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Ear Cuffs: the hot, new fashion trend

Updated on January 7, 2017
TessSchlesinger profile image

Tessa has worked as an interior designer, designed clothing, make up artist,and decorator. She has various qualifications in the field.

So what are ear cuffs anyway?

Ear cuffs, unlike an earrings are a jewelled ear covering on the lobe of the ear. Where once upon a time, only punk rockers with body piercings wore them, they have now become mainstream with A-Listers leading the pack. Watch any celebrity gathering, then single out the glam dressers and focus your eyes upwards. One ear will be dressed for success with a bling covered ear on one side exposed by an elegant upsweep, and the other side covered bare. Just hair glistening gently down. The brand of choice is Repossi, an Italiian fashion house, but as it's out of reach for most of us,but the good news is that this fashion trend has hit the stores big time, so it's time to step out and learn how to wear them and when to wear them.

Range available - piercings not needed, precious metal, or costume jewelry

Ear cuffs do not require your ear to be pierced, although most come with one stud like rod and then further up the ear there is either a clip to attach to the upper part of the ear, or it simply curves around the ear lobe. As with all earrings, there is less choice for those who prefer not to have a piercing, but they are out there. Cuffs can range in cost from about $15 to about $10,000, depending on the metal that is used (steel, gold, sterling silver) and the stones (diamonds, emeralds, sapphires, crystal, or glass).

Some are highly ostentatious, meant for the red carpet, a high status ball, or an evening out to a high end event. Others are more discreet, meant for a quiet night out, an evening with the girls, or a first date with someone new. At this point, however, ear cuffs are probably not the things to take to the office. Your hearing might not be affected, but your boss might feel your earring a distraction, and not quite the professional things.

So while ear cuffs bring glamour, they are still cutting edge enough to bring the stares when it's an evening out, but glares when in the work place.

Hair style, left ear or right ear?

Obviously this piece of bling is worn to make the world around sing! And equally, obviously, if your hairstyle covers your ear, then it's not being seeing. So what works, and what doesn't.

With a high speaking cuff, a ponytail won't cut. Then it's either hair down all the way and swept behind the ears, either on one side or both sides. An old fashioned chignon adds elegance when attending a formal event while short styles, cut above the ear make it easy.

Because ear cuffs are eyecatching, it's important not to add hair bling or necklaces as well. This will make you look gaudy, rather than elegant. A bracelet on the wrist or a ring is sufficient.

The thing not to do, though, is to wear an ear cuff on both each ear. The style is to wear one only. You have the choice - left or right ear. Emma Watson has been seen wearing them on either ear, depending on the event. That said, Halle Berry promptly broke the one ear rule and has been seen with a pair of matching cuffs - one on each ear. Some people can get away with anything.

Origin: Game of Thrones. Rodarte

So how did ear cuffs switch from punk rock to major jewelry stock? Blame Jeweller Rodarte who so loved the Games of Throne character, Daenerrys Targaryen, the Mother of Dragons, that he created a dragon ear cuff. Add to that the love that many hold for these mythical creatures first mentioned in various mythologies, then Anne McCaffrey's series of books, and when people saw them displayed, it was love at first sight!

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, two sisters, started Rodarte in 2005. The two Berkeley educated sisters have won numerous awards during the past decade as we;; as have some of their pieces displayed in the permanent collections at various museums. That kind of meteoric rise and recognition of talent does not happen often.

Celebrities who have been seen wearing ear cuffs.

The list is long. it includes Emma Watson, Rihanna, Keira Knightly, Cate Blanchette (she's wearing them at 45, so this is not just a trend for young women), Emma Stone, Mick Jagger's daughter, Halle Berry, and Sandra Bullock who has hit and passed the age of 50.

Interestingly, men are wearing ear cuffs as well, but they are a more alternative style. They belong to the body piercing crowd, and while there are some pretty stunning designs out there, they would not sit well at an elegant ball. So while you may be excited to wear your cuffs, it's probably not a good idea to ask your boyfriend to swop his stud for a cuff.

Choices for those with ear allergies

Some people tend to have an intolerance to the kind of metal that they wear in their ears. Generally it tends to be nickel, but it could just as well be a precious metal. Stainless steel is the most friend friendly. The best thing to do when this is an issue is to go for an ear cuff which does not require pierced ears and to stick to either stainless steal or sterling silver. The reason why gold is not advocated is that while sterling silver is pure silver, gold is seldom pure. You can establish whether gold is pure or not by checking the stamp. If it is 22 carat, then it is pure gold. Other than that, it is mixed with something, and that, at times, could be nickel.

Would you consider wearing an ear cuff?

See results

How not to wear an ear cuff

I'm going to list these in bullet form because it's easier to follow.

  1. They are still considered quite edgy, so don't wear them to every occasion.
  2. Ear cuffs have a history. Punk doesn't work the same way as elegance. Chose yours carefully.
  3. Watch how you combine your ear cuffs with your clothing. A blast of sparkling ear does not sit well with a pair of running shoes, a tatty t-shirt, and afternoon tea at a sidewalk cafe.
  4. Never wear one to work or to a professional meeting of any sort. If you own your own business, your client may have second thoughts about your presentation.
  5. Avoid bizarre styles - there are a good few about. Study what's on offer, do some surfing on the web and see how others are wearing them, and then wear them yourself.
  6. As an ear cuff is quite a loud statement, don't wear too much make-up either.

In conclusion...

Ear cuffs are hot in 2015. They no longer belong to grunge and punk. Instead, as a result of a Los Angeles pair of jewel designing sisters, they have hopscotched their way into the high elegance stakes. They can be worn by the young and the old, and they are now available in a range of prices. So if you like edgy and if you like elegant, perhaps it's time to decorate an ear.

© 2015 Tessa Schlesinger


Submit a Comment
  • JYOTI KOTHARI profile image

    Jyoti Kothari 

    3 years ago from Jaipur

    Hi tess,

    Thanks for introducing a new trend. You know that I am a Jeweler and always love to introduce new designs for my clients.

    This article gives me a new idea. Thanks, rated up and interesting.


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