As a jewelry designer, I have a lot of earrings to choose from. As a midlife rebel, I decided I needed more piercings to accommodate the earrings. Since 2014, I’ve gone from the three lobe piercings I’ve had since the 1980s to eight total piercings, including lobe, tragus and conch.
Due to Murphy’s Law, the piercings I got to wear the earrings I’d already designed required me to design yet more earrings. As someone who is prone to allergies, I was careful to get that first new lobe piercing in 2014 done with hypoallergenic stainless steel. For those who don’t know, “hypoallergenic” doesn’t mean allergy-proof. It means that the product — be it steel earrings or your facial moisturizer — is made without the ingredients most likely to cause allergies. In the case of piercing jewelry, I wanted to make sure I was free of the copper and nickel that is usually the cause of reactions to jewelry made of brass, silver or gold. The steel was great. I had no problem. Then I changed the earring to gold at the traditional six-week mark. What I didn’t realize was that even though that’s the point when it’s considered safe to put in a new earring, the piercing can still be weeks, months or even a year away from fully healing. The 18K gold earring I put in gave me the allergic reaction called contact dermatitis. Metal allergies in a jewelry designer are highly undesirable, so I quickly replaced the gold with a hypoallergenic titanium stud that I found online. That cured the dermatitis and let the piercing resume its healing, but the stud wasn’t any more aesthetically pleasing that the original plain steel piece. I needed a better look!
That’s why my Jewel of the Month for April — featuring April’s birthstone — are my new Diamond Micro Studs for Tender Ears.
I created these three-millimeter studs specifically for comfortable and stylish healing of recent lobe piercings. The studs are made of a hypoallergenic platinum/iridium alloy. No copper or nickel to be found! The diamonds are four points per stud, F color and VS clarity. They’re bezel-set because I’ve never been fond of small diamond studs in a standard four-prong setting.
My recommendation for those of you who have very sensitive skin or are allergy-prone is to use steel or titanium when you get pierced (assuming the piercing place won’t let you use your own platinum studs) and try to give your piercing longer than six weeks to heal: I gave my 2015 lobe piercing six months. Then go back to your piercer and have him or her take out the steel jewelry and replace it with the platinum Micro Stud. Trust me … the piercer can take out the original jewelry with much less trauma to the surrounding tissue than you will create when you get a sudden impulse to change the jewelry in your bathroom at home! After that, you can keep these easy-to-wear, hypoallergenic-but-gorgeous studs in, day and night, for as long as you need to.
Here’s my right ear two weeks ago, about two seconds after my most recent visit to piercer Cassi Lopez at New York Adorned. Starting from the far left and moving counter clockwise (towards my face) there’s a brand-new steel hoop conch piercing, a platinum Micro Stud in my 2014 lobe piercing, an 18K gold middle finger emoji stud in my original piercing, and a steel stud in a brand-new tragus piercing.
These Micro Studs have a typical push-in earring back, which is why I say they’re best for lobe piercings. Stay tuned for my screw-in, flat-back “labret” Micro Studs, which will be more comfortable for cartilage and nose piercings.
I confess that I remain a little jealous of you peeps who can have your ears pierced with any cool 18K gold design and not get an itchy/painful allergic reaction … but I’m consoled by the fact that platinum is the most precious jewelry metal. There’s a reason that the next level up from a gold credit card is platinum, right? Treat your tender ears to the very best!