I’ve loved earrings from as long as I can remember. I was in my teens before I could get my ears pierced but I remember playing with earrings and wearing clip-on earrings in dressing up games when I was probably no more than 4.
My Pinterest boards are under the name of Ann’s box – my mum’s name was Ann but the boards are not named after her. We had a neighbour called Ann Tipton, who had a younger son, and my brother and I used to go over to play sometimes. Ann the neighbour always seemed very glamorous (but spiky whereas my mum was cuddly). One day she gave me an After Eight mint box with some of her discarded jewellery.
I was in seventh heaven. It had strings of beads, a gold bracelet with sparkly stones and some clip-on earrings. I played with them for hours.
Rediscovering the box
Four years ago, I discovered jewellery making and began to make my own earrings for the first time. I was amazed when my mum produced the After Eight box with some of the jewellery I could remember playing with. Some of the beads were broken so we re-used them as practice. I still have the bracelet and sometimes wear it, but the earrings I think are lost. When I started my Pinterest boards I thought of that box and my original (and quite ancient) inspiration for liking and making jewellery.
More ancient inspiration
One of my favourite boards is Jewellery of the Ancients and the selection on the right show some of the most ancient earrings that I’ve found.
Reading up a bit on the history of earrings I’ve found out that the earliest earrings found by archeaologists date back to 2500 years BC. That’s 4500 years ago. The oldest known are from Sumeria, which is now Iraq, and they were gold crescents soldered together and embossed. The same shape and style is still used to make earrings today.
I’ve looked through a few books as well as Pinterest and I’ve been to the history of jewellery rooms at the V&A in London. The early earrings fascinate me and although I am nowhere near good enough to think about working in gold, I want to try to use some of these very old designs to inspire my metalsmithing.