A Piercing History: The Life and Times of the Earring
With the advent of the earring dating back to 2500 B.C., according to various sources, there's no denying this body adornment has endured many
trends and styles. Today, earring fashions are as varied as their history and may be may be worn by both women and men. For such a small item, the
earring has wielded a dramatic influence through the centuries and in countless cultures. Ancient Persian carvings reveal soldiers donning earrings. In
Egypt, ear ornaments, such as "earplugs" became fashionable some 1,500 years ago and were worn even by King Tutankhamen. Wealthy women of
the Roman Empire used earrings to denote status. And the Greeks were known for decorating their statues of revered soldiers with earrings.
Sapphires, emeralds and aquamarines were used regularly to adorn the earring by the 2nd century A.D. During the Byzantine period, however, the
earring took a backburner in favor of elaborate headdresses and hairstyles. This look of the Middle Ages caused earrings to become nearly
nonexistent. Then, in 16th-century Italy, a change in fashions brought about the return of the earring when high-collar dress faded out of style and
women began to wear their hair up and away from the face. It took France and England another century before changes in elaborate neck costuming
made way for the earring. After its popularity returned, attention to earring design lasted for two centuries. Created from gold and silver, the girandole
earring featured three pear-shaped, gem-laden drops on a hook. One drawback - the weight of the earrings was known to cause elongated ear lobes.
The girandole earring was replaced later in the 18th century with the pendeloque earring, which was much lighter and longer in length. The
pendeloque was a perfect complement to the intricate hairdos and wigs of the day. In the 1800s, jewelry designers began to mount gemstones on
open back claw settings. Light reflecting through the gemstone enhanced its color and brilliance. However, earrings