Earrings have a storied history, everything from the piercing process itself to the actual adornments that hang from the ear.
According to Wikipedia, wearing earrings is considered to be one of the oldest forms of body modification, and was even referenced in the Bible. It’s written in Exodus 32 that the Israelites demanded that Aaron make them a god. In response to this demand, they were asked to bring him the earrings of their children and other pieces of jewelry in exchange. This reference also symbolizes that during Biblical times, both women and men (as well as girls and boys) wore earrings.
This fact is in stark contrast to the belief across many cultures that only women and girls should be allowed to wear earrings. This was evidenced during the 1500s, in places like the Middle East, Greece, and Rome, which also considered earrings to be exclusively worn by women. This belief depended largely on the person’s geographical location. Because during the English Renaissance, men who were earrings were considered to be especially brave, and if they were sailors or worked on ships, an earring would mean that they had crossed the equator or sailed around the world.
By the 1960s, ear piercing was becoming popular amongst teenage girls in the U.S., with many young girls holding piercing parties where they would take turns piercing one another. This practice soon became commercialized when department stores and malls began offering the service at jewelry kiosks. This popularity eventually evolved into other kinds of ear piercings.
For example, according to the same Wikipedia article, there are 9 different places on the ears that you can get pierced.
While you can get your helix cartilage and lobe pierced at a shopping center or store, the other types of piercings should be done by a professional piercer. Professional piercers either have their own business or they work in tattoo shops. The reason for this is that a standard piercing gun isn’t used for piercings 2 through 8. Instead a gauged needle is used to make the hole. This could lead to bleeding and infection if not done properly.
The material of earring you wear after piercing is also very important. For many people who are sensitive, they can find their ears turning green or getting infected if they are allergic to the copper in silver jewelry. For this reason, many piercers suggest piercing your ears for the first time with a gold stud. By using gold, the piercing is less likely to get infected or cause an allergic reaction. Keeping the stud in place for at least two weeks is also important. If you take the stud out before the piercing has time to heal, you run the risk of having the hole close up when you remove it.
Once your ear piercing has healed it’s important to monitor the weight of the earrings you wear. Wearing heavy earrings over the course of a long time can cause the lobe (or area that you’re that you have pierced) to lose its elasticity. To preserve the structure of your ear, be it the cartilage or lobe, always wear earrings that are lightweight, made from gold or silver, and are comfortable to wear.
You may have also seen people who have stretched their ear holes, particularly on the lobe to be able to wear gauge earrings. These are large, circular earrings that are significantly wider than just a stud. In fact, these kinds of earrings range from 20g to 00g. The higher the gauge, the smaller the earrings, the smaller the gauge (00), the bigger the hole. Stretching the earlobe should be done in phases and not all at once, so as to avoid trauma. If you want to stretch your earlobe, you’ll start with a 20g, and wear it for a few weeks and then replace it with an 18g, and then wear it for a few weeks and replace it with a 16g. So on and so forth until you get to your desired gauge.
For those of you who are considering letting your ear piercings close, the longer you’ve had the ear pierced, the likely it is to close up. Usually people who have had their ears pierced for a few months might be able to remove their studs and have the hole close up completely. However, for those of us who have had earrings since we were born or very young, we are less likely to see these holes close up. If you’ve word gauged earrings, this process may require more time and in some serious cases, such as for people who wear 00g, they may even have to get surgery.
Earrings are definitely a personal choice. Some of us have our ears pierced when we were young and others waited into adulthood. Whatever the circumstances, earrings have been a staple in society for quite some time. Ultimately, it serves as both personal meaning (depending on your culture) and gives you another way to show off your personality.