it’s no surprise that people embraced this new way of securing their earrings – and, in a sense, their investments.
That led to the development of the screw-back earrings – and their rise in popularity. After World War II, these earrings became even more popular – and if you think about it, that makes perfect sense: The world as a whole was in a hard financial situation – and people did everything they could to preserve their wealth, including diamonds.
And, well, it seems that making sure your diamond earrings won’t fall off by accident was a huge part of that because the screw-back mechanisms got hit with the second wave of popularity.
Even today, they’re considered the definition of “safe jewelry” that doesn’t pose any risks – unlike the many counterparts available on the market.
It’s worth noting that the push-back earrings entered the market in the meantime – but they didn’t live up to the expectations: The screw-back earrings remain the crowned “queens” of safe-to-wear diamond earrings.
Why Do Diamond Earrings Have Screw Backs?
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the number one concern and reason why these earrings became as popular as they are today is the unmatched safety they provide. Diamond earrings often feature screw backs to prevent them from falling out and getting lost by accident. That happens more often than you’d assume, by the way.
It didn’t take long for jewelry wearers to notice how the screw back earrings stayed in place and needed much more force to unscrew and fall out. It’s no surprise that people started using them and embraced this mechanism with open arms.
And when you’re wearing something as valuable as earrings made of precious metals – such as gold, for example – coupled with a diamond, you don’t want to risk it with flimsy mechanisms.
Here’s a scenario to prove our point: Suppose you’ve purchased a pair of diamond earrings. Now, imagine if you lost one because it somehow slipped right off your ear. What now? You can’t wear just one earring, now, can you? And that means that the other one will just go to waste.
Add the fact that the market simply didn’t have a better alternative, and you’ll realize why screw back earrings became such a popular choice. We’ll even go as far as to say that you’ll probably find screw backs on diamond earrings in 99% of the cases.
And the bigger the diamond featured on the earring, the higher the chance that the jeweler set it in one with a screw-back mechanism.
Related Read: Can A Real Diamond Fall Out?
Are Screw Backs Best for Diamond Earrings?
It’s hard to say if there’s anything objectively better than the screw-back mechanism for diamond earrings. But for the sake of making our guide as detailed as possible, we will try to give you an answer.
When screw-back earrings first hit the market and got popular, there were several alternatives available – and we’ll talk about them in a moment. But none of them provided the safety – or the elegance – that the screw back earrings did.
Our research and practical cases all point to one fact: The screw-back mechanisms for earrings are the best ones out there. Even now – more than 100 years later – there isn’t a better alternative from a safety perspective.
Of course, some people don’t like screw-back earrings – and that’s perfectly understandable. So, they probably won’t agree with us on this one.
One of the most commonly reported negative characteristics of these earrings is that they might be a bit uncomfortable to wear for more extended periods of time – especially if they’re worn too tightly. Now, here’s some good news: These earrings nowadays often feature a stopper, so you can’t screw them too tightly.
That said, not the case with all screw-back earrings. So, if someone’s wearing earrings with this mechanism for the first time, they won’t know how to tighten them correctly – and will likely hurt their earlobes.
And the worst part is – that discomfort could last for the next couple of days after wearing them. You could notice soreness and pain around your earlobe – and sometimes, you might even see redness from the irritation.
That’s the thing, though – there is a right and wrong way of wearing them. Here’s a fair warning: If you decide to go with more oversized earrings with screw backs, you can experience similar difficulties. The extra weight of the earrings creates additional pressure on the part of your ear that holds it.
Related Read: Good Size For Diamond Stud Earrings
Alternatives to Screw Backs for Diamond Earrings
Now it’s time to look at the most popular alternatives to screw back earrings that we’ve hinted at earlier in this article.
The FIRST – and probably the most popular – alternative to screw-back earrings are the push-back earrings. These earrings feature a mechanism that stops the “pusher” or the stopper in place, preventing the earrings from creating pressure on the earlobe.
These push-back earrings are the best alternative to screw-back earrings – but aren’t as safe as the screw backs. Why? These stoppers can fall off, making it easier to lose your earring. Luckily, jewelry makers are aware of that, so they don’t use this mechanism for larger earrings – or those containing a bigger diamond. They’re a pretty solid choice for smaller earrings, though.
The SECOND option that we’re going to talk about is the clip earring that doesn’t even require a pierced ear (as in, a hole in the earlobe) to hold the earring. These earrings feature a clip that attaches to the earlobe and holds the earrings in place using just the pressure from the clamp. Sounds convenient, right?
But that’s the thing: Contrary to popular belief, these earrings aren’t the most comfortable choice. The clamp really applies unnecessary pressure to the earlobe, irritating it when worn for more extended periods.
In addition to that, these earrings can easily slip from the earlobe without you even noticing. And even if they don’t, you’ll likely spend half the time re-adjusting the clips. If your number one priority is safety, we recommend you stay away from clip-on earrings.
Learn More: Diamond Earring Setting Types: Options To Consider
Screw Backs – Will They Always Be So Popular?
The popularity aspect of these earrings doesn’t come from their elegant designs – or the wealth status that they give off, for that matter. Instead, it stems from their functionality and simplicity. Earrings with a screw-back mechanism came from the necessity to secure the earrings better – and that’s where they got their initial “fame.”
So, as long as there are earrings, it’s safe to assume that screw back mechanisms won’t go out of style. They’ll retain all the popularity they’ve gathered to date – if not more.
These mechanisms are simple to use and are commonly found in jewelry, so we don’t have any reason to believe that they would experience a drop in popularity any time soon. And sure, you could argue that new and better solutions might be invented – and that’s true.
However, the good, old screw back mechanism is here to stay. Remember the saying: If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it.
You’ve got the answer to why do all real diamond earrings have screw backs. Now, let’s sum up what we’ve learned and finalize our thoughts.
First of all, diamond earrings are expensive and can cost up to $20,000, which is a lot of money – by anyone’s standards. And obviously, people who wear them would like to keep them safe for as long as possible.
That’s the main reason why screw-back earrings were invented – and the reason why they are still a popular choice. The one thing you must be careful about here is how you wear them: Some don’t like this style because of the lack of comfort that the mechanism provides.
When somebody tightens the back of the earring too much, that can cause pain and soreness – and can be unpleasant in general. This problem is easily solved with stoppers – although not all earrings have them.
So, if you’re shopping for diamond earrings, and you decide on a pair with screw backs, check if they come with stoppers or not.
Read Also: Are I1 Diamonds Good For Earrings? What Are I1 Diamonds?