Su historia cuenta, por ejemplo, que el mar la trajo a México y que luego echó raíces en Jerez, Zacatecas, convirtiendo esta ciudad en el tradicional hogar de la arracada mexicana.
— La arracada, historia de una joya migrante
I had my ears pierced as a baby. Mom bought me diamond studs. I lost those. She bought another pair. I lost those too. She then opted for pearls. Yes, I lost those too.
Eventually, at Mamá Toni’s insistence, I got a pair of arracadas jerezanas. Mamá Toni, constantly traveling from LA back to her home El Cargadero (near the city of Jerez, Zacatecas) saw it fitting that I would don the typical earrings. She brought back a pair from one of her trips so that I could continue the tradition.
I’m wearing the arracadas as a two year old during Mamá Toni and Papá Chepe’s 40th anniversary party in 1983. They’re small and hard to see, half-hidden by my hair.
But they’re there. The earrings are a constant. I’m wearing them as a paje in my aunt’s wedding, in a frilly red dress in front of the Christmas tree, in my baseball uniform at the park, and in a family photo on mother’s day.
In later photos, the earrings are missing. I didn’t lose them unlike the studs I had as a baby. Instead, the earrings were stored in my mom’s jewelry box. They’re still there, along with Lori’s arracadas.
As a little girl, I was clueless about the significance of the arracadas I wore constantly. I didn’t know that my mom and her sisters also wore them as girls. I didn’t know that they were as much of a signifier of Jerezano/Zacatecano roots as decals on a truck, belts, or handkerchiefs featuring your homestate’s name like a logo.
I didn’t even know the design was specific to Jerez, Zacatecas until I saw my mom ask a random woman about her earrings. I was a high school senior and had just been admitted to UCLA. My mom took me to the campus for an event for newly admitted Latino students. While mingling, she noticed a woman wearing arracadas and insisted on asking her.
“Perdón, vi sus arracadas, y le tenía que preguntar. ¿Es usted de Jerez, Zacatecas?”
The woman’s face lit up as she nodded yes. The woman’s daughter and I stood by as our mother’s discussed which small rancho they were from in the municipio de Jerez.
A few years ago, I took a trip to Jerez, Zacatecas. On my visit, I made a trip to Joyería García to purchase two pairs of silver arracadas, one for me and one for a friend from Guadalajara (she’d seen the earrings on her fiancee’s grandmother and wanted a pair).
I don’t wear the arracadas constantly like I did as a girl. I need more variety these days. But when I do wear them, I invariably am asked by women who notice such things, “are you from Zacatecas?” as they touch their own lobes.