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Jewelry is not just a set of accessories, perfectly coordinated with one's appearance. Jewelry is an extension of the body.

Consider: most jewelry is metal worn immediately beside the skin. As metal conducts heat, each piece will warm to your body temperature. As you wear a given piece, it becomes more and more like you. People start to recognize the pieces you wear, and identify them with you. You certainly identify them with yourself.

Many people wear the exact same pieces every day. I wear a watch, a ring, and earrings. The watch is always the same. Maybe I will change it when the old one falls to pieces, or the mechanisms go. The ring is always the same. It has worn away my finger, created multiple callouses in the surrounding area. The earrings are the same for long periods of time, as long as I can fasten the hoops every morning while half asleep, as long as I don't lose one.

The loss of any jewelry is a dislocation in a very physical sense. The wrist and arm are suddenly exposed; the head is lighter, as if you'd cut your hair. You run out the door in the morning, forgetting your ring; you stop suddenly at 9:30, staring at your hand, hoping that you just forgot, that you haven't lost it. You curl your fingers into an involuntary fist, trying to protect what is no longer there.

Earrings are even closer to the body; they are inside it. You have actually altered your body to let the earrings in. You do not wear earrings: they are literally a part of you. Body piercing in effect lets one create new parts of the body. If you lose an earring, you have lost a part of your head.

But almost no one else notices if your ring or earring or watch is gone. They are not close enough to your person. They just wonder why you are restless at your desk, fidgeting.

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