Earring, tendril, earring, hoop term used to refer to an object that serves as a decoration for the body that is usually worn in the ears ; being a fairly significant object throughout history because at first it was carried only by men and indicated their social position. The use of earrings is only ornamental and is used not only on the ears, but throughout the body.


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It is a known fact that people around the world consider the ear – in addition to its function of housing the auditory organ – of utmost importance, and therefore feel moved to adorn it. And the way to do it is both national and international.

It is not an exaggeration to say that since time immemorial hoops have played an important role among nations, regardless of their cultural level or prosperity. In some countries men even compete with women in this regard, adorning their ears according to the custom of the sailors of yesteryear.

In the shape of a simple earring, the earring has been found in burials from the Bronze Age and it is known that it was used among some ancient peoples as decoration of the nose, piercing the central cartilage.

With the name of earrings, complete earrings are distinguished, and more especially large ones. Many ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Assyrians, Phoenicians, Etruscans, Celts and Iberians took them in this way and in a circular way. Of the latter, some statues such as the famous one of the Lady of Elche are good proof , and perhaps many of the plates in the form of embossed bronze discs found in Celtiberian graves had the same fate.

Of Phoenician work with Assyrian reminiscences are the magnificent gold earrings found in the Treasure of Aliseda. The Arabs in Spain also wore large earrings with a multitude of imitation pendants that were worn by ladies from various regions even in the Modern Age .

In ancient times, in both Greek and Roman cultures, earrings were worn only by women, and the earring worn by men was always a symbol of being oriental, especially Arabic. In Rome , the earrings were more complicated, since they included pearls and other stones, being their own use for women, as in other Western countries .

However, the children of Athens and Rome also used to wear earrings, although only on one ear. In the East, earrings have been used by both sexes, while in the West (including Egypt and Israel ) they have traditionally been considered ornaments for exclusively female use.

The custom of using earrings has been so widespread and universal that earrings of all kinds have been found in most archaeological digs, in Egypt, Rome , Greece , Europe , Asia and America . The Latin American indigenous people used enough gold earrings in the case of the Incas and in the case of the Aztecs , rather of jade and other stones.

During the Renaissance and Baroque periods the fashion to wear a single earring spread throughout Europe . In addition, pirates were characterized by wearing two earrings. But in the 17th and 18th centuries , its use almost disappeared, apparently due to the fashion of wearing wigs and hairstyles, as the ears darkened and lost importance.

For the 19th century , the use of the earring continued to be discontinued in both Europe and America, until in the 20th century, fashion resumed. At the beginning of the century what was most used was the press style that did not need to pierce the skin. Today the drilling methods have been improved so much that most people do it. The process is cheap and also painless.

Nowadays the possibility of putting earrings throughout the body also extends: in various places of the ears, on the navel , on the eyebrows, on the nose, on the tongue, on the lip, etc. This technique is called piercing .


  • Four centuries ago, women in Central Java, rich or poor, pierced the lobe of their ears so that a finger could be passed through the hole. The wealthy people wore gold rings richly set with precious stones, but as soon as the children began to marry, the rings also began to disappear, possibly to be given as a dowry or gift from daughter or daughter-in-law. They were replaced by flat hoops, made with buffalo horns, sometimes adorned with stones. And when the grandchildren arrived, these ornaments also disappeared because it was considered improper for a grandmother to still wear jewelry, but apart from this it was notable that in contrast to the feudal system and mentality of those days, especially in Central Java, the hoop enjoyed a democratic position. Because although the various social classes were distinguished from each other by the use of special “batik” designs or differences in footwear, there were no rules at all for the use of hoops, except for the age considerations of the wearer. Anyone could use or buy them according to their financial means. It is interesting to refer to the ritual and mystical background of the hoop. As mentioned before, in certain districts of Indonesia many people do not wear any type of hoops, but they do have holes in the lobes, as is the case with Balinese men or the inhabitants of Madura. From which it follows that the essential is not the ring or the value of the jewel but simply the lobular orifice. According to research carried out,
  • Sailing across Cape Horn was, in ancient times, an adventure that distinguished the sailors who managed to turn it around. Shipwrecks were the order of the day. For this reason, it became a sign of luck and expertise among seafarers crossing it and leaving alive.

So that the feat would be reflected for life, the sailors, merchants, pirates, corsairs and all those who in one way or another passed this difficult test, hung a ring-shaped earring on one of the ears, which could well be tin, iron, copper or silver. Two other signs could be added to this distinctive, symbolizing the passage through the Cape of Good Hope, in southern Africa, and that of York, in Oceania. The custom, which spread rapidly as a symbol of courage and recklessness, was also adopted by pirates who ravaged the Caribbean coast.


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