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a personal adornment, sometimes an amulet, worn attached to the ear lobe. Since prehistoric times the ear has been pierced for the insertion of the earring; certain primitive tribes distort the lobe with plugs several inches in diameter or with heavy stones. Egyptians first wore large gold hoops, which eventually became smaller and supported pendants. In Babylonia and later in Assyria where the earring was worn by men to denote rank, the earring evolved into an exquisite work of the goldsmith's art. In Greece the finely wrought gold earrings often had tinkling pendants. The Romans were first to popularize earrings set with precious stones. Earrings were little used with the headdresses of the Middle Ages, but their use had a vigorous revival during the Renaissance and was also adopted by men; pearls were especially favored. In the 18th cent. the diamond earring became most fashionable; the 19th cent. saw extensive use of the cameo. With the invention (c.1900) of a screw device for attaching the earring, their popularity again increased.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



an ornament usually attached to a pierced earlobe and worn by women and, less commonly, by men. In the Bronze Age earrings were made mainly of copper, silver, and gold. In antiquity earrings were made of precious metals combined with glass, jewels, and pearls. The most popular type of earring is a loop with a pendant. The wearing of earrings was sometimes associated with a definite legal or family status. For example, in ancient Rome the only men who wore earrings were male slaves. Among the ancient Slavs, the earrings worn by maidens differed from those worn by married women. Today earrings are produced in many different styles and continue to be a popular ornament worn by women.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In eastern Indian and Hispanic cultures, newborns often get pierced ears. That's OK, but the adult has to clean and check the baby's ears, and you need earrings that have screw-on backs so she can't grab the earring, pop it in her mouth, and choke on it.
And you can be honest in a nice way - tell her you love the earrings but don't have pierced ears and ask if you can go back and swap them for another piece of jewellery.
Look, I wouldn't be offended at all - she's just assumed you have pierced ears as most women seem to these days, but she'd far rather you had something that you can wear.
Brown-and-yellow striped ties flapped in the breeze, but some of the boys had pierced ears and some of the girls had permed hair, their faces blank with slap.
South Miami, FL, February 26, 2014 --(PR.com)-- An innovative new product designed to serve an important function for those with pierced ears, the Ear Whips, has been developed by Cassandra Reed of Gary, Indiana.
He is comfortable in front of the media, sports an E1vis haircut, and has pierced ears. The Bay Area native told National Public Radio a couple of days before Curiosity landed that engineering gave him the "opportunity to be gainfully employed, really understanding my world with these laws and equations that govern it." He's become so popular, in some circles, that there's an active blog discussion on whether Steltzner is truly a hipster or not-some claim his perfectly coiffed hair disqualifies him.
There's a raft of other indications: dyed hair, pierced ears and a more 'youthful' wardrobe.
The reason behind Apple's desire for pierced ears, according to Gwyn, is that their nanny is Spanish, and the kids are "very much connected to the Spanish culture, and in Spain little girls get their ears pierced when they're born."
Washington, May 30 (ANI): 'The King's Speech' superstar Colin Firth has revealed that he was once a 'grungy' rebel with pierced ears.
The mummy had pierced ears and a large incision in her left side made by embalmers to remove her internal organs.
In Finland, among 500 school girls aged 7 to 17 years, the incidence of nickel hypersensitivity was 20 % in those with pierced ears and 2% in the subjects without.4 In an unselected Danish population study, sensitization to nickel was found in 14.8% of those with pierced ears as compared to 1.8% among those without pierced ears.5 The incidence of nickel allergy in women has been doubling every 10 years and is now around 30%.6 In women, the most common cause of nickel dermatitis is direct contact primarily from jewellery, garments, spectacles, wrist watches, and the household environment.