It has traditionally been the view that the true standard of beauty lies in perfect symmetry, but in recent years, aesthetic estimations have skewed a little off center. Today, asymmetry scores highly when it comes to jewelry styling, and instead of matching earrings forming a dialogue with your clothing, irregular designs can also form a daring discourse between your earlobes. So, forego matching earrings and embrace a pick-and-mix mantra by stacking up single styles – be they hoops, huggies, studs, pins or pendants – in a variety of materials and metals.
New York-based jeweler Maria Tash – who opened her first piercing studio in the ’90s – is synonymous with single-earring aesthetics. She attributes her affinity for imperfection with ’80s punk culture. “It was an era of liberating asymmetry and one could wear a shirt with one sleeve or an ear with many earrings on one side, and one or none on the other,” she explains. Tash’s single earrings range from small hoops – encrusted with diamonds and pearls or dangling with star and lightning-bolt pendants – to delicate studs, which can be layered up the lobe. Her celebrity clients, including Zoë Kravitz and Scarlett Johansson, stack up single sparkling earrings to add personality to red-carpet ensembles. For an individual eveningwear update, layer up Anita Ko’s bejeweled zipper earrings or Suzanne Kalan’s firework-inspired drop pendants with a host of smaller huggies by Maria Tash and prismatic birthstone studs by Stone and Strand.
While The Attico co-founder Gilda Ambrosio favors a host of layered carabiner hoops by Eéra, and Aimee Song opts for a row of pavé diamond huggies, the stacked-up trend can still be tapped into if you have limited ear piercings. To create the illusion of extra, Maria Tash made huggies that resemble double or triple rows, while Persée’s floating-hoop styles evoke multiple piercings. LA-based jeweler Katkim is renowned for single ear pins that hook onto the inner ear to resemble bold, cartilage piercings. “Our clients appreciate the ability to play with contrasting pairings that allow for a distinctive look,” says its founder Katherine Kim. To tap into 2021’s penchant for rainbow-hued jewelry, choose one that is pin-encrusted with colored gemstones.
Sophie Bille Brahe’s graphic and streamlined take on pearls and diamonds distil the Scandi style set’s laid-back sensibility. Drop earrings and hoops festooned with pearls are sold as single pieces, and when worn asymmetrically, transform from traditional to on-trend. Pernille Teisbaek even wears two of Bille Brahe’s irregular ‘Botticelli’ pearl earrings on the same ear. “I love that people wear my jewelry differently and that it becomes a part of their lives, their history and their look,” Bille Brahe explains.
“In the past, beauty was celebrated as the extent to which a body conformed to a single ideal,” says Completedworks’ founder Anna Jewsbury of her London-based brand’s focus on singular styles. Its organic designs include single ear cuffs and asymmetric pairs of studs and drop pendants, resembling irregular loops of gold vermeil thread. Brazilian-American fine jeweler Ara Vartanian also favors mismatched pairs, formed from studs and hooked drop pendants in spiked diamonds. These can be stacked with additional single styles, depending on how big you want to take the trend.
“Today, we are celebrating what is different and unique about each of us,” Jewsbury adds. “We are seeing our asymmetries as our core identities and sources of power.”
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