Style

The Best Hypoallergenic Earrings For Sensitive Ears, According To Jewelry Designers

We only recommend products we love and that we think you will, too. We may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was written by our Commerce team.

For those with sensitive ears, shopping for earrings can be a tricky trial and error process. With so many cheap earrings made of mystery metals, it's no surprise that some cause your skin to feel irritated and itchy. To get to the bottom of it, I reached out to a few jewelry designers to hear more about what to look for and what to avoid while shopping for the best hypoallergenic earrings for sensitive ears.

According to Trisha Okubo, founder and creative director of the jewelry brand Maison Miru, “The most common metal allergy out there is nickel, so if you have sensitive ears, you should be looking for earrings made without any nickel. The tricky thing is that nickel can be present in many kinds of metals (including solid 14-karat and 18-karat gold) so you should look for earrings that specifically state that they are made without any nickel.”

Okubo continues, “All metals, including solid gold and sterling silver, are made of combinations of metals. Solid 14-karat gold, for example, is a minimum of 58.5% pure gold, with the remaining 41.5% an alloy of metals, including silver and copper. The alloyed metals make the gold stronger and more durable.”

One other tip you might not have thought of? Multiple jewelry designers shared that keeping your earrings clean is also key. According to Lauren Priori, a jewelry designer and owner of L. Priori, a Philadelphia-based jewelry store, “The most important thing is to keep your earrings clean! A lot of times people think they have allergies to metal, but their skin is really reacting to (a) buildup of oils and bacteria on their earrings.” To help, here’s a great guide on how to clean your jewelry.

Ultimately, the best hypoallergenic earrings for your sensitive ears will match your style and be made without any metals that your ears are sensitive to. All of the earrings on this list have earned nickel-free labels from their manufacturers and have been vetted by reviewers with sensitive ears who confirm they haven’t caused any irritation. I’ve pored over jewelry options, their materials, and read through reviews, and have gathered up the nickel-free and chic earrings below, in a range of styles, tones, and designs.

Editor’s note: Always be mindful of your skin’s specific sensitivities when shopping for anything that might trigger an allergic reaction. For more context on metals and which might be right (and wrong) for you, there’s a deep dive into some metals at the bottom of this article.

1. These Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel Studs That Come In A Set Of 6

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Material: Surgical-grade stainless steel

These everyday studs are made of surgical-grade stainless steel and designed without any nickel. When shopping for hypoallergenic stainless steel, “surgical-grade” is a great label to look for as it is considered hypoallergenic for most people (though it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily free of nickel unless otherwise stated). These studs are made with cubic zirconia in six different sizes, so you can pick the best pair depending on your outfit or the day. Thousands of Amazon reviewers, including many with ear sensitivities, have tried out these earrings and the reviews are glowing.

According to one reviewer: “This was a great buy for me! I have very sensitive ears and these earrings don’t bother them at all. I love the look of them and the multiple sizes.”

2. These Real Gold Drop Earrings That Are Nickel-Free

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Material: 18-karat gold-plated gold vermeil

These gorgeous drop earrings are a splurge, but they’re made of real gold — 18-karat gold-plated gold vermeil. And these are 100% nickel-free, so they won’t trigger nickel-related allergies or irritation. These chic hoop earrings have a studded design, and each earring features a delicate charm that is reminiscent of a sand dollar.

According to one reviewer: “I just love these! I usually can only wear real gold earrings, but these vermeil hoops are really well made and does not make my ears irritated. They’re comfy, dainty, great for everyday. People always compliment me when I have them on. Great purchase!”

3. These Flower Studs Plated With 14-Karat Gold

  • Specs: Nickel-free, lead-free, cadmium-free
  • Material: 14-karat gold-plated surgical-grade stainless steel

Designed without nickel, lead, or cadmium, these flower stud earrings come in three different hypoallergenic styles including the pale pink ones pictured here. These cubic zirconia studs are made in 14-karat gold-plated stainless steel that’s surgical-grade. Essentially? This is a nickel-free pair that many reviewers with sensitive ears love both for the style and for how comfortable they are for extended wear.

According to one reviewer: “My ears are super super sensitive, and thankfully my ears have not reacted to these earrings. Just purchased a new pair of earrings from the same brand, and I love them! Would recommend this brand in general to anyone with very sensitive [ears].”

4. These 14-Karat Gold-Plated Hoops With Rave Reviews

  • Specs: Nickel-free, lead-free
  • Material: 14-karat gold-plated sterling silver

These chic 14-karat gold-plated hoops are timeless, and are made without a trace of nickel or lead. They come in three different tones, including the gold pictured here, silver, and rose gold. With a 0.75-inch diameter, these hoops are a middle-of-the-road thickness that’s easy to pair with chunkier or more delicate jewelry. More than 6,000 Amazon shoppers given this pair a perfect five stars, many of them prone to ear irritation from jewelry. These also come with a 90-day no-questions-asked return policy, so you can feel safe trying out this pair.

According to one reviewer: “I like the thickness of these, yet they are so lightweight that I don't even know I'm wearing them. I can sleep with them in also. My ears are sensitive and break out easily. I've had no issues with wearing these earrings!”

5. These Hypoallergenic Sterling Silver Stud Earrings

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Materials: Sterling silver, plated with platinum (around the gems), and 14-karat gold posts

The design of these classic studs is a blend of metals including sterling silver, platinum, and 14-karat gold, each without any nickel in their alloys. Each Swarovski Zirconia gem is 1 carat in size, making this a great pair to pick up for simple sparkle you can wear with nearly any look. In fact, many reviewers who had given up on earrings altogether say that this pair worked well in their ears and didn’t cause any irritation.

According to one reviewer: “These earrings are really nice. I am very sensitive to earrings of questionable metals and these have not bothered me at all. I wear them all the time, even in the shower. No problems with the backs coming off either. They stay on with no issues.”

6. These Moon & Star Studs That Are Made Of Sterling Silver

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Material: 14-karat white gold-plated sterling silver

Many reviewers with sensitive ears and nickel allergies report that these cute moon and star stud earrings don’t irritate their skin at all. Designed in 14-karat white gold-plated sterling silver, these earrings are nickel-free and also come in a second style that has the letter “X” and “O” for each ear, made in the same material. You’ll get two pairs of these earrings with this purchase, so you can mix and match or wear them in a second hole if your ears are double pierced. And, these come with a no-reasons-asked return policy, making them easy to return if you find they’re not right for you.

According to one reviewer: “They’re really cute. I’ve been wearing one star with one moon. I have a nickel allergy and no issues at all with continuous wear for maybe [two] weeks. Super happy with this purchase.”

7. These Solid 14-Karat White Gold Drop Earrings

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Materials: 14-karat solid white gold and cubic zirconia gems

Designed with 0.5-carat cubic zirconia gems in each ear, these solid 14-karat gold drop earrings are nickel-free. If you’re looking for a larger style, this pair also comes in a 1-carat option, as well as in 14-karat yellow gold. These are pricier, but they’re worth it for anyone looking for a timeless, high-quality pair of earrings that won’t irritate sensitive ears.

According to one reviewer: “I haven't worn earrings for several years because the posts would bother me when I slept. The backs on these earrings was a game changer for me. I've worn them for a week with no issues. I also have very sensitive skin and have had no reaction to these earrings at all. Really pleased with this purchase.”

8. These Nickel-Free Rose Stud Earrings With Simulated Diamonds

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Materials: 18-karat gold-plated sterling silver

With simulated diamond gems in the center, these delicate rose earrings are made with 18-karat gold-plated sterling silver without any nickel in their alloys. In fact, plenty of Amazon reviewers with nickel allergies and sensitive skin wear these studs without issue. But, even if you should try them out and not love them, these come with a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can return them easily.

According to one reviewer: “These earrings are on the small side, but that's what I was looking for. They are comfortable and I have had no problems, since I am sensitive to nickel. I can see these being my go-to earrings. Subtle.”

9. A Pair Of Swarovski Crystal Hoops That Are Plated In 18-Karat White Gold

  • Specs: Nickel-free, lead-free
  • Materials: 18-karat white gold-plated brass with Swarovski crystal stones

For a bit of sparkle, these hoop earrings are made of 18-karat white gold-plated brass without nickel or lead, and feature genuine Swarovski crystals. These even come in three different tones, including rose gold and yellow gold. (One note: While these are made without nickel, be cautious if your ears are sensitive to copper or brass, as brass is actually an alloy made of copper and zinc and could trigger allergies if your skin is sensitive to those metals.) These have a 30-day money-back guarantee, so it’s a risk-free purchase you can feel good about trying out.

According to one reviewer: “They go above and beyond to make a great product and make sure their products are elegant and beautiful! I am very sensitive and allergic and these are the only earrings I have found that I can wear without my ears blowing up like a balloon. I have four pairs now and cannot wait to order more. Much more affordable the then all my others and this brand is by far my favorite!”

10. These Hypoallergenic 14-Karat Gold Hoops That Come In 12 Sizes

  • Specs: Nickel-free, lead-free
  • Material: Solid 14-karat white gold

You can choose from one of 12 different sizes when opting for these solid 14-karat white gold hoops that are nickel- and lead-free. Linked here is their 35-millimeter (1.4-inch) style, but you can find pairs between 0.4 and 2 inches in diameter. These hoops also come in rose and yellow gold, if that’s more to your style. They are a pricey pair to be sure, but the high-quality materials mean these will last you a lifetime. And best of all for anyone with sensitivities, these come with a 30-day money-back guarantee should you invest in them and not love them.

According to one reviewer: “I ordered these for my daughter because she has a second set of ear piercings she was not utilizing and she is sensitive to cheaper metal earrings. These are the perfect size to wear continually without irritation and to keep the holes open.”

11. An Opal Stud In 14-Karat Gold-Plated Stainless Steel

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Materials: 14-karat gold-plated stainless steel with opal gems

These opal gem studs will catch the light when you wear them, and are designed with a 14-karat gold-plated stainless steel. While the stainless steel in these studs isn’t specified to be surgical-grade, it is nickel-free, so it should still be a safe pair for anyone with nickel allergies. One reviewer goes as far to write, “Five stars for sensitive ears,” and many who struggle to find earrings that won’t trigger allergies report that these haven’t irritated their sensitive skin.

According to one reviewer: “I have extremely sensitive ears. I can only wear stainless steel or surgical grade steel earrings. I used to be able to wear the nickel free and other options for “sensitive” ears. Those options now make my ear lobes swell and bleed. Not this pair though. I’ve worn them for a year straight.... only taking them out to clean and put back in. They haven’t aggravated my ears, have stayed true to their original color and shape, and are overall great.”

12. A Pair Of Gemstone Earrings That’s Completely Nickel-Free

  • Specs: Nickel-free, lead-free
  • Materials: Solid 14-karat gold with blue sapphires

These sapphire earrings would make a fantastic gift (or a gift for yourself!), and are available in one of 18 gemstones to match any style. The price tag matches the quality, as these earrings are made of solid 14-karat yellow gold (you can also opt for white gold), and feature stunning sapphires at a total weight of 0.70 carats. Best yet, these are nickel- and lead-free, making them great for sensitive ears.

According to one reviewer: “If you have sensitive ears - these are for you. My daughter has a strong nickel allergy which is often found in white gold. These were fine.”

13. A Triangular Dagger Stud Designed With Black Onyx Stones

  • Specs: Nickel-free
  • Materials: 14-karat gold-plated stainless steel with black onyx stones

If black is your color, these black onyx dagger studs are a great pick that are made without nickel. Like the pair above from the same designer, these are made with 14-karat gold-plated stainless steel that, while not surgical-grade, is nickel-free according to the manufacturer. In fact one allergy-prone reviewer writes that “after multiple failed attempts to try different non-allergenic brands, I just gave up trying altogether,” only to find these earrings.

According to one reviewer: “I love these earrings. I have very sensitive ears and cannot wear anything but yellow gold. They aren't too large or too small, they reach just about the bottom of my lobe. The earring backs are a little larger than I'm used to, but overall they are comfortable to wear, and even comfortable to sleep in.”

14. These Nickel-Free Pearl Drop Earrings

  • Specs: Nickel-free, lead-free
  • Materials: Rhodium-plated sterling silver with freshwater cultured pearls

For pearl lovers, these drop earrings feature freshwater cultured pearls and come in five different millimeter sizes as well as a yellow gold tone. These are rhodium-plated sterling silver (rhodium is actually hypoallergenic in and of itself), and are made without nickel or lead in the sterling silver alloy. In fact, reviewers with ear sensitivities have worn these earrings for days and weeks at a time without irritation. But you can purchase these without hesitation, knowing that they come with a 90-day no-questions-asked return policy.

According to one reviewer: “These are great earrings. I am allergic to nickel so I can't wear certain types of earrings due to the metal content. These are perfect earrings. I have no issues wearing them and they are great for casual or dressy days. Would totally recommend them.”

15. Hypoallergenic Studs With Beautiful Rainbow Quartz

  • Specs: Nickel-free, lead-free
  • Materials: 18-karat white gold-plated environmental brass with rainbow quartz

These rainbow quartz studs come in four different millimeter widths, as well as as a square style and a pair of drop earrings. The metal featured in this design is 18-karat white gold-plated environmental brass that’s nickel- and lead-free. One note: For anyone with sensitivities to brass, these might not be the best pair for you.

According to one reviewer: “I have EXTREMELY sensitive skin and can barely wear earrings but these are perfect. I've had them in for over a week without taking them out and my ears aren't irritated or a different color.”

The Best Metals For Hypoallergenic Earrings:

  • Stainless Steel is one of the most affordable options, and is often the base underneath which hypoallergenic earrings are plated with other metals, like 14-karat gold. As you shop for stainless steel jewelry, keep your eyes out for “surgical-grade” or “nickel-free” labels, which means it’s less likely to cause irritation. Note: While surgical-grade stainless steel can contain traces of nickel, it is considered hypoallergenic for the majority of people.
  • Sterling Silver is a metal alloy, made of a combination of 92.5% silver and 7.5% alloy, most often copper and zinc. Sterling silver can be hypoallergenic, however be wary as many manufacturers include nickel as part of the alloy. If you opt for sterling silver, ensure you find a pair that is nickel-free.
  • Gold can be a great hypoallergenic option, but it’s important to pay attention to the specifics, as gold jewelry will be designed with a number of karats out of 24. For 14-karat or 18-karat gold, that jewelry will have 10 or 6 parts of other metals, respectively, to complete the design. Since those parts can have nickel in them, look for nickel-free gold earrings to ensure they’re less likely to irritate sensitive ears.
  • Platinum is hypoallergenic and also tends to last longer without tarnishing when compared to many other metals like silver, for example. While it can be hard to find 100% platinum earrings, platinum-plated earrings that are made without nickel should be safe for most sensitive ears (so long as the plating remains in tact, or the design is completely nickel-free).
  • Brass metals are usually made out of an alloy of copper and zinc, which is often nickel-free, but can still provoke allergic reactions if you’re sensitive to copper or zinc.
  • Rhodium is hypoallergenic, and when earrings are plated with rhodium, they’ll likely be safe for sensitive ears so long as the plating remains on the design. For extra safety, look for rhodium-plated earrings made with completely nickel-free materials.

Experts:

  • Trisha Okubo, founder and creative director of the jewelry brand Maison Miru
  • Lauren Priori, a jewelry designer and owner of L. Priori, a Philadelphia-based jewelry store