A brief history of earrings.

Earrings are as old as civilisation itself. Cultures from all around the world, as far back as records began, depict or refer to earrings. Archaeological evidence from ancient Persia, Mesopotamia, China and in ancient Egypt show earrings in common usage amongst men and women. They’re even mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Exodus!

Ancient Roman-Egyptian earrings.

Ancient Roman-Egyptian earrings.

The image of a pirate with a gold earring isn’t completely unfounded. Traditionally, sailors for thousands of years have worn earrings in case they were lost at sea. The gold was to be used as “payment” for anyone who discovers their body in the hopes of being given a decent burial.

In modern times jewellery made a comeback with the counter-culture movement in the 50’s and 60s. Because a large commercial market did not exist, most ear piercings were done at home, sometimes at “ear piercing parties” thrown by teenage girls.

When the Punk Rockers came along in the 70’s, piercings of all types became the norm.

A typical Punk look

A typical Punk look

Then with the “New Romance” style of the 80s, it became acceptable in mainstream fashion for men to wear earrings, although this didn’t really catch on in America until the 90s.

The large hoops worn by women in every 80s movie ever, were eventually replaced by smaller studs in fashion, and a tendency for asymmetrical piercing. In the 90s, cartilage piercing took off and it’s still going strong today. Different parts of the ear are pierced, not just the earlobe.  The most popular cartilage earrings being found in the tragus, the helix, and conch piercings.

Indigenous tribes have long used Earlobe Stretching.

Indigenous tribes have long used Earlobe Stretching.

In addition, earlobe stretching, while common in indigenous cultures for thousands of years, began to appear in Western society in the 1990s, and is now a fairly common sight. However, these forms of ear piercing are still infrequent compared to standard ear piercing. Almost every woman in the Western World today has her ears pierced.


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