Studs: Generally, small single stone set on a post that sits centered on and close to the ear lobe.
By Dianne Karg Baron
Buttons/Disks: Similar to studs, but greater in proportion. These are also worn close to the lobe.
Drops: Bead(s) or other small decorative charm which hangs from an ear wire (pierced or screw-on). The drop part is usually a single component that doesn't hang too far from the lobe.
By Wickwire Jewelry
Dangles: Another style that is an extension of another, this time extended drops. Dangles can be single or multiple connected beads, larger and/or longer charms or other decorative component(s) that hang from the lobe more than just a little. I would consider anything that drops more than 3/4" from the lobe a dangle. Chandeliers would be considered a more complex and elaborate dangle variation.
By Northern Girl
Hoops: Hoops come in many sizes and also a variety of shapes, not just circular. Hoops are very popular, but the size of the hoops are definitely a personal preference as they may range from as small as 1/2" to 3" or more.
By Shiny Adornments
This certainly doesn't exhaust the style options but is a good representation of the variety available. I don't think I can settle on a single style preference...I love wearing earrings. Depending on my mood I would wear any of these styles from the demure bead studs to the fun and funky zipper hoops. What about you?