An Expert Guide To The Coveted 'Earscape'

Have you noticed something shift in the jewellery world lately? You’re not imagining it—everywhere you look it seems that long gone are the days of big, bold statement jewellery, which has instead been swiftly swept aside for the coveted ‘earscape’, a curated upgrade that sees the earring space become one that is completely customisable and personalised, with rarely two layouts the same as the last. 

Beloved Australian jeweller Sarah & Sebastian are at the forefront of the craze thanks to the launch of their Piercing Lab, which helps customers achieve what they’ve dubbed Ear Alchemy. According to Marta Smith, the brand’s Piercing Services Manager, the practice is “the intricate balance between form and function, where individual contours of the ear are considered just as much a personal taste.”

Basically, it describes cultivating a collection of ear piercings beyond the standard punctured lobe on your left and right, and instead opts for a mix of dainty hoops, diamonds, opals and more, to create an entirely new form of stylistic self-expression, which, more often than not, is fraught with intention. 

Deciphering exactly what you want and how to achieve it is best left to the professionals though, as the process is not as simple as one trip to the piercer, and needs careful consideration, not to mention, it’s much more time consuming than you might imagine. The team at Sarah & Sebastian’s piercing lab are experts, who work to create a “perfect unity” between the jewellery stacked on the ear, “creating something that not only looks beautiful, but is going to aid in the healing journey being as smooth sailing as possible.” 

Because they know the earscape has become as much an art form as styling the perfect outfit, individual shapes of the ear are taken into consideration to form the end result, as well as personal preference, of course.  

The brand’s piercings are all conducted privately using single-use needles and 18k gold, internally threaded fine jewellery, while being made with the intention to mix-and-match. Some designs are gold, others silver, while all featuring a selection of diamonds and opals, and even one that’s shaped like a shark, with profits from that particular design going to the Australian Marine Conservation Society to continue their crucial conservation work, a cause incredibly close to the designers.

It might seem overwhelming, but once you have that initial idea or inspiration, it’s actually pretty easy from there. Plus, you’ll be given styling and anatomy advice from the people who know, so bring all the research and use it as your starting point. 

“Everyone will always have their one overriding intention that will be the basis, or the foundation, from where our journey begins,” says Smith. “For some clients, it's about the one (or many) of our pieces that they've fallen in love with, so we work through an ideal placement to complement each ear's features. A lot of other times, we will have clients with a particular placement in mind and we explore options for styles that will accentuate the features of their anatomy and be suitable for the chosen piercing.”

Smith notes that while Ear Alchemy has become increasingly popular, it can be years in the making. Some piercings, especially cartilage, can take months to heal, and should only be done sparingly so as to not overwhelm the body—speaking from experience, my cartilage piercing took more than six months before it wasn’t causing me pain while sleeping, so be aware that crafting that entire curated look won’t happen overnight. 

“We always consider lifestyle factors that can affect particular placements and will work with a client to create something that is going to work with what their anatomy provides us,” Smith adds.

“Though it is good to look at the bigger picture and keep future piercings in mind, our main aim of the game is to ensure that every time a client leaves our Piercing Lab, their ear project looks considered and consolidated.”

The aftercare isn’t as intense as you might think either, with Sarah & Sebastian suggesting the use of Neilmed Aftercare Mist to “ensure that the channel is gently being cleaned out to aid in the healing process”, as well as not sleeping directly on the jewellery (that one’s a little tougher), and taking caution when doing your daily haircare routine (because the piercing will get caught). 

As Smith says, “patience is key” when it comes to getting the desired result, but adds if you take care of your piercing properly they’ll “last a lifetime.”


Image Credits: Sarah & Sebastian