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earring, 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.
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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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
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.
Women who have pierced ears are engaging in normative behavior.
Do you have any tattoos or body piercings besides pierced ears?
Tattooing is only one form of body modification, and maybe Mr Rutherford should look closer to home at his wife's or children's pierced ears before tarring all of us with the same brush.
She has a small scar on her forehead, pierced ears and was last seen wearing a black jacket with a white fur trim, three-quarter-length jeans and trainers.
(Challenge students to consider a situation wherein pierced ears were essential for survival.
It's possible to see her perfectly-preserved pierced ears, as well as a vague outline of the false eyes which were placed over her real ones by the ancient Egyptian embalmers.
Mr Reynolds is described as 5ft 6ins tall with light brown hair, pierced ears, eyebrows and tongue with tattoos on both arms.
The kid I brought here looked like he fell down the steps with his tackle box in his hand with his pierced ears, pierced eyelid, pierced nose and pierced lip."
Promptly - and in earshot of several shocked guests - the recipient returned the package whence it came, commenting that after four years working together Savill ought to have known that his colleague did not have pierced ears and suggesting that a charity would have better use for the item.
The conclusion has been reached after twelve years of research which pieced together clues such as fragments of a wig, the mummy's pierced ears and a broken-off arm which would have originally been bent in a way reserved only for a pharaoh or queen.
He noted that 13% of 8- to 15-year-old girls with pierced ears are allergic to nickel, but only 1% of girls with unpierced ears in that age group demonstrate nickel sensitivity.