Types of Earrings from all Periods that can be Worn with Today's Fashions
Every woman needs a pair of earrings. Everyone needs a collection of everyday wearable earrings that can be worn both during the day and into the evening.
Earrings are the best type of jewelry to give or receive, as one size fits all, you can’t go wrong. Traditionally they have been worn as symbols of cultural or tribal identity, as markers of age, marital status, or rank, or because they are believed to have protective or medicinal powers. Prominently placed near the face at the juncture between costume and coiffure, they, perhaps more than any other element of jewelry, have been particularly responsive to changes in fashion. Easy to wear and more eye-catching than bracelets or necklaces they are certainly going to be noticed.
To help you choose, we’ve sorted through the styles and laid out the cases for five of the best below.
This style became a favourite in the 1930s and never really went out of fashion although the materials vary from decade to decade. The classic look was popularised by Jackie Kennedy when she was First Lady and has made a comeback because of its simple elegance. Perfect for those who wish to make a bold yet polished statement and transition easily from the office to out on the town.
Button earrings come with all kinds of embellishments, from textured gold to diamonds and colorful enamel. They can be comprised of many materials including cabochon gemstones, Bakelite, even pearls. Some are set in metal backings, while others have the earring finding attached to the back of the button material. Clip backs were popular in the 1950s and '60s and clips made by Chanel are still available today.
A chandelier earring resembles the fancy form of decorative lighting sharing the same name. This style of drop earring usually has some length to it and can be quite elaborate with multiple layers of dangles or tiers lit up with gems. Some have more a cascading appearance while others have multiple arms with a number of elements dangling from them. The most coveted are set with diamonds, but there are stunners to be found in antique fine jewelry made of gold and pearls as well as crafted of crystal beads, gemstones, rhinestones, glass, enamel and plated base metals.
Examples from the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian eras are eternally on the wish lists of fashionable romantics as they can easily be worn with a T-shirt and jeans as easily as with a floral gown. They’ve never been more enthusiastically embraced than they are today.
Using the term "drop" to describe an earring style is somewhat of a catch-all term as there have been many variations of dangle earrings that fall into this category. True drop earrings are characterized by a long lean line ending in a pear-shaped stone attached to an ear wire, screwback, clip finding, or simple stud post without an elaborate matching top.
They have been widely reproduced based on antique examples and can be found made of everything from natural elements such as precious metals, genuine gemstones, jet, or woven hair. Formal examples with diamonds pair perfectly with a cocktail dress or evening gown, while gem-set and gold ones make great daytime accessories. For a delicate look choose pink pearls to soften your style. Vintage versions, popular in the Art Deco era, would incorporate glass, varied plastics, and some natural substances such as wood and work well for women who favor a minimalist look.
Crescent-shaped gold hoops are said to have been worn by Sumerian women around 2500 B.C.E. created in gold, silver, and bronze and spread to other parts of the world. They are one of the oldest accessories in human existence having significant meanings for different cultures often symbols of beauty, wealth, power and religion. Hoops fell in and out of fashion over the ages and some speculate it was because of high-collared fashion and the hairstyles of the time. The early 1920s introduced exotic styles that brought the hoop earring back into the spotlight in America thanks to Spanish and in particular hoops caught a big break with the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt in 1922.
Hoop earrings are worn by many people throughout the world today and continue to be one of the oldest fashion trends alive. Hoops are empowering. They symbolize strength and international fashion as nothing tops off an outfit like a pair of hoop earrings; they are bold, eye-catching, and make a statement.
Ear climbers, designed to be worn up the side of the lobe, can range from large and eye-grabbing to delicate and dainty with a hint of shine. They’re perfect pieces for iconoclastic women who like to create the illusion of multiple piercings and are often associated with Bridal wear. Both big brands and independent designers are crafting ear climbers that range from a chic, minimal single gold climber that curves up the lobe and doesn't contain any stones, to ornate rainbows of gems taking up the entirety of the earlobe. Ear climbers are versatile and can be worn together with a simple stud or coordinated with other pieces of jewelry to create an individual look or even turned upside down to be worn as a drop earring.