Harry Mason and the Big “O”


I’m feeling really awake and alert and a little smart today so I’m going to wear my Harry Mason earrings.

I don’t wear these earrings if I’m feeling tired or frustrated or disoriented or whackadoodlish or batshit crazy because it takes a lot of effort and ginkgo biloba to wear these suckers since you don’t put them on so much as twist, turn, roll and wind them in. You really need to be in total control of your faculties and be able to concentrate. Hence, I wear them approximately once a year.

These ain’t your momma’s earrings, although I’m a momma and I wear them so maybe they could be your momma’s earrings, provided your momma is nothing like my momma and actually possesses a sense of direction. My momma has no sense of direction and substitutes frantic hand gestures accompanied by shouts of THERE! OVER THERE! for “left” and SHIT, WE MISSED IT for “right.” These earrings would send my momma screaming off a cliff.

I love my Harry Mason spirals. I got them twenty years ago while visiting my sister in San Francisco. I had one entire day to spend at Pier 39 by myself and I spent a good portion of that day at Ghirardelli Square, mesmerized by their chocolates and another good portion of the day at the Harry Mason shop, mesmerized by their spirals. I secretly wondered how the hell you were supposed to put them on? The spirals, not the chocolate, silly! I don’t wear chocolate. It messes up the sheets and melts too quickly.

Oops! I hope no one heard me type that.

The spirals confounded me at first. Where were the posts? The backs? The clasps? The little plastic and metal things that are forever losing their counterparts, getting lost on the floor somewhere and winding up embedded in the bottom of your foot as you’re running around the house screaming WHERE THE HELL IS THE BACK TO THIS STUPID EARRING because your date is going to be there any second and the last thing of yours that you want him to see naked is your earlobes. And the back of your thighs, but that’s a different post entirely.

Back at Pier 39, the befuddled look on my face alerted the saleswoman to my confusion. Or it could have been the what the hell are these things that I blurted out loud to myself. Either way, she came over and schooled me in the ways of Harry Mason. No sooner did she decorate my earlobe with a spiral and face me toward a mirror when my tummy did a flip flop and my vision blurred and I had a big “OH!” moment, not to be confused with the other big “O” moment which I also had as I gazed at that beautiful piece of lusciousness hanging from my ear. But I won’t dwell on that because my mother reads this blog and she’s probably already pissed about the cliff comment. Talking about the big “O” might cause her to go screaming off yet another cliff in the opposite direction, provided she knew what direction she was headed in the first place.

Any woman who has fallen in love with a piece of jewelry knows exactly what I’m talking about, right? The piece you’ve been looking for your whole life and when you find it, it fits perfectly, like it was made just for you. It makes you writhe with excitement and moan with pleasure, sweeps you off your feet and carries you on a tidal wave to a place of ecstasy and joy and almost makes you pass out.


Excuse me. I need a moment.


To wear a spiral, you insert it into your earlobe sideways and then gently twist it through, along the natural curve of the earring. I find it easier not to look in a mirror and just do it by feel because the mirrored image only serves to confuse me as to what direction I’m supposed to be twisting. If I try to twist a spiral according to a mirrored image, I will inevitably encounter that whole LEFT! TURN LEFT! WHY THE HELL IS IT TURNING RIGHT? AAARRGGH scenario which inevitably irritates the utter bejesus out of me.

I really don’t want to annoy my bejesus. It might abandon me and where would I be without my bejesus?


It’s just perfect. Just like that. Oooooooooooh! Aaahhhh! Yes! Just like that! Yes! Don’t stop …


Twenty years ago, I bought my first pair of spirals shown above and ten years later, when Nate and I went to San Francisco for our honeymoon, I must have somehow OD’d on ginkgo because I bought these:


I would not recommend these spirals to anyone who is drunk or strung out on meth or entering perimenopause. Trust me on this. Your earlobes will thank me later, even the one ripped to shreds and decaying in the corner where you threw it in a fit of rage known as HOLY MOTHER OF GOD, WHY THE HELL DID I BUY THESE THINGS?



Just remember … you bought them because of the “O” factor. Just don’t tell your mother. Or mine.



Sometimes, as in the above photo, you don’t have time for the big “O” or any kind of vowel for that matter.

Because sometimes, you have a mammogram scheduled in a half hour for which you cannot wear deodorant and you’ve just spent twenty minutes and a bucket of perspiration trying to manipulate a spiral through your earlobe and you are failing miserably so you find yourself standing in a big sweaty puddle of DAMMIT DAMMIT DAMMIT ALL TO HELL which occurs when the spiral flips you the bird and refuses to budge, leaving you with a dilemma: do you continue or do you yank off your entire ear and shove it down the garbage disposal and call it a day? Then you realize that you don’t have time to do either so you leave the spiral askew as you speed to the mammogram where you continue to fiddle with it as the technician named Satan busies herself by smashing your boobs to death in a torture device. As she flings your left boob over your shoulder to make room for the right one, she asks why you are crying and as you try in vain to keep an eye on your left mammary gland lest it make a run for it out the door, you assure her that it’s not her technique that she so obviously mastered in some Nazi death camp that is making you sob uncontrollably. It’s simply that thirty minutes before, you were feeling smart and now, you are not. Now, you are feeling decidedly unsmart. And sweaty and smelly with a pair of lopsided double d’s which don’t look at all like they did when you first walked into the room and instead, resemble two huge undercooked pancakes. Not to mention that your earlobe appears to have given birth to a corkscrew for no apparent reason.

Thank God mammograms are only once a year.

By the way, I’m not sure who that person is in these photos, but I wish she’d touch up the gray. Just saying. Although I do like her glasses. They almost, but not quite, divert your attention from the rather fleshy neck.

We’re thinking of taking a trip to San Francisco to celebrate our tenth anniversary this year. If we do, you can bet I’ll be in Harry’s shop, buying my third pair. I’m eyeing these beauties:


Or these:


It’s our tenth anniversary.

I totally intend to experience the big “O” in more ways than one.



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35 thoughts on “Harry Mason and the Big “O””

  1. Avatar

    Okay, now that I’ve seen these pics, I am positive that People’s Pottery carries the same styles, though I do not know the jeweler of origin. Probably some kewl Ithaca hippie throwback who once went to San Fran and saw Harry Mason and decided that s/he could totally do that, man and then promptly came back to NY and did.

    But, you know, PP is a lot closer to your house than SF. Just sayin’ …….

    Those earrings are a whole lot of gorgeous, though my earlobes are twinging now just from looking at them. I’d *never* get them in, seriously.

    Oh, and your bejesus was in one of my kitchen boxes out on my lanai. I saw it when I was frantically looking for the pieces of my computer last night. It said it was just visiting and would head home soon.

  2. Avatar

    Get OUT! Not only do I love those earrings, but I own four pair and I’m wearing my white gold with fresh water pearl ones TODAY. I’m telling you A, sometimes we’re so alike its really SCARY!

    I want another pair!

  3. Avatar

    Those earrings just make me glad I can’t have pierced ears. I don’t think there’s any day I have the fine motor skills to maneuver them.

  4. Avatar

    Ya, I would need some serious energy to put those bad boys in. Do you ever get them stuck on your ear and can’t get them off? I do know the feeling of finding a great piece of jewelry. My heart starts racing!

  5. Avatar

    These are amazing…and I think I need you to accessory shop with me…because about the time you were buying your first pair and then your second pair, I was wearing little tiny earrings shaped like pumpkins for my fall ensemble…because they went with my pumpkin-themed maternity wear…all of which makes me realize I need an Andy Accessory Intervention….


  6. Avatar

    Wow. Those are some cool earrings! I let my ears close some years ago. Nobody ever sees my ears anyway unless I wear the big hooker hoops and then the hubby thinks Im doing something for money on the side….

  7. Avatar

    All of those earrings are gorgeous! I would totally throw them through the window after about five minutes, seeing as how I have the patience of a two year old.

  8. Avatar

    This has me laughing all the way through! Don’t get me wrong the earrings are gorgeous! But you just painted a very funny mental picture for me of your first encounter with them! Thanks for the laugh!!!

  9. Avatar

    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!!!!!

    Those last ones are the most sublime of a gorgeous lot! One of my ears sports a somewhat similar piece, as it was originally intended as a belly-button ring, but now twists around through both holes (on the same ear). Fun stuff! So I have a twinge that I can no longer wear such beauties, as my other ear has an 8-ga. spike in it… *grins* And your glasses are rad, man!

  10. Avatar

    Interesting. and pretty. Don’t think I could do it though. But then again I rarely ever wear the normal kind of earrings.

  11. Avatar

    I always get excited when you post because I know I’m in for a giggle! You are so funny… And those earrings are frigging GORG! I’d go with the curvy ones this time… That have a little extra oomph! 🙂 I so want a pair now!

    Happy 10th anniversary! Enjoy every O you can get! 😉

  12. Avatar

    LOL!! LOVE the earrings–would you believe that I own a spiral pair like that? Smaller and easier to manage when drunk but still 😉

    Oh and enjoy the O 😉 OH! yes..another O! I almost forgot!! HAPPY 10th ANNIVERSARY! Want to know what I got for mine? Well…he’s got red hair, blue eyes and he’s now 6 years old! LOL!!!!

  13. Avatar

    While I love those earrings and I think they look beautiful on you, I don’t even have the patience to wait for the water to boil when I make macaroni. I think I would become so frustrated at the whole process of figuring out how to get it in my ear “just right” that it would send me over the edge….to the insane asylum, where I belong anyway.

  14. Avatar

    OOoooh! Those are very pretty. But I could never do them. I never have that kind of coordination or the time to pretend I have that kind of coordiation. I hope you get some new ones on your next trip!

  15. Avatar

    Those are cool! I’ve noticed that you have an affinity for spirals and curved shapes. I’m imagining that they bring you a sense of peace, a calm in the storm of insanity that is your life. LOL @ “batshit crazy”

  16. Avatar

    I am so glad that we (my dh and i) are not the only ones that refer to inmate time as an “O” moment. I trust you Andy when you say you are going to enjoy every moment of that anniversy time!

    Happy Anniversy!

  17. Avatar

    The Big “O” and a mammogram all in one post wrapped in a pretty little package of sassy earrings. I can harldy take it.

    I love San Francisco and Pier 39…

  18. Avatar

    O Wow! O mi god! O I don’t believe it! O what a coincidence!
    Happy Tenth Anniversary!
    We added a link to your article on our web site:
    a present for you, too!

    Harry Mason & Kathryn Strong
    PS To everyone who commented on this article… Andy doesn’t really have to go through all those contortions to get the Earspirals on… she just stands on her head and spins!

  19. Pingback: My new Harry Mason spiral earrings |

  20. Avatar

    I have those same spiral earrings. I’m looking for someone to rewire one. I had to pull it out. Now that the stores are closed I don’t know what to do. Please email if u have a solution! thank you

  21. Avatar

    I was gifted two pair of the Harry Mason spirals about 18 yrs ago by an old boyfriend. I wear them when I don’t mind being the center of attention 🙂

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