Statistically, nearly three quarters of American women have pierced ears today. It’s pretty rare for a woman to have her ears pierced in adulthood, too, as most girls have them done while they’re in elementary school or perhaps when they’re in their early teens.
Pierced ears are so common that it’s relatively difficult to buy clip-on earrings anymore, though they’re somewhat easier to purchase online.
That wasn’t always the case, though. Back in the day, from the 1940s through the late 1970s, pierced ears were relatively rare. Most women wore clip-ons instead.
That’s not necessarily bad; it’s just the way things were back then. What it means today is that if you’re looking for vintage jewelry, and particularly if you’re looking for vintage earrings, you’re much more likely to encounter the clip-on variety than you are to find earrings for pierced ears.
A lot of women might instantly dismiss clip-ons, but there is no reason to pass on them. While you can’t wear earrings for pierced ears if you don’t have holes in your lobes, anyone can wear clip-ons. So why don’t more women wear them?
Largely because clip-ons have a reputation for being uncomfortable. It’s true that some of them can hurt, especially if they’re of the type with the spring back.
On the other hand, those with an adjustable screw post are not only more comfortable, but they’re also adjustable.
One of the advantages of clip-on earrings is that you can wear bigger and heavier earrings than you can with pierced models. Pierced earrings focus all of the weight on a single point, and particularly heaving earrings can not only be uncomfortable, but they can also cause a “drooping” effect that isn’t very attractive.
Clip-ons, particularly the spring variety, can distribute the weight over a larger amount of ear lobe, which results in a more attractive appearance.
While it’s true that you can technically have vintage earrings that were designed as clip-ons modified for pierced ears, there are some downsides to that:
- It can be expensive. You’ll have to pay a jeweler to do that, and the process may not be cost-effective for older costume jewelry.
- Damage can result. The jeweler will likely have to apply high heat to the earring to solder a new mounting post on them, and this can damage fragile older earrings.
A better idea is simply to learn to get comfortable wearing clip-on earrings. If you like vintage jewelry, you’re going to encounter a lot of clip-ons, and if you wave your hand and unilaterally decide that you’re not going to wear anything not made for pierced ears, then you’re automatically declaring a whole bunch of attractive and affordable vintage earrings to be off limits.
Why limit yourself? Find a pair of vintage clip-ons with screw-type posts and give them a try. You can adjust them for comfort and wear them for short periods of time until you get more comfortable with them. After that, you can try the spring-back variety. They can be a bit more uncomfortable, but that can vary dramatically by style, as there were a number of different spring-back types.
Some work better than others and some are more comfortable than others.
If you like vintage jewelry, you’ll just have to accept that some of what you find isn’t going to be exactly the way you’d like it to be. They’re still pretty pieces, however, and you’ll still look great wearing them.