Ear Alchemy: The Experts Explain Why the Curated Ear Isn’t a Passing Trend

Even if you’re not familiar with the terms “ear alchemy” and “ear curation”, you’ve likely seen the trend bubbling away on social media. Characterised by multiple piercings peppered across lobes and cartilage, ear curation is as much a statement about our style and personality as the way we dress or how we colour our hair. And it’s a piercing trend that’s not going anywhere, any time soon.

Where traditional piercing may remind you of trips to the chemist or local piercing studio as a teenager for a simple lobe piercing or single body piercing, ear curation is more about considering how you want to express yourself through fine jewellery and working towards this goal. 

“The art of ear curation is a form of self-expression. It’s an opportunity to add as few or as many piercings to your ears, styled with jewels that match your personality,” says Iana Caranna,

Creative Director and Piercing Artist at Metalia Studios. “There’s so much more to piercings than just the lobes, and a curation allows you to dress your ears in any way you want — from minimalist to maximalist and everything in between.”

What Exactly Is Ear Curation and Ear Alchemy?

According to Sarah Munro, the Co-Founder and Creative Director of SARAH & SEBASTIAN, ear alchemy is an intricate balance of form and function. “‘Ear Alchemy’ is how we refer to anatomy-specific placements of fine jewellery; the styling aspect of our luxury piercing service,” she says of the service offered at the luxury Piercing Labs in Sydney and Melbourne. She explains that ear alchemy is a combination of personal style and the discovery of your unique ear anatomy.

Ear curation is about the long game and, according to Munro, three piercings per session should be the maximum, to avoid overwhelming the body and to allow your new holes to heal properly and as quickly as possible. “Some piercings can take up to a year to heal, so the best way to achieve your desired look is to build it up over time,” she tells POPSUGAR Australia

While symmetry has been the traditional approach to ear piercings (particularly with lobe piercings), ear curation doesn’t follow the same rules. “For ‘Ear Alchemy’, our priority is to create balance with styling that is unique to your anatomy and aesthetic,” says Robert Sebastian Grynkofki, Managing Director at SARAH & SEBASTIAN. “What’s imperative is our piercers’ experience and skill to conduct piercings that are precise in their placement.”

How Do You Decide on Piercing Placement?

Deciding on the placement for your new piercing takes two things into account: your end goal and your anatomy. “Your piercer will examine your ears and detail your unique anatomy, pointing out unique features of your ear and often inspiring you to think outside of what you had originally planned for your piercing,” explains Munro, adding that considering the shape and size of the jewellery you wish you adorn your ear with will also play a role in deciding on placement. 

Caranna explains that there are two types of people who walk into Metalia Studios: those who have clear ideas of what they want, and others who want her guidance. “Your anatomy may not allow for the piercing you initially wanted,” she says. “You might have a misplaced piercing, or maybe you want to upgrade your jewellery from the one you were pierced with 10 years ago. This first step is all about planning something personalised and practical to fit your style.”

metalia piercing studio
Image: Metalia Studios

Once you’ve selected your jewellery pieces and locked in the placement (double- and triple-checking the markings laid by your piercer), it’s time to pierce!

What Is the Aftercare Process?

The aftercare process is, hands-down, the most important part of the piercing process and your piercer should always discuss this with you in detail before you leave the studio. Caranna has three main tips on how to care for a piercing to ensure correct healing (and no infections!):

  1. Avoid touching or turning your piercings (despite what you were told when you got your first lobes pierced by gun/cartridge system). 
  2. Use NeilMed aftercare spray morning and night, and don’t stop spraying after two weeks. Keep using the spray twice daily until that bottle is empty.
  3. Please don’t sleep on a cartilage piercing.