Cultura, Familia

Your roots are showing… on your earlobes

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.


13 thoughts on “Your roots are showing… on your earlobes

  1. chispa says:

    I love this post and thanks for getting me the earrings (I still wear them). Last summer I finally got a pair of big gold ones, a gift from Adrian’s aunt and uncle. =)

  2. I had a friend from Michoacan who called them dormilonas. I never had any. I don’t think or know if Mexico City had the same tradition.
    But then again I didn’t get my ears pierced ’till I was 10.

  3. pokey says:

    My parents are from Jerez too…and my grandma would always send me las arracadas…I had a few pairs in different sizes. You’ll find them in so many of my elementary school pics. They are now lost somewhere in my mom’s collection of jewelry…i need to get them back.

  4. Irma says:

    My mom recently came back from Zactecas and I asked her to get me a pair of arracadas! Like most of u I had them when I was small as well, and never did take them off. In college I had to take them off because I was playing flag football and I regret it! I lost them! I was very heartbrokern because my Grandparents had given them to me…I do wish dearly to someday have a baby girl and keep the tradition going! I don’t want my kids to forget where we came from!!

  5. Julissa says:

    You’re so on point with this post. I have so many old pics of me with these famous earrings. I have huge ones that I constantly get compliments on. Arracadas rock 🙂

  6. Angie says:

    I’m actually crying as im writing this. but my grandmother (R.I.P) always made sure i had a pair, no matter how many times i’d lose them, and i know her mother wore them too. It is such a lovely tradition, it gives you a sense of belonging. I never had a chance to ask my grandmother what they mean.. does anyone know?? I tried doing some my own research…dont you think that they represent grapes? the curlies on them look like those cochinito tailes that stick out from the vines.. after all jerez is named after jerez de la frontera spain they are known for wine exportation. Jerez de la Frontera (spain) was at some point occupied by moors/islam. The name Xerez is derrived from shiraz which in Iran means a city known for its poets gardens and wine, hence el jardin?? I believe it is somehow connected and we have roots deeper then we think. If anyone has any info on this feel free to email me, please be open to share any of your knowledge or insight with me. y que viva JEREZ !!! WEAR YOUR ARRACADAS WITH PRIDE!

  7. connie sapien says:

    Our roots begin in LaEstancia de los Berumen near Jerez.My mom and and my two sisters we have arracadas jerezanas, now i want a pair that is bigger, can i buy them online?

  8. Ale says:

    Same story here I ever since I was a small girl all my primas and I had arracadas Jerezanas. I know have my own daughter and of course she has a small pair of gold and small pair of silver. Keep the tradition going.

  9. nancy lopez says:

    i’ve done this before where i notice someone with the earrings in a class and in the back of my mind, i am thinkin, “they are probably from jerez “

  10. Michelle says:

    Hi. I came across your blog as I was searching for arracadas de Jerez. As I do know this a symbol that ties all jerezanas. I’m 33 and am fourth generation arracadas wearing famiIy . I want my 2 year old to know the this is a little piece if her Latin history. Thank you or the post. My family is also from a mall town outside Jerez .i to also stated running last year and I love to see arias out in races. Hope to run in la some day.
    Kind regards, michelle

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