The Ultimate Guide to Buying Sterling Silver Stud Earrings

When it comes to accessorising, sterling silver stud earrings are the most versatile. They are accessible to own, convenient to carry and easy to wear. They can come in all forms, shapes, sizes and colours, and can range from the fancy right down to the most basic. We are all spoilt for choice, there are thousands of designs available so how do you choose the ones that offer the best value and more importantly suit you and complement your style?

I believe information is key, so I’ve put together a quick and handy guide completely dedicated to stud earrings – everything you might need to know, from choosing the right colour to shape, size and setting styles. So read on and I hope you’ll enjoy the guide, which is broken down into sections for easy reading.


When it comes to earrings made from precious metals, sterling silver stud earrings tick all the right boxes, as they’re relatively inexpensive, hardy and will last a long time with proper care. Open any earring fan’s jewellery drawer and you won’t be surprised to find at least two pairs of sterling stud earrings. The really enthusiastic jewellery collectors will have much more, with different colours or designs.

This just goes to show how essential stud earrings are when it comes to versatile accessories. Sterling silver studs are usually the first pair of earrings anyone who is getting their ears pierced will own – they are an inexpensive yet safe and hygienic, making them the go-to choice. After a first piercing, most people tend to follow up with more studs, generally sterling silver ones, both for aesthetic and longevity purposes.

Quality sterling silver earrings are always a good investment, whether they come in complex designs, have gemstones in the setting, or are in simple shapes.



Here are some popular designs often seen on silver studs, and a few notes on how each can work for you.


These are the simplest kind of sterling silver studsround, square, triangular and so on. While generally in plain silver and free of any stones, some of these studs may also have textures or motifs to make them more interesting. These kinds of studs are the go-to earrings for daily use, as they’re not fussy and can be worn anywhere and everywhere – the gym, grocery shopping, sports and outdoor activities, the office, picking up the kids, even just staying at home. Simple sterling silver studs do the trick of making you look put together even when you’re rushing out to meet friends or are late to work.


Sterling silver stud earrings set with stones elevate your outfit and add some polish to everyday wear. Studs with pearls, in particular, add some class to any attire. These are the earrings that transition well from the office to a casual coffee date or a quiet dinner and will do the job of looking elegant if you suddenly find yourself at an upscale location for an evening event. Stud earrings with gems or stones are guaranteed to make you look stylish without even trying.


Love animals? There’s bound to be a few hundred sterling silver stud earrings featuring animal designs, and the same goes for other fun shapes from hearts to coat hangers. If you have a favourite animal, a particular hobby, or an advocacy, these kinds of stud earrings are a great way to make a statement. Whatever the reason, fun stud earrings are always a good way to express yourself and are sure conversation pieces. They can even work for formal occasions if they come in stone-studded designs!



One of the best things about stud earrings are the many, many creative ways they can be made into small works of art. And what better way to display such creativity than by wearing them. Sterling silver stud earrings are a great way to craft unique designs that show off your individuality without going over the top so you can wear them all the time, and also have some fun collecting one-of-a-kind earrings. These stud earrings are great if you want to show off your creative side.

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Square Coral Stud Earrings

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What colours work best when choosing stud earrings? Here are some handy tips and tricks to creating the look that suits you.


Colours considered neutral are black or shades of grey, and white or variations of white, such as cream, beige, ivory, or ecru. Black or white can be considered the safest colour choices in anything, even earrings, as these not only go well with other colours, they also make an excellent background to show off brighter tones.

Cubic zirconia sterling silver studs are the perfect choice for almost any occasion or event, precisely because they can match everything from a little black dress to an ornate purple jumpsuit to a white t-shirt and jeans. Studs in black are the same, except that they might not complement darker hues like navy or maroon as well as earrings with light neutral tones. Have a pair of studs in both black and white, and you’ll see how well they work.


Since sterling silver studs use a lot of precious and semi-precious stones in their design, it’s a given that jewel tones are common among these earrings. Think brilliant reds, flashy greens, bright blues, vibrant purples and vivid yellows.

Jewel colours are meant to be noticed, so stud earrings in these hues are often worn with outfits that make a statement, most especially when it comes to formal or evening wear. Sapphire studs, for instance, can complement a shimmery silver cocktail dress, while fire-red rubies will look splendid with a strapless black gown. Smaller, more subtle studs with birthstones also do well for daily wear, as they appear more elegant than plainer designs. Wear a pair of earrings in jewel tones if you want to add a dash of energy or bring life to your outfit.


There are plenty of other material to create stud earrings designs apart from stones or gems, incorporating earth colours – these are “natural” shades that generally come from a palette of browns, dark reds and greens, such as tan, ochre, olive, moss and sienna. Choosing earth colours tends to indicate a desire to be one with your surroundings, and that you like the calm and serenity of the outdoors.

Most earth tones complement each other, so wearing silver stud earrings with a clay-coloured design will go with an outfit in the same palette – think of blending well in a forest as an example. These colours signify harmony, so wear them when you feel the need to slow down.



Cubic zirconia is now one of the most popular and frequently-used materials for sterling silver stud earrings, and it’s easy to see why. Cubic zirconia sterling silver studs are more affordable than diamonds, while still looking stylish, be it for casual everyday outfits or evening wear.

This synthetic stone is just as attractive and brilliant as a diamond, and with careful consideration, can be paired with just about any other precious or semi-precious gem. Learn the art of mixing and matching, and how cubic zirconia can improve your overall aesthetic. The most frequently known hue of cubic zirconia is clear, like diamonds, but its chemical composition can change the way it looks. Cubic zirconia ican contain other metal oxides within its crystal structure to create other colours. For example, chromium makes green cubic zirconia, cerium creates yellow, red and orange tints, neodymium makes purple-tinged cubic zirconia, erbium for pink and titanium makes the stone appear brown. Because this synthetic gem is flexible, cubic zirconia is often used as a substitute for both clear and coloured diamonds, as well as emeralds, rubies, and more.

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Sapphire Blue Stud Earrings

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One of the great things about cubic zirconia stones is that it can be used in a myriad of jewellery types and designs, from tiaras to necklaces and rings. Sterling silver earrings with cubic zirconia stones can perfectly match a necklace and a bracelet made of silver and clear or neutral-coloured stones to make a set. They also go well with stones that have deeper or brighter hues, such as sapphires or emeralds. Cubic zirconia earrings also go well with plain silver jewellery, and are an excellent contrast to items that have black or grey stones, like onyx or pearls.


There are many different ways to make stones shine even brighter. Jewellery designers often have various and interesting stone settings for sterling silver stud earrings -- whether featuring the brilliance of cubic zirconia, or the vivid colours of gems like sapphire, ruby, topaz, or aquamarine. There are numerous stud earring settings out there, depending on the earring design. Some may even use non-traditional materials to create unique pieces of art.

For the most frequently used and classic earring settings, here’s a handy guide, so you know what design best suits you.

Women should never go without earrings. Passing on them is an opportunity missed.

— Jennifer Lopez

Prong setting – this is the most common stud earring setting for stones. A Prong setting holds the stone with three or more prongs and shows it off best. The fewer prongs on the stud, the less secure the stone is, and it is more likely to get damaged or fall out.

Bezel setting – this has a band of sterling silver that surrounds the stone, either fully or partially. While this is a safe setting, as the stone is much less likely to pop out compared to a prong setting, some people think that this setting hides a good deal of the stone. This is the best setting to protect the stones in your studs from accidents and is a safer choice.

Martini-style setting – this is a cone-shaped setting, named for the V-shape it makes that resembles a martini glass when seen from the side. With this kind of setting, the stone is placed close to the earlobe, so the silver sterling stud is less likely to droop when worn.

Basket-style setting – this is similar to the martini-style setting, but with a flat bottom. The stones in a basket-style setting are set farther from the ear but may be more comfortable to wear for those who feel like other styles hurt their ears.

Crown-style setting – this employs a flat bottom but has a more solid construction compared to the basket-style or martini-style settings. It’s more comfortable, but the stone is less visible, and the setting puts the stone farther from the ear, so the stud is more likely to droop when worn, especially for long periods of time.

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Earring locks are important, much more so for studs, as they secure and keep your earrings where they belong. Unlike hoops or dangles, stud earrings rely on their posts and locks for functionality—you really can’t wear your sterling silver stud earrings without a lock, otherwise, it’s just going to fall off the moment you move. So here are the basic kinds of locks and how they work.



The most common kind of stud earring lock is the pushback, also called the friction back or the butterfly back (because of its “butterfly” shape). These feature a smooth post with the earring on one end and a small notch on the other end. The earring lock slides up and down easily when you want to put on or take the earring off, but locks into place when it slides down to the notch. These earring locks are cheap and replacements are easy to find if lost. 


This is a very secure way to keep your stud earrings in place, as the earring post and lock basically act as a regular nut and bolt – that is, you screw the lock into place on the post until it tightens. With this kind of lock, there is very little chance of the lock sliding off or loosening, even with time. But it is important to be careful when threading the earring lock through the grooves on the post so the earring isn’t damaged, and both putting on and taking off this kind of earring lock takes some time and a bit of concentration. Not very practical if you are in a rush.


This is the most secure kind of earring lock for studs. It looks similar to the friction or push-back lock and post, with a smooth post. But in addition, it has a small locking mechanism that holds the lock in place – just slide the lock in normally and slide it back until there is a lock “click.” La Poussette locks are perfect for more expensive earrings, as these locks guarantee you won’t lose your pricey diamonds. On the downside, they are more difficult to find and replace and can be more expensive compared to regular earring backs.

Matching your hat to your shoe to your bag, or your necklace to your earrings, has a tendency to look dated. Mixing up your accessories adds interest to an outfit, and can make you look much more modern and polished.

— Stacy London


Sterling silver stud earrings are one of the best types of earrings to buy, as they are affordable, practical and chic. But of course, earrings come at different prices, depending on what they look like and what materials were used to make them.


Plain sterling silver stud earrings are those that come in geometric shapes like triangles, bars or circles. Some may have textured surfaces, and others may come in more unique shapes such as lightning bolts attached to an earring post. Depending on the shape or texture, these stud earrings come in at $35.00 for the simplest designs and around $50.00 for those with more elaborate trimmings. 


Prices for sterling silver stud earrings featuring precious or semi-precious stones depend on the kind of stone used. Diamond studs are, expectedly, incredibly expensive. Thankfully, alternatives such as cubic zirconia, marcasite and Swarovski crystals are much more affordable, making them stylish options for sterling silver stud earrings. Those with stones such as turquoise or coral in sterling settings start at around $45 for the small ones, while studs with freshwater pearls generally sell from $50 and up.


Some sterling silver earring designs feature one or more stones, with some silver filigree, inlaid silver plating or silver accents. Prices for these depend on how intricate the art is, but the simplest combinations, like a freshwater pearl with leaves, start at $40 and get more expensive the more complicated the design gets.



It’s no surprise that silver studs featuring multiple stones of either one or various colours or kinds are more expensive than the single-stone ones. It all comes down to how many stones are in the earring design, and how intricate the design is. Cubic zirconia studs of different colours in one setting start at $45.00, with double-sided studs starting at $60.00. Stud earrings featuring multiple turquoise, corals, Swarovski crystals, pearls and cubic zirconia also begin at the same range of $60.00, while silver earrings with sapphires, rubies and emeralds can be purchased from $65.00 up.

About the Author

Stela is the founder and managing director for Boccai Earrings. She is a designer with a background in product design and brand management. Stela has a passion for beautiful products and designs, and enjoys sharing her passion with others through the blog.

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