Below, you will seven styles of earrings commonly found in antique and vintage jewellery. (In a previous article, I discussed how to age earrings by the findings. )
Stud earrings became popular in the late 1800s but fell out of use when ears stopped being pierced in the early 1900s. They became popular again in the early 1960s and continue in popularity to this day.
Gold, diamond and silver stud earrings. England, late 18th century. V&A Museum
Note: Some stud earrings have threaded posts which can be indicative of a finer piece.
3.50 Carat European Cut Diamond Stud Earrings, c. 1900. Photo courtesy of LangAntiques.com (Note the ‘threaded posts’)
This type of round or domed earring with no dangling element first became popular in the 1930s. Earlier examples tend to have screw backs whereas those from the 1950s and 1960s tend to be clip-ons. From the mid-1960s onwards some button earrings were also produced for pierced ears.
Vintage Angel Skin Coral clip on button earrings. Elder and Bloom
Top and Drop Earrings
This is a style of earrings which has two sections, usually round or oval. The two sections normally match and the bottom section is normally the largest. The top section usually hangs just below the lobe except when there is a pierced post and then it might sit on the lobe itself. The style has been around for centuries but is associated with the Georgian era as it was so popular in that era.
When the bottom section is detachable, these are known as day to night earrings as they can be converted for daytime or evening attire.
Antique gold and coral ‘Top and Drop’ earrings. Elder and Bloom.
This is a style which began in the 1800s. It is similar to the Top and Drop earring style, but the two sections are connected by a third central section, designed as a bow.
Pendeloque gold filigree and pearl earrings. Salamanca 1800-1870. V&A Museum.
This is a style which has three dangling elements with the central element usually being the largest or hanging lower than the other two elements. The style first appeared around 1700 in France but is often associated with the decade of 1870 as it experienced enormous popularity during the Rococo Revival of that period.
Antique gold and coral Spanish Girandole earrings.
This is a very popular style which consists of a single element attached to the finding.
Victorian drop earrings with À jour settings. Elder and Bloom.
This is a style of earring which has tiers of dangling elements, resembling a chandelier. They are often associated with the Mid-Victorian era.
Queen Letizia of Spain wearing chandelier style earrings.
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