Timelessness is the goal of any great accessory — but the road to style immortality isn’t always paved with acceptance. For one earring, its journey to the list of jewelry greats has been filled with highs and lows. Introducing — the hoop earring. Whether you’re at Trader Joe’s or scrolling through your Instagram feed, you’d be hard-pressed not to come across a pair of them. While today hoops are arguably the most popular ear accessory — there are many cultures that contributed to the role of the hoop as a fashion staple.
Born in the Bronze Age, hoop earrings were originally worn by Minoan women + men of high social standing. Representative of wealth + prosperity, this symbolic shape continued to appear across early civilizations: Santorini, Rome, Persia, Nubia, Egypt, Vietnam, India… just to name a few. Evolving from a simple eternal circle, hoops were heavily influenced by the art within each culture — leading to variations in weight + detail + ornament. Despite their early popularity, changes in collar height brought hoops to a halt until the 1820’s, when the style was revived as a nod to Roman + Greek fashion.
Although the multicultural background of hoops had been highlighted through the 1800’s, the 1900’s marked a different era. Due to racial bias, hoops were seen as a style only worn by immigrants and ultimately led to the style largely disappearing for close to 20 years. This mindset in the 1900’s was so extreme that even pierced ears fell completely out of favor — until the signature bob haircut of the 20’s burst onto the scene and created the perfect opportunity to feature this accessory yet again. The popularity of the hoop was again supported in 1922 when the tomb of King Tutankhamen was discovered and fashion was heavily influenced by Egyptian style. Then in the 40’s and 50’s, the Hollywood scene of fashion + film + celebrity gave rise to hoops again as a popular accessory trend.
The 60’s + 70’s ushered in an era of change — change in perspective, in thinking, in culture, and in fashion. For many women, hoops became synonymous with feminist fashion. Hoops were also the darling of disco and further popularized by entertainers such as Cher + Diana Ross. Continuing into the 80’s + 90’s, musicians and entertainers alike in both Hip Hop and R&B reclaimed the hoop as an expression of both on-trend fashion + a nod to cultural heritage.
While the hoop has a storied past rooted in everything from decoration to discrimination, today people of all walks of life + gender + lineage alike wear hoop earrings as a symbol of on-trend fashion. With this blog, we hope to share with you the history of the jewelry with which you choose to adorn yourself as a means of understanding the roots from which your MC jewels are derived. Cheers to rocking your jewels responsibly. xx