A Tale of Two Earrings


I was almost twelve when I got my ears pierced. It was a rite of passage, and I was pleased with my little stud earrings. My ears didn’t heal properly, though, and I had issues with an infection and the holes trying to close themselves up for months. It turned out that I was allergic to the metal in the earring and I needed to switch to solid gold. So my mother, even though we were tight on money at the time, bought me gold posts instead. And my grandparents bought me beautiful birthstone posts for my birthday, that were not meant to be worn every day.

Fast forward several months, and I had already lost one of my everyday gold posts, thus having to wear my peridot earrings every day. I had gotten cast in a touring production of the ballet Hansel and Gretel, and while on tour, we accidentally left my earrings on a music stand in the room we were dressing in. My mom called the following day to see if anyone had turned them in, but they were lost forever. So, knowing that I had to have gold earrings, she pulled out the earrings in the photo above for me. They were my great-grandmother’s earrings brought with her from Sicily in the 1920s. My mother warned me to take Very Good Care of these earrings, being an heirloom.  And I did. My ears stopped trying to heal themselves over after a while, and I would switch out my earrings daily, but these were the pair I wore the most and that I slept in to make sure the holes wouldn’t try to close themselves in my sleep.

Fast forward to 2007, when I lose the earrings in southern CA. I had them on my desk and then they were gone. I searched everywhere, feeling sick to my stomach, but to no avail. Then when we moved apartments in spring 2008, I searched again. Still nothing. I put out a heartfelt wish to the universe that I would be incredibly grateful if they somehow ever found their way back to me, even while acknowledging how impossible such a task seemed. I assumed they had somehow fallen in a crack or under the carpet or our cat had swiped them and were lost forever.

Yesterday, I come home from work, and I saw one of the earrings sitting on the butcher block in the kitchen. I asked my husband about it, and he said he had found it while unpacking and sorting through a bin of art supplies. In that bin was a canvas papercraft organizer that I had sitting next to my desk in CA, and even though I’ve been through that organizer multiple times over the years since, it seemed that at least one earring had worked its way in so deeply that I never saw it. He showed me where he had put all the papers that had been in the organizer in our new art cabinet, and a few hours later, shrugging my shoulders at the likelihood of finding the match, I started sifting through. By the time I had gotten 1/4 of the way down the pile, I had found it. After over 8 years of thinking them lost forever, I had my great-grandmother’s earrings again. And I’m of course wearing them today.

It’s funny, because of course they’re just a “thing”, not even worth very much if I were to try to resell them (though because they are a unique design in that they enter from behind and hook in the front, there may be value there). But in many ways, it feels like a blessing from my great-grandmother on the house and the next chapter of our lives. And as I’m having a daughter, it’s nice to know that I now have something sentimental to pass on to her someday.


7 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Earrings

  1. What a lovely and cherished story about finding the heirloom earrings which were thought to be lost.

    My ears were pierced as an infant. My mom was given a pair of exquisite Mikimoto pearl earrings given her by my grandfather bought originally in Japan in the 1950’s. She asked if they could be my first pair of earrings to wear at my Baptism. Well, my aunt actually pierced my ears and put them in me soon after birth. I looked adorable in all my baby pictuers with little pearl stud earrings.

    Fast forward to having a little baby girl of my own soon. I’ve already told my mom she was having her ears pierced soon after birth and will be wearing her grandmother’s earrings too! She cried and was so happy to hear I was passing on the tradition and a little part of her grandmother would be shared with my daughter.

    Know you’ll have similar experiences with your baby girl too.


  2. Thanks for your nice comments.

    Don’t know if you’d considered having your daughter’s ears pierced soon than yours to start a new tradition in your family. However, when I interviewed our
    pediatrician, I asked her opinion on the topic of infant ear piercing. Much to my surprise and
    delight, she was very supportive as she reached in her pocket, and took out a picture of her six
    month little girl with little sparkly earrings in each ear, saying,” …this is what I think.” She encouraged me to go ahead after her first DPT at 4-wks and reassured me it was best as an infant when mommy could care for them because older girls ages 2-5 who say they wanted it done, often fail to care for them properly.

    Our daughter is due within days, so my hospital bag is packed and her earrings ready after her first shots. She gave me some suggesions for moms having their daughter’s ears pierced which I’d be happy to share with you if you want your daughter to wear sweet little earrings early.

    Don’t know if this is a tradition you might wish to start with your daughter so she can wear her great-great-great grandmother’s earrings as a little girl with mommy’s close and watchful eye :)However, if so, then drop me an e-mail and I’ll forward our ped’s tips to you.


    • Congratulations on your new arrival soon! Isn’t the last few weeks the roughest?

      We haven’t discussed it yet, though we have a few months to go. My mom took the viewpoint that she wanted us to be old enough to decide what was done to our bodies, and I agreed with that growing up even while feeling envious of my friends who already had their’s pierced. We’ll probably do a similar thing for our daughter, though maybe not waiting quite so long if she is determined. Thank you for the offer though!

  3. Yes, the last few weeks and MONTHS are the hardest waiting and expecting for sure.

    Although you may not have discussed an age to have your daughter’s ears pierced, I know a lot of people have strong feelings when to pierce a child’s ear. “Let them decide” is slowly being replaced by parental decision. When mommy intuition knows, “earlier is better” and Daddy wants his little girl to look like “daddy’s little girl,” the best time will be evident.

    From your own childhood experience admiring other little girls with pierced ears, you might surprise yourself by deciding to pierce her ears when she is an infant when she receives pretty or expensive earrings as a birth gift from close relatives or Daddy want to buy her first pair of diamond earrings! or from either personal or friend’s experiences of unpleasant childhood ear piercing. I think it just depends on your own personal choice when you wish your baby or little girl when she is older to have pierced ears.

    I know cerebrally, as mothers of girls of all ages, we know cute little pearls, or sparkly CZ’s truly celebrates their femaleness and femininity.Although our decison for Sandi has already been made for her, promise you just might change your mind doing it early when you see all those cute babies, toddlers and little girls with earrings. If so, then write me for our ped’s suggestions and a picture of Sandi with her little pearls!

    Hope things go well with the birth of your daughter and one day, she’ll be thrilled to hear your story of those lovely earrings she’ll cherish as you did.


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