The History of Wedding Earrings [Full Article]

The History of Wedding Earrings 

Ever wondered how the tradition of wearing wedding earrings started? To get to that point, we need to go back in time, not too far, just 5,000 years or so.

It's reported that mummified bodies with pierced ears have been discovered, with the oldest being the 5,300 year old Otiz the Iceman who was found in Italy in a glacier.  

It was then in the Middle East, as early as 3,000 B.C, that pierced earrings made their debut in warmer climates.  Their purpose was to help strangers quickly identify a wearer's tribal identity, religion or political persuasion.

The lobe jewellery also made its way into The Bible several times, including: Exodus 35:22 So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.

Even Tutankhamun was no stranger to earrings. Although his mummy's ears were clearly perforated, no actual jewels hung from his remains, although there were some inside the tomb. His iconic burial mask had pierced ears.

It is reported that earrings were also worn by pirates for superstitious reasons. Some were convinced that their eyesight would improve, or bad eyesight would be cured, by wearing earrings due to the precious metals and their healing powers.  Some pirates believed that pierced ears would prevent sickness while others believed that a gold earring would service as a protective tailsman and by wearing such jewellery they wouldn't drown.

16th century clergyman William Hanson noted the use of earrings in men: Some lusty courtiers and gentlemen of courage do wear either rings of gold, stones or pearls in their ears. How fabulous!

In the 20th century, ear piercings became somewhat of a marker amongst the LGBT community. The pierced ear in question was seen as an indication: right indicated a member of the LGBT community.

Wedding Earrings and The Royals

Scooting back in time to 1863, and we have the first Royal wedding photographs. Queen Victoria’s eldest son, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, married Princess Alexandra of Denmark on March 10, 1863. The Princess (Queen Elizabeth's great grandmother) chose to accessorise her wedding ensemble with what appears to be a pair of pearl drop earrings.

Royal wedding earrings

Credit: Unknown

The pearl wedding earrings trend continued on with Queen Elizabeth wearing pearl earrings with diamond accents for her wedding to Prince Phillip. 

Kate Middleton bucked the pearl earring trend with a pair of diamond earrings that contained a special nod to her own heritage; an acorn. The acorn is a nod to the Middleton coat of arms which incorporates three acorns: one for Kate, one for Pippa and one for brother James. The acorn represents the oak trees commonly found in Kate's home county of Berkshire. 

Kate Middleton Wedding Earrings

Credit: Marie Claire

Meghan Markle opted for a pair of Cartier studs to mark her May 2018 nuptials to Prince Harry. Her wedding wasn't the only occasion where the earrings made an appearance; the Duchess actually wore the earrings prior to her wedding at the Invictus games in April 2018, and then again at the baptism of baby Archie in 2019.

Meghan Markle Wedding Earrings

Credit: Standard