While almost all of us are brave enough to pierce our ear lobes once, it takes extra gumption to face the piercing gun for multiples up the ear – especially for cartilage placements, which can be trickier to heal. There are, however, ways to fake a fully loaded ear look. “An ear cuff is the perfect way to enhance your ear-styling without having to commit to getting another piercing,” says Edwina Hilton, fine-jewelry and watches buyer at NET-A-PORTER. “You can up your ear game really easily with a simple, plain-gold style, or add fun and color with enamel and precious stones – or even invest in a full-on diamond pavé look.”
The beauty of ear cuffs is indeed their versatility. “My team refers to them as ‘ear candy’, as there are so many design options; diamonds, diamonds and pearls, colored sapphires stacked with diamonds… The options are endless,” explains Diane Kordas, who founded her eponymous brand in 2000. “I love designing ear cuffs, as they are a cool way of adding understated glamour,” she adds. “The first piece of jewelry I put on in the morning is my single-diamond-row ear cuff; I feel naked without it.” Ear cuffs really do suit any look, too – day to evening, polished to playful, yet always pain-free. “The beauty of them is that they are easily worn without any piercings at all – just stack the cuffs along the outside edge of the ear as a finishing touch, without weighing down the ear,” Kordas suggests.
Mizuki Goltz, founder of Mizuki, similarly praises the chameleon spirit of ear cuffs, believing they add a certain je ne sais quoi to a styled-up ear. “Ear cuffs not only break the traditional mold of earrings, but they also add so much freedom of expression, as well as a playful flair,” she explains. “Their freshness and ease give them universal appeal – they really elevate an ear statement.” Specializing in pearl designs, Goltz describes her design DNA as “beauty with edge” and it’s easy to see why. The Tokyo-born, New York-raised designer plays with soft and spiky silhouettes, stacking pearl-and-diamond ear cuffs to accent long, linear drop earrings. “Consider sleek and simple looks: with a leather choker, it’s fun to wear a cascading pearl ear cuff, or pair a five-row diamond slider ear cuff with a classic pearl necklace,” she suggests.
Gaia Repossi, creative director of Italian fine-jewelry maison Repossi, is also drawn to the toughened aesthetic that an ear-cuff silhouette can give to dainty diamonds. “I was never attracted to chandelier earrings, so when I started designing my collections, I needed an earring that rose high above the neckline, elongating the figure with a surprising placement of diamonds,” she explains. Repossi has dressed many celebrities for the red carpet with a simple diamond ear cuff as a chic accent to an evening gown, and she admires how one lone piece can add a dash of punk elegance and bring glimmers of gold light to the complexion. “It’s far more modern and contemporary as an earring if we reconsider what femininity has become today; much more radical.”