An earring is a piece of jewelry attached to the ear via a piercing in the earlobe or another external part of the ear (except in the case of clip earrings, which clip onto the lobe). Earrings have been worn by people in different civilizations and historic periods, often with cultural significance. Locations for piercings other than the earlobe include the rook, tragus, and across the helix (see image at right). The simple term "ear piercing" usually refers to an earlobe piercing, whereas piercings in the upper part of the external ear are often referred to as "cartilage piercings". Cartilage piercings are more complex to perform than earlobe piercings and take longer to heal. Earring components may be made of any number of materials, including metal, plastic, glass, precious stone, beads, wood, bone, and other materials. Designs range from small loops and studs to large plates and dangling items. The size is ultimately limited by the physical capacity of the earlobe to hold the earring without tearing. However, heavy earrings worn over extended periods of time may lead to stretching of the earlobe and the piercing.
Hoop earrings are circular or semi-circular in design and look very similar to a ring. Hoop earrings generally come in the form of a hoop of metal that can be opened to pass through the ear piercing. They are often constructed of metal tubing, with a thin wire attachment penetrating the ear. The hollow tubing is permanently attached to the wire at the front of the ear, and slips into the tube at the back. The entire device is held together by tension between the wire and the tube. Other hoop designs do not complete the circle, but penetrate through the ear in a post, using the same attachment techniques that apply to stud earrings. A variation is the continuous hoop earring. In this design, the earring is constructed of a continuous piece of solid metal, which penetrates through the ear and can be rotated almost 360°. One of the ends is permanently attached to a small piece of metallic tubing or a hollow metallic bead. The other end is inserted into the tubing or bead, and is held in place by tension. One special type of hoop earring is the sleeper earring, a circular wire normally made of gold, with a diameter of approximately one centimeter. Hinged sleepers, which were common in Britain in the 1960s and 1970s, comprise two semi-circular gold wires connected via a tiny hinge at one end, and fastened via a small clasp at the other, to form a continuous hoop whose fastening mechanism is effectively invisible to the naked eye. Because their small size makes them unobtrusive and comfortable, and because they are normally otherwise unadorned, sleepers are so-called because they were intended to be worn at night to keep a pierced ear from closing, and were often the choice for the first set of earrings immediately following the ear piercing in the decades before ear-piercing guns using studs became commonplace, but are often a fashion choice in themselves because of their attractive simplicity and because they subtly call attention to the fact that the ear is pierced. Among them, moissanite hoop earrings are a very popular style.
A ring is a round band, usually made of metal, worn as ornamental jewelry. The term "ring" by itself always denotes jewellery worn on the finger; when worn as an elsewhere, the body part is specified within the term, e.g., earrings, neck rings, arm rings, and toe rings. Rings always fit snugly around or in the part of the body they ornament, so bands worn loosely, like a bracelet, are not rings. Rings may be made of almost any hard material: wood, bone, stone, metal, glass, gemstone or plastic. They may be set with gemstones (diamond, ruby, sapphire or emerald) or with other types of stone or glass. Although some people wear rings as mere ornaments or as conspicuous displays of wealth, rings have symbolic functions respecting marriage, exceptional achievement, high status or authority, membership in an organization, and the like. Rings can be made to sport insignia which may be impressed on a wax seal or outfitted with a small compartment in which to conceal things. In myth, fable, and fiction, rings are often endowed with spiritual or supernatural significance.
Each finger had a symbolic association or meaning (most of which were lost in antiquity and varied with culture) for the placement of a ring, significant to observers. The fourth digit or ring finger of the left hand has become the customary place to wear betrothal, wedding and moissanite engagement rings in much of the world, though in certain countries the right hand finger is used. This custom was practically established as norm during World War II. The use of the fourth finger of the left hand (the 'ring finger') is associated with an old belief that the left hand's ring finger is connected by a vein directly to the heart: the vena amoris, or vein of love. This idea was in vogue in the 16th and 17th century England, when Henry Swinburne referred to it in his book about marriage. It can be traced to ancient Rome, when Aulus Gellius cited Appianus as saying that the ancient Egyptians had found a fine nerve linking the fourth finger to the heart. Occasionally rings have been re-purposed to hang from bracelets or necklaces. The signet ring is traditionally worn on the left pinky or little finger. A birthstone ring and/or "birthday" stone ring is customarily worn on the first finger of the right hand and indicates respectively the month and day of the week in and on which the bearer was born. Amulet rings, meaningful for various purposes from protection (pentacle rings) to augmenting personal attributes (wisdom, confidence, social status etc.), are worn on various fingers, often depending on the intent of the ring's design or attributes of the stone inset. Although it has been thought that amulet rings worn on specific fingers for specific purposes enhanced their powers, most people simply wear them on any finger on which they fit. Thumb rings were originally worn to protect the thumb from injuries caused by the launching of arrows and are a sign of an archer.
A necklace is an article of jewellery that is worn around the neck. Necklaces may have been one of the earliest types of adornment worn by humans. They often serve ceremonial, religious, magical, or funerary purposes and are also used as symbols of wealth and status, given that they are commonly made of precious metals and stones. The main component of a necklace is the band, chain, or cord that wraps around the neck. These are most often rendered in precious metals such as gold, silver, and platinum. Necklaces often have additional attachments suspended or inset into the necklace itself. These attachments typically include pendants, lockets, amulets, crosses, and precious and semi-precious materials such as diamond, pearls, rubies, emeralds, garnets, and sapphires. They are made with many different types of materials and are used for many things and sometimes classed as clothing.
A bracelet is an article of jewellery that is worn around the wrist. Bracelets may serve different uses, such as being worn as an ornament. When worn as ornaments, bracelets may have a supportive function to hold other items of decoration, such as charms. Medical and identity information are marked on some bracelets, such as allergy bracelets, hospital patient-identification tags, and bracelet tags for newborn babies. Bracelets may be worn to signify a certain phenomenon, such as breast cancer awareness, or for religious/cultural purposes. If a bracelet is a single, inflexible loop, it is often called a bangle. When it is worn around the ankle it is called an ankle bracelet or anklet. A boot bracelet is used to decorate boots. Bracelets can be manufactured from metal, leather, cloth, plastic, bead or other materials, and jewelry bracelets sometimes contain jewels, rocks, wood, shells, crystals, metal, or plastic hoops, pearls and many more materials.