Types of Antique Earrings

Earrings have been a popular jewelry item for over 7000 years. But during the Renaissance era, earrings lost popularity as women preferred wearing elaborate hair styles and high collars that obscured their ears.

When purchasing antique earrings, be sure to look for hallmarks to determine a piece’s authenticity. These are metal stamps and other symbols that indicate a piece’s quality and location of manufacturing.

Stud Earrings

Stud earrings have a very simple design that consists of a post that passes through the ear piercing, a backing that holds it in place, and a gem or decorative element that sits on the front of the earlobe. They are often more minimalist and subtle in appearance than other types of earrings, and they can be worn with a variety of different outfits.

They are a great choice for people with sensitive ears, as they don’t dangle or swing like other types of earrings can. However, because of the type of metal they are made from, stud earrings should be worn with care to ensure that they do not irritate the skin.

Stud earrings gained popularity in the late 1800s through to 1900 when fashion trends changed and women needed simpler jewelry to wear with their high collars. These studs were normally gold and adorned with either a diamond or precious gemstone stone. They also usually had a French back which utilised a grooved locking mechanism to prevent the earring from falling off.

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Hoop Earrings

Hoop earrings are one of the most recognizable and versatile types of antique jewelry. Their circular shape symbolizes unity, infinity, and wholeness, making them a meaningful accessory for many wearers. Hoop earrings are available in a variety of sizes, from petite and dainty to large and statement-making.

In modern times, hoop earrings have become popular among Latina and African American women. For them, this style of jewelry is more than a fashion trend; it’s an expression of their femininity and strength.

Whether you’re looking for a pair of hoop earrings to complete a formal look or just to add elegance to your everyday style, 1stDibs has an excellent selection of antique hoop earrings for sale. These pieces are crafted with meticulous care and can elevate any look. Shop our collection today and find a hoop earring that’s perfect for you. Our selection includes older styles from the 18th Century and newer versions made as recently as the 20th Century.

Drop Earrings

As the name suggests, this style of earring hangs below the point where your earlobe is pierced. These bold statement earrings can add a hint of opulence to any ensemble.

From a single gemstone to an entire diamond drop, these earrings are perfect for the fashion forward lady. Earrings with a drop design are often accompanied by a bow, knot or other decorative element at the top.

In the Art Deco period, drop earrings with a cascade of precious stones were very popular, displaying a decadent and ostentatious style. These adorned the earlobe and were a perfect match for shorter hair styles of the time.

Keep in mind that antique earrings have been reproduced many times throughout the years, so it’s important to look at materials and construction techniques when assessing your vintage earrings for authenticity. The backs of the earring can also help date the piece, as the types of earring backs used have changed over the centuries.

Pearl Earrings

Pearls add a sophisticated touch to any ensemble and are often the go-to accessory for special occasions. They’re also a great gift for the women in your life. Choose a pair of simple pearl studs for a day at the office or a more elaborate pearl drop for that important black-tie event.

The most popular pearl shape for earrings is the round one. They’re perfect for people with a round face shape, as they accentuate the facial features and draw attention to the eyes. Pearls can come in a wide range of colors, from classic white to exotic black or even warm gold and romantic pink.

Burial sites show that early Minoan Crete earring designs included tapered hoops and ones that overlapped. Later, Sumerian artisans used granulation and filigree techniques to create lightweight, crescent-shaped earring cores that pierced the earlobe. The 18th Dynasty saw a shift in earring design from single-piece, hoop earrings to multi-piece ones that featured a central disk or disc suspended by a crescent-shaped hoop or a twisted wirework accent.

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