Can you can pull off the mid-life multiple ear piercing? Maria Tash says you can
When it comes to piercings, Maria Tash says more is more
Multiple ear piercings: not just for teenagers. Photograph: Maria Tash/Brown Thomas
Think the trend for piercing your lobes and studding your cartilage was just for teenagers? Think again. Cult New York piercer and jeweller Maria Tash, who has a large piercing boutique in Brown Thomas, has a steady stream of women in their 30s, 40s and beyond lining up to pay for her delicate diamond designs. “We cross age boundaries because a lot of people are doing it to be creative and individual, and that’s democratic of any age. We have mothers and daughters, children as young as eight or ten, then it goes all the way up to 50s and 60s, and even older,’ says Tash.
The craze for an adorned ear has taken off thanks to the high quality designs that are more readily available. Challenging the idea of grungy body piercing, Tash is in the vanguard of experimenting with delicate, finer pieces in more unusual parts of the ear, which she terms “ear curation”. This innovation has meant that Tash has created a global empire out of her intricate piercings, as well as attracting some celebrity clients, including Rihanna, Dua Lipa, and Scarlett Johansson.
But Tash believes her success is also because she was one of the early proponents of the style. “My first store opened in New York’s East Village in 1993, and I’ve been developing and evolving since that time. I’m really known for it because I’ve been around since that time working in Manhattan, and then getting the vision out globally – and I invented a lot of it too. If I could be so bold.”
Rooks, daiths, helixes: some of us may not associate these words with ear piercings, but these are now some of the most popular styles. “I do love a Tash rook, it’s the one piercing I named after myself,” says Tash. “I was the first person to execute a piercing in a certain plain of skin in the cartilage, that’s called the Tash rook. I think it’s a very beautiful spot.”
If you’re considering adding some piercings beyond your ear lobes, Tash suggests the rook as a place to start. “That’s if you are willing to do cartilage – it takes a little longer to heal than a ear lobe. If you don’t want to heal, then the first step away from an ear lobe piercing is a helix – it’s general piercing 101, and a lot more sophisticated now.”
Regardless of where your piercing is, Tash’s number one tip is to pick a piece of jewellery that you feel resonates with your personal style, that’s complimentary to your skin tone and which works with your body shape. “Achieving the perfect curated ear is always a work in progress, but I always look at someone’s complexion. I hold up a bigger piece of metal, whether it’s yellow, white, or rose, to see what looks good on them. And then I look at their style and what else they are wearing. I want them to have an opinion, and to see what they are drawn to.”
But the key to pulling off multiple ear piercings in later years is to keep it considered. “I think anyone can really pull it off as long as the piercing looks very deliberately done, not haphazard, and is well fitted to the body. I can’t stress it enough: deliberate and well fitted, for me, equals sophistication,’ says Tash.
This is no teenage piercing that you got on a whim – it’s all about well-thought designs that are strategically placed, no matter your age. “There are no age restrictions on a curated ear,” says Tash. Instead she sees piercing as a celebration of one’s self and as something that can be shared with others. “I think part of the reason it’s so popular is that people celebrate themselves and come in with their sweeties, their buddies, their mother, their daughter and it’s a bonding moment. There’s no age restriction to celebrate the body or to use it as a bonding tool with someone else.”