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Earrings: lost and found. April 8, 2011

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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Silence Dogood here. My friend Amy was bemoaning the loss of a favorite peridot dangle earring at lunch the other day, which of course started me thinking. Seems like every woman I know who wears earrings is constantly losing them. (Not me, I only seem to lose stones from the earrings, not the earrings themselves.) But of course, no one ever loses both earrings, only one. It wouldn’t surprise me if the reason Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring was painted from that angle was because she’d managed to lose the other one.

You’d think jewelers would have become more adept through the centuries at devising a really comfortable way to wear earrings that also ensured that they’d stay on. But noooo. Since I my ears aren’t pierced, I can speak to this subject at length, as our friend Ben can attest. I wish the sadist who decided that spring-loaded clips were a bright idea for holding earrings on had had to wear them himself for an entire evening. At least screw-ons don’t hurt, but they do tend to loosen gradually the longer you wear them, upping the loss potential. I’d have thought that pierced earrings would stay on better, but from my friends’ experience, it seems to be the reverse. And no one ever seems to be able to bear to part with the one that’s left behind, doubtless in the hope that one day, its mate will magically reappear like a sock in the dryer.

Now, not to throw cold water on these hopes, but I’d like to point out that while you’re waiting, there are things you can do with the surviving earrings. In Amy’s case, her earring is a simple silver dangle with a round peridot at the end. So I suggested that she buy a silver stud with a simple round peridot for the other ear to make a set. Then she could still enjoy wearing her beloved earring and the pairing would look intentional.

My friend Susan, who loves earrings but is always losing them, decided to use the orphaned earrings to decorate her tabletop Christmas tree every year. Beautiful and original!

My own favorite reuse is in a wonderful handmade dreamcatcher I bought several years ago at, of all places, the Bowers Chile Pepper Festival. The artist had woven beads and charms into the “web” of the dreamcatcher, and added a beautiful matching beaded dangle earring to the cords hanging down from the bottom. The effect is stunning!

In my own case, I’ve had solitary earrings converted to rings by some of our talented local silversmiths. This has the added benefit of actually letting me enjoy the beautiful stone and work myself, rather than having to wait for the occasional rushed glance in some mirror. Recycling earrings into other kinds of jewelry makes sense, too: pendants or pins, ornaments on charm bracelets or anklets. Just this past weekend I saw a fabulous silver chain necklace with dozens of religious medals attached to the chain links; no reason earrings couldn’t work for this, too. And what about as a “pin” in a hat or scarf, or a hair ornament secured into a hair tie?

If you’re a crafter, you could use earrings to ornament the bottom of a lampshade, in the manner of Victorian beadwork, or—if you had enough of them—even make the high-end equivalent of a psychedelic beaded curtain. Or a fan or lamp pull. Or you could incorporate it or them into a shadowbox or collage. I love the idea of adding a real earring to a vintage black-and-white portrait photo for a flash of color, much in the way photographers of the time would sometimes hand-tint certain elements of the photo, such as the eyes.

I’m sure all this doesn’t even scratch the surface of what could be done with those orphaned earrings. Their mates may be lost, but there are plenty of creative reuses to be found! 

                  ‘Til next time,




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