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Enchanting Earrings Throughout History


Enchanting Earrings Throughout History

Enchanting Earrings Throughout History

                    One of the earliest known pairs of earrings
                   believed to date from around 2600-2500 BCE.

The history of earrings can be traced back to ancient times, when they were first worn for what is speculated to be decorative reasons, alongside showing one’s wealth and status. One of the earliest known pairs of earrings were excavated from the Royal Tombs of Ur, Southern Iraq in the 1920’s. These were hammered sheet gold hoops, worn by Queen Puabi, discovered among other various opulent gold pieces found upon her body, believed to date from around 2600-2500 BCE.

Aside from decoration, the Egyptians believed that earrings could be worn as talismans, helping to bring you closer to the Gods. Similarly, the Ancient Greek and Roman societies believed that wearing earrings also held special properties that would help one to gain power and improve fertility.

To find an ancient or early piece of jewellery in excellent quality is, in itself, remarkable, but a pair of perfectly preserved earrings that date back to such an age as around 5th Century BC, is an astounding rarity. The museum quality pairs of earrings in the Berganza collection originate from Ancient civilisations and would have been worn by the wealthy and noble. These rare beauties would have either been passed down through old collections or have been excavated by metal detectorists. Ancient they may be, these earrings have certainly stood the test of time!

                     Ancient Earrings depicted on mummy masks 

From Ancient to Antique

Moving from the Ancient to the antique, it was the Georgian era that saw the introduction of the ornate girandole earring. A singular gemstone sat on the lobe with strands of gemstones falling underneath, depicting a candelabra or a chandelier. These earrings used to hold such weight that intricately engineered structural wires and strings were used in order for said earrings to stay aloft… The show must go on!

         Georgian earrings set with pearls, diamonds and emeralds.

Queen Victoria had a great influence on what earrings were in vogue during her reign, with upper class ladies looking to emulate their queen. Long earrings were bejewelled with colourful gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires, rubies and garnets, adding elegance to any outfit. Increasingly popular, as a result of newly discovered mines and the advancement of cutting techniques, were diamond earrings. Cluster earrings, a depiction of flowers, could feature a mix of both coloured gems and diamonds, and were highly sought after, as was the classic diamond stud, many fine examples of which can be found in the Berganza collection.

                                                    Queen Victoria 

Edwardian Earrings, The pretty period.

Following from the lavish Victorian designs, the Edwardian era saw earrings take on a more refined elegance, with jewellery inspiration coming from the likes of the French palace of Versaille, classic Georgian architecture and lacework. Popular motifs included bows, tassels, garlands and laurel wreaths, and were all introduced to earring designs. The diamond stud continued to be popular, and took on a delicateness due the use of platinum, which had just been established. Its strength allowed for finely crafted open work and beautiful millegrain decoration, enhancing these diamond encrusted delights!

                                 Edwardian Diamond Drop Earrings
                                                      Circa 1915
                                              Berganza Collection

Earrings in the Jazz age.

The 1920s saw the start of the famous Art Deco era, and increasing social freedoms for ladies saw dramatic changes in fashion. Shorter haircuts were now the height of fashion, which led to longer earring lengths, to complement the trend. Strands of opulent diamonds and gemstones cascading in geometric patterns were all the rage, reflecting the ‘joie de vivre’ post war lifestyle. Jewellery houses such as Boucheron, Cartier, and Van Cleef and Arpels created ever more dazzling designs, producing masterpieces that gave them the reputation they have today!

1940's and beyond

And so, the cocktail era is upon us, spanning from the 1940’s onward, with earring designs showcasing expression, colour, and artistically bold presence. Filled with joy and drama in shapes and styles that were pathed by the past and brought beautifully into the future, there truly is an earring for everyone!

                                     Diamond set gold earrings 
                                                  Circa 1950
                                          Berganza Collection

When it comes to choosing your perfect earring design, the possibilities here at Berganza are endless! Spanning from original ancient gold earrings, all the way up to the bold, clip-on late 19th century delights, we have it all covered. This holiday season is the most wonderful time to express yourself with a beautiful pair of antique or vintage earrings!

front view Ancient Roman gold earrings berganza hatton garden
Ancient Roman gold lyre-shape earrings, circa 2nd-3rd century AD.
Ref: 25517
Bulgari Ceylon sapphire earrings hatton garden
Bulgari Ceylon sapphire earrings, Italian, circa 1970.
Ref: 27025
Cartier diamond hoop earrings, French, circa 1960 hatton garden
Cartier diamond hoop earrings, French, circa 1960.
Ref: 28107
Boucheron diamond clip earrings, English hatton garden
Boucheron diamond clip earrings, English, circa 1950.
Ref: 28061
Art Deco Burmese sapphire diamond earrings berganza hatton garden
Art Deco Burmese sapphire and diamond drop earrings, circa 1930.
Ref: 26220
Ruby and diamond tassle earrings berganza hatton garden
Ruby and diamond tassle earrings, circa 1920.
Ref: 24782
Art Deco Onyx and diamond earrings berganza hatton garden
Art Deco Onyx and diamond earrings French, circa 1925.
Ref: 26623
Edwardian diamond drop earrings berganza hatton garden
Edwardian diamond drop earrings, circa 1910.
Ref: 24415
Colombian emerald diamond drop earrings, circa 1915 hatton garden
Colombian emerald and diamond drop earrings, circa 1915.
Ref: 28087
Old mine diamond drop earrings berganza hatton garden
Old mine diamond drop earrings, circa 1915.
Ref: 26700
Old mine diamond stud earrings, circa 1890 hatton garden
Old mine diamond stud earrings, circa 1890.
Ref: 28152
Victorian natural pearl and diamond drop earrings, circa 1870. Hatton Garden
Victorian natural pearl and diamond drop earrings, circa 1870.
Ref: 28423
Victorian diamond drop earrings hatton garden
Victorian diamond drop earrings, circa 1880.
Ref: 26895
Victorian rose cut diamond drop earrings berganza hatton garden
Early Victorian rose cut diamond drop earrings, English, circa 1850.
Ref: 26226
front ancient gold earrings berganza hatton garden
Western Asiatic Achaemenid gold earrings, circa 6th-4th century BC.
Ref: 26164
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Updated 30/05/2024 at 2:02PM

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