Over pretty much any other jewelry trend through the years, the small hoop earrings have been the most prominent. Throughout many centuries, cultures, and fashion trends, this piece of jewelry has been worn by men and women alike, and that’s not likely to stop anytime soon.
Where and when did the trend of small hoop earrings begin? Why has it lasted so long, and will it still be a huge fashion statement in the future?
We are going to be covering the timeline of this piece of jewelry, as well as where this trend is headed for the future. Let’s start at the beginning – what is a hoop earring?
What is a Hoop Earring?
So now let’s back up even further, what is a hoop earring, and why are they such an important cultural symbol?
Hoop earrings are a complete (or even a partial) circle that meet in the middle around your ear piercing.
For centuries they have been a staple in many different fashion statements for both men and women, and are considered to be a symbol of empowerment to women of different colors and cultures all over the world.
Now that we have taken a closer look at what the hoop earring is and how it originated, let’s go through the timeline of the small hoop earring.
The Original Small Hoop Earring
The history of earrings is an extremely long one, and it’s no different for small hoop earrings.
Hoop earrings, and more specifically, gold hoop earrings, have a long history dating back to around 1500 BC.
It has been discovered that some of the most ancient earrings belonged to Sumerian women. These earrings date back as far as 2500 BC. These were the gold hoop style, which is now a classic and a staple.
However, even before this, humans and even cats wore gold hoop earrings, as early as 1500 BC in Egypt.
Julius Caesar even turned earrings into a huge status symbol during his reign of Rome.
More commonly known, pirates used to wear hoop earrings to secure themselves a proper burial if they were to drown and their bodies were to wash ashore. This was between the years 1650 and 1730.
The Small Hoop Earring Throughout History
Because the hoop earring has been through so many different time periods and cultures, let’s talk about each one individually.
Sumerian Hoop Earrings
The Sumerian culture, in what is now Iraq, was one of the very first civilizations to emerge and exist in the world. This group was founded about 5000 years ago in Mesopotamia.
This civilization thrived with art and culture, and a lot of their pictographic writing has even been preserved on tablets with hieroglyphs. They engaged in pottery, music, and of course fashion in the form of headdresses and hoop earrings.
Because the wealthy members of this civilization were buried with their finest belongings and adornments, jewelry has been unearthed, leading to a discovery of the first gold hoop earrings.
After the Sumerian civilization, Egyptian civilization started to form in about the same part of the world.
For ancient Egyptians, gold was a symbol of the bright, warm sun, as well as the flesh of the gods. Because of this, it was mostly worn by royals and people of a higher rank for religious reasons, as well as to ward off spirits that were hostile.
Wealthy people in ancient Egypt would wear hoop earrings to protect themselves from evil. It is now believed that both men and women wore gold hoop earrings, as well as other pieces of jewelry to adorn themselves. This was extremely popular from around 1550 to 1070 BCE.
In ancient Greece, hoop earrings were also a very popular choice for jewelry, dating back to about the 5th century BCE.
On top of just wearing plain, simple hoop earrings, Greeks made hoops in the shape of lion heads and boats as well. To pay homage to gods, they would also hang pendants from their earrings.
In addition to gold hoop earrings, the Greeks would also use semi-precious and precious gemstones in their designs and could have been the first culture to ever create diamond hoop earrings as well.
Due to the cultural interchange between Greece and Rome, ancient Roman earrings were actually created and provided by Greek artisans. Looking back, this is why the two cultures have very similar hoop earrings.
However, a lot of the hoops from Rome have a lot in common with the Egyptian style of hoop earrings as well.
Roman hoop earrings were typically made out of two intertwining pieces of gold wire that were fashioned into a circular hoop shape with gold “grapes” hanging off of the bottom.
Ancient India and China
There has also been evidence of hoop earrings existing in the East in addition to all the Western countries we just mentioned, northeast and southwest China specifically.
Earrings made of copper, as well as other metals and jade, have been found in the area dating back to 4250 BCE.
Just like the Egyptians, Indian statues of the Buddha and their gods have hoop earrings to ward off evil spirits.
In addition to all the countries and cultures that we just mentioned, hoop earrings were also prevalent in Europe from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, and even up until now.
There are portraits from the 1600s of William Shakespeare that show him adorning a small hoop earring, and they were popular even before that in the Middle Ages.
One big difference in this culture, however, is that the earrings were actually more popular for men than women in this time period. This was simply because of the enormous wigs, hats, and collars they were, which obscured them from view.
However, by the 16th century, women were wearing lower necklines and collars again, which brought back the small hoop earring trend for them.
Where is the Small Hoop Earring Trend Today?
Even though this trend started so incredibly long ago, it is still going strong today. Men and women of all different cultures still wear small hoop earrings as a fashion statement and a symbol of empowerment every day.
Whether it’s gold hoop earrings, silver hoop earrings, hoop earrings for guys, hoop earrings for cartilage, etc, you are not going to be seeing this incredible cultural influence dying down anytime soon.
What are your thoughts on the immensely popular trend of the small hoop earring? Is it something you incorporate into your own fashion and style?
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