Earrings have been a beauty staple since 2500 B.C. when the ancient Sumerian women began wearing hoops in their ears. Styles have changed dramatically since ancient times, aligning with the beauty standards of each particular era. Most interesting for many people are the ornate, large heavy styled earrings, and as such, we went on a quest to find and create a list of the world’s 7 heaviest earrings.
In creating our list of the world’s 7 heaviest earrings, we explored the rich and varied traditions of cultures around the world. This glimpse into the lives of people, both past and present, proved to be an interesting journey. Enjoy our quest to find the world’s 7 heaviest earrings.
1. GRT Jewelers Gold Earrings
A Dubai based Jewelry company, GRT Jewelers, can definitely claim their spot on our list of the world’s seven heaviest earrings. They created several pairs of gold chandelier earrings that weigh over 1 Kilogram each. While they are certainly not wearable jewelry, they are impressive nonetheless.
With intricate designs that were carefully handcrafted, the end design is an ornate, detailed piece in traditional Indian jhumka style. With each pair using 22 carats of gold, the price range for these earrings are equally large. The estimated cost for these earrings is nearly $55,000 USD.
These earrings were originally created to mark the jewelers 50-year history and were put on display for visitors to admire. Due to the sheer size and unique and complex pattern, they instantly became a popular exhibit. GRT Jewelers ultimately decided to contact the Guinness Book of Records, and as such, these earrings are registered as the heaviest gold earrings in the world.
2. Island of Borneo – Dayak Ear Weights
Borneo, an island in Southeast Asia, is the home of the traditional Dayak people, who also made our list of the world’s seven heaviest earrings. Body modifications are part of the beauty standards of the Dayak.
Ear weights have been one of the unique factors used to display feminine beauty by the Dayak people. In fact, until very recent generations became more influenced by Western styles, Dayak cultural standards of beauty traditionally included elongated earlobes for women. Weighted ear jewelry was the popular method used to create the Dayak extreme earlobes.
Many traditional tribal Dayak women have stretched their lobes well below their shoulders. The longer the lobes, the more beautiful and feminine the woman, as defined by the Dayak people. This was done using weighted earrings, called hisang. Young girls as young as 4 years old would begin wearing their hisang, and as they got older, more rings would be added. Many women have well over 20 or more rings in their earlobes.
As part of the mystique and history of the Dayak culture, the tribal women who were at the top of the Dayan social order often wore the heaviest and largest hisang, with many large silver rings in each ear. The more rings a woman wore, the heavier the hisang, and as such, the more beautiful the earlobe, and the woman, to the traditional Dayan men.
3. The Rabari Tribe of India
Rabari women have a bit of a mysterious history. They migrated to India, and were originally a nomadic tribe. Like other tribal people, due to a tradition of body modifications that includes ear stretching, Rabai culture has influenced their jewelry choices. While modern Rabari families are no longer nomadic, the traditional jewelry worn by the tribal women still depicts their long, and rich culture of beauty standards and body modifications.
Traditional Rabari tribal jewelry is specifically designed to pull and stretch the earlobe. Some versions of the traditional Rabari earrings look exactly like a small weight pulling down from a cord.
Some Rabari earrings weigh less than 20 grams, which may not seem particularly heavy on its own, but oftentimes Rabari women wear multiple pairs, even 6 or 7 at a time. Commonly made of silver, the traditional Rabari earrings are known as nagali, and they are heavy enough to create a stretched earlobe from years of wear.
4. Maasai Women of East Africa
Traditional Maasai women in the East African nations of Tanzania and Kenya have also made our list. Unique to their culture, earrings are often worn from the top of the ears, where the cartilage is carefully pierced and stretched.
The significant weight of their earrings is evidenced by the pull of their ears, downward from the top, where the intricate jewelry designs often surround the women’s ears and continue down toward the neck. Combined with matching necklaces, the image of traditional Massai women is striking.
Maasai jewelry is typically made of beads, each color carrying a specific cultural meaning that is special to the tribe. The beads, some of which are small and simple, aren’t heavily weighted on their own. However, due to the complex design and large size of the Maasai earrings, they are heavier than more common traditional styles of earrings worn in Western culture. The beaded designs often reach from the cartilage at the top of the ear, to at or beyond the woman’s shoulder.
5. The Fulani Women of Western Africa
Fulani women in Nigeria, Mali, and Senegal have also made our list of the World’s 7 heaviest earrings. Often made of bronze, which at times, was mistaken by the Fula people as gold, the largest earrings of all were traditionally worn by the women in the tribe with the most privilege, wealth, or power. Traditional Fulani earrings of the past were significantly oversized when compared to Western styles of jewelry.
Even today, many traditional Fulani women still wear large, heavy, gold or bronze earrings, often in a thick and twisted circular hoop like design, that oftentimes can nearly extend to, or even rest on the shoulder.
Other Fulani tribes often stretch their ears, to accommodate large, heavy earring plugs, with ornate designs in beads, gold or silver, or sometimes wood, bone, and other materials, in a formation that often travels down to, or even past the shoulder.
6. Ancient Eqyptian Artifacts – Gold Cloisonne Earrings
Even going as far back as Ancient Egypt, there is evidence that King Tut wore earrings that are worthy of a spot on our list of the World’s 7 heaviest earrings.
In discovering the tomb of King Tutankhamun, along with ancient depictions of his appearance, there has been substantiation that his earlobes were pierced, as well as stretched from the weight of his ornate jewelry. In his tomb was a large pair of gold cloisonne earrings that show evidence of being worn by King Tutankhamun himself.
The earrings are ornate, made of gold and glass, and were created for pierced ears. In ancient Egypt, young men and women of all ages wore earrings. As men came of age, they typically would no longer wear their ears adorned with jewelry. As King Tut was about 18 when he passed away, he most likely wore the gold cloisonne earrings found in his tomb very late into his life.
7. Traditional Indian Temple Jewelry – Jhumka Earrings
For thousands of years, beautifully adorned earrings have been worn in India, originally as temple jewelry, which is next on our list of the world’s 7 heaviest earrings. The jhumka style earrings with their distinct bell shape were often worn as part of the beautiful costume by the dancers of Bharatanatyam.
Traditionally made of gold or silver, this style of earrings have stood the test of time, and are still worn by women in India today. While many of today’s versions are smaller and more lightweight, designed for all-day wear; many of the ancient and ornate jhumka earrings worn by the dancers performing the Bharatanatyam were often much larger and heavier.
These earrings were selected and worn for the performance itself but was not jewelry that was worn on an all-day basis by the dancers.
This concludes our list of the World’s 7 heaviest earrings. We certainly hope you enjoyed the rich discussion of cultures around the world.