What are Earrings?

Essential an Earring is a way to decorate your ear. Traditionally the term earring would describe an ornament attached to the earlobe but in the mid-20th century the term earring expanded to describe any decorative piece of jewellery attached to the users ear.

Most of the time we talk about Earrings for pierced ears but there are also many different styles of earrings for non-pierced ears. Earrings for non-pierced ears are often called clip on earrings.

An Earring History

The earliest known earring can be traced to 2500 BCE, the earring found was a crescent gold hoop earring which was worn by Sumerian women. In 1000 BCE more ancient hoop earrings were found, most of the traditional hoop earrings were gold hoop Earrings but some were silver hoop earrings and also some bronze hoop earrings were found. As earrings spread across the world, each country adapted and designed their own earring interpretations, for example in Crete and Cyprus gold earrings were more decorative with engraving on the gold hoop and also twisted gold hoops were seen. In Crete and Cyprus embellished earrings or beaded earrings were also popular.

In Egypt there were earrings for men and Earrings for women in the 1500 BCE. Most earrings in Ancient Egypt were thick earrings or studded earrings which a lot of the time required the user to have a large ear piecing hole, these ear piercings often had to be stretched out in order to fit the gold studs or coloured glass studs.

Ancient Roman earring styles featured disks and pendants which were mounted to wire hooks. You were considered highly respectable and upper class if you were seen wearing pearl earrings in Rome.

In Europe due to elaborate headdresses and high collars Earrings were phased out. However, in the 16th century enamel earrings became popular and then pear-shaped pearl earring were seen everywhere, next came the rise in diamond earrings. Earrings for men were slightly different because they were mainly worn in one ear only rather than earrings for women which would come in pairs. By the 17th century earrings were seen just like underwear, a necessity part of the outfit that, women in particular would wear. Pearl drop earrings maintained a place in fashion and were one of the most popular earring styles for women.

In the 19th century the style of dress was simplified, and people favoured lighter Earrings, studs were favoured over drop earrings. Pearl stud earrings and diamond stud earrings were especially popular. Aside from stud earrings, delicate wire earrings and geometric earrings were popular, colour was big and it was used in a more toned-down style. Teardrop earring styles were also popular throughout the nineteenth century. Matching jewellery sets were particularly popular in the 19th century, if you were wearing a pair of diamond earrings, then you would also probably have on a diamond necklace or a diamond brooch and maybe even a diamond bracelet. Diamond earrings for women have maintained their popularity but diamond earrings for men are also popular especially amongst the music community. Due to the rise in expensive and delicate earrings, clasps and earring backs were added for security, these earring backs meant the earring would stay on the wearer no matter what they were doing.

In the 20th century there was a negative aspect to earrings as many thought the idea of piercing ears almost gruesome and cruel. In the united states many saw those with their ears pierced as not so respectable. These negative thoughts were soon phased out particular due to the acceptance of costume jewellery, big and bold earrings and necklaces were much more popular than the expensive designer earrings. The introduction of costume earrings also made earrings less expensive as before there was mainly high end earrings such as gold earrings, diamond earrings, pearl earrings and silver Earrings. Costume earrings meant people could buy more different earrings and match their earrings to a different outfit. In the 1920s, thanks to the Spanish influences hoop earrings became popular globally, silver hoops and gold hoops were seen everywhere.

Different Types of Earrings

  • Statement Earrings (Such as Dangle earrings, tassel earrings and bold earrings or costume earrings)

  • Stud Earrings (Diamond Studs, Pearl Studs, Simple Studded Earrings that would feature a security fixture on the back.

  • Hoop Earrings (Gold Hoop Earrings and Silver Hoop Earrings in particular have been popular for a number of years)

  • Barbell Earrings (A metal bar with an attachable orb for security)

  • Huggy Earrings

  • Ear Thread (An ear chain)

  • Clip-on Earrings

  • Magnetic Earrings

  • Stick-on Earrings

  • Ear Cuffs

Different Types of Ear Piercings

As fashion changed and Earrings became more popular, the ear piercing trends changed and adapted. In the 21st century there were many different types of ear piercings that you could get so we’ve created a tailored list of different ear piercings.

  • Tragus Piercing (The tragus ear piercing occurs when you get the bit of cartilage above your ear lobe pierced. Usually those with a tragus piercing with wear a delicate stud or small hoop in the tragus ear piercing.)

  • Helix Piercing (The helix piercing is when the top part of the ear cartilage is pierced. A helix piercing with often have a delicate hoop earrings in it. Occasionally people get double helix piercings which is two helix piercings close together.)

  • Rook Piercing (When you get the top inner part of your cartilage then you have a rook piercing. Often in your rook piercing you would have a small barbell earring.)

  • Outer Conch Piercing (The Outer Conch Piercing is when the dip in the ear near the helix piercing is pierced. In the Outer Conch Piercing you would usually have a studded earring.)

Earring Trends Through the Years

  • In 1985 the earring trend most prevalent was the dangling triangle earring. Geometric earrings in general were very popular.

  • In 1986, celebrities were all about the big and bold Earrings, colourful earrings and mixed media tassel earrings.

  • Chandelier Earrings were having a big moment in 1987. Especially enamel chandelier earrings were very popular.

  • In 1988, statement hoop Earrings in particular, gold hoops were the most popular earring style.

  • In 1989, everyone was wearing statement Earrings, mismatched earrings in particular star and moon earrings.

  • In 1991 the most popular earring style was pom pom earring, dangly Earrings.

  • In 1997, everyone was wearing diamond stud earrings, delicate solitaire Earrings made the perfect classic accessory for any outfit.

  • In 1999, every red carpet outfit was paired with a precious gemstone stud earring, gemstone earrings added a little bit of colour and elegance.

  • The most popular Earrings in 2002 was pearl earrings, pear stud earrings, oversized pearl earrings and dangly pearl earrings.

  • In 2005, the classic drop earring was the style of the moment.

  • In 2008 statement Earrings were making a comeback and in 2009 statement stud earrings were the most popular earring for women.

  • Early 2000s, in particular 2012 was all about ear piercings, layered ear piercings looks were seen by evening in particular the tragus piercing.

  • In 2015, ear climbers were the style, they were edgy and gave outfits a rocker edge.

Earrings for Men

The most popular earrings for men are small hoop Earrings usually worn in the cartilage piercing, stud earrings are also popular earrings for men, flesh tunnels and plug earrings which held to stretch a big whole in your earlobe are particularly a popular earring for men.

Earring Birthstones

  • January Earring Birthstone is the Garnet Earring.

  • February Earring Birthstone is the Amethyst Earring.

  • March Earring Birthstone is the Aquamarine Earring.

  • April Earring Birthstone is the Diamond Earring.

  • May Earring Birthstone is the Emerald Earring.

  • June Earring Birthstone is the Pearl Earring.

  • July Earring Birthstone is the Ruby Earring.

  • August Earring Birthstone is the Peridot Earring.

  • September Earring Birthstone is the Sapphire Earring.

  • October Earring Birthstone is the Opal Earring.

  • November Earring Birthstone is the Topaz Earring and also the Citrine Earring.

  • December Earring Birthstone is the Turquoise Earring.

Radley Earrings we Love

Semi Precious Collection- Stone set gold plated earrings with malachite

Each piece within the Semi precious collection is defined by its gem detail, which in the case of these gold stud earrings is marbled green malachite. Delicate yet bright, these are go-with-anything additions to your own crown jewels.

Semi Precious Earring Collection – Stone set gold plated drop earrings with rose quartz

Each piece within the Semi precious collection is defined by its gem detail, which in the case of this drop earrings is rose quartz. Add an element of glamour to your attire with these evening wear earrings, which waterfall effect of rose gold ultra fine chain bring out your most elegant side.

Fountain Road – Stone stud drop earrings

A design for dog lovers everywhere, our iconic Scottie dog silhouette stud earrings come with a second pair of stud earrings featuring a crystal-embellished flower. The perfect present for someone special, you’ll be able to coordinate these stud earrings with both day and night ensembles.

Kew Gardens – Gold plated earrings

Dress an outfit up in an instant with this pair of 18 carat real gold plated cascading drop earrings from our Fountain Road collection. They feature a sophisticated stone stud detail with two high quality clear-cut crystals on an asymmetric fine chain. Perfect for a special night out.

Earrings for Pierced Ears and Earrings for Non Pierced Ears or Clip on Earrings

If you haven’t got your ears pierced then magnetic earrings, Clip-on Earrings and Stick-on earrings would be perfect for you.

If you have got your ears pierced you can use any earrings except for the stretcher earrings as those require a different type of piercing that would be applied by a professional.

How to clean your Earrings

A good way to clean your earrings is to fill a little pot with some warm water and hydrogen peroxide. Then take your earrings out and separately put in the earrings and the clasp into the bowl and leave for a few minutes.

Next rinse the hydrogen peroxide off and you can put your earrings back in. If you are just cleaning your earrings to put then away then make sure your earrings are dry before you put them away.