For some words I remember where I first heard them, like the word mendacity, meaning untruthfulness. I learned that word from Paul Newman while watching “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. Ever since I’ve been trying to work ‘mendacity’ into my go-to bag of words that I use for everything, but sadly the word doesn't float into my mind often.
With other words, I remember who I first heard speak them, but I don't recall the moment of first exposure. My mother mentioned sleepers many, many times before I understood that she was referring to a kind of earring. I was slow to pick up this meaning, probably because my mom has never pierced her ears. This is a point of friction between us as I am her personal jeweler and she always requests earrings, which means incorporating clip-on backs into my designs. This offends my aesthetic sense.
|Hoop earrings with polyhedral beads, derived from late Roman jewelry,
remained fashionable among Frankish women from the 400s through the
700s. Many are delicate pieces, their beads decorated with garnets or
precious stones. Others, often with the least imposing beads, impress by
their large hoops and distinctive closures. |
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
Traditional sleeper earrings are made of a continuous piece of wire which forms a loop when its ends are connected. These minimal earrings are meant to be worn night and day which is why they are called sleepers. You can easily sleep in them. They are both comfortable and secure.
Looking back over the ages, one can see that what we now call sleepers are actually an ancient form of earring. This simple classic form leaves room for many creative variations.
|Greater Syria or Persia | A pair of gold hoop Earrings | 10th Century | Gold, pearls and garnets - Pininterest|
|Hoop earrings with fourteen-sided beads derived from late Roman jewelry and were adopted in the 400s by eastern Germanic women. - Metropolitan Museum of Art|
A few weeks ago, during a storm warning, I personally rediscovered sleepers. What a revelation they are! Simple. Elegant. No wonder they have been around for so long. While many forms of jewelry require the wearer to remain vaguely conscious of them so the piece isn't lost or destroyed, sleepers can be worn thoughtlessly. Wear them in wind, water, snow; forget about them while you nap, run, hike or camp. Amazing! Definitely an example of a classic form meeting the needs of the modern woman!
|Sterling silver sleeper earrings I created: pearls and copper, Bakelite and 14K rose gold, vintage beads refinished bronze|