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© 2001 – 2003 Patrick Hassel Zein

This page was last updated 29.11.2003

Bajoran Earrings

A model from Star Trek, Deep Space 9

General Information

Bajoran earrings first occurred during season 5 of "Startrek - The Next Generation", and are very common in the later series "Deep Space 9". People from the planet Bajor (both males and females) wear a type of earrings in one ear as a symbol of spiritual devotion. Most Bajorans seem to prefer having the earring in their right ear. Some earrings have more details that others, but the basic concept is a ring fastened around the upper rim of the ear and joined with a chain to a clip at the bottom of the ear. Silver is the common colour. The upper ring is most often attached around the soft outer part of the upper rim of the ear, but in the case of ensign Ro Laren, the ring goes around the entire rim of the mid ear.

The History Behind The Earrings

According to the story presented in Startrek, the Bajoran earrings were once used to denote the caste (so called D'jarra) of the wearer. The earring revealed information about its wearer, their family and occupation. This system is said to have become less articulate even if the wearing of the earring continued. The type of ring can however still often symbolise the profession of the wearer (religious persons often have very elaborate earrings, military earrings are often plain and so on). The earrings are expected to be unique and made for one specific person.

Most Bajoran earrings are said to be handcrafted in "diamide-laced birthium". It is also said that it is likely that the wearing of the earring is connected to the Bajoran belief of pagh, life force, which can be felt in the ears. When you wear a Bajoran earring, you will both feel it and hear it, so there is actually some logic in this!

Designing Your Own Earring

A real Bajoran earring is clipped on to the ear and the upper ring should have a good fit. These two details will give the earring a therapeutical property similar to the one of acupuncture. In two cases I have noticed that this soothes headaches to which no medicine has any effect. Another benefit of clips is that if you get caught in something, the earring will come off without damaging your ear. In other words, you should avoid making earrings that pierce your ear.

A good fit of the upper ring is the most important detail in the design. To find out what measurement will fit you best, I suggest you take a piece of silver tape, put thin metal threads on the tape and another piece of tape above. Cut strips of different lengths and widths, shape the strips to rings around a pencil or a knitting needle and then test these simple rings on your ear. It is also a good idea to go to a hardware store and search for material to continue experimenting with. Remember that the ring should sit where you put it, but still be comfortable. Make a test ring and try to wear it for a few days!

My personal investigations have shown that the upper ring should have an inner diameter of approximately 7 or 8 mm, a width of 7 or 8 mm and a thickness of 1 mm. The ring should have an opening of around 2 or 3 mm, so that the ring can be put around the ear. The optimal position for the ring is on the upper/outer "corner" of the ear, where the rim of the ear is sloping in 45°. Positioning the ring higher will make the chain hang in a less decorative way and it will also tend to get stuck behind the ear more frequently, but it may help the ring to support heavier chains and extra decorations. Lower positions are mostly limited by the shape of your ears and the weight of the chain.

The most suitable length of the chain connecting the ring with the clip varies depending on the positioning of the ring as well as the size of the ear. The rule here is that it is better to have a chain that is too long than one that is too short - and you can always make the chain shorter. I suggest a length of at least 10 cm. Keep in mind that there are many different types of chains to choose among! Unusual types of chains are recommended.

The lower clip can be designed in any way you want. You may make a square, triangular, half circle, full circle or any form with or without pattern. The diameter or side length should probably not be smaller than 15 mm and the clip should preferably not be thinner than 1 mm anywhere.

Extra decorations are probably best attached to the lower clip, but you may also put decorations on the chain or an extra chain. Adding decorations to the upper ring is probably not suitable - except for a possible pattern directly on the ring. Decorations are usually made of the same metall as the earring itself, but liberal producers of bajoran earrings may use feathers or pearls. Use the full power of your imagination!

When you have found an over all design that you think may suit you, you may bring your measurements and designs to a silver smith to have your earring made in silver, white gold or another metal of your own choice. However, I'm afraid I have no idea where to find "diamide-laced birthium"...

Further Reading

Further reading about Star Trek, the planet Bajor and Bajorans can be found at http://www.startrek.com/.

Some Female Models

Some Male Models

My Own Models

The left model identifies Patrick Zein. The right model identifies Wolfgang Zein. Both clips have a side length of 15 mm, the measurements of the upper rings are as described above and the chains are 10 cm each.