I have worn earrings almost every day of my life since my college days. I am also one of the few remaining half-dozen women in the world who do not have pierced ears. I joke that I can’t pierce my ears because it’s against my religion—I’m a devout coward! Actually, my mother always wore earrings and never pierced her ears either. So, like mother, like daughter.
This is both good and bad. It’s good because I love anything vintage and most vintage earrings were made screw back or clip on. But it’s bad because few modern earrings are made for anything but pierced ears. Truly, this is not “sour grapes,” but I’ve never cared for the look of pierced ears.
A wonderful friend of mine in Canada buys vintage earrings for me at church sales. I must have at least 60 pairs. Some are real gold or sterling silver and cultured pearl, but the bulk of my collection is costume pieces.
Today’s earrings are usually all gold or all silver. Vintage earrings are more varied in both designs and materials. Some have very interesting and intricate designs. Many of the most beautiful ones date back to the 1930s and ’40s and are made of beads. The beads are attached with wire or thread, and because they’re so old I often find beads on the floor that have fallen off.
Vintage earrings are also made of plastic, enamel, and bakelite (the world’s first synthetic plastic) and I have found some nice ones in flea markets.
Of course, wearing earrings every day means I sometimes lose one—only one, never both. Isn’t that always the way? What I do is take the two remaining earrings from the two different sets and wear them together. I’ve had women come up to me and ask if I was aware that my earrings don’t match. I say, “Yes, I know.” Where is it written that earrings must always match?
I used to think that if you had pierced ears, it meant that you couldn’t lose an earring, but friends have told me that’s not true. They can, and do, lose them.
In fashion magazines I’ve seen pictures of models wearing just one very elaborate earring, not two—usually for evening wear. I like this look for someone tall who can carry it off.
Being so small, I have to be careful not to wear earrings that are too big, and I stay away from anything hanging or dangling.
Most women today don’t seem to wear earrings or, if they do, it’s tiny studs so the hole won’t close, not for fashion or style. I’d love to see more women wearing really stylish earrings.
Miriam Silverberg is a freelance journalist and owner of Miriam Silverberg Associates, a boutique publicity firm in Manhattan. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Photo of earrings via Shutterstock)