14 Hypoallergenic Earrings For Sensitive Ears, According To Jewelry Designers

All the style, none of the irritation.

Originally Published: 
Close-up of young caucasian woman looking seductively into camera, covering half of face. Blue-eyed ...
We may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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, Bustle 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, which’ll match your style and avoid metals that your ears are sensitive to.

The Experts

Trisha Okubo is the founder and creative director of the jewelry brand Maison Miru. As a Stanford engineer, she creates sculpture-inspired jewelry designs that are both functional and fashionable.

Lauren Priori is a jewelry designer and the owner of L. Priori, a Philadelphia-based jewelry store specializing in custom engagement rings, heirloom redesign, and fine jewelry. She graduated from the Gemological Institute of America and has previously worked in sales at Tiffany & Co., at a diamond auction house, and on Jeweler’s Row.

What To Look For When Shopping for Hypoallergenic Earrings

Avoid Nickel

According to Okubo, “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.”

Instead, seek hypoallergenic earrings like those made of titanium, surgical-grade stainless steel, and solid gold that are specifically listed as nickel-free, per Okubo’s advice. Some of the earrings are free of other potentially irritating metals too, like lead and cadmium, which I’ve noted.

Keep Your Jewelry Clean

One other tip you might not have thought of? Multiple jewelry designers shared that keeping your earrings clean is also key. According to Priori, “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.

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 best hypoallergenic earrings for sensitive ears, below.

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.


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

These best-selling hypoallergenic stud earrings are made of surgical-grade stainless steel and designed without any nickel. 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.”

Colors: 5 | Material: Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel, Cubic Zirconia | Free From: Nickel


These Flower Studs Plated With 14-Karat Gold

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. Many reviewers with sensitive ears love these both for the style and for how comfortable they are for extended wear.

According to one reviewer: “Super adorable, looks high quality, and they don't bother my ears at all like most other earrings do. Non-irritating, Perfect for skin sensitivities”

Colors: 3 | Material: 14-Karat Gold-Plated Surgical-Grade Stainless Steel, Cubic Zirconia | Free From: Nickel, Lead, Cadmium


These 14-Karat Gold-Plated Hoops With Rave Reviews

Made of sterling silver and plated in 14-karat gold, these chic 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 13,000 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 have been wearing these nearly every day for over a year now and I love them. [...] Also, my ears can get sensitive at times to certain metals, even with silver or gold plated, but I have experienced no irritation with these.”

Colors: 6 | Material: 14-Karat Gold-Plated Sterling Silver | Free From: Nickel, Lead


These Hypoallergenic Sterling Silver Stud Earrings

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. In fact, many reviewers who had given up on earrings altogether report that this pair worked well in their ears and didn’t cause any irritation. Choose from eight carat sizes, ranging from understated 1 carat to blingy 8 carats, in three different metal colors.

According to one reviewer: “I am extremely sensitive to anything not gold, and even some sterling silver. Not only are these earrings absolutely stunning, but they are so comfortable that I don't even know I have earrings in!”

Colors: 3 | Material: Platinum-Plated Sterling Silver, 14-Garat Gold, Cubic Zirconia | Free From: Nickel


These Investment-Worthy Drop Earrings Made Of Solid 14-Karat Gold

Designed with your choice of 0.5-, 1-, 1.5, or 2-carat cubic zirconia gems in each ear, these solid 14-karat gold drop earrings are nickel-free. You also have the option of white, yellow, or rose gold settings, either in a princess cut or a round cut. 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: “Not only are they beautiful and very realistic, for someone with very sensitive ears I have them in 24/7 with absolutely no discomfort, I don’t even know they are on.”

Styles/Colors: 3 | Material: 14-Karat Solid Gold, Cubic Zirconia | Free From: Nickel


These Gold-Plated Sterling Silver Stud Earrings That Look So Expensive

Many reviewers with sensitive ears and nickel allergies report that these chic stud earrings don’t irritate your skin — and many more are floored by how expensive they look, despite the under-$15 price tag. Made of 14-karat gold-plated sterling silver and free of nickel, they’re embellished with a cubic zirconia-studded halo design that provides just the right amount of sparkle for special occasions, but they’re still understated enough for daily wear (and they’re comfortable enough to sleep in).

According to one reviewer: “So glad I made this purchase. My ears are super sensitive to all the metals I have tried, I usually would get a bad infection along with a headache whenever I attempted to wear anything other than gold. These earring are awesome!! I forget I have them on and they look so pretty.”

Colors: 3 | Material: 14-Karat Gold-Plated Sterling Silver, Cubiz Zirconia | Free From: Nickel


These Gorgeous Hoop Earrings Made Of Real Gold

These gorgeous drop earrings are a splurge, but they’re made of real, 18-karat gold-plated gold vermeil — and they’re 100% nickel-free, so they won’t trigger nickel-related allergies or irritation. These chic drop hoop earrings features a delicate yet eye-catching stud reminiscent of an ancient coin. These have all the makings of an heirloom-worthy piece.

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!”

Colors: 1 | Material: 18-Karat Gold-Plated Gold Vermeil | Free From: Nickel


These Rose Stud Earrings With Simulated Diamonds

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 are lovely earring, and comfortable to wear. My ears are very sensitive and easily irritated. These earrings work well for me. Highly recommend, beautiful product at an affordable price.”

Colors: 3 | Material: 18-Karat Gold-Plated Sterling Silver, Cubic Zirconia | Free From: Nickel


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

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: “These are the most adorable earrings! I also have very sensitive ears. And they do not bother me at all. I also sleep in them. I would definitely recommend them!”

Colors: 3 | Material: 18-Karat White Gold-Plated Brass, Crystal | Free From: Nickel, Lead


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

You can choose from one of 12 different sizes when opting for these solid 14-karat rose 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 white 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: “This is a quality gold product for the money! And I'm very picky about quality when it comes buying gold products on Amazon...because I'm allergic to all other metals but gold. This seller's products are the best gold ones I've bought so far between Ebay and Amazon. I liked them so much I'm a repeat customer!”

Colors: 4 | Material: Solid 14-Karat Gold | Free From: Nickel, Lead


A Pair Of Gemstone Earrings That Would Make The Perfect Gift

These sapphire birthstone earrings would make a fantastic gift (or a gift for yourself!), and are available in one of 20 gemstones to match any style or birth month. 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: “I bought these earrings for my girlfriend, who has very sensitive ears and is allergic to most earrings. She's been wearing them daily for a few weeks and so far she has not had a negative reaction. They're very pretty as well.”

Colors: 20 | Material: Solid 14-Karat Gold, Sapphire | Free From: Nickel, Lead


A Triangular Dagger Stud Designed 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 wrote 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 am allergic to most earrings, but these did not bother me. The design is really lovely, and so far the earrings have held up well.”

Colors: 2 | Material: 14-Karat Gold-Plated Stainless Steel | Free From: Nickel


These Elegant Pearl Drop Earrings Made Of Hypoallergenic Sterling Silver

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 made of rhodium-plated hypoallergenic sterling silver (rhodium is actually hypoallergenic in and of itself); and although the listing doesn’t specify whether they’re free of nickel, many Amazon shoppers 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: “I love these earrings. I was looking for something simple but cut and well made. I’m normally sensitive to novelty or cheap metal but I can wear these without any sensitivity.”

Colors: 2 | Material: Rhodium-Plated Sterling Silver, Freshwater Cultured Pearls


A Pair Of Hypoallergenic Studs With Beautiful Rainbow Quartz

These magical-looking rainbow quartz studs come in a few different millimeter widths and shapes. 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: “Love these earrings! Every time I wear them I get so many compliments. They are very durable and do not look cheap or feel cheap. I also have very sensitive ears and I usually can’t wear a lot of earrings but these haven’t given me any issues.”

Colors: 7 | Material: 18-Karat White Gold-Plated Brass, Rainbow Quartz | Free from: Nickel, Lead


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

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.

This article was originally published on