Learn the Cultural Background of Earrings

Today, we think of earrings as something beautiful to be worn to make a great outfit even better. Perhaps you have a pair of crystal heart earrings that are special to you because someone you love gave them to you. You may have a pair that makes you feel spectacular anytime you wear them, because you steal the show when you walk in wearing a pair like our "Entre Fabuleuse" Crystal Dangle Earrings. All of these are so fantastic, but they don't even begin to tap into the long and rich history of wearing earrings. Men and women have been wearing earrings for thousands upon thousands of years!

Why Earrings?

Earrings are probably the most commonly worn type of jewelry in the world, and it's been this way for a very long time. One could look at your ear lobes and think they're the perfect spot for adornment, and that's precisely what our ancient ancestors did.  

Across the world and throughout many cultures in time, earrings have been used to denote cultural identity or tribal affiliation. Like other items of jewelry, earrings were also used to indicate status. Most of the time, though, earrings have been worn because of their decorative function. Due to the fact that earrings sit near the face, where someone would look while speaking to another person, they are always in one's direct gaze. This makes earrings the ideal spot to immediately and silently tell someone your rank, sense of style, or wealth.

The First Earrings

Hoop earrings made their debut in areas around Mesopotamia. The earliest earrings archaeologists have discovered were ancient Sumerian women’s earrings.  It is thought that they date from around 2500 BCE. These original earrings were typically gold hoops. At a similar time, the ancient peoples of the African civilization Nubia (now known as Sudan) were also some of the first people in the world to wear hoops.

Later on in Aegean, Crete, and Cyprus, earrings of twisted wire, beads, and pendants were popular. Egyptian men and women both wore earrings, around 1500 BCE. Earrings were popular among the Greeks and Etruscans, too. Even the famous Julius Caesar, Rome’s most well-known leader, wore hoop earrings when he ruled the empire. Roman earring styles remained popular until European styles changed for a few centuries. Some historians speculate it was because of high-collared fashion and the hairstyles of the time. 

The Evolution of Style

In the 17th century, earring made a huge comeback. Just like nearly everything else at the time, their jewelry pieces were incredibly elaborate. Pendant earrings were all the rage. Many styles actually had additional rings so that women could tie them into their hair in order to take some of the weight off their earlobes. 

By the 19th century, the style had changed again. A simpler style of dress was more en vogue, and so earrings became much lighter and daintier. At the dawn of the 20th century, earrings weren’t as popular. That all changed in the 1920's. As the Roaring Twenties raged on and the population wanted to party, earrings were fun, flirty, and dangly. Throughout the next few decades, the popular style of earrings changed time and time again. The only thing that didn't change was the popularity of earrings themselves!

In the 1960s, more and more women straightened their hair and wore hoop earrings. They became a symbol of female power during the feminist movement happening at the time, particulalry among women in the African American and Latina community.

Today's Best Earrings

Nothing tops off an outfit like a pair of gorgeous earrings. Today, women who choose to wear earrings have more options than ever before! Take a few minutes to browse our online collection and you'll see exactly what we mean. When you're wearing our "Modern Masterpiece" Enamel Crystal Deco Drop Earrings you can think of ancient cultures wearing hoops, or when you're wearing "Never Ending Glamour" Beaded Crystal Drop Earring you can think of the fun parties and fabulous outfits of the 1920's. Now that you know more about the history of earrings, it makes you appreciate your favorite pairs all the more!