The 11 Best Stud Earrings When You’re Tired of Hoops

We’ve got our eye on Ring Concierge’s Half Carat Mixed Shapes Diamond Studs.

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Best Stud Earrings

Baublebar / Kendra Scott

Jewelry trends may come and go, but if there’s one style that will always stay, it’s the stud earring. “Diamond studs are classics that will never go out of style,” says Olivia Landau, fourth generation GIA certified gemologist & founder of The Clear Cut. “They’re statements on their own and can also be mixed and matched with ‘trendier’ pieces for everyday wear.” 

This isn’t to say that studs aren’t trendy — you can find plenty of crazy styles beyond the classic diamond, pearl, or metal studs. And beyond the fashion aspect, studs score highly in practicality. They don’t tug on your ears or get stuck in your hair, plus you can wear them in your workout class without worrying about them fluttering around. 

Still, if you pick the wrong metal or a low quality gem, a stud can irritate your ear and potentially break, which is why we spoke with several jewelry experts and tried out different styles to find the best studs. Coming in range of prices, these designs are worth the cost thanks to their high quality materials, comfortable fit, and the sheer number of compliments you’ll get. Because of how different all studs are, we didn’t pick a best overall, but we’re particularly excited about Ring Concierge, Kendra Scott, and more. 

So, whether you are looking for a traditional style you can pass down or a cheeky creation to wear in your cartilage, these are the best stud earrings.

Best Natural Diamond : Ring Concierge Half Carat Mixed Shapes Diamond Studs

Ring Concierge Half Carat Mixed Shapes Diamond Studs

Ring Concierge

What We Like: These ethical stones come in round, heart, pear, or emerald cut.

What We Don’t Like: You may have to save up for this investment piece.

Jewelry is all about feeling unique and special, and the Ring Concierge gives you that customization. With the brand’s natural diamond studs, you can choose between a round, heart, pear, or emerald shape, and each cut comes in a half carat size, which Landau says is a great foundational piece. “They are subtle enough to wear everyday but still make a statement,” she says. You can then choose whether the 14K solid gold comes in yellow, white, or rose. The diamonds are ethically sourced and come with a 60-day limited warranty — and if you ever need a repair past that point, simply contact the brand. 

Price at time of publish: $1198

Metal: 14K Yellow, White, Rose Gold | Stone: Natural Diamond | Single or Double: Double

Best Moissante : The Ring Pal Tristan Moissanite Oval Cut Studs

The Ring Pal Tristan Moissanite Oval Cut Studs

The Ring Pal

What We Like: The unique shape and rainbow reflection makes these stud earrings stand out.

What We Don’t Like: The oval shape will twist, so if you don’t like mismatching, go for another shape.

Considered a diamond simulant, moissanite is another gem that has a similar look to diamonds, according to Hillary Watson, Senior Director of Sales & Merchandising at Charles and Colvard. Because they are created in a lab and are softer than diamonds, they tend to be more affordable, and they also give off a rainbow light reflection unlike a diamond’s white shine. As someone who doesn’t mind some color, I was happy to be gifted this pair from Ring Pal. I specifically chose the oval shape since I wanted something different from the traditional circle. The shape is elegant and fits my lobe very well — I honestly like when it twists to the side for a unique look. The backings are very sturdy, which is key when wearing a more valuable gemstone. And the gem itself is beautifully cut and has a great shine. Made in Los Angeles, the earrings come with a lifetime quality guarantee. With the option to choose different metals and carat sizes, your dream stud awaits.

Price at time of publish: $979+

Metal: 14K or 18K White, Yellow or Rose Gold | Stone: Moissanite | Single or Double: Double

Best Fashion: Kendra Scott Ellie Gold Stud Earrings

Kendra Scott Ellie Gold Stud Earrings

Kendra Scott

What We Like: These fashionable stud earrings pack mega shine without weighing you or your wallet down.

What We Don’t Like: Multiple stone options make it hard to pick just one.

We all have those occasions when we want to dress like Princess Diana and don some huge rocks — without the royal price tag, that is. For a fun, fashionable earring, you can’t go wrong with these bold studs. They come in nearly 20 different gemstones, ranging from ruby to amethyst. I received a sample of the Iridescent Drusy, which is the natural formation of crystals on a rock surface. With my long hair, studs can often get lost, so the larger size and glittering sparkle is perfect when I want to make a statement. If you are a fan of layering dainty gold necklaces and crystals, the earthy vibe of these earrings fit right in, which isn’t always the case with diamond styles. Though they are the largest studs I own, I often forget I have them on. They are as light as a feather and the 14K gold plated brass doesn’t irritate my skin. 

Price at time of publish: $70

Metal: 14K Gold Plated Brass| Stone: 19 | Single or Double: Double

Best Pearl: Nishi Pearls 14K Gold Midi Studs

Nishi Pearls 14K Gold Midi Studs

Nishi Pearls

What We Like: These classic pearl studs come from sustainable farms and ethical practices.

What We Don’t Like: They don’t come in silver.

These aren’t your grandmother’s pearl earrings. Coming from a brand aiming to reinvent the gemstone, these studs use freshwater pearls cultured from sustainable farms and made under ethical conditions and wages. While pearls are currently all the rage, and you can experiment with eclectic designs, everyone should have a classic round stud in their collection. You can dress it up or down and pair it with other earrings. This mid-size option won’t swallow up your entire ear, but it’s still large enough to be noticeable on Zoom (side note: earrings make you look instantly polished on camera). And if you are more into Barbiecore than Coastal Grandmother Chic, the naturally pink pearl is a must have.

Price at time of publish: $135

Metal: 14K Gold | Stone: Pink or White Freshwater Pearls | Single or Double: Double

Best for Cartilage : Studs Starburst Stud

Studs Starburst Stud

Studs

What We Like: The brand offers many high quality designs that are cartilage friendly.

What We Don’t Like: Nothing.

When it comes to finding a stud for your cartilage, you have to make sure the post is long enough and that the earring won’t irritate the more sensitive part of your ear, according to Laura Mirabent, CEO and founder of jewelry website Gold Lovin Girl. That’s why Madison San Miguel, contributing writer for InStyle, adores these studs. “Because my ears become irritated with some metals, I love how the earring is safe enough to use for even the most sensitive ears,” says Miguel. “I have a snake bite piercing on my left ear, and it has never bothered me even during the beginning stages of when my piercing was healing.” Lifestyle Commerce Editor Christie Calucchia is also a big fan of the brand when it comes to building out her ear stack. “I've showered and slept with these earrings in place, and there hasn't been a speck of greenish-blue residue in sight,” says Calucchia. Miguel adores her star-studded design, but the brand offers kitschy styles and collaborations, like one dedicated to the New York City metro

Price at time of publish: $44

Metal: 14K Gold Plated Brass | Stone: Cubic Zirconia | Single or Double: Both

Best Evil Eye: Baublebar Imena 18K Gold Earrings

Baublebar Imena 18K Gold Earrings

Baublebar

What We Like: You can say goodbye to bad vibes and hello to compliments.

What We Don’t Like: A silver version would be great.

Ward off bad energy and attract a whole lot of compliments with these evil eye studs. I’m always looking for eccentric yet affordable jewelry, so when I saw these years ago, I knew I had to have them. There’s a lot of evil eye jewelry out there, but how many have lashes? As someone with long lashes, I felt a natural affinity. There’s been times where I’ve worn them days on end, even while sleeping, and the 18K gold plated sterling silver doesn’t bother my ears. Likewise, the cubic zirconia stones haven’t fallen out or lost their shine. People always comment when I wear them, so I can’t help but think they attract good vibes. 

Price at time of publish: $44

Metal: 18K Gold Plated Sterling Silver | Stone: Cubic Zirconia | Single or Double: Double

Best Gold: Uncommon James Bar Stud Earrings

Uncommon James Bar Stud Earrings

Uncommon James

What We Like: These simple bars add some gold without being over the top.

What We Don’t Like: The shape and color makes them easy to lose in your jewelry collection.

Sometimes you want a simple gold earring that isn’t a hoop. In those cases, reach for these bar earrings. I kindly received a sample from the brand, and they fill a void in my jewelry collection. We all have those days when we want to keep our ears lowkey — this minimalistic design gives you some gold without all the drama. They come in clutch when I’m wearing a chunky necklace and bracelets and want to take it easy on top, or if I’m headed to the gym and want a pair that’s sleek and light enough not to bother me. They also pair well with other designs if you have numerous piercings. Like a stud, you can twist both or one of them for some variety in your ears. My only warning is that due to the slim shape, they can be easy to lose, so store them carefully.

Price at time of publish: $38

Metal: 14K Gold Plated Brass | Stone: None | Single or Double: Double

Best Silver: Sterling Forever Textured Knot Mesh Earrings

Sterling Forever Textured Knot Mesh Earrings

Sterling Forever

What We Like: They offer a nautical twist to a simple silver stud earring.

What We Don’t Like: Sterling silver can tarnish with time.

Who says you need a gemstone to sparkle? With these knotted studs, the metal attracts enough light and shine, especially in the sterling silver shade. Like the gold bar studs above, these are my go-to when I’m wearing a bold necklace below and want a subtle silver accent in my ear. Knotted ropes form the stud, creating a spin on the basic silver ball. The sterling silver is great for sensitive ears, though it can tarnish, so avoid water and chemicals.

Price at time of publish: $36

Metal: Sterling Silver, 14K Gold Plated Sterling Silver | Stone: None | Single or Double: Double

Best Logo: Studs Mini Pave Playboy Stud

Studs Mini Pave Playboy Stud

Studs

What We Like: The mini bunny adds personality to your ear.

What We Don’t Like: They aren’t for the faint of heart.

Playboy may no longer be printing, but the iconic bunny lives on in fashion collaborations like this one with Studs. Fashion writer Dynasty says these logo studs are some of his favorites. “It’s fun to do a silver hoop and then Playboy studs — it adds personality to the ear,” says Dynasty. “So many people have commented. It’s me saying I’m in my ‘hoe phase’ and proud.” Even if you don’t want to shout it from the rooftops, these mini earrings are subtle enough to blend in with the rest of your piercings. You can buy them as singles or pairs, and they come in both gold and silver. There’s also a plain metal version if you rather skip the sparkle. No matter what the bunny means to you, the edgy design makes you rethink the notion that studs are boring.

Price at time of publish: $28

Metal: 14K Gold Plated or Rhodium Plated with Internal Brass | Stone: Pave | Single or Double: Both

Best Opal: Gorjana Opal Heart Studs

Gorjana Opal Heart Studs

Gorjana

What We Like: These dainty earrings add nostalgic flair to your ears.

What We Don’t Like: They may be too small for some preferences.

If you want to tap into Y2K styles, fashion blogger Cassandra Stone recommends an opal stud, like these from Gorjana, as a daintier take on the trend. The heart shape and tiny size instantly took me back to getting my ears pierced at Claire’s — which by the way, is cool again. I received a pair as a sample, and while they are much smaller than the earrings I usually wear, there’s something alluring about channeling my inner tween. Plus, I can’t stop staring at the holographic effect. They make a great addition to your ear stack if you have other piercings, and you can buy the style individually if you’d like. Similar to a tiny heart tattoo, they are a nice way to infuse the message of love into your life.

Price at time of publish: $150

Metal: 14K Solid Gold | Stone: Opal | Single or Double: Both

What to Keep in Mind

Metal

If you have sensitive ears, you’ll want to stick to pure metals like platinum or sterling silver, like Sterling Forever Textured Knot Mesh Earrings. Gold is another good option, but depending on the karat, it can have other metals mixed in that can possibly irritate your skin. 

“A lower karat gold like the 14K and 10K has a large percentage of other metals such as nickel, which is known to cause allergic reactions such as rashes and skin swelling,” says Sandy Ip, gemologist and founder and designer of jewelry brand Sevun. “If you are easily allergic to jewelry, we suggest wearing at least 18K gold, 24K gold, and platinum.” 

If it’s gold-plated or gold-filled, double check the base metal underneath, since gold can wear down over time and expose you to the underlying irritating metals. Though pure gold and platinum are more pricey, you have the peace of mind knowing they won’t tarnish.

Stone

To get the most bang for your buck, you’ll want to invest in stones that won’t deteriorate over time. “Natural, untreated diamonds, rubies, and sapphires are the hardest gemstones and are less prone to damage from constant wear,” says Landau. “They also hold the most value and are the rarest throughout history.” 

Ip says you should always ask for the color, clarity, and cut grade before investing in diamonds. Though it’s harder for the untrained eye to tell if a gemstone is authentic or not, she has some tips.

“When buying a good quality diamond, you should make sure there are no eye-visible inclusions, color tints, and any oily or milky appearances. If a colored gemstone looks too perfect, too clean, and has a low price, it is usually a red flag,” says Ip. 

If you are buying a significant piece of jewelry, she recommends asking for certification of the gemstone from a reputable laboratory. For diamonds, ask for certificates from GIA or AGS; and for colored gemstones, ask for GRS, Gubelin or SSEF.

Shape

For an everyday diamond stud, Landau recommends having a half carat in each ear. Around is her personal favorite because even if the earrings are in your ears, the pair will always look symmetrical. If you don’t mind having your earrings mismatched as they twirl around, you can play around with different shapes like an oval (The Ring Pal Tristan Moissanite Oval Cut Studs) or even a bunny (Studs Mini Pave Playboy Stud).

Your Questions, Answered

What’s the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds?

If you’ve been following the jewelry world, you’ve probably heard a lot of buzz around natural versus lab-grown diamonds. While natural diamonds are mined from the earth, lab grown are man-made in a lab.

“From their chemical, physical, and optical properties, lab-grown diamonds are indistinguishable to mined diamonds. The only difference is their origin,” says Watson. “Not even the most trained gemologist or high-tech loupe can tell the difference between a lab-grown diamond and a mined diamond.”

So what do you choose? It all comes down to your priorities. Some people like Landau only work with natural diamonds because she prefers the rarity and inherent value that comes with. If you are on a tighter budget, lab-grown diamonds like Brilliant Earth Lab Created Diamond Stud Earrings give you the same look for a fraction of the price.

Can I wear stud earrings further up my cartilage? 

Nowadays, a lot of studs are sold either as singles or doubles, like Studs Starburst Stud, giving you the option to wear a single one further up your ear. If you are unsure if a stud can be worn in your cartilage, follow Mirabent’s tips.

If you want to wear a stud in cartilage, you have to make sure the stud post is long enough to go through your ear and still have space left over on the back,” says Mirabent. “Cartilage piercings are very sensitive, and you can get a keloid if your earring is too tight. Make sure you give your ear piercing enough room to swell.”

How do I take care of my studs?

Because stud earrings are less likely to get stuck on things like your hair or sheets, Landau says it’s safe to sleep with them, though some may feel more comfortable without them. If they are made from fine metal like pure gold or platinum, you also can keep them on while showering and sweating. Other metals will tarnish with time. 

To clean fine jewelry, Landau recommends soaking your pieces in a solution of warm water and a pea-sized drop of dish soap. After 15 minutes, use a toothbrush to gently brush off any remaining dirt, then rinse and pat dry your piece with a paper towel or a jewelry cloth

Why Shop With Us

Emily Cieslak is an Assistant Commerce Editor at InStyle, and writes about all things fashion from jewelry to jeans. As much as she loves a huge pair of hoops, she all has a few studs on hand. For this article she interviewed jewelry experts Hillary Watson, Senior Director of Sales & Merchandising at Charles and Colvard, Sandy Ip, gemologist and founder and designer of jewelry brand Sevun, Laura Mirabent, CEO and founder of jewelry website Gold Lovin Girl, and Olivia Landau, fourth generation GIA certified gemologist & founder of The Clear Cut. She also spoke to fashion bloggers Cassandra Stone and Dynasty for their product picks.

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