The history of the earcuff

L'histoire de la earcuff

Creating original ear jewelry that can be worn by everyone: that's the promise of earcuffs. When I created Mayrena, the desire to offer this type of earcuff jewelry was an obvious choice, since many of my earcuff inspirations come from antique designs.

Pair of ear ornament, Indonesia, ancient period
and Oblong-shaped ear ornament, Indonesia 10th century

Indeed, ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and Etruscans were already ahead of their time when it came to jewelry. Jewelry decorated and adorned every part of the body. So, throughout the ages, men and women have worn ear jewelry, not only as adornment and decoration, but also as a symbol of belonging and financial security.

Etruscan ear ornament, Italy, 3rd century BC

Often seen as original and avant-garde, the earcuff is actually a very common piece of jewelry.

In ancient times, earlobe piercing was widespread, as part of certain religious traditions and rites of passage. In the 9th century, the practice disappeared because it was associated with marginalized populations such as prostitutes and slaves, but also for religious reasons. At the time, the body was seen as a divine creation, and piercing one's ears was seen as mutilation and an offense against divine perfection. Between these alternating mores and trends for pierced and un-pierced ears, the idea of an ear ring that would encircle the lobe and adorn the ear soon emerged.

Pair of ear jewelry, Indonesia, 1200-1400

Note that from ancient times to the present day, earcuffs were not strictly speaking referred to as "earcuffs", but as "ear ornaments". The term earcuff only appeared at the very end of the 20th century.

All kinds of designs then emerge: simple ring-shaped, adorned with pendants, oblong, twisted gold wire, square, in pairs or alone...

Javanese ear ornament, Indonesia, 8th century and
Ear ornament, Indonesia, 700 AD

Ear clip, Indonesia, 9th century and
Twisted spiral ear ornament, Indonesia, 8th century

The earcuff has a special symbolism for me and for Mayrena Paris, since La Virtuose is the first piece of ear jewelry I created. It's a jewel that's both minimalist and traditional, but also powerful with its 2-in-1 design. Thick or thin for a more discreet or more assertive side... The choice is yours!

Our earcuff Shell                                                   Our earcuff La Virtuose

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