Earrings throughout history

When I was a child my mum gave me a beautiful wooden trinket box full of old things from her grandparents. Among the treasures were horse riding pins from her grandfather and these strange oval pieces with metal clips on the back from her grandmother. I remember asking mum what they were, having never seen or heard of a clip-on earring before. She put them on my ears to show me. I was amazed. “How do they stay on?” I asked, “why do people pierce their ears if they could just use these?!”. Needless to say, I wore those clipon earrings for months!

Pierced earrings have existed since as early as 3000 BC. They were first seen in the middle east and since then they have bounced in and out of fashion, changing popularity almost every century. During the mid-20th century, Victorian women began to wear their hair up and wanted to adorn their ears but thought that piercing their ears was uncivilised. And so, the clipon earring came to be! For the next 40 years or so they were extremely popular, featuring many different styles matching the various art movements. However, by the 1960s, pierced earrings began to experience a resurgence, and while still existent, clip on earrings never again held the same popularity they did during that time.

Earrings have been used for ornamental purposes for centuries, but there are/ have been many other beliefs about them too – a lot of which are still relevant today. In the Middle East, where the earring was first documented, they were used to display one’s religious or political identity as well as social status. Other ancient people believed that sickness and evil entered the body through the orifices – including the ears, and so earrings were used to protect them. It was also believed that earrings could cure headaches and improve eye sight. Present day, many believe that a daith piercing – a piercing through the inner ear – can help to lessen the effects and occurrence of migraines. Isn’t it interesting how although beliefs have evolved over the years, the basic concept of them has remained?

At Showcase Jewellers, we understand that a pair of earrings can mean a lot more than just looks. We have a wide range of beautiful and meaningful earrings, and have access to clip on earrings if that’s what you are after. Come and see us today to find your perfect pair, whether it’s for yourself or a loved one.