By Louise McClure for Fire Mountain Gems and Beads
Can an earring's style enhance my features? Which style earring is best for me? Where do I begin the design process?
These are common questions jewelry designers ask themselves. The best starting point is to determine your, or your customer's, face shape. Is it oval, round, oblong, square, heart-shaped, triangular or diamond-shaped? Once you determine a face shape, explore the style best suited for it.
There are three basic types of earrings designers start from--linear, chandelier and hoop--plus non-earring types of ear jewelry such as the cuff or ear frame (kaffa). Each of these styles can accentuate and enhance the features, and also balance areas to downplay. For example--as with clothing--vertical lines in earring styles will draw the eye upwards and visually elongate features. Horizontal lines will draw the eye from side to side and accent the width of the face.
Face Shapes and Earring Styles
The crucial part of designing for face shapes is to ensure that the earrings are proportional to the size of the face. No matter its shape, a small face will become overwhelmed by oversized earrings, even in the recommended style.
Also remember that face shapes apply to both men and women--although men have the ability to use facial hair styles to alter the perceived shape of their faces. A man with a pear-shaped or triangular face should probably remain clean-shaven and--if he wants to wear ear jewelry--an ear cuff or helix piercing would be a better option than anything on the lobe.
Best Earrings for an Oval Face: Hoops in circles, triangles and ovals as well as teardrops and chandeliers enhance an oval face.
Best Earrings for a Round Face: Vertical lines of elongated, linear, drop-style and narrow chandelier earrings will add height and provide an overall slimming effect for your face, emphasizing vertical lines.
Best Earrings for an Oblong (or Rectangular) Face: Large, bold styles--especially eye-catching post-style (aka "button") earrings--and short, wide chandeliers with movement, color and drama will add width to the face and camouflage its length.
Best Earrings for a Square Face: Round contours of hoops, long teardrops and long, narrow chandelier earrings will visually soften the edges of a square face while adding visual height.
Best Earrings for a Heart-Shaped Face: Horizontal lines of hoops, teardrop-shaped linear forms and chandeliers that are wider at the bottom than the top will add width to your face and soften the effects of a pointed chin.
Best Earrings for a Pear-Shaped (or Triangular) Face: The ideal face for earcuffs and other ear jewelry styles that perch above the lobe, to counter the jawline width of this face. Button earrings and other styles which arc upward.
Best Earrings for a Diamond-Shaped (or Quadrangular) Face: Soften this angular face with circular hoops or oval earrings, teardrops or chandeliers; avoid shoulder-duster styles as they can make this face shape appear too long.