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What do earrings symbolize?
A classic item of jewelry, earrings are worn by many women and men for everyday wear or as a way of finishing off their outfit. We know they are commonplace now, but you may not know just how far the tradition of wearing jewelry on the ears dates back and what the practice means. Here is a look at the history of earrings and how they have symbolized wealth, status, and style over the years.
History of earrings
The practice of wearing earrings dates back thousands of years. Earrings have been worn through the years by both men and women. Europe’s oldest known preserved human, a man who was given the name Ötzi, was found in the Alps after being frozen for more than five millennia. He was found with large holes in his earlobes, suggesting he had worn earrings for a substantial part of his life.
From around 1800 BC, the Minoans, a civilization established on the island of Crete, were metalwork masters and made various types of jewelry from copper, bronze, copper, gold and silver. Minoans were found to wear hoop earrings, and pictures left behind by the Ancient Persians suggest soldiers also wore earrings as talismans to keep them safe.
In ancient Egypt, earrings were worn as a symbol of wealth and signified a higher class. When Tutankhamun's tomb was discovered, the Pharaoh's earlobes were found to be perforated. Although no earrings were included in the wrappings, they were found in the tomb itself. It is believed that the custom of wearing jewelry started with Pharaohs and spread to others in society. In fact, because the Ancient Egyptians revered cats, these creatures were also pictured wearing earrings as a symbol of their status!
In Roman times, women were the ones who predominantly wore earrings, and it was thought to be a way to decorate and embellish the face. Roman women favored boat-shaped earrings that were shaped from precious metals and semi-precious stones.
In Elizabethan and early Jacobean England, earrings appear to have been favored by both men and women, with the most popular style of the time being a large pearl drop.
After falling out fashion in the Western world, the practice of women wearing earrings reemerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s. By the early 1970s, ear piercing was so common among women in the U.S. that department stores started offering the piercing procedure in stores. By the late 1970s, piercings with safety pins and multiple piercings became synonymous with punk rockers. By the 1980s, it started to become fashionable again for men to wear earrings after many musicians started the trend.
Nowadays, earrings are popular with both men and women. Many people feel that earrings accentuate their face and are a way of expressing their individual style as well as reflecting personal beliefs.
Styles of earrings and symbolism
Because earrings can be very lightweight and easy to wear, many people choose to wear them every day. They often opt for a simple style such as a traditional stud, either plain or with a gemstone, such as these Yellow Plated Sterling Silver 1/4ct Tdw Diamond Earrings. Wearing a simple but elegant pair of earrings like these enhances your facial features, adding a glimmer or sparkle around your face to brighten and lift your complexion. It also symbolizes elegance and sophistication.
Pearl earrings are a very traditional style, and pearls boomed in popularity in the 1950s, a decade that was known for its chic fashion and style. Still popular 70 years later, pearls represent wealth and authority as well as femininity and purity. A pair of classic pearl earrings such as these Freshwater Pearl Dangling Chandelier Earrings symbolizes timeless elegance and femininity.
Flowers symbolize new beginnings in addition to having romantic connotations, so flowered earrings such as these Blue Rose September Stud Earrings are perfect a gift to symbolize a new start, a relationship or the birth of a child, among other moments in a person's life.
Religious or spiritual symbolism
The practice of wearing earrings for religious reasons dates back thousands of years, and earrings can still be worn today to symbolize religious or spiritual beliefs. These Sterling Silver Cross Earrings, for example, offer wearers a discreet and beautiful way of wearing a spiritual symbol.
It is clear that earrings are not just a simple item of jewelry. Instead, they are a symbol of beauty, status and the wearer's personal style.