Boys' Jewelry: Ear Rings

Fihure 1.--Boys in America and some European countries began wearing ear rings in the 1990s.

One of the newest items of jewlery worn by boys is an earring. This has been normally a jewlry item worn by girls, but boys began wearing them in the 1990s. The general convention has been for boys to wear one rather than two like the girls wear. Boys earrings also tend to be smaller and simplier than the ones worn by girls. HBC at this time has not been able to adequately research this phenomenon.


We notice many 19th century wearing jewelry, both boys and girls. Lockets were especially common. We do not notice many children, however, wearing earrings. There are thousands of 19th century images archived on HBC. Virtually none of them show children wearing earrings. We think that many 19th century families would have thought that earrings were in poor taste for children. As far as we know, the few children wearing earrings are girls. We have, however, no actual information to base that on. The earliest example is an unidentified American girl about 1850. She may be a Hispanic girl. We also notice an Anglo girl wering earrings, again probably in the 1850s. We note a Hamburg child, presumably a girl, waring earrings we think in the 1870s. HBC first noted boys wearing ear rings in the 1980s--at first older teenagers. We are not sure just where the impetus for this began, perhaps rock groups. The fashion became much more wide sprea in the 1990s with even pre-teen grade school boys wearing them.


Boys wearing earrings did not occur in a vaccume. Boys were also wearing other garments that were once considered girlish, such things as boys wearing longer hair, wearing of earings, and wearing of pink esp shirts, has really changed from being exclusively female (1970's, even 1980's), to being seen as gay behavior to having no cross-gender stigma in 2000. One Candian reader reports, "Here in Quebec, Canada, I see young boys with earings all the time, and men with pink shirts."


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Created: November 12, 2000
Last updated: 2:24 AM 2/7/2007