The Best Curated Ear Ideas - Your Need-to-Know Guide

Love the stacked-up, multi-piercing ear looks that are all over your Insta feed, but unsure how to nail the look for yourself? Our ear stacking guide is here to help you create your perfect look.
Stacked ear piercings, or curated ear trend has taken social media and our real-life lobes by storm.

So, what is a curated ear?

What this trend refers to is a curated ‘stack’ of earrings placed in multiple ear piercings – beginning with the lobes and in some cases extending right along the helix and within other nooks of the ear (more on the piercing types later).

Your curated ear look might consist of multiple stud earrings, drop earrings, hoops or huggies, or a mix of all different earring types. You also might start with two simple piercings, or perhaps you already have an array of piercings and you’re simply looking for inspiration to style them.

Whatever you’re after, our guide has the answer. Find out the key ear piercing types and get inspiration for some of our favourite ear curation looks; from lowkey, everyday earring stacks to statement layered earring looks.

Your ear piercing need-to-knows

1. Nailing your piercing placement

Before we get into the curated ear piercing inspo with some of our favourite stacked earring looks, it’s important to know what each of the ear piercing types are – so if you’re inspired to head to the piercer, you know what to ask for!

It’s important to note that you’ll need to let any new ear piercings heal completely before you switch out your earrings. Different parts of your ear will take varying amounts of time to heal, and once they do heal, there are certain earring types that are recommended for certain piercings to ensure they’re comfortable; so we recommend asking your piercing professional for all the info you need to know.

The main ear-piercing types & placements are as follows:

Lobe Piercing – the fleshy part at the bottom of your ear. This is generally the first place people get their ears pierced, and your lobe is suitable for all types of earrings – from hoops and huggie earrings to stylish studs – so your lobe is the place to wear any statement earrings you want to rock.

Helix Piercing – the cartilage that curves along the outer edge and top of your ears.
Conch Piercing – the cartilage that makes up the inner curve and back of your ear. You may opt for your piercing to be placed in your outer conch, near the curve, which allows you to wear a hoop wrapped around your outer ear; or the inner conch, closer to the middle of your ear.
Rook Piercing – the upper ridge of cartilage above your daith.
Daith Piercing – the cartilage that makes up the innermost fold of your ear.
Tragus Piercing – the itty-bitty piece of cartilage at the front of your ear, closest to your face (the bit that partly covers the entrance to your ear canal).

2. What is the difference between cartilage and lobe piercings?

All of these different ear piercing types & placements can be divided into two categories: lobe piercings and cartilage piercings.
Lobe piercings are placed in the soft, fleshy part at the bottom of your ear. Depending on your unique ear anatomy, you may be able to fit a few piercings in your lobes, or only a couple. Your earlobes are a pretty safe bet for wearing multiple styles of earrings, from simple studs to statement hoops and drops, and they are generally faster to heal than cartilage piercings.
Cartilage piercings are piercings through the tougher, bonier parts of your ear; including your helix, conch, rook, daith, and tragus. Cartilage piercings are some of the most lust-worthy, taking a starring role in social media’s favourite jewellery trend. If you want to take your curated ear look to the next level, a cartilage piercing adds interest and an undeniably modern vibe.
It may hurt a little more to get piercings in these areas, and cartilage piercings will likely take longer to heal than those in the lobe. Again, it’s best to go to a reputable piercing professional and follow all of their instructions on caring for your cartilage piercings.

Helix Earring vs Lobe Earring Medley Jewellery
Lobe piercings generally wear butterfly back studs.
Cartilage piercings generally wear screw back studs.

3. How to create a curated ear stack

Now that we’ve covered the piercing fundamentals, how do you create the perfect ear stack for every occasion? And how do you even start an ear stack? We’ve got you covered with some of our favourite ear styling inspo.

3.1. The perfect simple ear stack for everyday

Multiple earrings does not have to mean over-the-top. You can style a constellation of dainty, timeless yet modern pieces to create a look unique to you, which is interesting and eye-catching yet still subtle enough for work, brunch dates, or the supermarket.

• Keep it simple with small-scale studs, huggies, or even tiny drop earrings.

• Stick to the same metal colour for each piece to keep your look polished and cohesive (for example, all yellow gold or all sterling silver).

• Don’t be afraid to add sparkle! Diamonds are high quality and timeless, and our micro diamond pieces are perfect for every day.

• Keeping your metal and stone types the same gives you the freedom to mix it up with your shapes. Experiment with pairing round studs, heart shapes, crosses, and bar studs for an eclectic look.

• Wear your largest pieces in your lobes, and scale down to smaller earrings as you move higher up your ear.

• Same goes for any styles that ‘drop’ – wear these in your lobe piercings to let them swing, and stick to regular studs or huggies for your higher piercings.

In this stack:
- White Topaz Midi Paperclip Earrings in Gold
- Mini Paperclip Earrings in Gold
- Bar Threaders in 10k Gold
- Diamond Letter J Single Stud Earring in 10k Gold
- Diamond Twin Cluster Helix Single Stud in 10k Gold
- Earring Connector Chain in 10k Gold
- Diamond Helix Single Stud in 10k Gold 
 Micro Diamond Helix Single Stud in 10k Gold

3.2. Go a little bolder for night-time looks

Whether you’re styling for date night, cocktails with the girls, or you just want to go for more of a statement look, a curated ear gives you endless options to get a little bold.

• Add a chunky hoop earring (or a few) to your stack for an instant statement.
• Sparkle is always a good idea. Keep it simple and timeless with a diamond solitaire stud, add some glitter with a diamond initial stud, pave diamonds, or even go dark with black diamond earrings.
• Add a earring charm to your favourite huggies or hoops to add a personalised touch! Choose from engravable charms, gemstone or plain charms. Find out more about earring charms here
• To keep your bold earring stack looking considered, stick to the same metal colour.
• Slick your hair back and let your amazing ear stack own the show!

• Mix your metals. Gold and silver look great together; just ensure you keep the finish the same (for instance, all polished pieces). Play with textures and shapes, too, to style into the eclectic look.

• An ear cuff is your best friend. You could call it the cheat’s ear stack, but we say it’s just clever styling. Make the foray into a statement ear look by adding a cuff which hugs your outer ear – similar to a conch piercing, minus the needle.
• Introduce gems. Lean into the playful vibe of an ear stack by introducing new colours and textures, via pearls and coloured stones.

5. Caring for your ear piercings

New piercings need to heal, and they need to be looked after properly to help the healing process. Your piercing professional will give you instructions on ear piercing aftercare which includes cleaning your piercings, and it’s important to follow their advice for quick healing and to avoid any possible infection.

When it’s safe to change out your ear piercings for some more fashionable styles, stick to high quality metals for your ears. At Medley, our earrings are crafted in 925 sterling silver, 10k solid gold, and 18k fine gold plating (over a sterling silver base) for beauty and durability.

If you’ve spent more than five minutes on Instagram recently (we don’t judge), you’ve probably noticed a close-up of an ear stacked with multiple pieces of delicate, mismatched jewellery. This ‘more is more’ look, known as a ‘curated ear’ or ‘constellation piercing’, is sweeping the net and landing on (and above, behind and all around) lobes from Melbourne to Miami.

If you’re curious about adding some extra shine to your ears but don’t know your daith from your tragus, we’ve got all the info you need.  

6. Where did the curated ear trend come from? 

Piercings, of course, have been around for thousands of years. The oldest mummy ever discovered had an earring, proving that style is (almost) eternal. But the popularity of the curated ear has been credited to people like LA’s Brian Keith Thompson of Body Electric Tattoo, who has pierced everyone from FKA Twigs to Beyoncé.

Then there’s J Colby Smith – as profiled by Vogue – the piercer of choice for Candice SwanepoelScarlett Johansson and… FKA Twigs (she has a lot of piercings).

7. Where on the ear can I get pierced? 

Part of the reason curated ears are so popular is because they’re perfect for showing off your style. On each ear you can pierce around 15 individual spots, but some of them – like the lobe and upper ear – can handle several pieces of jewellery. This means you can try a tonne of different combos. 

Among the most popular piercings right now are the rook (upper-inner ear), daith (inner ear) and tragus piercings (cartilage closest to the cheek). There’s also the anti-helix (inner ear wrapping around cartilage), earhead (top of ear closest to cheek) and conch (inner ear). Plus, there’s always the classic lobe, which can take on multiple piercings for a stacked effect.

There are no hard and fast rules about what works best, but for maximum impact we love an asymmetric look between ears.

 8. How many ear piercings can I get at once?

Most pros would advise no more than three new piercings in any one session. New piercings can take months to heal, and the more you add, the more your body may struggle. So work out which ones you want to get done first and then see what you might want to add down the track. We’re on board with taking a ‘marathon, not a sprint’ approach to your bespoke piercings.

If your plan is to add multiple piercings to both ears, it’s easiest to focus on one at a time. This way, you’ll have a comfortable side for sleeping or talking on the phone while they heal up.

 9. Finding an ear piercing studio

The time has come, so you’re going to want to find someone to do your piercings for you. If you got your ears pierced as a kid in the ’90s or naughties, there’s a good chance you got them done with a gun (or maybe a sewing needle and an apple, inspired by Lindsay Lohan in The Parent Trap).

But times have changed. These days, almost all reputable piercing studios will opt for needles. They’re more sterile, more accurate and way less painful (although still not painless). If you’re making enquiries and the studio even mentions the g-word, consider it a massive red flag. 

Professional studios will use autoclaves (the same machines used by tattooists) to sterilise all their equipment between clients. Anything that may have come in contact with blood (needles, gloves, etc.) are single-use only, and will be discarded immediately after you’re done. Basically, you want to find a space and a piercer you feel comfortable with. Trust your gut on this one.

There are also ear piercing studios that specialise in curated ear looks. If you’re looking to leave it to the pros, you can easily find a studio and book with a stylist online who can work with you to create your dream curated ear look from scratch. They can analyse the anatomy of your ear and create a design that will look both balanced and stylish and is personalised to you.

 10. Is the actual ear piercing going to hurt?

You’re probably (fairly) wondering how painful your new piercings are going to be. Unfortunately, we don’t have a definitive answer. Goop says that from least to most painful placements are lobe, rook, helix, tragus, earhead, daith and conch. But pain is subjective, and everyone’s threshold is different. Some people cruise through cartilage piercings, while others have a harder time. Expect a pinch and bit of a throbbing pain, but it won’t last for long

 11. What jewellery should I look for to create a curated ear look?

When you’re getting your piercing done, the jewellery will most likely be surgical-grade steel. It’s not uncommon to have allergic reactions to earrings, particularly ones that contain nickel. If you’ve got sensitive skin or have had issues in the past, ask about titanium or pure gold jewellery options – the body can more easily handle these metals.

Where you decide to pierce will dictate whether you can choose a stud or a sleeper. Some spots, like the helix and snug, tolerate sleepers better, while others will need to be pierced with a stud, which you can swap out later.

Once you’re all healed, it’s time to show off your stack. Match and clash a whole suite of jewellery – from huggies to cuffs to hoops – and add extras like charms to make the look your own. Rose gold or white gold? Silver or platinum? Sapphires or pearls? Whatever you want – it’s your style, so honour it.

What’s the difference between constellation earrings and a curated ear stack?

While both earring types have risen to popularity in recent years, there is actually a difference between constellation earrings and a curated ear stack. Constellation earrings are smaller in size typically worn along the curve of the ear to create the look of stars in the night’s sky. The constellation earrings are also often used to balance heavier piercings and fill gaps in the ear to create a layered curated ear stack look. 

On the other hand, a curated ear stack refers to a practice of ear styling, not a specific earring type. Curated ear stacks refers to the personalised mix and match of earrings such as studs, hoops, huggies, and cuffs to create a unique look based on the anatomy of your ear. 

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