You’ve snapped them to your earlobe. You’ve gushed when you opened a gift box and saw two little pearls resting comfortably inside. You’ve admired them when you see them brilliantly displayed in TV commercials, or in the windows of a jeweler at a shopping mall. Heck, you’ve even had a couple of holes punched in your ears just to make room for them.

But do you really know anything about earrings? This article will look at earrings and explain how they came to be in their present form – both as articles as jewelry and as an article of culture. Here’s a look into earrings, and how they go from jewels to jewelry.

First: Preparing the Way of the Earring

We don’t really think about it this way, but the first step in putting an earring on our bodies isn’t actually making the earring itself. It doesn’t necessarily the pounding of the gold or the mining of the diamond that’s the first step in making an earring, but in a funny ritual we have that we could accurately refer to as “the piercing of the ear.”

Although even in modern times, it has been commonplace for teenagers to beg their parents to allow them a pierced ear, we forget just how far back this practice actually goes. Throughout history, it has even been a relatively gender-neutral ritual.

We know that even ancient Persian men wore earrings, and we also have a strong cultural connection of pierced ears with male sailors and pirates. Sailors often wore earrings out of superstition, believing that if they were shipwrecked and their bodies washed up on shore, their earrings would serve as payment for a Christian burial.

Today, the process of wearing an earring begins with a simple quick prick of the earlobe – at least if it’s professionally done. And, hopefully, this piercing takes place with the permission of the parent.

Creating the Earring itself

Earrings are obviously solely for decorative purposes, so it makes sense that earring design has attained a certain level of sophistication and value. In addition to using gold, platinum, and diamonds for earrings, we have a number of different earring designs that are built to appeal to our tastes.

Here are how some of the different types of earrings might be fashioned:

Stud earrings are designed to give the impression that a stone or article of jewelry is simply “floating” on the ear, giving it a sense of minimal effort. In truth, these stud earrings are constructed just as meticulously as any other. Studs are often built around an earring casing – which can be pounded or shaped from a precious metal like gold or silver – and then fitted with some kind of gemstone that serves as the central ornament to the stud.

Dangle earrings are often made out of several pieces of precious metal or gemstone, assembled together in various parts to give the earring a wide range of movement. An earring like this might also contain some sort of silver or gold casing in which the gemstones are set.

Hoop earrings are often associated with gold, because their simplicity usually requires them to at least “sparkle.” Silver might also be molded into a ring or “hoop” that can be fit through the earlobe, making the process quite easy to complete.

Fitting and Wearing the Earring

Once the ear is pierced, usually with a specific type of ear piercing instrument, or at least an object like a needle accompanied by disinfectant, the ear is allowed to heal after a period of around 6-8 weeks. This helps fight off infection and makes sure that the ear will be able to hold a new range of earrings and decorations that it has been pierced for.

For many, having an earring “fit” is not a major issue, as their piercings are made in a small standard size that allows for a small bit of metal or plastic to go through the ear. For others, however, the process is not so simple, as they might have special piercings on different parts of their ears, or stretch their earlobes for an even more exotic – to put it mildly – look.

Selling your Earrings

If you’re interested in using the gold or silver that went into making your earring for some quick cash, precious metal brokers can accommodate you. Since earrings are often made from a precious metal like silver, gold, or platinum, you’ll be able to sell the precious metals to them for a fair price, recycling your old, broken, or unwanted earrings without having to toss them out. You’ll also make sure they enjoy a sort of “second life” instead of allowing them to simply sit, forgotten, in a dusty jewelry box.