Every decade has its icons of jewelry design that can be immediately dated to that epoch: for the 2010s, it will most certainly be the ‘huggie’ earring. The name belies their positioning but does explain the difference between them and a classic hoop earring (huggies sit much closer to the ear, embracing it; ‘hugging’ it). They have also become a clever little tool in our everyday jewelry arsenal, welcomed as a tonic to the domineering chandelier styles of the 1990s.
“Huggie earrings are the perfect everyday choice for those who want to branch out beyond classic studs,” says Edwina Hilton, fine jewelry buyer at NET-A-PORTER. “They are so useful for adding interest to an edit of single earrings, and can be paired with studs, hoops and cuffs to create a design-led look without being overly large, heavy or imposing.” Their real beauty, of course, is that they are petite enough to mix and match with wild abandon – countless colors, gemstones and precious metals can be worn together; you’re only limited by the number of piercings you have.
West London-based brand Robinson Pelham has become famous for its ‘menu’ of single earrings for myriad piercings, featuring a huge array of studs, hoops, cuffs and, of course, huggies. Those with multiple piercings can rely on the co-founders’ 25 years of experience advising on the perfect ear edit, with skin tone, ear shape, piercing positions and personal style all considered before curation begins. “It’s important to have fun putting your ear look together,” says co-founder Vanessa Chilton. “Earrings adorn the face and can brighten any look,” she adds, reaffirming that our choice of earrings can affect our entire visage. There is an art to this curation, though, and it is crucial to consider your ear and piercings as a whole rather than choosing each earring in isolation. Chilton recommends placing the largest drops or hoops at the bottom of the ear in the traditional first-lobe piercing, then graduating up the ear with huggies, and switching to small studs as the fleshy part of the ear runs out. “Our huggies are ideal for day- and eveningwear, which makes them an essential part of anyone’s wardrobe – whether you choose a rainbow gradient going up the ear or an ear styled entirely in white diamonds,” she adds.
Nearly every designer has taken on the huggie in their own way, from petite and pretty designs to super-glam iterations. Melissa Kaye reimagines huggies each season, offering colorful enamel styles alongside those full to the brim with diamonds, such as her ‘Aria U’ design. The sculpted ‘U’ shape allows them to sit flush to the ear, ensuring they don’t snag on clothing and aren’t easily yanked by little hands. Those seeking a petite pair with diamonds will also be charmed by Suzanne Kalan’s designs. Crafted in 18-karat gold, they’re offered with just a single baguette-cut diamond for minimalists, a flurry of white diamonds to catch the eye a little more, or a rainbow sapphire style that brings an entire pastel kaleidoscope to your lobes. Huggies might be petite, but they sure pack a punch.