Photo: The Haute Pursuit
For the better part of this year I’ve been um-ing and hmm-ing over getting a third ear piercing in my left ear, to go with the two I got as a teen. I have Pinterest boards dedicated to the #earparty trend, and I’ve written about how much I love the look on more than one occasion. Except, I’m terrified—terrified—of needles, which has stopped me from following through on my dream of super-busy lobes.
At various points during the last 12 months I’ve worked up the courage to almost take the leap—actually booking an appointment to get pierced only to feign a scheduling conflict and bail a couple of hours later. “I’ll rebook next week,” I’d sheepishly tell the receptionist, and myself, after backing out yet again.
This sad little pattern continued until last Friday, when I got an email about WWAKE, a hip, New York-based fine jewelry label that specializes in the most stunning single earrings, specifically for the purpose of getting your ear party started.
WWAKE specializes in fine opal jewelry. (Photo: WWAKE)
WWAKE’s roots are in sculptural and experimental jewelry, but things really took off when artist and jewelry designer Wing Yau started focusing on fine jewelry three years ago. “The fine jewelry started doing really well and I really like the longevity and heirloom quality that it held, so the line developed really fast, and that’s what we’ve become known for in the last two years,” she explained to me.
Today she offers two collections per year, and Yau’s line is a favorite among international tastemakers. It’s been spotted on celebs including Emma Watson, Rihanna, Dree Hemmingway, Sarah Hyland, and Rashida Jones, as well as the blogger and street style crowd. Earrings include Australian opals and diamonds are set in light and airy shapes, giving the WWAKE line a distinctive, but subtle, offbeat feel that fashion girls love—me included.
“I have a background in sculpture. I definitely see WWAKE as an extension of my interest in art, and I try and have it as an artistic experience for the wearer,” Yau said.
She too has noticed that a growing number of girls (like me!) are wanting to customize their lobes with dainty, mix-and-match earrings.
“We sell a lot of singles online,” Yau said. “Our stores [stockists] try and push them as pairs because they have more traditional customers, but we’re seeing a huge increase in singles [earrings] in general because people want to mix and match, and create their own composition on their ear. They’ve discovered a personal attraction to our opals, so combining that has worked to our benefit.”
I can understand why WWAKE’s single earrings have been such a hit—these little gems are beautiful, and were what motivated me to finally book (and keep!) an appointment with New York piercer, J. Colby Smith in his Williamsburg studio.
I was a little bit worried that Colby doesn’t use a piercing gun, and instead manually uses a needle (!!!???!!!), but after he assured me that no, this wouldn’t hurt much (he rated it a two out of 10 on the pain scale as I wasn’t piercing cartilage), I showed him the WWAKE earring I wanted—a simple diamond and opal stud ($146)—and we got started.
He told me it would take one second, and while drawing on a dot of where the earring would sit, explained how I should maintain my piercing afterwards, which was pretty similar to what I remember from getting my first earrings over a decade ago (when I was much less of a scaredy cat).
“The most important thing going into it is knowing it’s never perfect—your skin is living, it literally has a mind of its own,” Colby warned. “Some people have really easy experiences, other people struggle and struggle. It can take anywhere from two to six months to properly heal.”
He recommended I wash it with soap and water twice daily, counted to three, and then bam, it was over—and surprisingly painless.
Completely infatuated with my new WWAKE earring, I also bought a bar earring from the collection, and styled both with a$35 pair of circle earrings from THP Shop. Here’s a snap of the end result—needless to say, I already want another one.