History of Earrings

With a long history of use as an adornment, and one of the oldest known forms of body modification, earrings have formed part of cultural identification and have been used as a sign of wealth and prosperity for thousands of years.

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Interestingly, earrings were predominantly a male adornment for many centuries. The earliest evidence of earrings worn by men can be seen in archeological evidence from Persepolis in ancient Persia. Carved images of soldiers from the Persian Empire on some of the surviving walls of Persepolis, show them each wearing an earring.

In their earliest use, earrings were used to signify a wearer’s religious, political or tribal identity. Earrings were also often an indicator of an individual’s social status within their community and were considered a sign of wealth and prosperity. Ancient Egyptians frequently used earrings for this purpose, often burying several elaborate pairs with a pharaoh for use in the afterlife.

Earrings weren’t, however, solely used by the upper class or royalty. Early sailors, for example, chose to wear a single gold earring as payment for a proper burial in the event that they might drown at sea and wash up on shore.

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Hair trends greatly influenced the popularity of earrings with women. During the Middle Ages, elaborate hairstyles and headdresses resulted in earrings falling into disfavor, while later during the 16th century, high collars disappeared and hair was worn away from the face – allowing earrings to make a comeback before falling by the wayside once more in the 1850s when bonnets and hats were the mode du jour.

Despite falling in and out of favor over the centuries, by the 1970s ear piercing remained consistently popular with men and women of varied social standing. Recognizing that earrings were here to stay, department stores began offering ear piercing as one of their many services.

Today pierced ears are almost a right of passage for young women and as a result earring designs change every year to suit the latest fashion trends. Luckily Jewlr’s growing collection of earrings includes timeless designs for every taste. You can shop the earrings above and more at Jewlr.com/earrings.

What is your favorite style of earring? Tell us below!

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