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Sacred Gold
courtesy of Nicole Mitchell

Curated ears and more of the biggest piercing trends for 2020


TextAlex Peters

London’s Sacred Gold salon predicts the next big piercing trends

From the bejewelled belly buttons, tongue piercings, and gaping ear gages we saw throughout the 00s, to the septum rings that became the must-have millennial accessory during our collective hipster phase, piercings can be instant indicators of the trends of our time. 

And now, with the most recent trend, it seems we are going back to basics, returning our attention to the humble ear – with a twist. A quick scroll through Instagram and you’ll find them – lobes stacked with minimalist, delicate studs and hoops, clusters of tiny gems, and dainty gold bars. They are chic, creative, and tailored specifically for you and your ear. 

To find out more about this new trend we caught up with Nicole Mitchell, head piercer’s at London’s sought-after salon Sacred Gold.

Who sets piercing trends? Where do they come from? 

Nicole Mitchell: For my clients, definitely sharing photos on Instagram and certain photos making the rounds. In the last few years, it was all about Pinterest, although now Instagram has taken over. Celebrity influence does have an effect, people like Victoria Beckham and Miley Cyrus sharing their piercings online or having them on display in photoshoots has definitely started trends with clients coming in with their photos wanting the same look.

Of course, sometimes our own piercing photos go viral. I have people showing me my own portfolio photos which is awesome! Quite often my photos get 20k+ likes on Instagram and I have definitely noticed trends stemming from that.

What are you known for?

Nicole Mitchell: Delicate, dainty ear arrangements AKA curations. Generally a lot of styling and long term ear projects, even with more standout and statement pieces. A few years ago I started doing a lot of triangle lobe formations and (vertical) stacked lobe piercings. Also, mini piercings which is multiple piercings made close together, like a standalone teeny project. 

Can you explain the “curated ear”?

Nicole Mitchell: The term ‘curated ear’ refers to multiple piercings in the ear, intentionally and artfully created and arranged. This is usually done so with fairly delicate gold fine piercing jewellery and placed altogether by the piercer in order to aesthetically adorn, decorate, and celebrate the specific unique anatomy of the client. Specific jewellery is chosen or styled in fact, to the wearer and to create the desired effect in conjunction with everything else. Where art and styling align with body piercing and modification. 

Why do you think it is so popular?

Nicole Mitchell: They look amazing and are so unique and completely specialised to the client. Our clients come specifically to us for our opinion and advice on what will look good. There is a whole lot of trust involved and it is a highly personal experience and long term client-piercer relationship. 

The immense popularity is definitely due to a few factors: the rise of social media where trends can blow up. A larger choice of fine jewellery designs for piercings made by companies like Body Vision (BVLA). You can wear something beautiful in your piercings straight away now! 

Also, people striving for personal uniqueness and self-care. I see a lot of people coming in to treat themselves with new gold jewellery. Getting a new piercing will make you feel good, more lavish, and royal. Who doesn't want more diamonds? You can put them everywhere in your ears now, not just the lobe!

And then piercings becoming more socially acceptable and commonplace. I have more and more female clients over 35 who used to be afraid of what others would think if they got additional ear piercings, or even a tiny nostril piercing, but are now ready to own it and get what they have always wanted.

How will the curated ear evolve? 

Nicole Mitchell: From what I can tell with my clients, we will continue to create new jewellery sets once piercings have been completed, and I think more types of modification and decoration like tattoos will come with it. People are definitely feeling themselves and want to go further and further. 

What other big piercing trends do you predict for 2020?

Nicole Mitchell: Bolder pieces. Coloured gemstones. Even more piercings. More more more! People are definitely getting on down with it and one-upping each other. 

What's the future of piercings? 

Nicole Mitchell: I hope the rise in popularity continues and people become more and more open to trying new things, being bolder and testing different placements. I see a lot more of my clients, initially reserved, being more excited about nostril piercings and nipple piercings even. I love it! People should feel free and happy to do what they want to do and look how they want to look. 

From my perspective, piercings and modifications are intensely linked with personal freedom, individuality, and general open-mindedness. This stems from what I and my peers in the industry do and I am hopeful this can be much more significant and world-affecting than just what goes down in my little piercing room. It’s the individuals that make up the whole. It's from these smaller-scale interactions and experiences that change comes from and I hope we can create more acceptance, freedom, body autonomy, and general kindness all around. 

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