You may have noticed that nobody is wearing big chandelier earrings anymore, and a single stud looks passe.
Instead, it’s about the “ear party”, says Edinburgh-based jewellery designer, Laura Bond, 38. This look translates as lots of jewels for various piercings, so your lugs sparkle like the milky way.
This increasingly popular style may explain why Bond’s eponymous three-year-old business, which she runs with her sister, Georgie, and husband, Doug, has just been valued at 1.5 million.
Now, she's popping up at St James Quarter from June 24-25, where you can peruse her designs, which are made from responsibly sourced 9k and 14k gold, and range in price from £48 up to £125, all while getting some advice from the experts.
How did you get into jewellery?
I’ve been obsessed since I was a little girl when I used to rummage through my mum’s jewellery box and try on all her rings and necklaces.
I got my first cartilage piercing when I was a teenager and my love for the multiple piercings trend grew from there (I’ve got 14 piercings in total including my rook and daith) but I was frustrated that I couldn’t find beautiful dainty earrings that I could afford. My style was feminine and I didn’t like the grungy piercings that all the studios stocked. As I hit my thirties I’d fallen out of love with costume jewellery made of cheap materials and wanted to invest in pieces that would last. There were brands making solid gold earrings with diamonds but even as a thirty-something earning a decent salary they were completely out of my price range. So I decided to start my own business.
Do you think people prefer to shop for jewellery in person?
I think it depends, though in our experience customers are very happy to shop online. Especially if the brand has a strong social presence. We offer complimentary virtual ear styling, so customers can send us a picture of their ear and try on the jewellery virtually. I think the best retailers are realising that a hybrid of online and in store is the way forward.
Do you think a the pop-up shop will attracts a different crowd who might not have discovered you otherwise?
We hope so. We’ve grown hugely on Instagram but that maybe misses people who aren’t using the platform. The availability of dainty fine jewellery is only going to encourage more people to embrace the trend. The Laura Bond customer is stylish and follows trends but prefers to buy quality over fast fashion. They’re free spirited and have a rebellious streak - the curated ear trend is the perfect way to express individuality but less permanent than a tattoo. They’re also not who you would immediately associate with the body piercing world. Customers tell us they wouldn’t have considered a cartilage piercing until they fell in love with a certain piece of our jewellery.
Historically most of our sales came through Instagram but as we’ve grown and featured in publications like Glamour and Marie Claire more people are finding us that way.
What are your bestsellers?
Tiny huggies and daintier studs. They’re exactly what I couldn’t find to wear when I launched the brand.
How does living in the city inspire your work?
Edinburgh feels like such an exciting place to work and have a fashion brand. There’s always a new restaurant, bar or hotel opening and there’s a real buzz. Seeing Strathberry’s success has been inspiring and, while we love being based in Edinburgh, we definitely see ourselves as a global brand.
Is it a thrill to see celebrities wearing your designs?
When Game of Thrones actress Nathalie Emmanuel wore our jewellery to the Oscars it was a genuine pinch myself moment. When I was a teenager I used to love reading the fashion magazines to see who was wearing what at the ceremony and to see someone wearing my designs was incredible. We sold out of the piece she wore the month after the Oscars.
Were you ahead of the curve when it came to the trend for this kind of cartilage jewellery? Where do you see the trend going next?
We’re one of a few brands worldwide who purely focus on solid gold cartilage earrings and body jewellery. I think the trend is just going to grow. If you love jewellery like me then any opportunity to wear more is a win. My mum is 64 and is tempted to have her first ever cartilage piercing because she thinks our jewellery is so beautiful. So that gives you an idea of the potential.
What's it like having a family business?
I love it, as working with people you know inside out has its advantages. We understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are not afraid to be honest - sometimes brutally. I’d be lying if I said things had never got heated but I think that’s just because we’re all so passionate about our areas of the business. My husband Doug and sister Georgie are my best friends. It’s a dream come true to get to work with them.
How do you choose something that works for the customer?
We can’t wait to meet customers and help them design their dream ear party. Myself and our expert styling team will be on hand to advise people on what will work best on them. We’ll be offering free personalised ear styling appointments and our piercings partners Studio Xiii will be there for fittings. There are no rules when it comes to piercing placements, it’s about creating a look that’s unique to a person’s anatomy and style. Symmetry is not necessary, as it’s about creating balance with earrings that complement each other. Your ears should be sisters, not twins.