Jewellery trends come and go, but one that has taken centre stage for the past couple of years is the "curated ear." Multiple piercings worn with different types of earrings are cooler than ever, and it's a look that's accessible to everyone, no matter your budget (or pain threshold!). Here's everything you need to know about how to create a curated ear.
What is a curated ear?
A curated ear is essentially an ear with multiple piercings and different types of jewellery combined, from hoops to huggies, studs to ear cuffs. You'll see a lot of them on social media these days, which is a huge factor in why they are so popular, according to Natasha and Sheena Appadoo, who founded East London-based demi-fine jewellery brand Stellar79. "You only need to look on Instagram. Search #curatedear and you’ll be enveloped by a plethora of posts just shy of 50,000," they say.
"Ear art," as the sisters call it, "is unique, versatile, and most importantly, accessible to everyone. It allows for expression and enhancement of personal style and individuality."
Another reason why curated ears have become so popular is down to the increased interest in piercings overall, explains Sam Hayler, who is Head Piercer at Astrid & Miyu. "Piercings have only really recently become a lot more mainstream as the history of body piercing being entirely LGBT+ in origin means that it was kept in the shadows for a long time," Sam explains.
Which piercings are best to create a curated ear?
When it comes to creating your very own curated ear, it's a very personal process. But there are some rules you should stick to, in terms of piercings. Hayler recommends never having more than three piercings done at a time, in order for the body to recover and the piercings to heal effectively.
If you're beginning with a blank canvas, there are so many options for piercings, but Hayler says a nice starting combination would be a couple of lobe piercings, then a conch or daith piercing. "They fill the space quite nicely and you can dress it up as much as you like," she says.
If you find yourself getting quite impatient and find it hard not to get more piercings to complete your look, consider filling the spaces with alternatives like ear cuffs (Astrid & Miyu and Missoma do great ones), as well as "crawlers," which are studs that travel up the ear and take up more space. Otiumberg has some good options for this.
If you're worried about pain, it may be best to stick to lobes and use ear cuffs instead of opting for actual piercings. While the lobe piercing feels more like a sting or a scratch, one on the conch, daith, or tragus is more of a "pressure," says Hayler. However, all the experts I spoke to agreed that if you find the right piercer, the pain should always be minimal, and it's usually worth it when you see the results.
What type of jewellery should you buy for a curated ear?
When it comes to decorating your piercings with jewellery, the options are almost limitless. "It's all so personal, there's really no one way about it," says Christie Wollenberg, Co-Founder of jewellery brand Otiumberg. You can try just about anything, from wearing coloured huggies all up your lobes, to sticking to studs in all the holes. You can mix and match, playing with different lengths and sizes, and add in ear cuffs to give the look an edge where it needs it.
I like to wear a lightening bold stud (by Maria Tash) and a rainbow huggie (by Stellar79) on one ear, along with a cuff as I don't have a piercing higher up there. Then on my other ear, I wear a plain diamond huggie by Roxanne First on my second hole, and a small hoop with a charm dangling down in my first hole, by Missoma. On that ear, I wear a simple gold stud in my conch piercing. It's nice to mix and match both ears, something which Edge of Ember founder Lynette Ong encourages, as she believes you should treat ears "like eyebrows: sisters not twins!"
One great way to pick your look is (as previously mentioned) to scroll through Instagram. There are also certain tools online that will help you to create your look virtually, before committing to it. The "earring builder" by Otiumberg, for example, is a great way to try before you buy.
If you're just starting out, here are some of my favourite brands to shop for all sorts of different earrings:
- Edge of Ember
- Astrid & Miyu
- Maria Tash
- Roxanne First
- Daisy Jewellery
- Carrie Elizabeth
- Zoe & Morgan