Earrings were found in the royal graves in Iraq. During the Renaissance era women wore elaborate wigs and high collared dresses hiding the ears so earrings were not popular. In the 1600’s women wore their hair back exposing the ear and earrings became fashionable. As fashion trends changed, during the early 1700’s, the earring fad disappeared as women wore bonnets with wide ribbons that covered the ears and chins. It was women’s hairstyles and collars that dictated the earring fashion trends.
By 1900 the screw back earring was invented since the Victorians thought that piercing ears was considered uncivilized. Screw backs and clip-ons ruled earring fashion until the mid 1970s when ear piercing was popular and to this day we see most contemporary earrings are for pierced ears.
I Love Those Earrings: A Popular History from Ancient to Modern by Jane Merrill