A pair of antique earrings will enhance a woman’s beauty in subtle ways. Whether you want the subtle sheen of a pearl or the drama of sapphires, Tarinika offers a wide selection of antique earrings for every style savant.
It is important to keep in mind that styles can often be recycled through the years. This is one reason why it can be difficult to date a particular pair of earrings by their style alone.
Antique earrings are a perfect accent to any outfit. Our collection includes everything from a simple pair of classic diamond studs to intricate Victorian designs. Whether you are shopping for a unique gift or a gorgeous addition to your own jewelry collection, Doyle & Doyle’s hand-selected selection of antique and estate earrings has something for every style savant.
Earrings were in and out of fashion throughout the medieval and Renaissance periods, often worn by members of the upper classes to show off wealth. By the 13th Century, however, the Church had banned earpiercing in accordance with its dogma that people cannot alter bodies created in the image of God.
By the Georgian and Victorian Eras, however, faceted gemstones became more available and earrings began to come in a variety of styles. The cluster form – a central stone surrounded by smaller ones – became very popular. The girandole – three drops that dangle from the top – also emerged, though it was later replaced with the single drop pendeloque style.
Earrings come in all shapes and styles. From the elegant curves of a Victorian pair to the dazzling sparkle of an Art Deco diamond stud, our antique earrings collection includes every style from past decades.
Early earrings were simple hoops, such as those produced during the Protopalatial and Neopalatial Minoan Crete eras. These tapered hoops eventually morphed into the more elaborate girandole style. This new design had a central ornament with three drops, often pear shaped, suspended below it. The top portion could be embellished with bows, knots or other decorative elements.
Some styles, such as the girandole described above and dangling pairs referred to as chandelier earrings, have more of a cascading appearance and can be quite elaborate. These styles are generally found in both antique fine jewelry made of karat gold and genuine gemstones, as well as in costume jewelry crafted from glass and plated base metals. The new Art Nouveau movement, which flourished during the late 19th century, also produced beautiful earring designs.
Earring styles and materials have been recycled over time, so if you’re considering purchasing antique earrings, it’s important to take the material, construction and markings into account. While gold and silver remain the most sought after jewelry materials, plated and paste stones (essentially rhinestones) were also used in certain periods.
In the Georgian and Victorian eras, a girandole style of earring became popular featuring three dangling gemstone drops. A bow, knot or another decorative element usually connected the dangling gemstones. In addition, the cluster form of earrings featuring a central stone surrounded by smaller gemstones was also common.
Large faceted diamonds made their debut as did opals and amethysts, carved in cabochon shape. The mores of the period required respectable married women to keep their hair concealed in a variety of headdresses from turban styles and steeple caps to elaborate veils. Nevertheless, pierced earrings could showcase the dispersion of gems and pearls against the wearer’s scalp.
The beauty of antique earrings is timeless and a testament to the art and science of jewelry making. Whether it’s pearls tinkling gently, glistening diamonds twinkling on the earlobe or the weighty tug of gold ear bobs, the elegance of a pair of antique earrings speaks to a woman’s confidence and sense of power.
While it can be challenging to date jewelry, certain features and components are a dead giveaway of the piece’s age. For example, a pair of earrings with hand engraving dates back to the Victorian era. Likewise, a pair with screw findings (favored through the nineteenth century) was likely converted to pierced earring fittings at some point.
Also look for metal stamps, as some manufacturers have different marks over time. A ‘gold’ hallmark is an indicator of the piece’s gold content, while an ‘aluminium’ stamp may suggest it’s vintage Bakelite (a polymeric plastic invented by Leo Hendrik Baekeland) or modern costume jewelry made from a combination of materials.