The History of Hoop Earrings

A smiling woman wearing gorgeous gold hoop earrings.

Hoop earrings may be one of the most lightweight pieces of jewelry that people can wear day-to-day. However, they are also one of the boldest accessories, and they carry a long and magnificent history of significant global meaning as also being one of the oldest accessories worn by humans. Once donned by queens and kings as a signifier of social status and power, hoop earrings were created as a unique way for people to stand out and express themselves in profound cultural ways across the world. Please continue reading to learn more and explore the historical significance of hoop earrings and how they have evolved throughout the centuries. And, if you happen to be looking for a new selection of gorgeous, handcrafted earrings to help you express your unique style, check out the vast selection offered by the experts at LaCkore Couture today. Also, please feel free to examine their other selections of top-quality rings, necklaces, and bracelets.

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The Cultural Significance of Hoop Earrings

Before we delve into the global history of hoop earrings, let’s quickly examine some of the significant meanings behind them, as well as what they mean for many of the women who wear them today. Not only were hoop earrings a historical symbol of wealth and power flaunted by royalty and members of the upper class in various cultures around the globe. They also represent a profound sense of wholeness, unity, infinity, and countless other significant meanings to many of those who wear them today. 

For example, hoop earrings have long been an essential staple in Latino culture. Immigrants in both Europe and America have utilized them as a symbol of identity and strength and a form of resistance against discrimination. It has even become a common custom for young Latino girls to receive hoop earrings as gifts from their female relatives. Countless influential female celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, and Beyonce also frequently feature a pair of bold hoop earrings, but not just because of their popularity as fashion pieces. They also wear them as a sign of respect for the African and Dominican cultures where the hoop earrings originated.

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The Origins of Hoop Earrings

A woman looking at the camera wearing beautiful gold hoop earrings.

Hoop earrings were worn by people in numerous cultures across the globe and throughout history, including the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Asians, and many others. The first hoop earrings were suspected to originate in the African civilization of Nubia around 2500 B.C.E., located in what is currently referred to as Sudan, before spreading to new global regions. During 1500 B.C.E., both men and women in Egypt wore hoop earrings to enhance their beauty and symbolize their wealth and power. Following this, many ancient Roman and Greek women adopted the accessory, along with some high-status men. Ancient carvings have also depicted Persian soldiers sporting single hoop earrings on and off the battlefield.

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Hoop Earrings and The History of Europe: 1600 Through The 1820s

Europe saw a significant decline in the use of ear jewelry due to the introduction of elaborate hairstyles, high collared clothing, and headpieces during the 1600s that typically covered the ears. Pear-shaped pearl earrings were much more in style during the 1700s, especially as women began cutting back on earrings overall and started wearing them in only a single ear. This trend changed during the 1820s when lightweight hoops once again took center stage in fashion trends due to heavy inspiration from Roman cultures. This eventually led to the enhanced popularity of oversized gold hoops that are still frequently seen today throughout much of the world.

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Hoop Earrings Through the 20th Century

 A woman looking at the camera wearing lovely silver hoop earrings.

In the early 1900s of the United States, there was a general stance of negativity that many people held in regard to hoop earrings, as many people saw them as a symbol of Latino and Native American cultures. In fact, many minority women- especially African American women- stopped wearing earrings completely in the hopes that it would help them escape the societal classification of being an immigrant. However, this stigma surrounding hoop earrings was relatively short-lived, and the accessory saw a significant comeback in the styles of all American women around 1910. This change was due to the fashion crazes surrounding low-cut outfits, simpler hairstyles, and popular updos that showed off people’s ears rather than keeping them covered. 

Spanish and Egyptian influences served to further move hoop earrings into the realm of popularity during the 1920s through the introduction of new and exotic styles that took much of the fashion world by storm. Their popularity especially soared after the 1922 discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, where numerous jewels and gold jewelry (including a massive selection of gold hoops and other extravagant earrings) were unearthed. Once again, the image of gold hoop earrings was directly tied with a sense of sophistication, power, and elevated social status, resulting in high demand for them in the market.

The popular updos of the 20s and 30s also served to make hoop earrings an essential final touch for the fashion styles of many women, no matter their ethnicity or culture. Low-cut blouses also provided ladies with the perfect opportunity to show off their gorgeous hoops, and it wasn’t long until both everyday ladies and popular entertainers were sporting them as part of their regular style. This trend continued through the 1960s when hoops became a signature look that matched perfectly with the straight-hair trends that swept the decade. Following this was the insane growth of the popularity of silver, kinetic, chrome, and tribal jewelry designs that became well known during the 1970s. 

Though the sudden popularity of drops and more jagged-shaped earrings pushed hoops slightly out of the spotlight in the 1980s, the designs never went out of style. Hoops continued to be a significant element of fashion throughout the 1990s and early 2000s due to the Latino influence and hip hop culture and continue to be one of the most popular earring styles as of 2021.

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