The History of the Ear Cuff


When a classic pair of earrings is just not enough, add a unique ear cuff to elevate your look to cutting edge style. As the obsession with the ear cuff continues to grow every season with designers, celebrities, and women, you may wonder about the history of this avant-garde trend.

Once again unique styles are timeless, and we can thank the ancient cultures for the ear cuff or the “Kaffa” as it was called. The first ear cuffs made of brass are recorded in history as far back as 2000BC, and were designed to hug the curve on the outside edge of the ear. The upper classes of Asian, Middle Eastern, and Indian cultures crafted the Kaffa from precious metals, stones and pearls with intricate designs, chains and pearls that clipped from the ear lobe to the nose or to the hair.The jewelry style of the Kaffa even extended to the lower classes with simpler, unadorned versions.

Stylish women in the 18th century eager to show their wealth and social status wore a modernized version of the Kaffa that resembled more of a classic earring but made of precious metals, diamonds, rubies and sapphires. In the1920’s the Kaffa was refashioned into the Earrite by a French jeweler, Marcel Boucher who came to the United States in the early 20’s and identified the fashion demands of New York’s high society elite. Although very similar in that the Kaffa and Earrite are worn over the ear, the Earrite was feminine and delicate and clipped to the earlobe. By the 1950’s the style was embraced by fashionistas, society’s elite and celebrities and Bouche patented his designs. From glamour to a symbol of rebellion, punk and eventually pop culture, the ear cuff transformed in the 1980s and 90’s yet again to a simpler silver, edgier version by a new group of designers, Jean Paul Gaultier, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander McQueen, Etro and Alexander Wang

Always evolving with contemporary trends, the ear cuff can be bold and daring with intricate design elements or simple and delicate. When you want to make a fashion statement, this versatile piece of jewelry can wrap up the ear, imitate the look of multiple ear piercings, or attach to the upper part like a cuff. So adorn your ear with a cuff that fits your personality and make it a dazzling addition to your jewelry collection.

Shop Gabriel & Co.’s full line of ear cuffs and the style perfect for you!

Pair an ear cuff with other earrings for a unique look.