Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Many Kinds of Earrings

I thought I knew about earrings, and I took some pride in that.  But after talking to someone at a shop recently while browsing, I was given a short little lesson on just how little I did know. First, a bit of neat naval history.

The Pirates and sea farers wore hoop golden earrings for several reasons:


1.      They hung wax off of them that could be used to plug their ears when firing the cannons that can shatter your ear drums when you fought in one too many battles;

2.      They helped with seasickness (I’m a bit dubious on this one), and they were a badge of honor given when a sailor first passed the equator; and

3.      The earrings were usually made of gold that was meant to compensate for burial if they drowned and their body were washed ashore after a shipwreck.

Throughout the centuries the trend continued amongst men, until tables turned and women began to dominate ear adornment. During 1970’s  piercing  reached  new  heights  as  nurses  began attending  ear  piercing  parties  at  department  stores,  alleviating  the  need  for home piercings using a needle and a prayer that infections wouldn’t occur. Eventually ear piercing guns were invented and improved sterilization techniques promoted further adoption of fashion piercings.

 
Here are the common ones that everyone's heard of:
Studs

 
These kinds of earrings create the illusion of floating on an earlobe, they are also the first earrings you wear after piercing your ears. Post earrings consist of the post that goes through the piercing and an embellishment that is fused or soldered to the front. Designs can be enhanced with drop rings for dangles. Stud earrings stay in place using a clutch or butterfly backing.

Earwires

Shepherd Hooks - the most popular of all pierced earrings, hook earwires are inexpensive and easy to make by forming wire. Many variations exist by changing the shape, altering the wire or adding ornaments to the hook itself. The drawback of earwires is that they often push forward out of the ear when the end-user wears certain hairstyles, scarves or turtlenecks. A rubber back stopper can help to secure these earrings in place to avoid losses.  

 


V-wires or Marquise wires - this is currently a popular variation on the standard hook shape. V-wires are typically larger than standard earwires and can support heavier dangles.

 


Ear Threads – these long earrings thread through the ear and out the opposite side so dangles appear both in front and behind the lobe for an interesting illusion effect.

 


Kidney wires – are made from wire shaped like a kidney with a hook that latches the finding together. Kidney wires are inexpensive and more secure since they rarely push out of a piercing. Current variations include larger wires that hang lower from the ear.

 

Hinged Ear Findings

Leverbacks – are a premium ear finding option. These findings have a hinge backing that securely snap into place behind the ear lobe.

 


Earharp-- shaped like a harp, these findings consist of a post and hinge backing that snaps in place for a secure hold.


 Hoops

 Wire Hoops – these lightweight and inexpensive hoops are ideal for beading or wirework additions. Wire hoops usually have one end flattened and pierced so the hook end can latch into the hole. Or, they may have a circular loop at one end to receive the bent latch hook. Wire hoops come in all shapes and sizes.


 Hinged Hoops – are a more expensive, premium option. These earrings have a hinge that securely latches it into place. Hinged hoops are often made with hollow tubing or solid castings. The larger surface area on the hoops allows for more ornate patterns, shapes and designs.




Endless Hoops – are primarily made from hollow tubing. The top arch is a finer gauge wire that goes through the lobe and then inserts into the open end of the tubing to create an “endless” loop shape.


 Non-pierced Earrings

 Clip-ons – are the most popular non-pierced earrings. They just snap to the lobe to hold it in place but do tend to slip off fairly easily when dangles are too heavy.
 

Screwbacks - literally twist into place, holding the finding securely to the lobe.


Others

Cuffs – wrap around the cartilage in the middle of the ear. They are purchased as a pre-made cuff or many designers create their own using ear cuff blanks. These are often embellished with a charm or a chain is added linking it to another earring located elsewhere on the ear.


 

Chandeliers – usually hang from an earwire. These resemble a chandelier and create a cluster effect in jewelry designs.


 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

An Exciting Jewelry Trend: Double-sided Earrings



For many women, choosing their earrings for the day is part of the fun of being feminine. Earrings set the tone for the whole outfit. And a new jewelry trend is like finding a buried treasure. A look you didn’t even know existed until you find the jewelry item can become one of your favorite or go-to pieces.

 How about trying out this very chic new earring trend?

Double-sided, or back-and-forth earrings are interesting, a bit daring, and are ladylike meets fashion forward. Many are pearl-based and are super feminine while mixing classic with totally modern. Double-sided earrings are also all reversible, so it’s up to you which part you put in the front or the back! Some celebrities are even rocking these types of earrings in just one ear, capturing even more attention to that beautiful solo stud.

 Here are some fantastic, affordable options of double-sided earrings. Pick your favorite and teach your friends about this new, awesome trend in ear-wear.

 Alex Earrings - These earrings are a perfect example of mixing fancy and a little punk rock. The Alex Earrings have a front/back design with pearl pendants and gold tusk backings.


 

PAVÉ PEARL 360 STUDS - This trend-forward earring mixes womanly pearls with a little disco-glam with its combo of pearl and pavé accents. The pavé part looks like a gorgeous disco ball of your ears.

 


Cut Off Dagger Cuff Earrings - This pair of earrings are amazing. The majority of the pair comes from the back post. It’s gold sunburst design with crystal-encrusted spikes is very chic mixed with the perfect amount of edginess.

 


Pearl Double-Sided Earrings - These double-sided pearl earrings are a new twist on an old classic.  One smaller pearl serves as a stud earrings while one larger pearl rests behind your earlobe for a cool meets classy look.  These earrings are available in gold or silver colored settings or peach with rose-gold colored setting (pictured below) and they look like the real thing but for an amazing price!


 


Curbs Front Back Studs, Rebecca Minkoff

These amazing earrings from Rebecca Minkoff feature a silver-tone claw on one side, and an imitation pearl stud. These are another example of the punk meets feminine look that is so trendy, but will never not be in style.



Thursday, November 6, 2014

Earrings Evolution

Ear piercing is one of the oldest and most widespread forms of body modification.   Earrings have been worn for thousands of years, with finds dating back to around 3000 BC, and have adorned the ears for reasons other than simple decoration.    Ancient Mesopotamians, Greeks and Romans believed that earrings would guard against danger and prevent evil spirits entering the body, and in many cultures the size of the earrings demonstrated wealth and social status. Historical Hindu, Buddhist and Chinese sculptures depict certain important royal figures with stretched, elongated earlobes to symbolize their greatness and wisdom.


Aphrodite fresco in Pompeii depicting goddess with earrings

 
 Greek and Roman inspirations


However, not all heavy earrings were worn through the lobe; they were sometimes worn in the hair or on headdresses, such as the jade ear flares worn in Central American around AD 600-1000.  They were also sometimes worn around the ears and contemporary examples of this method include the beautifully sculptured ear ornaments by Apinya Oo Boonprakob, made in oxidized silver and 24ct gold, which elegantly encircle the ears, and the sculptured ice piece by Naomi Filmer.


 
http://www.frida-kahlo-foundation.org/Frida Kahlo self portrait with ivory earrings
 
In Western society today the wearing of earrings is increasingly common among men.  In the 1970s the trend was influenced by the punk movement, while the fashion is now upheld by male music performers and professional sportsmen.    However, it is evidently not just a recent craze. Paintings of William Shakespeare show him wearing an earring, and the carved images of soldiers on the palace walls in Persepolis, ancient Persia, are one of the earliest indications of men sporting such adornments.  In the 1920s, earrings were also popular with sailors, who superstitiously believed that the wearing of one from a pair, with the other worn by their sweetheart, would ensure their safe return and reunion.
 Modern punkman earring
 
Elizabethan man with pearl drop earrings
 
 

The ears are vital for our everyday existence: they aid communication and play a critical role in the process of balance and movement. So it is not surprising that we choose to draw attention to them through jewelry, and wish to enhance and adorn them with beautiful pieces.

 


Contemporary earrings are still worn to signify status and beauty and are most commonly worn to enhance and frame the face.  This positioning makes them highly visible and, if hanging from the lobe, will move with the wearer catching the light and coming to life.  The versatility of the earring allows a broad range of design and scale, from the small to the exaggerated length of pieces which extend beyond the ears...

 


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Bali Beauty, Art and Jewelry

I just took a much deserved holiday on the island of Bali.  It wasn’t my first visit, and I did my best to steer clear of the usual tourist spots filled with cheap T-shirts and overflowing beer. As far away from the madding crowd I strove to be, and I largely succeeded.  Bali will always hold a strange captivation for me, which began when I was struck dumb by a Walter Spies painting at a local museum. Below is his ‘Morning Light’, it is simply sublime. He was a German artist whose life was inextricably intertwined with Bali.  My stay this time was spent partially at his original home in Ubud, which has been turned into a chalet style spa resort, I'm sure the process has made it lose much of its mystique. Commercialization cannot be helped I suppose. The paradox is how else was I to get the chance to stay in such a special place?


 Morgenlicht
 

Bali is beautiful, and filled with art. Her paddy terraces are best experienced in the early morning before the sun grows fierce, or in the late afternoon when it starts to retire over the horizon…

 

The Balinese are artistic, and this is reflected in the art and jewelry they create.  A typical landscape painting below features the ubiquitous paddies and Mt. Agung barely discernible in the leafy background.
 
 

A scene from the Ramayana

 

A few of my favorite souvenirs this time:
 
                            Silver mother of pearl earrings



 

 Coral jewelry
Moonstone dangle earrings
 
 
The closest thing to paradise on earth...at Tanah Lot
 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Earring Styles for Face Shape

Want to wear earrings but don’t know what kind of earrings look good on you?  Here I would have some suggestions that really get you to think outside the boundaries to widen your choices.  Understanding your face shape and jaw line is essential as they are going to affect the style and the length of earrings you can wear.  The first thing you want to do is to find the widest base on your face. 

 



Oval type 

Oval has the longest face, widest forehead and a narrower chin line. This is a very popular face style.  Drop earrings or dangle earrings are the kinds of details put to balance the area by the jaw, not the eye. The longer your earring goes down, the more you emphasize your face.  The closer your earring goes to your eyes, the more you emphasize your eyes. The former works best in oval type. Hoop earrings and chandelier earrings are also the good choices as they are filling in the area giving the most attractive look.

 



Round type

Round has the widest part right across the cheek line with a round jaw line.

This shape is a little more demanding.  If you have a shorter or longer neckline, then your hair length becomes extremely important.  The area that you have to consider is right beside the cheek.  A geometric drop earring would be a perfect match to round shape because it’s a contrast to the round. If you have short hair cut, wear round stud earrings which help pull the weight across the cheek line.  If you really want drop earrings, do wear the longest earring you can possibly get because it’s really going to help you look very romantic. The round-faced people are sexy all attack because they can have longer earrings to try out.

 



Square type

Square has the widest down at the bottom and is usually accompanied by more about rounded or square chin line.  To make the balance, we need to bring the weight away from the widest part of your face and bring it up more toward your eyes and closer to the ears. Through a lot of eye make-up would make you look pretty because it emphasizes your eyes a lot when you have a square face.  Long dangle earrings with weight at the top and length drops down beyond chin will help move the weight up by the ear and go into the face.

 



These are just some of the ideas to show you the kinds of boulder earrings that you can wear in the right place with confidence.  Trust you will get the best results by learning the styles of earrings to wear with certain face shapes.  More importantly, you shouldn’t be missing an opportunity to make yourself more beautiful.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Party Earrings with a Big Purpose

... Why to impress of course!  Metallic feather-look earrings crafted from leather? Yes, please. What a combination of funk and class. The style is super cool and party-perfect. Even better, these earrings look ridiculously expensive. But wait, there’s something more amazing about them.

Just look at these...

Metallic earrings dripping gold

 

This style is a longtime favorite of ours, for the beautiful items and the goal to empower women through design. In keeping with that, these earrings are each handcrafted using locally sourced leather. This holiday season, I can’t think of a more perfect gift for a friend than these beautiful earrings…or as a bit of indulgence for your edgier self!  There is just something about leather and metal which appeals to our animal senses.  It’s hard to put a finger on it, but there it is. Perhaps it appeals to the wild side in each one of us, rebelliously chic a la the girl with the dragon tattoo.

 
Metallic leather pod earrings
 
A voguish roguish Lisbeth!
 


I also happen to be pretty darn smitten with the leather bracelets as well–which, coincidentally, would look sweet with those earrings. Make your presence felt at a party...even if it should ever so slightly intimidate the more priggish types who are more at home with lace.  But what can they do?  It's all done in good taste after all!

Gold, silver and bronze leather bracelets
 
Beady bracelets

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kinetic Works of Art - Jewelry That Move

Lovely jewelry can really move you on a personal level. But what about those pieces who do just that, move! They are definitely not your usual run of the mill, stick-in-the-mud pieces. There are a number of designers who make kinetic jewelry, and here are a few of my favorite ones I'd like to share with you.

Kinekt
Do you ever twiddle the rings on your fingers? Well, Kinekt Design's Gear Ring will let you do more than move the ring around the finger. You can move all those gears on the stainless steel ring! This gives you that extra dimension as you twiddle!  And the industrial mechanical look of the ring really looks cool too wouldn’t you say? And it reminds us not to be a mere cog in the wheel!

Kinekt gear ring


Danielle Miller
Hailing from South Carolina, jewelry metal smith Danielle Miller truly understands fidgets in her gadgets. Her modern designs are stunning - in looks and in utter cleverness. Take her sterling silver Mod Rocker rings. There are two motions - the curved rectangle at the top see saws while the stone setting slides freely along it. Reminds me of starship Enterprise from Star Trek.

Beam me up Scotty!
 

Lisa Pavelka
Lisa Pavelka mentioned on her blog she's been "making spinner rings for a few years starting with metal clays, but also dabbling with polymer clay and mixed media creations. Not just rings mind you, but necklaces too!"  Depicted here is her pinwheel design - you know the kind of toy children had in the days before iPad electronic games. Such a fun design as you can spin the middle section like a windmill!

 

Ed Levin
But my absolute favorite are these kinetic earrings by Ed Levin. The loop-the-loop bottom is a delightful mix of compound angles and widths, reminiscent of a musical notation. They are unique, whimsical and handmade from sterling silver.

 
Musical whimsical & classy
 
Ed Levin drop earrings
 

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