Pearl Earrings for Sensitive Ears & A Jewelry Keeper for Travel

I am earring challenged! Over the last few years I’ve rarely worn earrings, despite really loving them. The problem has been two-fold: 1. Over the years my ears have become super sensitive to earrings that aren’t 14K gold and 2. I am forever losing earrings, usually just one. Maybe I should just start wearing all my orphaned earrings together…start a new trend! lol

I’ve been hoping to add a pair of pearl earrings to my meager earring collection for some time, but I’ve been putting it off since I didn’t feel like dealing with the same old issue of having my ears irritated each time I wore them.

I’ve found a way to sorta compensate for that issue and it works pretty well. Whenever I wear fashion/costume jewelry earrings where the posts are not 14K gold, I dip the posts into a little dot of Neosporin to coat the posts prior to putting them in my ears. When I take my earrings out at the end of the day, my ears aren’t irritated or sore. But that gets old having to do that every time, so I tend to get lazy and just not wear earrings at all.

Since I know I’m not the only person with this problem, it dawned on me recently that there are probably some reasonably priced earrings available with at least 14K posts. I did a bit of searching and found pearl earrings with 14K posts. The first pair I ordered had great reviews and were a great price, but I was disappointed when they arrived.

They were fresh water pearls, and though I had expected some variance, they weren’t even remotely round. Instead, they were squatty-looking, kinda like an Advil-shape. They even had a completely flat, square spot right in the top center of each pearl. So bizarre looking! They were called “button” pearls and maybe that’s how button pearls are supposed to look, but it wasn’t what I had in mind, so I returned them.

At that point I started reading a bit more about pearls online. I saw that some of the higher-end jewelry stores online were singing the praises of “Akoya” pearls. Knowing almost nothing about pearls I had never heard of those, but I decided to shop for them since they sounded more like what I had in mind. I wasn’t going for expensive Mikimoto pearls, just wanted attractive pearl earrings that were real.

I found some for a much better price than what I was seeing in the online jewelry stores, After reading the reviews, which were very good, I decided to give them a try. Instead of a freshwater pearl, Akoya pearls are “cultured” pearls.


When they arrived, they were really pretty and just what I had wanted. (The pearls I purchased are available here: Pearl Earrings with 14K Posts.)

I purchased the 7.0-7.5 size after learning during my research phase that this was typically a good size for most ears. When I put them on, I noticed they had the same typical metal backs that so many of the earrings I’ve lost in the past have had. When wearing them, they also had a very slight tendency to lean downward due to the weight of the pearl.

After a bit more research, I purchased these earring backs below and they are perfect! They feel really secure, are super comfortable to wear and they keep each pearl earring positioned perfectly on my ear so that they don’t tilt downward at all. Love them! Since they feel so secure when I push them onto the post of my earrings, I’m hoping I won’t lose one. I’ve been wearing them every day since they arrived and so far they feel nice and secure.

There were so many backs included in my order, if I notice one starting to loosen up down the road, I’ll just toss it and get out a new one. That may not happen, but I’m glad I have more if needed. (These backs are available here: Safety Backs)

Just wanted to share these earrings (and backs) with you in case you’ve been looking to purchase reasonably priced pearl earrings and also need 14K gold posts to avoid irritation.


A Travel Case for Your Jewelry

Just before I left for the Germany Christmas Markets trip on December 20th, I saw this travel case on the Tiffany & Co. website. I had seen one just like it on eBay many months ago, but it had a small stain inside and was priced almost as high as a brand new one. Unfortunately, Tiffany no longer had the case in stock.

As Christmas neared this year, I saw the case featured on an Instagram account I follow. Unfortunately, it was again sold out, so I called my Sales Associate to see if she saw any in stock in one of their stores. She found one in the Tiffany & Co. Hawaii store and had it shipped to my home. It was a nice surprise when I arrived back home sick with what turned out to be Influenza A and bronchitis. If you need a great associate to help with your purchases at Tiffany, ask for Regan in the Atlanta Phipps location. She’s excellent.

I know Tiffany can be on the expensive side, so I was surprised to see how reasonably priced this travel case was: it’s about the same price as a nice leather handbag. When you consider it’s made in Italy from buttery-smooth Italian leather, and consider all the work that went into making all the different levels and components, I’m surprised it’s isn’t priced much higher.

The workmanship is impeccable, every stitch is perfect and the leather is gorgeous! Tiffany never disappoints, always exceeds my expectations. I expect to carry this piece on my travels for many, many years and hopefully pass it down to another family member one day. You’ll find all their small jewelry travel cases here: Jewelry Travel Cases.

I placed a few pieces of jewelry in the case so you could get an idea what fits. See the pearl necklace with the anchor and ribbon closure on the left side of the photo?

Tiffany & Co Leather Jewelry Case, Perfect for Travel


That’s the necklace I was wearing when I visited The Christmas Story movie house in Cleveland, Ohio. (Read that post here: Tour the house in the movie, A Christmas Story.) Someone actually spotted that necklace and mentioned it in the comments, I was amazed! The necklace is still available here: Pearl Necklace with Anchor Closure and the matching bracelet is here: Pearl Bracelet.

Under the sink in A Christmas Story House


The lower section, which can be removed entirely if needed, is the perfect size to hold a couple of Hermes Clic H bracelets. I wear one almost every day and always take a couple with me when I travel, so I was thrilled to see they fit. The bottom compartments are unfortunately a tad too small for an Hermes 65 enamel printed bangle, but most other bracelets fits nicely.

Tiffany & Co. Travel Jewelry Box-Case


Across the top you’ll see three pairs of earrings. The pearl earrings with Elk antlers on the far left are available here: Antler Pearl Earrings. I purchased those to wear during the Christmas season. 🙂 They were inexpensive so I used Neosporin on the posts when I wore them during Christmas to avoid any problems.

The butterfly earrings are Swarovski and I’m not sure if they would irritate my ears or not since I’ve been using Neosporin on the hoops before I wear them. They also come in a stunning blue color and a beautiful purple. I purchased a pair of the blue ones, too. I also gave them as gifts this past Christmas. They are available here: Butterfly Earrings.

The earrings on the far right are the Akoya pearl earrings with 14K post that I just purchased recently. They are so pretty in person, so lustrous! They are available here: Pearl Earrings.

Pearl Earrings with Antlers, Swarovsky Butterfly Earrings & Akoya Peark Earrings with 14K Post


Hope this post is helpful if you struggle to find earrings that don’t irritate your ears. I’ll be looking for more 14K Post earrings in the future now that I know those work in my ears with no problems.

*If a post is sponsored or a product was provided at no charge, it will be stated in post. Some links may be affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. *

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  1. Did you ever try coating the posts with clear nail polish? That’s supposed to stop any irritation. I’m the last female in the Western World who never had her ears pierced. Up until a couple years ago I had an asymmetrical haircut and only wore one earring. Now I don’t and believe me, it’s not easy finding clip-ons. I used to be able to buy broken pairs cheaply at stores by asking. The stores were glad to get rid of the orphans. The jewelry case is beautiful and I am really eying the anchor pearl necklace.

    • I don’t have pierced ears, either; just never wanted to jump on the bandwagon.

    • I hadn’t thought of that. I wonder if it will stay on the posts or if it will wear off. I think it’s the nickel that cause issues.
      I was late in getting my pierced. My friends all got theirs pierced in highschool, I was in college before I finally got around to it. The clip-ons were so painful, I couldn’t wear them.
      That’s pretty awesome about your asymmetrical haircut…not point in buying a pair when you didn’t need two. 🙂

  2. Cyndi Raines says

    I LOVE pearls. Great look, always classy. Happy you found some that don’t irritate your ears. I have lots of earrings, but now that I am retired, I find I am just switching between 3 pairs (guess I’m getting lazy): a good costume pair of small gold hoops for every day, and then either my pearls or my gold/silver twisted hoops for good. Love that jewelry case, very pretty.

  3. Oh Susan, you know how much I love Tiffany Blue after featuring my Breakfast at Tiffany’s favorite things party! Following your blog always has me seeing things I “need”! In this case, I have a perfectly fine Scottie dog printed case similarly designed, but oh boy I love the color of yours!

    • Debbee, if you love/want it, don’t wait too long. I know they are going to sell out again. I don’t know why Tiffany doesn’t just keep them in stock full time. I don’t know what it is about that color, but I do love it, too!

  4. I am so glad you brought up Mikimoto pearls, and I should have thought of you in the first place, since you are always so knowledgeable about luxury goods.

    What exactly is the big deal about Mikimoto pearls? They’re cultured, aren’t they? Why are theirs any better than anyone else’s?

  5. Anne Shaheen says

    Thank you Susan for all the research you do to benefit your followers.Ordered the backing immediately. I too use Neosporin on posts as even expensive posts can irritate from the weight on the earlobes.

    • Thanks, Anne! I like those backs especially because they don’t have metal in the center. I’ve tried to wear the kind with metal in the very center before and the metal caused issues from touching my ear around the post. These so far haven’t caused any issues at all and they don’t have any metal parts built into them.

  6. I had a “piercing” (lol) problem and no longer have pierced ears. I wish more companies would make really nice clip earrings. My husband was able to find me a 14 k pair at a jewelry store several years ago.

    • I have a pair that belonged to my Mom that I tried to wear once, and I thought I was going to die. They were so painful! Hopefully they aren’t all like that.

  7. My husband gifted me with Mikimoto pearls and they are my most treasured jewelry next to my wedding rings. I have a bracelet, necklace and earrings. They just shimmer and are perfect to wear with anything. I never fail to get a compliment when I wear them. Pearls need to be worn and improve with age. This is classic jewelry that will become an heirloom.

  8. I love pearls of any kind. Southern girls and pearls go together like peanut butter and jelly.
    I never take jewelry when I am traveling, one less thing to worry with. I usually wear a nice pair of earrings, my watch and a silver bracelet I never take off, plus a ring or two. Only what I want to wear each day. I have had things stolen before and I am not willing to risk it again.
    Be very careful what jewelry you take when traveling. You might not have it on your return trip.

    • I wouldn’t take a lot of jewelry on a trip overseas, but I do take it when I travel to see family or friends. I used this case when I was visiting family for a week in January. There are some places I would trust to take it, though…like Mahali Mzuri in Kenya. I wouldn’t worry about anything there, or at Ballynahinch in Ireland.

  9. When I was in highschool, the piercing trend started. My dad said at the dinner table: “If you pierce your ears, might as well put one in your nose”, and he laughed, but we 3 girls got the message. I got my ears pierced in college, by my roomate, using the ice, cork, needle with a thread and alcohol – not to drink away the pain, but to clean my earlobe and the needle 🙂 It was the late 60s, and what a relief! No more headaches from those instruments of torture, the screw on and the clip back earring. I had no problems, wore 14k studs, which I turned constantly and took out 1x daily to clean pierced ear and the earring backs with alcohol. I did not ask my parents’ permission tho a soph. in college, I was nervous to go home that Thanksgiving. My mother asked lots of questions, thought it was great and got hers pierced a few months later. Little sis went to a very reputable jewelry store and they used a gun to shoot hers in. (She had infections, they refunded her) I too noticed that when I wore 14kgold, no problem. If I wore sterling backs 3 days in a row, my earlobes sort of ached, so I’d wear gold for the next couple days to remedy. If I wore the funky earring from the then funky Pier 1, my ears would react. We all heard(still in college) to paint the cheapo earring backs w clear nail polish. It worked and I even painted the back of the earrings that layed against my ear. I too LOVE PEARLS! I have found some lovely cultured pearl earrings at estate sales.

    • That is too cute about your Mom, that she joined in. I’m so glad I did it when I did. Your dad sounds like my dad growing up, although I don’t think he even noticed that I got my ears pierced. Mine were done in one of the jewelry stores where they use a gun, too. I didn’t have any problems with infection though…thank goodness. I know two people who have gotten their nose pierced and both regretted it because when they needed to remove the earring for professional/career reasons, it left a permanent, fairly large hole/divot in their nose that will not close up. One even looked into having a surgery to have it closed, but it was pretty involved.

  10. Dawne Marie says

    That is a very pretty travel case! Always photo jewelry before your trip.
    I also love pearls. I have several pieces. The latest is a single baroque necklace. I like to layer the pieces also. You can’t pile on too many strands!

  11. I have an Art Deco necklace & earrings that were a gift from my dad to my mom but they were screw on type. I took them to a jeweler & had them made for pierced ears,maybe you could do that with your moms.

  12. I am an antique and vintage jewelry dealer and many of my customers have complained about painful clip back costume jewelry earrings. I always recommend silicone earring cushions for clip on earrings. They really do make wearing clip on earrings comfortable. There are many sizes available on amazon.

  13. Hey Susan, I have the problem with nickel studs in my ears causing irritation. If I buy stainless steel, silver, or gold backs my ears are fine. You should give the nail polish recommendation a try. Love your new pearl earrings.

    • Vicky, it’s not just the backs, it’s the post too. I’ve been eyeing some silver earrings at Tiffany and I’m wondering if they will bother my ears. They are sterling silver, do you think the post will bother my ears? I have several of their bracelets but I’ve never bought there earrings.

    • I wonder why all the earring manufacturers don’t use stainless steel posts if those will work. That would solve everything and no one sees the posts so it wouldn’t matter if they were stainless steel.

  14. Classic pearls go with everything and I love them. I’ve used the Neosporin trick for years on any of my earrings that aren’t 14k gold. You are right, although it works, sometimes it isn’t convenient to treat the posts every time I put on earrings. Love the Tiffany jewel case.

  15. Pearl earrings are my favorite, and I have a pair in about every color they come in! I have found great earrings at Macy’s, Sundance, and Overstock! Also must stick to gold or platinum, and can do just nickel free for a few times in a row, then take a break. I was also surprised to see so many great earrings at local boutiques, not just fashion jewelry! Love the jewelry box too. Thanks for the fun post!

  16. I love your posts about luxury clothing and accessories. Should you ever be so inclined, I would be very interested in hearing more about the blogs, Instagram accounts, and YouTube channels you follow/subscribe to in this category.

    • Thanks, Lodi! My favorite products all seem to come from either Hermes, Tiffany or Burberry, primarily Hermes and Tiffany, so I love viewing Instagram accounts where those are the primary focus when it comes to high-end fashion/handbags/shoes, etc… There are so many great accounts with serious eye candy from all those brands. I’ll email you a list of some that I check on during the week. I don’t check them everyday, just when I happen to think about it.

      I don’t follow any luxury blogs, but I think some of the YouTubers I follow may have blogs…just not sure.
      On YouTube, I enjoy Emma Anders. I also like Just Jennifer…she just purchased two bags from Hermes so I really enjoyed those videos and hearing the “stories” that went with purchasing the bags. Jennifer also likes Louis Vuitton. I’ve never really gotten into LV products so I tend to skip those videos.
      Lena Larsson is an attorney who is into fashion from a lot of luxury houses. Three more that I don’t currently follow on YouTube because they mostly post about LV and Chanel are LVloverCC, Luxe Mom and Minks4All. Those three all have a great following. All these folks are on Instagram, too.
      One quick way to find folks on Instagram who post about fashion is to type into the search box a hashtag like #hermes or #louisvuitton etc… and you’ll often find Instagramers who are into that brand and who are posting photos of their latest shopping finds. What luxury brands do you most enjoy?
      Most of the ones I follow on Instagram post about Hermes or Tiffany since those are my faves.
      Oh, one Instagramer I do follow is bb10lue. She posts a lot of Hermes and Tiffany, I think it was her account where I first saw the travel jewelry case and knew that Tiffany was stocking it again, though it was sold out online. If you like Hermes and Tiffany, check out her Instagram page.

      • Wow, Susan! Thanks so much. You’ve given me a veritable treasure trove of information here. Love that you’ve given me search tips too. I don’t own any luxury brands (yet), but I love Hermes handbags and scarves in particular. (I learned about the scarves on your blog.) I got to browse the Hermes store in Cannes a few years ago. So far, I haven’t been able to bring myself to pay the prices that are charged when one buys directly from Hermes. I do look at Ebay from time to time for Hermes, but I’m always worried about getting a counterfeit there. One day, I will treat myself to a really nice handbag or scarf from Hermes, or maybe a wristwatch. I could also use a nice briefcase, but I want something that looks feminine.
        I also like some Coach products. I will say I dislike any clothing with obvious logos, and I also like handbags that are very structured. That rules out most LV and Gucci, I find. Thanks again for this helpful information, for being willing to email me with a list of ideas, and for all you do on the blog! 🙂

        • Yeah, I don’t trust 99% of the Hermes you see on eBay. I’ve seen sooo many fake Clic H bracelets on there, they are all over eBay! You can spot them pretty easily because the space between the H and where the band starts is much wider than it is on a real Hermes Clic H bracelet. Also, the enamel is usually very flat looking on the fake bracelets, where the enamel is created separately and then inserted into a real Hermes Clic H, so the enamel is more rounded and just looks nicer.
          So if there are that many fake bracelets on there, that tells me there are probably a ton of other fake Hermes products on there, as well. I wish eBay would ban all the sellers who are selling the fakes.
          Often the prices on eBay are actually close to or even more than what they are in the Hermes stores. I’ve never understood why someone would pay the same price or more, when they could buy it straight from Hermes, unless of course they are looking for a specific color that has been discontinued.
          If you shop on eBay for anything from a designer brand, I would stick with the listings where the seller still has the original receipt and has tons of excellent feedback. But it’s really better to buy straight from Hermes online or from one of their boutiques for true peace of mind.

          • I noticed the pricing issue you pointed out on Ebay too!! While I do take your point about buying something there that is no longer available anywhere, I would only buy a designer item from Ebay if I could do so at a pretty significant discount. Ah well, I’m off to browse the sites you’ve given me! Have a great weekend.

  17. While I normally wear sterling silver posts unless I am wearing my real pearl earrings for a very short while due to I also have a nickel allergy and cannot wear costume jewelry anything for any extended period of time ( less than one day). I happened to find pretty costume earrings at Dress Barn of all places that are nickel free and are either silver or gold settings.

  18. All I have to say is…oh that blue!

  19. I loooove Akoyas. I have numerous pieces of good jewelry, including earrings, with these pearls.

  20. Laurie Wetsel says


    I have the same issue with earrings in that I will have an allergic reaction to some metals. I figured out I am allergic to nickel. I can slip on a plastic protector for most of my earrings however several earrings are now offered nickel free. The best pearl earrings I have found that do not break me out are the Honora sets offered on QVC. They come in sets of four with multiple colors of pearls and they have a back that holds them upright so they do not droop. They are beautiful, 8mm, and are reasonably priced for about $30 for a set of four colors! Never have I had any issues with them despite wearing them daily. Give them a try! They can always be returned within 30 days if they don’t work out. Hope they work for you too!

    • I wonder if they used 14K on their posts, too. Thanks for that info, Laurie!

    • I love my Honora pearls from QVC! I have purchased earrings, necklaces and bracelets and they are not only beautiful but the value is good too! They have many varieties in pearl sizes and metals. (No, I do not work there, just a customer!) Susan, it is worth checking them out!

  21. For those of you without pierced ears, I’ve heard (from my mother) that Nordstrom’s will convert pierced earrings to clip-on. I don’t know how they do it or if all styles are possible, but Mom had a couple pairs converted and was pleased with the results.

    I believe that it’s free of charge if the earrings are purchased at Nordstrom; there might be a fee if the earrings are purchased elsewhere.

  22. My husband is a metallurgical engineer. Gold is not a 100% as it is too soft, thus one of the elements used is nickel. Even if I wear 18k gold my ear lobes swell up. It’s the nickel that causes the problem.

    Love your blog, Love your jewelry, Love your Tiffany pouch.

    • Thanks so much, Lainy! Wow, didn’t know they even mix in nickel in with 18K jewelry. I knew it wasn’t all 18K since gold is so soft they have to mix in other elements. So far my ears are doing okay with the pearl earrings I purchased. Maybe there’s not enough nickel mixed in to cause a problem for my body chemistry. Thanks for that info, Lainy! Metallurgical engineer sounds like such an fascinating field!

  23. Hi, Susan! Absolutely love your new earrings and travel jewelry bag. Gotta love that Tiffany Blue!! I also would like to caution you to always travel with your jewelry in your purse: do not place it in your luggage. My husband has had 3 items stolen from his checked baggage (3 different trips and different airlines!). He lost his iPad, medications (that had to be replaced when we arrived at our destination at a GREAT expense!) and his Glucose meter! He was able to get his medication reimbursed because he had the receipt once we got home, but he couldn’t prove the other items were in his bag, so the airlines would not cover the loss. A hard lesson to learn!

    • I’m so sorry that happened to him, Rosie. 🙁 Horrible to think there are people who would do such things! Good advice to never put anything in your checked luggage that’s of great value or would really ruin your trip if it were lost.

  24. Can you wear sterling silver? I have a problem with sensitivity with my ears as well, but I can wear sterling silver. I now buy my pearls from Vantel Pearls, specifically from She has live facebook videos where you can choose your setting and she will actually open the oyster for you and show you the pearl for the setting. They range from white to black and every color in between. Gorgeous jewelry and the quality is amazing.

  25. Jeanne Staves says

    Have you heard of “elephant ear” earring backs? Many of the better jewelry stores sell them. They are a much larger earring back in 14k yellow gold or white gold. If you hair is pulled back or up, they look nicer than the plastic against the back of the ear. Due to their larger size, they hold the earring in place and are very secure. My last pair was around $35. I have a set in each color and switch them depending on the earrings.

    • I haven’t heard of those, will definitely google and check those out. It would be great to have a pair in each metal color (white and yellow gold) to use, especially if the stay on well and won’t fall off/get lost. Thanks for sharing about those Jeanne!

  26. Judy Lincicum says

    Another tip for ladies who love their pearls; the more often you wear your pearls the more lustre they will have from the oils in your skin. Just thought I would share. Love your new earrings!

  27. Better late than never to add a comment, Susan. (Had read the post, but was now searching for the link you so graciously supplied for pierced earring backs. So thank you.) Now in respect to pearls and Judy’s comment above; actually it is an ‘old wive’s tale’ as oils from the skin (body chemicals) can do quite the opposite to pearls. My father as a young man apprenticed with a Jeweler who specialized in pearls and so he too became an expert in the field however once married he chose a different career path but I can recall him stating to what I just said so you may wish to do some research on your own. (Oh shall also mention; be careful when applying perfume or hairspray as both can be damaging.) That said; upon the passing of my Mother I came across a (treasure) chest of supplies he used in the trade at that time that not only included some beautiful samples of pearls but also of clasps so had a few pieces of jewelry made which were distributed among family members as keepsakes. Also, the jeweler who did the work offered to purchase the remainder of the stock which the family agreed upon. In his words; ‘he had never seen such exquisite vintage specimens’.
    P.S.: Treat your pearls with TLC and they will last you a life-time and don’t forget to have them periodically restrung.

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