The Return, Rise and Revolution of Earrings


Earrings came back to popular culture in America during the fifties. The trend rolled in like a tsunami with cultural demand far outweighing supply. Fashion refused to wait. She proceeded without proper procedure in regards to facilitating a clean and safe space in which to pierce ears. Due to the lack of commercial facilities, many piercings were done at home, often at ear piercing parties such as the gathering in Grease at which Sandy gets her ears pierced by her friends.

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By the late sixties, ear piercing began to catch on throughout several sub-cultures and had been especially well received by the men of the counter culture movement. These men, lovingly referred to here as Hippies, rejected the conformity of mainstream society and cherished earrings as a form of self-expression that really helped complete their free-spirited fashion.

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Another sub-culture that adopted the look and learned how to wear it well was the gay male community. For these men, earrings represented much more than style. The earring became a symbol of pride and freedom to express oneself without having to be afraid of judgment or prosecution.

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By the seventies, women began to realize how fabulous all these men were looking with once earrings had been added to their style repertoire. Naturally, they were inclined to keep up with their fashion savvy counterparts. Once ear piercing caught on amongst mainstream American women, fashion would never be the same.

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Eventually, Manhattan jewelry stores caught onto the trend and identified the need to provide a safe space in which piercings could be performed, as an alternative to amateur ear piercing parties. Quite often department stores would host events that would feature nurses offering quick procedures with a medical grade piercing device and clean equipment. Manhattan became the epicenter of the surge in earring popularity and cultural domination.

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The seventies seemed to be a great time for stylistic experimentation and radical self-expression. During this time it became fashionable for women to wear a second set of earrings in their lobes. Keen on this look, some stylish males were inspired to start a new trend for men to double pierce a single lobe.

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By the end of the seventies a lot had changed in the fashion world. This was an era for the ear to say the least. The seventies introduced asymmetric styles and multiple piercings. During these years, we also witnessed the birth of the cartilage-piercing trend, which has been kept around and cherished by the punk rock community.

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The evolution of the earring has been a phenomenal journey and the seventies helped break a lot of new ground in the name of personal style. ZYDO Italy embraces the power of self-expression in every authentic Italian earring we design and appreciate the deeper meanings that may exist behind each piece of jewelry’s story.

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Please join us next week when we look into the earring evolution through the eighties, nineties and early 2000s.


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