At the start of the year, there’s an inescapable itch that takes hold of jewelry enthusiasts. As much as you might feel the need to refresh your wardrobe staples or shop new-season workwear, magpies succumb to an intense urge to update their piercing repertoire. For 2024, it’s time to take a more holistic approach to piercing placement. However, curating your piercings and the jewelry within them to create a highly personalized stack requires some thought-out styling – and turning to the experts is a great place to start.
“I think of curating an ear like choosing the perfect outfit: every component works together for a combination that is all the wearer’s own,” says Maria Tash, who founded her luxury piercing and fine-jewelry brand in 1993 and is now the go-to guru for the likes of Hailey Bieber, Rihanna and Ashley Graham. “Great curation is imaginative and memorable, and there are many ways to achieve it,” she adds.
Just as with fashion trends, the A-list has led the charge. “Celebrities like Dua Lipa, Jennifer Lawrence and Kaia Gerber have introduced chic ways to style layered piercings on the red carpet this year – with a slick bun and punkish styles by the likes of Eéra, along with elegant diamond studs and emeralds,” says Libby Page, market director at NET-A-PORTER. Page argues that a fully stacked-up ear has become a go-to styling choice that can be just as easily paired with a white T-shirt as with statement chandelier earrings and a minimalist gown for occasionwear.
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“My number-one tip for looking chic is don’t make it too busy,” says Emily Johnston, fine-jewelry buyer at NET-A-PORTER. “Careful curation is key to making your stack look effortless,” she explains. This can take some serious consideration. “You need to plan ahead and design how you want your ear to look, ultimately – do your research, look at piercings online and, more importantly, look at your ear,” says Vanessa Chilton, co-founder of Robinson Pelham, a British brand famed for its ‘stud club’ and piercing parties, where customers can embark on a whole ear overhaul.
“Some piercings just might not work on your anatomy, and it’s crucial to consider your lifestyle, too,” advises Chiltern. “Ask yourself a few questions: do you wear headphones? If you have a daith, tragus or anti-tragus piercing, will you still be able to get earbuds in your ear? If you have an orbital, transverse lobe or helix piercing, will these be uncomfortable with over-ear headphones? Do you have long hair, and do you wear it up or down?” she probes.
I think of curating an ear like choosing the perfect outfit: every component works together for a combination that is all the wearer’s own”Maria Tash
The key piercing trends for 2024
Much like fashion and beauty trends, fine jewelry is feeling the influence of the 1990s in full force, with the return of brow, lip and industrial piercings (two piercings at the top of the ear, connected by a sleek bar). This time around, however, ’90s placements are being populated with dainty gemstones and mixed-gold tones – a far cry from the metal-heavy silver designs pre-Y2K. Maria Tash’s floating diamonds have become hugely popular in recent years, with delicate stones adorning unexpected parts of the ear, yet she is witnessing a gear change: “We are seeing larger clusters of stones, different diamond cuts and shapes in unusual combinations, hidden in the ear,” she says. The consensus among experts is that forward-helix piercings are also trending, along with ‘constellation’ piercings (a smattering of delicate studs that create a pattern across the ear) and ‘snake bite’ piercings – a double set of studs spaced side by side. Flat cartilage piercings are also proving popular for 2024 – adding a hint of sparkle that sits flush upon the flat of the ear.
How to choose the right jewels for your piercing
Just as important as the placements is the jewelry itself – working out which metal tone you prefer is the best starting point. “Yellow gold is still the most popular choice, but I see the demand for white gold is gaining momentum again, especially with larger diamond pieces,” says Anita Ko, an LA-based fine-jewelry designer. Ko’s best-selling ‘Safety Pin’ earring is regularly spotted on A-listers and is available in multiple hues of 18-karat gold and colored gems, so you can choose which best suits your skin tone and existing stack. Brian Keith Thompson, owner of LA’s iconic piercing studio Body Electric Tattoo, is also finding that requests for white gold are on the rise – he often pairs its cool tones with rose gold to add a fresh twist.
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The people featured in this story are not associated with NET-A-PORTER and do not endorse it or the products shown