Hoops in History

Updated: Apr 2

Hoop Earrings are one of the most popular earring designs today. High street shops are full of cheap versions and every jewellery maker has her own version of this particular piece. It may seem like it's a fashion trend of the day but in fact hoops have been worn as earrings for thousands of years and in many different cultures.

Dating back to as early as 2500BC, hoop earrings were worn by ancient Sumerians. At around the same the people of the ancient African civilisation of Nubia were some of the first to wear hoops and later on similar style earrings became fashion in ancient Egypt. They were made in gold, silver and bronze and were already in ancient times a popular symbol of grace and beauty. Both men and women (and even cats) sported the hoop earring look and Egyptian royals wore large, thick gold versions to show off their wealth and power.

The style travelled into the Greek, Etruscan and Roman cultures. Yes, even Julius Caesar himself was conquered by the hoop earring.

Then, Europe went through a few hundred years where earrings in general went out of fashion due to other fashion trends making them inconvenient. High collars and elaborate hair do's made larger earrings impractical.

Hoop earrings took to the seas and pirates made them their own to make sure they are identified as such, and given the appropriate burial, no matter where they were found world. And while hoops weren't a thing on land in the western world, they found themselves to be a popular accessory in the 1800s among the Ainu people of Hokkaido.

In Europe earrings made a debut in the Renaissance but other styles took precedence and hoops did not return to this area until the 20th century. They first appeared again all the way west in the United States and were initially accessories worn by minorities, while the white majority distanced themselves from such styles.

As we know this changed. Slowly but surely hoop earrings conquered the modern day fashion world.

Circles are visually pleasing. They have soft lines while also portraying stability. Our whole existence is based on circular movements of a sort, or cycles. From the solar system, to our blood circulation, from the natural seasons to our internal season, circles are ever present in our beings. It is no wonder then, that humans have always perceived circles as aesthetically pleasing and beautiful.

Thus Hoop Earrings travelled the globe for millennia and established themselves as the most fashionable jewellery design of all time.

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