"Seamen proudly sported earrings as a mark of their travels and voyages. Earrings were given to young sailors to commemorate their first crossing of the equator, or when they rounded the treacherous waters of Cape Horn, the southernmost tip of South America... earrings made of silver or gold were worth enough to pay for a sailor's funeral if his body washed ashore. Some seamen even engraved the name of their home port on the inside of the earring so that their bodies could be sent to their families for a proper burial... wearing hoop earrings did serve one truly beneficial purpose for living sailors. "Pirates, especially those who fired the ships' cannons during close combat with the enemy, dangled wads of wax from their earrings to use as earplugs," Doug Lennox writes in "Now You Know Big Book of Answers.""I would bet a dollar to a doughnut that if someone found a pirate's body washed ashore with a gold earring, that gold wouldn't be applied to funeral expenses.