Earflares from ancient Maya.
Earflares were used in ancient Maya to stretch and be worn in the ear of the user. Some of their designs are similar to today’s ear plugs or tunnels.
Worn by the elite, jade earflares were a mark of power and wealth. In ancient Maya, jade was the most precious of all stones. Wearing jade earflares, such as those displayed above, heightened the individual’s social prestige. Due to the lengthy amount of time taken to properly stretch the ear, they were also a sign of discipline and patience.
All of these artifacts are either from Mexico or Guatemala, and made of jadeite. The flower-shaped earflares in the first photo date to 550-850, while the other two date to 600-900.
Artifacts shown courtesy of & currently located at the LACMA, USA, via their online collections (1, 2 & 3).