Origins and Ornament: Hoops

Eleven years ago, my mother gave me a pair of her earrings which she used to wear to college. It may not sound like much of a story, but it is.

My mother grew up in a small town in Uttar Pradesh, India.  Her grandfather had started the town’s first college but girls were not allowed to attend. So her mother sent her older sisters to live with relatives to get an education in other towns. After the untimely demise of my grandfather, leaving my grandmother with numerous daughters and no dowry, my grandmother realized she would forever be indebted to relatives for keeping her daughters. She was not allowed to have any property or money in her name. As she had not gone to school past 5th grade, she also had no way to earn a living.

She reached her limit and was determined to have her daughters educated locally. So she met secretly with other women in the community at the temple. They formed a unified demand - allow girls to attend college in town. Since it was her father-in-law who founded the college, my grandmother being at the front of the group of demanding women had its effect. My mother went to college, right there in town. When she saw me wearing her earrings for the first time, she was tickled and said I reminded her of herself in college.

My mother’s earrings are 24k circular hoops, less than an inch, with a faceted surface. In designing the Artem Hoops, I drew upon the shapes of my favorite art movement - Art Nouveau. The shapes and lines are long and tenuous, pulling your attention from the expected. I created these hoops to be elongated and elegant like the eye of a peacock feather.

Hoop earrings are carved on Indian temple figures and painted into frescos in Egypt, Nubia, and Minoa. They are an ancient and traditional form of body adornment, and for many of us, the most natural earring to wear.

Through this collection, made by Her Future, I continue my grandmother’s dedication to educating girls.

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