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How the Coolest Person You Know Is Piercing Their Ears

January 1 | 5 minute read

Close-up of a model wearing sunglasses, showing off her many Maria Tash ear piercings, on a New York street.

Words by Arabella Roden

Originally published on | October 22

In New York City, there's one name that's synonymous with luxury piercing: MARIA TASH.

From its origins in the East Village of Manhattan in the early '90s, the brand has since expanded worldwide, with boutiques in London, Paris, Dubai and beyond offering their signature Curated Ear service and distinctive fine jewellery.

You’ll also see MARIA TASH adorning the ears of Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Bad Bunny, Rihanna, Kylie Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Olivia Rodrigo and Rosalía.
But what gives the brand its indelible ‘cool’?

The answer’s in the name.

Here, The Memo sits down with the brand’s eponymous founder, Maria Tash, to hear about her journey from punk teen to world-famous jewellery designer and piercer, as she prepares to launch MARIA TASH’s first Australian boutique at the MECCA flagship in Sydney…

What kickstarted your career in piercing? What excited you about this space? 

MT: “I started piercing before I opened my first store – I was advertising in the back of a local newspaper and clients would come to my Manhattan apartment to get pierced. That was in 1991, 1992. 

“The early 1990s was a very experimental time, with all genders getting all areas of the body pierced. I would fly back and forth to San Francisco to meet with others and share techniques. It was a great era for piercing.

Maria Tash, jewellery designer, piercer and Founder of MARIA TASH.

Maria Tash diamond ear jewellery against a black background.

What led you to launch your own fine jewellery collection?

MT: “My love for jewellery is intrinsic to who I am. As a young child, I was enamoured with my mother's jewellery box and would string all her necklaces on my body – to her great amusement. I wrapped wire into multi-finger rings and crocheted a purse out of metal. In the Goth, New Wave and punk culture, piercings were a sign of status, and I had many.

“I was fortunate to be exposed to great museums and historic jewellery, as well as fine jewellery conventions. I loved working  with clients and their enthusiasm for my pieces. I do miss the days of working behind the jewellery counter and seeing people’s reaction to my pieces, and then piercing them myself.”

My love for jewellery is intrinsic to who I am.
Maria Tash

Multiple ear piercing has really taken off in recent years. You coined the term ‘Curated Ear’ and your brand is synonymous with unique piercing placements – what sets apart the MARIA TASH approach to ear piercing?

MT: “A MARIA TASH Curated Ear® is identifiable by the design and quality of the jewellery, artfully layered, styled and pierced. The piercing curation tells a story, has a theme or pattern, and looks very 'deliberate'.

“We stock many sizes of the same style to give a custom fit, and with so many different styles, it's easy to create a unique curation that has not been seen before.

“I also think I now have very recognisable styles of jewellery – the iconic three-spike clickers, invisible-set studs and rings, studs that move thanks to my patented mechanism, and drapes.”

Book your MARIA TASH styling session here.

A MARIA TASH Curated Ear. 

You’ve created new piercing styles, too, like the TASH Helix and TASH Hidden Rook – what inspires you when it comes to piercing?

MT: “I am always trying to invent new effects relating to jewellery and new ear locations. For the TASH Helix™ and TASH Hidden Rook™ piercings, I was inspired by recessed lighting in interior design – light emerging from hidden areas. When people look at these piercings, it is not obvious how the jewellery is held; it seems to emerge mysteriously.”

Spiked Maria Tash earrings.
Close-up of a 'Curated Ear' – an ear with many piercings – on a male model.

Looking ahead to 2024, what will be the five most popular piercing placements? How will the coolest people style their piercings?

MT: Earlobe piercing will always be number-one in popularity; however, the more innovative earlobe piercings, like stacked lobe piercings, will appeal to clients who want something more artful.

“I just introduced the TASH Lobe, which I think will be popular for a more avant garde set. The TASH Rook and Contraconch will be popular for 2024, especially with threaded charms; it is very beautiful to have the subtle movement of studs placed in these regions.

“And the TASH Helix™ and TASH Hidden Rook™ will be popular because they are unique – we can simulate the look of multiple piercings with a single piece of jewellery.

MARIA TASH piercing and jewellery styling services are now available exclusively at MECCA George St. Explore and book here. 

Related topics and brand tags

Founder interviewLifestyleMaria Tash

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