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Watch Glamour's 100 Years of Earrings | From Ancient to Modern Earrings

Have you noticed how jewelry trends are cyclic?  Sometimes though, eras are remembered for certain styles. 

Watch this fun Glamour video : 100 Years of Earrings. Most of us will remember many of the styles from the featured decades, if not what we wore in our youth but what our mothers and grandmothers favored. 

It's not a comprehensive view by any means but it sure brings back memories.  I remember my mother's collection of bright and colorful costume jewelry from the 1950's and 1960's. She had the then popular clip-ons even though her ears were pierced!

I also inherited a few earrings from my grandmother which have old fashioned screw backs.  Takes a little longer to put them on but they are much more secure than the modern butterfly push backs.  They are less likely to be accidentally yanked off if the stud catches on a scarf. 

Do you remember the busy and bold chandeliers of the early 2000's.  One of the videos commenters said : "One thing to note about the 90's earrings was those big bold styles were largely confined to the early to mid 90's. By the mid to late 90's, small, silver, minimalist earrings where pretty much all what teenagers wore. So it makes sense by the 00's the style swung back to giant chandelier earrings."

Currently, the minimalist style is trending.  But probably not for long.

From Ancient to Modern Earrings

I am always astounded how ancient some styles are.  True to their perennial appeal, many are still popular today.  They have stood the test of time. 

Take these hoop earrings for example. They were made in southern Mesopotamia (in modern day Iraq) between 2600- 2300 BC. 
Picture Source : British Museum Collection #122414

You can see the same boat shape in this modern 24K gold vermeil huggies earrings below from Creation Megane

I don't know how ancient wrapped loops are as a technique. But the method of wrapping wire in this fashion is very old. This pair of second century Roman earrings shows simple pearl dangles with small disc embellished hook and loop fasteners.  I can't figure out how they could be put into ears and secured, can you? The baroque pearls are mismatched because it was very hard to find two similarly shaped natural pearls.  Pearls were not cultured extensively until the 20th century. 

Picture Source : British Museum #1872,0604.1493

Modern designer naturally put their own spins on the wire wrapped pearl earrings style. This gorgeous gold filled herringbone wrapped earrings combines both peach moonstones with pearls. The designer is EvaSueJewelry.

I don't know about you but I certainly would like to wear this pair of early Byzantine (c. 600 CE) gold chandelier earrings which were found in Egypt. 

You can see a modern versions of chandelier earrings created by Sarah who specializes in period designs for HandmadeEarringsUK.  I featured her work before here.  

Picture Source : British Museum Collection #1916, 0704.4

Chandelier earrings were not only very trendy during the 1990's but were popular back in the 18th century. They were called girandole earrings - named after a type of candelabra. 

Girandoles were so heavy that several ingenious ways to take the weight off ears were used. Ribbons were sometimes attached to the earrings and pinned into the hair or the elaborate wigs of the day. Or wires were used to loop over the ears. Few girandoles exist today as they were often remade into other jewelry once the fashion for them declined. 

Another modern chandelier earrings design with a fringe element is this stunning ethnic moon earrings by Italian designer Danila of Liberablu

This gorgeous hoop earrings with filigree details was found in Cyprus dates back to 450-400 BC. 

Picture Source : British Museum Collection #1896,0201.138 

This modern pair of beautiful sterling silver filigree hoop earrings is by Israeli designer, Leane of Lianie

Before You Go :


This blog may contain affiliate links. I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation. 
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM 


  1. Thank you, Pearl, for a great post! It was fun to relive the earring trends through the years. I still have many of those earrings in my jewelry box and some of them I inherited from my mother and grandmother!

  2. Regarding the second century Roman earrings, I have a couple of very modern pairs of earrings that use a very similar-looking closure. The end of the wire meant to go through the ear has a 90° bend, and the wire itself is flexible enough to allow the bent piece to be pushed through or hooked around a tiny loop. Looking at the condition of the ancient wire, I'm going to guess it wasn't nearly as flexible as the materials available now!

    1. You are right a out the tiny loop. The photograph didn't quite reveal the loops but there is a hint. What amazes me is how durable all the jewelry are after surviving centuries of burial !

  3. very interesting. I've been trendy, at times, without even knowing it! :)

  4. Thanks for sharing the video. While some of the earrings shown in the video were worn in the decades indicative, I would not consider this video as the indicator of times. Some were quite random. Anyway, I found your post more interesting than the video. Hoop, ring and disc earrings were the most common earrings in ancient history across the world. They were used with earlobe elongation as well. In India, there are two legendary characters, Karna from the myth Mahabharata and Kundalakesi from the epic Kundalakesi, whose narrative involved Kundala - hoop earrings.

    1. Trends are never totally inclusive. Even today, many of us just don't follow fads. Thanks so much for sharing your information about Indian hoop earrings!! Indian jewelry is so lovely, now and from long ago!

  5. Fun retrospective!


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