"The two groups which had formerly a near monopoly on male earrings were Gypsies and sailors. Both has the usual traditions about eyesight [see ear (1)], but it was also said that sailors' earrings would save them from drowning, while others argued that should a sailor be drowned and washed up on some foreign shore, his gold earrings would pay for a proper Christian burial." ["Dictionary of English Folklore"]
a personal ornament worn pendent from the ear, usually suspended by means of a ring or hook passing through a pierced hole in the lobe of the ear or, in modern times, often by means of a screwed clip on the lobe. The impulse to decorate or to modify the appearance of the ear seems to be almost universal. In general, usage appears to call for wearing earrings in pairs, the two ornaments in all respects resembling each other; but a single earring has sometimes been worn. (The single earring was especially popular in Europe during the Renaissance and Baroque period.)
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