Pendant earrings have existed for thousands of years but in the 17th century, an elaborate form called girandole earrings emerged and became popular. Hairstyles were now upswept which showed off earrings unlike the medieval period where hairstyles and head coverings hid the ears.

Girandole earrings have a central piece from which three pendants hang. The pendants are usually pear-shaped. As expected, these gem laden earrings were very heavy and caused elongated earlobes. Some had a a convenient loop to attach a ribbon which was itself fixed to hair to help take the weight.
On the top left are 18th century paste girandole earrings made with opaline and white paste which is really just glass imitating diamonds. Paste was a forerunner of today's rhinestones.
This style still endures today. The pair on the right are Elizabeth Taylor's diamond girandoles, a gift from husband #2, Mike Todd.
Our modern chandeliers offer a greater range of style - some chandeliers have multiple dangles and not necessarily with pendant drops either. The central pieces also vary a great deal from simple shapes to ornate filigrees.

  • Earrings Through Time 
  • Elizabeth Taylor (2002). Elizabeth Taylor: My Love Affair with Jewelry.
  • Claire Phillips (2000). Jewels and Jewelry.
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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