It's like everything else that eventually becomes an everyday thing: It has to start somewhere and someplace. I decided to take the rabbit hole into the origin of eyewear; who and why they were made, and where it all came from. Long before Italians invented actual eyeglasses for better sight, it was the Chinese back in the 12th century that made their first and oh not-so-fancy shades from smoked quartz for the sole purpose of blocking rays and glare from the sun! Pretty basic stuff.
Primitive yet serving a simple purpose, the rich got their hands on these "cool" enough sun cheaters for their outings to help see better on sunny days. Chinese judges used them to conceal their emotions during court rulings in front of charged criminals and passed verdicts inconspicuously.
Rome also claims that Emperor Nero spectated gladiator fights through custom made emerald-cut stone shades, and they worked like mirrors. I'm sure green looked good on him, not to mention he didn't mind the cool factor of reflecting the whole fight scene off his face in his amphitheater.
Glare from snow started to become a new reason to wear shades. Then came eye protection to watch eclipses. Pretty soon, reducing glare off water surfaces. Blue and green-colored lenses increased in popularity as inventors promoted them for correcting blurred vision, too!
By the early 1910's, UV damage awareness got big, and shades were made to protect peepers from Good Ole' Mr. Sun. It wasn't until Hollywood glamorized shades in the 1920's that it finally become an important fashion accessory. Women, especially were enamored by it. By 1940, pilots wore Aviators, a popular and classic style we see everywhere today, whether you fly a plane or ride one.
Guess what? China is now the largest producer of sunglasses in the world today. 120 million pairs to be exact!
What goes around, comes around. In the end, it's all just a big giant circle of creation, just like Mother Nature intended.