The Hole Truth

Minimal, modern piercing studios are popping up all over London. A far cry from Claire’s Accessories or dark tattoo dens, these are bright, open spaces with counters of gorgeous designs glinting in glass cases. Many of the new breed of establishments are inspired by Maria Tash’s Liberty piercing studio (which we blogged about in 2017 (here) and her subsequent Harrods space. Her beautiful designs are everywhere – from celebrities’ ears to editorial pages – you’ll no doubt have seen her trademark minuscule studs, spikes, flowers, stars, cuffs, climbers and chains.

Maria transformed the modern studio. In her spaces, and those in her slipstream, highly skilled piercers consult and curate with their clients for a truly individual service, each piercing designed to sit properly in the ear, and pierce with disposable needles in clinical spaces with autoclave sterilising equipment.

And the jewellery is special. Think elegant, super-delicate jewellery made from quality materials, jewellery that’s comfortable and beautiful, and that you want to leave in rather than swap as soon as you’re healed. New stores are opening all the time and jewellery brands are moving sideways into piercing, either via pop-ups or permanent spaces.

Here are some of our new favourites. All of these salons also sell jewellery, so even if you don’t need a piercing, a browse will reap rewards.

The Alkemistry

This modern, meaningful, luxury jewellery brand was founded in 2014 by Kirstie Gibbs, luxury jewellery buyer at Harrods. She explains, “I wanted to create a place that celebrates women and make buying fine jewellery an uplifting, fun and engaging experience”. The studio’s piercers work with pure gold jewellery – 14ct and above – diamonds, pearls and semi-precious gemstones. They also offer lower price points; for just £25 they pierce with a stainless steel bar. Two of the brands they pierce with are Kismet by Milka, a brand founded in Istanbul and worn by Anne Hathaway, Cameron Diaz and Madonna, and Lark & Berry, a company founded in 2017 whose diamonds are lab-grown – they share the same chemical structure (and sparkle) of mined diamonds but without the environmental cost and are sustainable. The Alkemistry has branches in Covent Garden, Selfridges and Harvey Nichols.

Astrid & Miyu

This cute, “super instagrammable and affordable” brand has three studios across London and an ear bar in Selfridges. You may have seen their stackable ear cuffs all over social media (no holes required), but their delicate and affordable piercing jewellery is also rapidly gaining cult status. They aim to provide a calming, luxurious, spa-like experience with an all-female highly qualified piercing staff, for extra reassurance (or if you’re feeling nosy) you can even read about each of the team on the website. Their jewellery is made from either titanium, surgical steel (both super-affordable) or solid gold. They even offer a 20% discount on earrings or ear cuffs on the day if you decide to purchase from their ear bar, suitable to substitute once your piercing has healed. Browse their online lookbook for pierce-spiration.

Sacred Gold

Designed to provide the most comfortable experience this luxurious studio showcases Europe’s largest selection of BVLA (Body Vision Los Angeles) fine body jewellery. They can even offer you a bespoke service and create a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery made just for you and your anatomy. Their range of materials is impressive. Choose from solid 14k yellow, rose and white gold or niobium and platinum-implant grade titanium – a medical grade, biocompatible alternative designed to be implanted in the body and the more affordable option. You’ll find them in Coals Yard, Kings Cross.

Lark and Berry

In addition to being stocked in Alkemistry (see above), this brand boasts its own piercing salon in Marylebone. If diamonds are your thing but you’re looking for an ethical option,  then head to their elegant salon to browse lab-grown versions.

Lead image @astridandmiyu

Have you caught the piercing bug? Check out our affordable Curated Ear Edit.