Post earrings are a style of earrings with a straight post that goes through the ear and a removable backing to go over the post and hold it in place at the back of the ear. This is as opposed to hook earrings, which are thin wires that go through the ear, but typically do not feature a backing. Post earrings are the type of earring that one wears when first getting the ears pierced, because they are simple and go straight through the earlobe, allowing the new hole to heal properly.
Stud earrings are not synonymous with post earrings; studs are earrings that do not extend below the earlobe. Some post earrings may have a post backing, yet still dangle below the earlobe similar to earrings on a curved wire. Stud earrings might also be referred to as "beginner earrings," but these will typically be very small and will not go below the earlobe. Usually getting one's ears pierced entitles one to a free pair of post earrings.
When earrings are pierced with a piercing gun, these post earrings will have sharp, pointed ends to go through the ears, which is important to keep in mind if the earrings will continue to be worn in the future. Many advise against getting the ears pierced with a gun, preferring instead to go to a professional piercer who will use a needle to pierce the ears. In this case, the earrings placed in the ears will not need to have sharp, pointed ends, because they will not be used for the actual piercing process. People who are piercing their cartilage in the upper ear should always go to a piercer and not get that area pierced with a gun; the gun can crush the cartilage in that area, causing extreme pain, infection, or permanent damage.
The most common styles of post earrings feature a simple small silver or gold ball at the end of the earring, or a gemstone such as a diamond or a selected birthstone. Earrings are often made of gold or surgical steel because these are the least irritating metals, and should not cause allergic reactions. Some people who wear nickel coated earrings find that they will cause infection or irritation, so if that occurs it will be necessary to switch to a different metal. Be sure to clean the earrings regularly, and follow any directions following the ear piercing.