When Adele headlined the British Summertime Festival in London’s Hyde Park this summer, she did so wearing a pair of dramatically oversized hoop earrings by Messika. The Danseurs Aériens feature over 22 carats of natural diamonds, including a pear-cut and an emerald-cut balancing like trapeze artists either side of a sharp line of pavé-set stones. The huge grin on the singer’s face was testament to the joy a pair of extraordinary hoops brings.
Adele is not alone in her love for ultra-luxe hoops. From Rihanna and J-Lo to Gwyneth Paltrow and Emily Ratajkowski, celebrities have taken them from an everyday essential to a red-carpet staple. A circle is one of the most powerful symbols known to humankind: like wedding bands, which symbolise an eternal unbroken bond, hoop earrings are rife with symbolism that dates back centuries.
Hoop earrings are among the oldest jewellery designs in existence: archaeologists have discovered bronze hoops from 2,500 BCE. Hoops have been found in ancient burial sites all over the world, with subtle differences used to denote tribal membership. They were worn by ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, who used heavy twists of gold wire and beads to showcase their wealth.
Nowadays, hoop earrings are an essential part of any contemporary jewellery collection. And while simple gold hoops are a timeless choice for everyday, designers are experimenting with the age-old form, creating unusual shapes and embellishing them with dazzling diamonds to elevate hoops to high-jewellery status.
“Regardless of size, metal or material, hoop earrings never fail to make you feel put together. They are a timeless staple for day or evening and can be worn by any age group,” says Suzanne Kalan, whose 18kt white gold Fireworks earrings feature 4.40 carats of her signature baguette-cut diamonds, lending a geometric elegance to the dazzling design.
Gehna Jewellers also experiments with unusual diamond cuts, using marquise-cut diamonds set at an angle to add distinctive glamour to a pair of rose-gold hoops. Mumbai jeweller Anmol uses marquise-cut diamonds alongside princess-cut stones to create the illusion of a large solitaire suspended within thin hoops of pavé-set diamonds. British house David Morris, meanwhile, sets over seven carats of graduating sized rose-cut diamonds within micro-pavé halos for a romantic yet contemporary take on hoop earrings.
Part of the appeal of hoop earrings lies in their versatility. Available in an infinite number of sizes and shapes, they frame the face beautifully. When embellished with natural diamonds, the flattering effect is doubled, as the stones bring light to the complexion. The trick lies in finding the perfect size and shape. Chopard’s Precious Lace earclips are designed to mimic the delicacy of lace, with pear-cut diamonds and a shell-like coil shape that flicks up the jawline, drawing the eye upwards.
Ananya’s Scatter Whirl earrings also explore the play of light, with diamonds in various sizes scattered around a double row of rose-gold hoops, finished with a white sapphire that dangles just below the earlobe. The outer hoop can be removed for a more pared-back but no less beautiful effect. “Diamond hoops are so versatile: they can be worn for any occasion, casual or formal, styled with jeans and athleisure or with a glamorous evening look,” says founder Ananya Malhotra. “Clients love our unique twist on hoops; they are incredibly easy and comfortable to wear.”
Incomplete hoops like Ananya’s are a contemporary update on the age-old design. Likewise, Graff’s Creole-style hoops feature not one but three incomplete ovals of sparkling pave-set stones, each topped and tailed with a pear-cut diamond that almost touch mid-air, a modern way to reinterpret the classic toi-et-moi style.
Narayan Jewellers combines diamonds with emeralds for a colourful twist on classic monochrome hoops. “Hoops are one of the most classic designs; as statement earrings they go with most modern party outfits,” says Ketan Chokshi, Managing Director and CEO. “Diamond hoops make you look bold; they instantly bring out your inner confidence.”
There is a wealth of other ways to add a twist to the seemingly simple design. In the hands of Cartier, hoops become minimalistic and almost industrial; the house’s Juste Un Clou earrings see its iconic nail design protrude from the earlobes, the utilitarian inspiration given a dose of glamour thanks to a scattering of diamonds. On the opposite end of the spectrum is red-carpet favourite Ofira’s array of avant-garde hoops: from geometric hexagonal and triangular designs, to hoops embellished with diamond-set globes, or made up of coils of black and white diamonds, like the most precious slinky.
With endless creativity found within this seemingly simple design, we’ll see hoops grace the earlobes of the world’s most stylish jewellery lovers, from headline stage to red carpet, for decades to come.