This article gives instructions on how to fix your broken earrings yourself. In this basic article I won't try to tell you how to do complex earring repair, but I will discuss fixes to some of the most common earring failures.
Look at your earring closely to diagnose what is wrong.
One of the most common problems is that the small metal loop holding your earring dangle to the earring has opened and let the dangle fall off.
If so, and you still have the dangle piece, slip it back over the loose hoop. Use pliers (preferably small blunt nose pliers or needle nose pliers; see photo) to grasp one end of the "bad" loop and twist it lightly to bring the two ends tightly together again.
Look closely (possibly even using a magnifying glass) to be sure that the loop is now fully closed. Even a small gap might end up causing your earring to fall apart again.
A similar problem occurs when there is a jump ring holding the dangle onto the earring post, and the jump ring opens and falls off. Even if you find the dangle on the floor, you may not be able to find the small jump ring. You can often use one from some left over earring that is now without a partner! If not, jump rings are readily available anywhere where jewelry supplies are sold.
Another common problem is that the back piece of the earring has fallen off. Unless you have only one pair of earrings that are held on with a backing, this is really not a problem. Just take the back piece from another earring and use it on this one. The earrings can share backings, since you will wear only one pair at a time! If the backing doesn't fit, look at a few more of different sizes and shapes. There is absolutely no need for the back of one earring to look like the back of the other. Do you ever notice the back of anyone's earrings? If you absolutely cannot find an earring back, cut off the little pink part of a pencil eraser and use it! You can buy more earring backs at most craft stores and sometimes even in the notions sections of all purpose stores like Target or K-Mart.
The third type of earring problem I will discuss in this article is having a stone or jewel come unglued. If you still have the piece this will be easy to fix. Clean the left over glue off the jewel and also off the place in the earring where it was glued. You may need to sand these areas, and/or wipe them with rubbing alcohol or acetone (nail polish remover). Use a small dab of glue that says it will hold metal and glass, jewels, or stones. Read and follow all instructions carefully. Some glues require special ventilation. All are messy and hard to remove if you get them on your hands. Usually I use a toothpick or the end of a straight pin to apply the glue. Glues that I sometimes use for this purpose include E-6000, G-S Hypo cement, Pasofix instant, and JewelBond. See Resources below. Children's glue like Elmers will not work here. I also don't recommend using a glue gun. The glue will hold but eventually it yellows and might get loose. !
Once you have glued the piece, it helps to stick the earring post or hoop through a piece of Styrofoam or through the back of a stiff but thin piece of cardboard like a cereal box. You are looking for something that will hold the earring steady while the glue dries, but be sure you don't let the glue touch the stiff holder or the earring will stick to it! Be sure you don't touch the earring at all for at least as long as required on the tube or bottle. I prefer to allow twice as long, because I don't like to have to remove the glue and start over.
If you have lost the jewel or stone, you may have to accept that the earring will end up looking a little different than it used to. Locate your nearest craft store and take the earrings with you to pick out a replacement. Most craft stores now sell flat backed pieces of crystal. Besides crystals, you can also use flat beads or stones. Find a jewel, crystal or stone that would fit into the area where the first one fell out, and that will look pretty with any other decorations on the earring. Then if possible buy three of them to fix your earrings (in case you lose one or one doesn't quite fit).
If you don't have a perfect match, you will first have to remove the remaining jewel from the earring that did not come apart. You may be able to do this by grasping it GENTLY with the pliers and wiggling it back and forth a few times. As mentioned above, when removing old glue you sometimes need some alcohol or other solvent such as acetone (finger nail polish remover). Goo Gone also works well for me. Let the solvent soak in at least for a few minutes before starting to gently wiggle the stone off. Once the stone is out you can remove any residue by scratching with your fingernail or wipe off with a towel. If absolutely necessary use a sharp razor blade but be very very careful not to cut yourself and not to harm the jewelry surface. Then make sure to let the area dry before you glue on the new piece!
Needle nose or blunt nose jewelry pliers work best for these repairs, but if you don't have them, check your home tools. You might be able to use a small pair of regular pliers. If you don't have any pliers, you might want to try eyebrow tweezers. They will work if the metal hook that needs to be bent isn't too stiff! In an emergency you can also try your fingernails! If you can't buy supplies locally, there are innumerable online jewelry supply dealers you can use. I have listed just a few in Resources below.
If your earring is made of gold and diamonds, I recommend you take it to a jeweler to be fixed. The methods I have described are pretty reliable but you shouldn't take a chance with very expensive earrings. Always check your earrings for loose parts before wearing them. This will allow you to do the repairs without taking the chance that you will lose a major part of the earring!