Let us take a look at the road the earrings have traveled to become one of the most popular types of jewelry nowadays. This jewelry type has been used for many centuries to show wealth, cultural status, prosperity – to identify a wearer among the others. They say that ancient earrings might be used to lead the evil spirits away from the wearer. Our ancestors believed that evil could enter the body through eyes and ears and gain control over it.
Our ancestors wore different earrings made of gold, silver, bronze, iron, and wood. Various gemstones, including emeralds, sapphires, aquamarines, were commonly used for earring decoration. People attached earrings by piercing holes in the lobes, but there were many other devices, such as spring clips and tensioning devices. In order to attach heavy earrings, they passed loops over the top of the ear. There were cases when ladies even attached earrings to their hair or headdress.
Let’s explore the history of earrings from prehistoric times to types of earrings popular today. If you’re interested in the history of jewelry development, read the article on the history of bracelets.
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Where earrings first appeared
But let us be more specific. Hoops and pendant earrings first appeared in Asia and the Middle East. They were no anymore used to scare the evil forces away but to show the wearer's religious, political, or tribal identity. The social status was as well identified by those ancient versions of earrings we know and love today. The community of those times considered earrings to be a sign of prosperity and wealth. Surprisingly, first earrings were primarily worn by men as they hold wealth in those times and throughout history. The same usage of earrings was popular during the Roman Empire as women known for their wealth wore earrings for showing off their status.
Earrings in Middle Ages
Here the history of earrings has stopped as there had been an ideological conflict within the Church. Priests insisted that the piercing of ears challenged the dogma that humans should not change a body created in the image of God. Thus, nobility started to move attention to sophisticated hairstyles and dresses. However, sailors often wore earrings made of gold in order to pay for a Christian burial. But despite several centuries of stagnation of the earring development, the Renaissance brought us a great revival.
Earrings Renaissance period
The sixteenth century seemed to be a great time for the earrings to make it back into fashion. Disappearing collars of enormous height that would have left the earring set unnoticed as well as a new fashion of wearing hair up and away from the face, were helping the earrings a lot. They ranged from simple pear-shaped pearls earrings to exquisite jewel drops and Chandelier earrings. We can observe that Renaissance earrings either hung from the ear or pierced through them. That lasted till the 1850s when the earrings once again lost their popularity. New hair fashion insisted on tying it behind the head, which made the ears covered. The bonnets and hats were also highly fashionable those days.
Earrings in the 20th century
At the beginning of the 20th-century, earrings slowly regained their popularity. Two world wars influenced all spheres of human life, but even in those tough times, women sought chances to be beautiful. They chose the most convenient option, and different silver earrings adorned women of any social background and age.
As time went by, the clip ones came into fashion in the 1920s due to their being more sanitary and needing no ear piercing. The earrings continued their evolution, and to the middle of the previous century, all shapes and sizes were popular. An important thing of the time period is the establishment of the difference between those to be worn during the daytime and those more sophisticated earrings for the evenings. Anyway, later in the 1970s, the day and night differences in earrings wear were neglected with pierced earrings becoming highly popular.
Types of earrings popular nowadays
Nowadays, men, children, and women benefit from a wide range of options for any taste. We can choose the type of earrings for face shape, preferences, and budget. A great market for earrings contributes to a variety in material, shape, and design. So let’s take a look at the modern earrings known and beloved worldwide:
Stud earrings are comfortable to wear and always a win-win option for any outfit style. Men and women choose studs because they are ranging in color and materials as well as form and shape. Besides, you can wear several studs on one ear to look more appealing or have one in your nose.
With drop earrings, you can stand out and underline your beauty. Choose your gemstone and appropriate drop earring size to look natural. These earrings are not as simple as may seem, but it’s fabulous complementation to any look. Choose gold, silver, or platinum drop earrings with pearls or diamonds to magnify the world.
Now the jewelry industry develops rapidly, considering the experience from the past as well as innovating traditional decorations. Hoop earrings have been known many centuries ago, and now they are still trendy. We can find not only round but also a triangle, square, and oval hoops. A glamorous look is achieved by choosing an unusual shape and side of hoop earrings.
Dangle earrings hand down your earlobe and give you a sense of movement and freedom. Very often, girls choose this type of earrings for special events and evening gowns. Moreover, they may be decorated with precious stones, seed beads, and links to satisfy the demands of any selective woman.
Trendy ear climbers are on the top of popularity among fashionistas worldwide. These earrings are special due to their uniqueness as we are used to having earrings hang down. On the contrary, ear climbers go upward and adorn our ears. Women often wear one ear climber for a more stunning effect.
Wearers’ preferences and earrings' popularity have been fluctuating as the times passed due to various economic conditions and changes in society. Quality earrings have always been an important part of a stylish and fashionable look. And finally, these amazing decorations became an indispensable part of our life. Earrings development throughout history made them those we see today - a huge range of earring styles that both women and men enjoy wearing.