Earrings - How heavy is too heavy?

I have a question that I thought that I would post to this most
learned group.

At what weight does an earring become too heavy to wear?

I am working on an earring design that I hope to put into
production. Though my own ears are pierced, I only wear basic stud
style earrings, so I am at a loss about the threshold at which an
earring becomes uncomfortable. I understand that this is totally
subjective to the individual and their sense of style vs. pain, but
I’m looking for opinions to use as a guide. I don’t want to build
something that will be torture to wear.

Margaret Braet

At what weight does an earring become too heavy to wear? 

Just based on customer feedback I’d say something around 5-7 dwts
each is where things get touchy. A lot though, depends on the size
and configuration of the earring. A good quality clip in addition to
the post can help distribute the weight and counterbalance a
weight-forward center of gravity. By using clips like the handmade
french pieces that are available commercially the threshold can go
up to over 10dwt each. Very often a customer will make the
determination that a ‘dressy’ earring can have more weight as the
earrings are not worn as often or as long as an everyday piece IF
she’s getting the look that works for the occasion.


I think a key point here is to keep all earrings as light as
possible - I used to wear very heavy dangly earrings (and I mean
heavy) and the result was that my ear lobes stretched so that it
looked like I belonged to some African tribe. I ultimately had to
have my earlobes re-pierced. The plastic surgeon stitched up the old
piercing, let it heal (about 6 weeks) and then re-pierced them. Not
expensive and certainly not uncomfortable to have done. Actually I
traded a silver bracelet for the surgeon’s work. (you’d be surprised
how often professional people are willing to barter for their fee)

Since that episode, I make sure that all the earrings I make are as
light as possible. I still have some fairly heavy ones but I only
wear them occasionally and for a short period of time as they become
very uncomfortable after a while.

But you could make one pair and have a friend try them for a while
and see what she thinks.


Hello Margaret,

This is personal experience on earring weight. As one ages and the
ear lobes sorta thin, heavier earrings become more uncomfortable.
Youngsters seem to tolerate heavier earrings.

Therefore, I’d suggest that you look at your target market. If you
expect to sell to us older (dare I say elderly?) ladies, keep 'em
light and avoid tiny post clutches.

Judy in Kansas, where triple digits are now the norm… but my
tomatoes are finally ripening. BLTs are delicious!

I think that age is a definite limiter for earring weight. I always
try to keep earrings at no ore than 4 penny weights per side. 2 is
even better.



There is no single answer to your question. The maximum weight will
depend on the person wearing the earrings and how they hang from the

Steve Brixner

At what weight does an earring become too heavy to wear? 

When you sneeze, you temporarily loose your balance.

But seriously, I’ve known customers who got headaches from too-heavy
earrings. It’s all a matter of the particular physical
characteristics of a person’s earlobes and to some degree, their
tolerance for pain.

David L. Huffman

I had a customer who bought one of my concho beltss who want
earrings made to match. She wanted the earrings with posts the same
size of the conchos. The conchos are about 1.5 inches in diameter and
weigh around 25 grams. I am not know for making light things. I tried
to discourage her but to no avail.

She suggested adding Omega clips to the posts.

I spent a lot of time thinning wax and casting. I finally ended up
with two conchos that were as thin as I could cast them. I don’t
remember how heavy they were but I could not see wearing them in my
ear if I wore earrings.

She was delighted and never complained. I have seen her many times
since she bought the earrings. Her ear lobes seem to be natural.

Lee Epperson

I’d be interested to know, too, if there is any standard for that. I
still have some earrings that I haven’t worn for several years, and
every now & then I try them on just for yucks, and OUCH! They aren’t
necessarily very big (maybe some from high school in the 80s are!),
but they are heavier than I wear now. Well, that doesn’t take much
since for the last 5 years I’ve pretty much not worn any, other than
tiny studs to make sure the holes don’t close up, or else my babies
would have ripped them out. One day I’ll be able to wear them again
without fear. :wink: At any rate, I think everyone’s tolerance for
weight on their ears varies greatly. Just as the length of earrings.
Try them out yourself, then ask several friends & relatives to try
them, and see if on average the concensus is that the weight is OK.
Just an idea.

By the way, very cool pieces on your site!

Designs by Lisa Gallagher

At what weight does an earring become too heavy to wear? 

lol, I guess its just me, but some of the responses are a bit funny.
Mind you, ive built some earrings (ear weights actually) that were in
the 16oz range a piece, yep 2 lbs of stainless steel hanging from the
lobes. Yes that is an extreme example, but goes to show that earring
weight is subjective to the wearer.

On a side note, but somewhat related. For those of you that wear, or
have clients that wear heavy earrings and have that tell tale
cheese slicer cut ear lobe, start using thicker posts, say in the
14 ga - 12 ga. range (If your hole can accomodate that). This does a
couple things, one, provides more surface area in the actual piercing
to support the earring, and two, with the larger surface area, it
distributes the load better. This will reduce or eliminate the
migration of those tiny ear wires thru the skin. Not to mention, it
opens up the door to some hella cool jewelry in the body piercing

Last day hustle till Indian Market,

The simple answer is up to 28 grams in most of the cases. We know it
from studying girandole designs.

However, the construction is more important then the weight. The
larger the surface area of the skin contact, the more tolerable the
weight. Another factor is the distance from the point of attachment
to the farthest point of the design. The larger the distance the
lighter the earring should be due to force magnification. The same
applies to the high designs versus flat designs. Sometimes weight can
appear less if friction is employed smartly.

I would never exceed 28 grams threshold, but staying within the
range does not guaranty the wearing comfort.

Leonid Surpin

I understand that this is totally subjective to the individual and
their sense of style vs. pain, but I’m looking for opinions to use >
as a guide. I don’t want to build something that will be torture > to

Unfortunately, it’s not just an issue of pain. Heavy earrings also
eventually cause the hole in the earlobe to become a slit that
progresses towards the bottom of the earlobe. I have a number of
customers who will wear only post style earrings that cover the slit
because they are self-conscious about it.

I use a personal evaluation. I wear them for a while, and judge how
much I feel them pulling on my earlobes, especially when turning my
head. If they are too heavy for me, again this is a personal
judgment, then they are too heavy to sell and I will turn them into
pendants or modify the design. If I were really organized, I would
weigh them and keep a record!

Ann Kinsinger

I have always had delicate earlobes and could only wear
feather-weight earrings. That changed when I found a clear patch
that attaches to the back of the earlobe and evenly distributes the
weight. There is no earring too heavy for me now. On the heaviest
pair I own, I use two patches overlapping slightly instead of just
one. The surface is textured, making it blend right in.

I sell these, not because it’s a big money-maker, but because it
made my life a lot more fun – and – it’s a selling aid for anyone
who can’t wear heavier earrings – you have the perfect way to
overcome an objection! Also, who doesn’t know a woman who has a torn
earlobe? These temporarily repair the earlobe and prevent further
damage. Women who are on the telephone alot know what I mean.

My best friend wears these every day because she has a hole that tore
completely through and the second hole she put next to it was about
to go. She had already switched to a telephone headset at work
because she figured out that holding the phone between the shoulder
and ear was doing the damage.

They have a little rack to hang the packages on, which is great for
shows. The contact info is on www.lobewonder.com if you are
interested. If you just want to purchase a package for yourself,
they can be found with a websearch on many novelty and beauty sites.
This might seem like a trivial subject for this site, but for a few
people it will be a lifesaver.


Hello Margaret,

Something to be aware of, too, is that the swing movement of a drop
earring will add to the sensation of weight, even for very light
weight earrings. Sometimes a heavier button or very short drop with
little or no movement might be tolerated more easily than a much
lighter, but longer dangler.


The most sensuous part of the body that a jewel maker can adorn with
his art is the female ear. I have never seen a woman who didn’t
positively glow in a stunning pair of beautiful earrings. When you
design earrings with a preoccupation for weight you restrict your
ability to reach the high emotion that a jewel can generate on the
ear of a beautiful woman. A pair of great earrings is very difficult
to create, in content each one is more costly then a matching ring.
In technique they can be anywhere from 3 to 10 times as difficult to
construct. Each side is a mirror image of the other and as the design
gets more dimensional and complex the difficulty grows exponentially.
The more ambitious the design structure the more weight you are going
to have and that forces you to solve the problem with functional
mechanisms. If you are attempting to change the alignment of the
earrings so that they frame the face instead of jutting out from the
ear at a 45-degree angle everything can get very complicate and even
heavier. The answer of course is that the hole in the ear is not
intended for hanging earrings from, it only function is to guarantee
that a valuable earring will not slide off of the ear and be lost.
Earrings are clamped to the ear by spring-loaded mechanisms.
Jewellers traditionally tailor these mechanisms for each design and
they can get quite involved. I created an exceptional pair of
earrings. The development pair took 6 months to make, the last pair
took 13 weeks, if I devoted one jeweller only to this work and
batched 3 pairs at a time maybe we could do them in half of the time.
But sourcing and matching perfect reds and greens is so difficult
that the opportunity seldom occurs, maybe once every two years.
They sell for about $70,000.00 a pair and weigh slightly over 20
grams apiece. They are the most comfortable earrings that I have ever
made and my collectors love them.

Dennis Smith - thejewelmaker

1 Like

Hello all.

I just had to get into this cause it concurs with me raiding eBay
for new earrings. I’ve got 4g in both ears, looking to insert some
10g further up. Now, I know that larger piercings are… shall we
say… ‘counterculture’, esp as one travels further from the West
coast… but… ‘too heavy’ is simply a norm. I know a lot of people
out there who’d shell out for fine earrings that the regular crowd
would poo-poo at because of the gauge and weight. They do right now,
actually, and they are getting some really dull looking metal shapes
for their buck! Anyway. There is no right and wrong, just proper
audiance focus :slight_smile:


There is no earring too heavy for me now. 

I’d say this is a “there is no answer thread”, but it’s interesting
to hear thoughts. One of the problems I have is that I have no holes
punched in my body - and it’s gonna stay that way. So making
earrings is a trial, sometimes, because I don’t have a feel for
them. I can put any ring on some finger to feel it, but not
earrings. It amazes me what some women will wear, weight wise. I’ve
made them up to an ounce each, and women say, “no problem”. If you
look at archives you’ll see these monster platinum earrings with 25
carats of diamonds and stuff - you know they weigh a ton. But many
women just don’t mind it, it seems.

The development pair took 6 months to make[snip] They sell for
about $70,000.00 a pair and weigh slightly over 20 grams apiece.
They are the most comfortable earrings that I have ever made and my
collectors love them. 

OK, where can we see these marvels? Can you post an image? I’m not
too good at earrings, myself… Too many restrictions.


When you design earrings with a preoccupation for weight you
restrict your ability to reach the high emotion that a jewel can
generate on the ear of a beautiful woman. 

This is a very strange statement. Weight restriction is an absolute
must in the earring design. In this thread the discussion of the
maximum weight should not be taken as a license to create overly heavy
earrings. When we talk of heavy earrings it is only excepted if large
stones are involved, but that is a very rare situation. On average,
even with elaborate designs weight should not exceed 7 maybe 10 gram.
Wearing comfort should never be compromised.

Another point is that to associate quality of design, artistry, and
evocativeness of the jewel with the weight ! What a strange logic !

Leonid Surpin

Some years ago, my middle daughter called, “Dad, can you fix my
ears?” She had eroded one pierce all the way through the lobe and the
other about half way. We did fix them with an interesting bit of
plastic surgery and I’ve noticed she has worn much smaller styles
since then!

They were TOOOO heavy.

Dr. Mac