Silver Baubles, bangles and beads have been adorning human earlobes as silver earrings for as long as five centuries. Not all of their displays, however, were for the purpose of allowing the wearer to make a glamorous fashion statement. Learn how hairstyles, hats, hedonism, economics, and the media have all contributed to the evolution and popularity of this stylish accessory known as silver earrings.
The wearing of silver earrings today is primarily ornamental and helps to "tie an outfit together" by using colors that match or contrast with the overall ensemble. The metals, primarily gold or silver, are complementary to the necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches and pins the wearer selects as accessories. Silver earrings are also an expression of one's personal taste in art and can be made out of wood, plastic, feathers, ceramics, rubber, shells and even food such as pasta, dried beans and various seeds. Silver earrings can even make a political, religious or social statement by representing campaign propoganda, crosses, or "ribbons" in support of causes such as U.S. troops, breast cancer awareness or empathy for victims of AIDS. The wearing of an earring by a male can advertise whether he is gay or straight, depending on which ear it's worn on.
Pierced and post silver earrings involve piercing holes in various parts ot the ear for the insertion of metal studs or rings. For the most part, these holes are permanent but will gradually reseal if the individual stops wearing the silver earrings. Clip-on or screw-back silver earrings are detachable and involve a spring hinge that gently clamps on to the ear and, in the case of screw-backs, can be tightened to ensure a secure fit on the ear lobe. Magnetic silver earrings come in two pieces, a front and a back, and are held in place by magnetism. Dangle silver earrings, which come in both pierced and clip-on varieties, extend an inch or two below the earlobe and, when worn for formal occasions, usually include lots of sparkling gems (real or fake). Hoop silver earrings resemble a ring and come in a wide range of sizes, the larger ones usually being reminiscent of gypsies. Ear threads and needles are plastic sticks and threaded chains for the edgier crowd of earring wearers. Stick-on silver earrings employ small adhesive strips; most of these are for one-time use at parties as a novelty fashion accessory. Ear cuffs are curved bands of metal or plastic that clip on to various parts of the ear.
Silver earrings can range anywhere in size from metallic or jewelled studs that can be small as half the tip of a pencil eraser to large bangles that can fill the space between the bottom of the ear lobes to the top of the shoulders. In more primitive civilisations, such as parts of Africa, successively heavier ear weights are applied to young girls' ears in order to elongate their ear lobes over a period of time to achieve feminine beauty.