Earrings are recorded to be the earliest form of body modifications known to man. From the Polynesian and African piercings, the Harappan bronze earrings to the Grecian earrings in Minos, they date back almost 5000 years prior. At present, earrings have become an integral part of a woman’s jewelry box, and in India, the practice of getting a little girl’s ears pierced is almost ceremonial in nature. The uniqueness of earrings also lies in the fact that next to the necklace it is perhaps the only ornament that is not gender defined.
Types of Earrings:
Minimal, elegant and stylish, studs are the most available variety of earrings that can be paired with a range of attires, from ethnic to western. The primary feature of the studs is their apparent appearance to ‘float’ on the earlobe as the pin holding the outward-facing jewel pierces through the earlobe and the post is held by a removable friction back clutch. The invisibility of the post gives it the unique floating look. Sometimes, screw-backs are constructed on the post so that the clutches need to be screwed in through its rigged edges in order to safe-keep the precious jewels on the front. Studs are made from a variety of materials, like pearls, rubies, diamonds, sapphires, gold etc.
Quirky or grandiose, subtle or statement, hoops offer an array of designs that can be paired with varied attires depending on their structure and appeal. Originally, hoops were shaped in only circular and semicircular designs. Hoops have a metal post sticking at the end that is put through the ear piercing and then held together by a hoop clip behind the earlobe to complete the full shape. The entire mechanism is held together by tension. Currently, plenty of innovations have been made of hoops with shapes ranging from squares, triangles, stars, rectangles, hexagons etc. Moreover, inlaid gems with apertures are sometimes placed through the hoops to create teardrop or dangling designs.
As the name suggests, the danglers feature flexibility to dangle from the earlobes and can vary in length, from a few centimeters to brushing over one’s shoulders. They are generally flowing designs with thin wires attached at the back to pass through the piercing or by French-styled fish hooks to hold them in place. Sometimes, they may even have the post-with-a-clutch mechanism. More statement than studs, danglers are eye-catching adornments that are customized to fit different attires.
Dainty and simplistic or statement pieces with multiple precious stones and intricate designs, ear cuffs can vary in their trend and even worn on one ear alone. Although generally attached to the earlobe, ear cuffs are characterized by covering the outer curve of the ear from the top or the middle. They can also have multiple attachment points that are joined to form one design or can appear as a series of designs like a set of studs. A variation of the ear cuffs is the Bajoran that was inspired from the Star Trek series. This has two connection points—one at the earlobe and the other at the outer curve, having a clasp ring. The two parts are interconnected with a chain that can help extend or shorten it.
Not as long and flowing as the danglers, the drop earrings offer a wide range of shapes that hang down from the earlobe after its attachment through the piercing. From traditional designs to quirky pieces, including the signature teardrop earrings, they are midway between the simplicity of studs to the complexities of danglers.
Evergreen and classic, the jhumkas are unfailingly gorgeous earrings that are spread across in diverse designs across the Indian subcontinent. From gold to oxidized jewellery, the jhumkas are made of a variety of metals. Generally, they consist of a circular ring with a hoop to attach it through the earlobe and the jhumka, which is a clustered design, dangling centrally below. Mostly, these clustered designs are bell-shaped and inlaid with a variety of materials like tiny pearls or stones to give them the added shimmer. The jhumkas are an integral part of the Indian jewellery culture and a favorite among many a customer due to their accessibility and variety.
In the monopoly of Jhumkas, the chandelier earrings have made a fiery comeback in the last half a decade thanks to Deepika Padukone’s gorgeous role as Leela in Ram-Leela. Exotic and breathtaking, the chandeliers offer the jewellers a wide berth of innovation in style and material. Inlaid with precious stones to pearls, or using the base metal in several patterns, the chandelier earrings initially begin as a single stud for attachment and then broaden in steps to give a semi-lunar or fan-like appearance.
A typical adornment of the Rajasthani royalty, the chaand balis have become an essential in the jewellery box thanks to its popularity by Deepika Padukone in Ram-Leela and Padmavat. As the name suggests, the chaand balis appear as two overlapping crescent-shaped moons that are mounted on the earlobe with a flowerhead and may carry intricate stone-studded designs beneath. Encrusted with emeralds and rubies and inlaid with pearls, the gold base of chaand balis adds to its luxurious aura.
Kaan Pashas are essentially wide and big ear tops with floral designs, like the Suryamukhi Kaan Pasha, and sometimes added with flowing fan-like strings dropping down from the tops. A common form of jewellery around the eastern states of Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal, the gold Kaan Pashas are often associated with the Bengali bridal trousseau. Variants of the traditional gold include diamond or other gemstone-studded designs.
The traditional Kashmiri Dejhoor has carved its own niche among the customers over the years due to its unique extravagance. The Dejhoor consists of two pieces which are connected with a long chain. The first piece can be a drop or a dangler that is attached to the earlobe through the piercing and the second piece is worn by the chain over the ear curve and behind it, so that it dangles beneath the first piece. Often, both pieces are adorned with beautiful drop-shaped stones like emeralds, rubies and sapphires beneath the bell-shaped jhumkas.
Traditional and gorgeous, kaan or ear chains took to the spotlight thanks to the strong and beautiful women of the Baahubali films. Essentially, they consist of a drop or a dangler attached to the earlobe that is mounted and connected to a chain that ends in a hook. This chain is then pinned with the end hooks to the hair which is often set in an updo or bouffant. The kaan chains are often a staple with the maang mathis or jhumars that are worn by the South Indian brides ad called Matilu. Indian kaan chains are evidence of the creativity of the jewellers who often make multi-layered gold or silver chains to adorn the hair with extravagant stone-encrusted jhumkas and danglers on the other end.