Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What Are Leverbacks?

Before I started making jewelry I rarely gave much thought to what various components of jewelry were called. I knew the term "posts" because those are fairly obvious types of earrings. I didn't know that the hook style ones were technically called "French hooks" ... and why is that by the way? I'll have to look that up because I have no idea.

And I was clueless as to what the 'other' kind of earring backs were called - you know the ones. They go through the ear and then a little 'lever' flips up and closes the earring so they don't fall out.

They're called Leverbacks and I find them to be the best type of earring, simply in terms of safety and security. But many people don't know what they are or are intimidated by wearing them because they take a little extra maneuvering to get on.

With a little bit of practice though they are super easy to wear and I find them easier than French hooks now. You have to tilt the leverback piece at the right angle so that the portion that enters your piercing goes in straight. With a French hook you can just sort of "approach" the ear with the earring up and down - the wire is bent enough to slide into the piercing. But with a leverback you need to tilt the earring so it is horizontal to the ear and slide the wire in level. Then it can be tilted to be upright and the lever closed.

Another big benefit of leverbacks is storage. I can't tell you how many times I've been digging around my jewelry box trying to find matching pairs of earrings to wear...posts or french hooks. But not with my pairs of leverbacks...because I can hook them together so they don't get separated.

There is a slight drawback to leverbacks and that is their cost. They're more complicated and use more metal than posts or french hooks and therefore are more expensive. And it's not a design that I can create myself, whereas posts or French hooks I can make from scratch.

I've seen sterling leverbacks as high as $5 a pair wholesale! I try not to pay that much. And 14k gold leverbacks start in the $30s wholesale. Remember, an artist has to factor in their costs and a lot of folks use a percentage and multiply their that $5 pair might add $15 to the cost of a pair of earrings.

I still think they are worth it though. For security and for keeping earrings in pairs instead of orphans. :) Check out my Etsy shop for earrings with leverbacks, as well as the other styles.

P.S. The photos shown here are a pair of Black Onyx and Swarovski crystal earrings that didn't make it to my shop before my mom bought them. =) And their matching necklace. She has good taste, right?

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