The Ins and Outs of Hoop Earrings
The Ins and Outs of Hoop Earrings
The history of hoops
The earliest historic sighting of gold hoop earrings was around 1500 to 2500 BCE in Africa and Asia. In places like Egypt, Sudan, and Iraq, these jewelry pieces served as a symbol of cultural identity and rank. Over time, the style made its way around the world. In 330 BCE, hoops were recorded in Greece and Rome, where they were popular among royalty, ordinary people, pirates, pharaohs, and cats.
Hoops lost some of their popularity in the next thousand years. For instance, Europeans in the 16th century worried more about their hairstyles and clothing than their jewelry. Yet, a century later, hoops reemerged with new styles, including pearls, clasps, and diamonds.
The 1900s saw hoops primarily associated with Native American and Latinx cultures. Unfortunately, this association also brought somewhat of a stigma. In the 60s and 70s, powerful Black women like Nina Simone, Angela Davis, and Donna Summer wore them as they worked with the Black Power Movement.
Hoops are a trendy earring style and even a wardrobe staple these days. For many communities, they have cultural significance and offer pride and empowerment. If you’re interested in rocking a pair of hoop earrings, let’s look at your options.
The Appeal of Hoops
Hoops have a long history (far more detailed than what’s covered above). And while this style of jewelry has cultural ties, there’s also something inherently attractive and unique about them.
They’re one of the oldest forms of jewelry globally because they are simple and timeless. The earrings themselves are a symbol of international fashion and strength. The shape of a hoop represents infinity and wholeness.
Some people believe large hoop earrings bring you “Big Hoop Energy” — allowing you to feel self-worth and self-love. Put on your hoop earrings and get ready to take on the world!
Perhaps some of this has to do with the fact that this classy jewelry piece draws attention to your face. Hoops subconsciously support facial symmetry, which is a studied determinant of attractiveness. Additionally, there’s no other item of jewelry that’s as versatile. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. They can be dressed up or down. They can be simplistic, or they can be materialistic with as many adornments as you please.
Even in 2022, hoops remain a fashion staple that anyone can wear; although, there has been some discussion about the origin of hoop earrings. If you choose to wear hoop earrings, be mindful that this piece isn’t a simple fashion trend. They come from a history of oppression and exclusion for women of color who wear them, and they stand for resistance against appropriation that converts a cultural expression into fashion.
Categories of Hoops
1. Hollow Gold Hoops
Gold hoops come in every shape and size — large hoops, small hoops, round, oval, and square. Some hoops have etchings, designs, diamonds-cuts, and a satin finish. Some hoops will be two-toned with white gold and yellow gold or even tri-colored with rose gold, white gold, and yellow gold. Some will even have gemstones.
Yet, with all these choices, one factor that often surprises people is the fact that the earrings themselves are hollow. You’ll see a detailed design, expecting an excellent, heavy piece of metal in your hand, only to find that they’re lightweight.
For some people, hollow hoops aren’t appealing. They think they make a great product feel cheaper. However, manufacturers make hoops hollow for numerous reasons.
· Hollow hoops save money
Think about it this way. How much more would a solid gold hoop cost? You may think it feels cheaper, but you’re actually saving money! It is cheaper to make it this way. It’s benefitting you.
· Hollow hoops fit together like a puzzle
Diecast and stamped-out shells are molded and soldered together like a puzzle. When these halves are brought together, you have a great finished product.
· Hollow hoops are more comfortable
Solid good hoops are far too heavy for the wearer. You don’t want to be weighed down by your earrings.
With that, however, dented hoops are complicated to repair. If you dent your gold hoops, they can be almost impossible to repair because they’re hollow. It’s too difficult to get something inside the hoop to push the dent back out. Jewelers also can’t apply force or pressure to the earring because this would create more dents. If you find your hollow hoops dented, you’ll need to live with them or buy a new pair.
Here are a two of our most popular hollow hoop styles:
Small hoop earrings have a variety of nicknames, including huggies and clickers. Huggies are a style of small hoop earrings that “hug” the earlobe. Clickers are slightly smaller earrings that are designed for healed piercings (lobes, tragus, rook, helix, forward helix, and auricle). In this section, we’ll primarily discuss huggies.
Huggies are a cute, simple, and versatile style of hoop earrings. They’ll most often work on the earlobe, but they can be worn in other piercings as well.
One significant component of the huggie earring is how they fasten. You may encounter the butterfly stud back and a hinged and click opening.
· Butterfly back huggies
The fastening on these earrings is the same as a pair of stud earrings. Remove the butterfly clasp and put the bar through the desired piercing hole. Then replace the butterfly clasp on the back of your ear to secure it.
· Hinged back huggies
These huggies are easy to open and click back into place with your hand. That said, they can be difficult to close once they’re in your ear. To wear, open the hinged huggie earrings in your ear, open the clasp, and put the hinge bar through your desired piercing hole. Then, click the hinge on the other side of the earring. You may find you need some practice to get it in place.
Because they’re thin and hollow, huggies are comfortable for all-day wear. Some people even choose to sleep in them and never take them out. “Endless huggies” are designed to never fall out. If you’re a low-maintenance gal, this is an excellent option for you!
Here are a couple of our favorite huggie earrings for summer:
3. Diamond Hoop Earrings
Diamond hoops are the same hoop earrings you know and love. The most common are small, delicate diamonds featured in a pave setting. This setting is essential. It allows the diamonds to shine without being overwhelmed by standard prongs. These gems are an ideal way to add some flair to classic jewelry you know and love.
Our Diamond Inside Out Group Earrings are a classic hoop earring.
Hoop Earring Size Guide
Hoops can go with any outfit, but the size will impact your style. What may seem huge to you will be small to someone else. This also translates to pictures you may see on models. You may see a model with what appears to be smaller hoops, but they’ll look large on your ear. For this reason, understanding hoop sizes based on measurements is essential. Here are the different sizes of hoop earrings.
· 5mm to 7mm: cartilage, helix, tragus, rook
· 8mm: cartilage piercings and lobes
· 10mm: conch and daith
· 12mm: conch and daith
· 11mm to 14mm: second lobe piercings
· 15mm to 17mm: earrings that provide a little space at the bottom of your lobe
· 18mm to 20mm: about the size of a U.S. penny; support a laidback and understated look; great for small faces
· 26mm to 50mm: “small hoops” that are about the size of a U.S. half-dollar
· 51mm to 76mm: “medium hoops” that are about the diameter of a soda can; universally flattering for all face shapes
· 77m to 100m: “big hoops” that are dramatic and look great with a long or oval face shape
· 101mm to 120mm: “XXL hoops” that are larger-than-life hoops made for glamorous individuals
When to Wear Hoop Earrings
Hoops are incredibly versatile, which is why people love them. However, certain types — such as massive hoops or gauges — are considered inappropriate in more formal settings. We recommend selecting a smaller and subtler pair for these occasions. We love pairing a diamond stud and hoops. Try a huggie or smaller hoop in your second hole if you have large diamond studs. If you have a small stud, put it in your second hole with thicker, larger hoops. Hoops are a statement piece that you don’t have to worry about outshining other pieces. They pair well with almost any pendant necklace, bracelet, or ring.
Metal type of hoops
Many customers have asked us what material to get their hoops in - we will cover that in our next article! All of our hoops at Alexis Jae in made of pure gold. Many other companies will use sterling silver, brass, and copper. They will also have gold plated, gold vermeil, and gold fill, which we don’t do. We’ll tell you all about why in our next post! One thing we want to make sure to note: if you experience allergies to metal and opt for pure gold, make sure there is no nickel mixed in to make it more hypoallergenic.
Hoops have a long history, but they’ve entered the mainstay of fashion and jewelry. As a result, there are no hard and fast rules that bind them. Respect hoops for what they stand for, but feel free to rock them if you love them. They are a staple in your jewelry collection that is perfect for everyday wear or a night out.
Our mission at Alexis Jae is to help people skip the middleman and invest in high-quality, ethically-sourced jewelry. We only sell fine jewelry (14k or 18k gold) featuring precious or semi-precious stones. Start shopping today and save 50% off traditional retail prices! Visit here to learn more.