Earrings From Antiquity to the Present: 2500 Years of Earrings (available in hard cover or paperback) presents a history of these important components of a woman's and man's appearance. The authors are specialists in the history and archeology of jewelry. Etruscans amassed great wealth and fashioned elaborate jewelry decorated with tiny sculptures of birds, rosettes, and chains with pearls. The elaborate headdresses, high collars, and complex hair styles of the Middle Ages left little room for earrings.
During the Renaissance women began to wear earrings again. The 18th and 19th Centuries show a myriad of earring designs, many of them wild and wonderful: dangles made to resemble a bushel basket full of (ruby) apples, onyx hens sitting on (ivory) eggs in a woven gold basket, carved faces of Greek gods, a 5-inch long earring set with kite-shaped aquamarines. Jane Shafrin has been conducting a love affair with jewelry since her childhood. She designs jewelry, collects and sells vintage jewelry, and her web site, Beads by Mail, contains pages full of information about gemstones, beads, how to make jewelry, and publishes free bead patterns.