French loop earring wire shown with rubber clutches and Fish pendant | minusOne jewelry

What’s the difference between French Loop and lever back earrings?

Nov 1, 2022 | minusOne jewelry FAQ

A French loop earring wire looks a little like a fishing hook or a shepherd’s hook. It is a piece of curved metal that threads through the ear piercing and then rests in place.

The looped back of a French loop (also called a French hook) remains open and doesn’t latch shut.  

A lever back earring has a hinged earring wire that latches shut in the back, using two hinged pieces that come together.

What earring back options are available at minusOne?

minusOne jewelry offers four styles of earring back: French loops, lever backs, adjustable clip ons, and posts. Any earring back style is usually available for any of the earrings made at minusOne.

what's the difference between a french loop and a lever back? earring options at minusOne jewelry
Earring back options at minusOne jewelry

Don’t see the option you want for the design you’re buying? Just reach out and ask your question using the Contact page. I’ll respond in via email to let you know what’s possible.

Read about what makes minusOne earring backs hypoallergenic.

Read more about the adjustable clip on earring back option for non-pierced ears.

Are minusOne earrings hypoallergenic?

minusOne jewelry uses hypoallergenic 14K gold fill and 925 sterling silver earring wires, both considered to be appropriate metals for sensitive ears.

Shop all of minusOne jewelry earrings.

What does hypoallergenic mean?

The simple definition of hypoallergenic is that something is relatively unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Hypoallergenic is not a guarantee. It describes a probability or a tendency, but not an absolute condition.

Which earring style is best for you?

On day two of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, my husband pierced my daughter’s ears. She was 13 years old at the time, and he had just had shoulder surgery the week before. She laid lengthwise on the kitchen counter while he stuck a needle through her earlobe (using ice and a wine cork ).

Due to the height of the countertop and the condition of his shoulder, the angle of the needle created an off-kilter piercing. You can imagine the difficulty my daughter sometimes has threading an earring through the hole my husband created.

This kind of thing happens a lot, even if the situation isn’t as memorable.

A tilted staple gun, or marker dots that are misaligned, or an earring pagoda employee who just isn’t on the ball – these all can create ear piercings that can make your interaction with an earring unique.

And this doesn’t even refer to the size of our earlobes, and the position of the piercing on them. Raise your hand if you have huge earlobes. If you have them, you know.

So, play around with styles and materials until you find the earring back style that works best for you. I promise – it’s out there.

Are all French loop earring wires the same size?

All French loop ear wires are not the same size. Primary differences include:

  • Drop length: the distance between where the loop rests inside or against the ear and the start of the earring pendant
  • Gauge: the thickness of the pierced earring back wire

Like the fish pendants in the featured image? Shop these awesome silver-finish fish earrings at minusOne.

What is earring wire gauge?

Loops can be so thin that they bend too easily. They can also be so thick that you can’t get them through your ear lobe without a lot of struggle and irritation.

I use between a 20 and 22 gauge wire, comfortable but sturdy.

Are French loop earring wires all the same shape?

All French loop earring wires are not shaped the same way. French loops can come with different ornaments that become part of the earring design. They can be made different lengths, and finally be straight or curved, making them more or less secure on your ear.

At minusOne, I use unadorned, simple loops, without any decoration like a spring, ball, wire, or twist. A busy loop can compete with the more-important earring pendant. I prefer a classic, minimalist look.

I use loops with a more dramatic curve, so they are more secure on the ears. This curve inwards means they won’t get pushed out of the ear as often.

minusOne jewelry French loop curved ear wire shown next to a different style with a straight wire.
French loop earring wire | minusOne jewelry

Do French loop earrings need an earring back?

French loop earrings can be worn with or without earring backs, also called clutches. It’s up to you, based on whether or not your ears are prone to lose earrings.

All minusOne earrings with French loops arrive with a clear rubber clutch to protect them from loss.

Where are French loop earring wires made?

French loop earring backs aren’t necessarily made in France.

minusOne jewelry French loops are made in New York, USA.

What are French loop earring wires made of?

French loops can be made with different types of metals. The most common are brass, stainless steel, niobium, gold, and silver.

I use only semi-precious metals that are considered to be hypoallergenic: sterling silver and 14K gold fill. Niobium earring wires are also available at minusOne for people with the most sensitive ears.

French loops from minusOne are stamped 1/20 14K for gold filled and 925 for sterling silver.

If your earring backs aren’t stamped, they may be made from an alloy other than gold or sterling.

Are earrings with French loops expensive?

Earrings with French loop earring wires are usually the most affordable option for dangle earrings. Because they are only a single piece of metal, this style of earring wire is easy to make and contains the least amount of metal.

View minusOne jewelry’s FAQs to learn more about earring options for pierced and non-pierced ears

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