One of the most unique jewelry innovations of the seventeenth century was the earstring. Both men and women wore earrings during this period, and many added an earstring as well. The most common earstring was a long piece of silk thread, decorated at the ends with rosettes made of ribbon. The earstring was strung through a pierced hole in the ear and the lower rosette was attached. It could hang down below the earrings themselves, adding extra decoration. The earstring often adorned only one side of the head, most commonly the left. It was a sort of detachable lovelock.

Like the earring itself, the earstring has been endlessly adaptable. Earstrings made of very fine metal thread or even of very small chains have been worn in the West ever since their introduction. In the twentieth century it was possible to purchase earstrings with fasteners for small charms, much like a charm bracelet.


Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.

[ See also Volume 3, Seventeenth Century: Lovelocks ]

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