My version of hoop earrings

Chic & cool from the Bronze Age

Very ancient but always in fashion, hoop earrings were loved and appreciated since their creation, thousands of years ago. Over the centuries, they have been crafted with different metals, styles and sizes, and still stand out today as a bold, eye-catching accessory with a strong personality – perfect for adding a special touch to any look. Hoop earrings are timeless and genderless. But what is their origin?

Example of hoop earrings being worn can be seen in frescoes dating back to roughly 1600 BC on the island of Santorini

From the origins to our time

  • The first evidence of hoop earrings was found in Nubia – a region located between present-day Egypt and Sudan – and dates back to around 2500 BC. At the time, this region was inhabited by an African civilization, vassal of the Egyptian kingdom.
  • In Greece, frescoes dating back to 1600 BC. about (period of the Mycenaean civilization) testify the use of circle pendants by women of the time.
  • In Egypt in 1500 BC, on the other hand, both men and women loved to adorn their lobes with splendid circles: they believed that these earrings enhanced the beauty of the face.
  • And even in ancient Persia, hoop earrings were also worn by men, according to some historical and iconographic evidence.
Hellenistic Greek Gold Earring An ancient Greek gold hoop earring, embellished with a spiral coil design culminating in a finely modelled head of a woman
  • Supported by rich symbolism, the circles have gradually spread to other parts of the world. In the first millennium BC these jewels were made by the Greek goldsmiths, as well as by the Etruscan ones.
  • The testimonies of ancient Greek and Roman societies show that hoop earrings were very popular and appreciated in these societies. These jewels were mostly worn by women, but also sometimes adorned the lobes of men with high social status.
Ancient Roman hoop earrings
  • Circles made by Byzantine goldsmiths became particularly popular among ancient cultures. These earrings were made in simple gold with pearl pendants linked by chains.
Byzantine silver hoop earrings
  • Europe has seen a decline in the use of earrings since the 1600s, largely due to elaborate hairstyles and high-collared dresses that covered the ears.
  • During the 1700s, pearl drop earrings were far more popular in European societies than hoop earrings.
  • In the early decades of the 1800s, the re-emergence of the passion for classical culture and aesthetics and the spread of neoclassicism in the figurative arts brought the fashion for gold circles back into vogue throughout Europe.
  • In 1900, however, hoop earrings were despised by American white society, which saw them as symbols of Native American and Latin American culture.
  • In 1910, simpler hairstyles and lower-cut dresses increased the popularity of earrings among Americans.
  • The hairstyles à la garçonne of the 1920s and 1930s, which left the ears visible, decreed the definitive rededication of the earrings, which became decisive for giving a final touch to any outfit. The shoulders remained bare underneath the low-cut blouses and a beautiful pair of hoop earrings perfectly matched this look.
  • After a few decades, in the 60s hoop earrings made a comeback, matching very well with the hairstyles of this decade, characterized by straight and clean hair.
  • During the 1970s, chrome silver hoop pendants with a kinetic and tribal design became very popular: divas like Cher and Diana Ross loved to show off intricately designed large hoops.
  • In the following decade, the hoops went out of fashion: drop earrings or earrings with irregular lines were preferred.
  • In the 1990s and into the early 2000s, with the boom of hip hop culture into the mainstream and thanks to the Latin influence, hoop pendants became very popular again.
Beyoncé wearing a large pair of hoop earrings

The meaning of a hoop

A hoop is nothing more than a circle, which – given its geometry, in which no beginning or end can be distinguished – symbolizes infinity and all that is infinite – like time. Moreover, even the sun, the earth and the womb – primary sources of human life – are circular: for this reason the circle is also a symbol of strength and vitality. The circle, in short, is the symbol par excellence of life that has no beginning or end: this is why hoop earrings will never go out of fashion.

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