Since 2016, when high-end piercing studios like Maria Tash arrived in the U.K., the curated ear is everywhere to be seen — and with it, the rise in popularity of the simple stud. For some, less is more; just a smattering of baby gems will do. While for others, it’s a chance for full lobe-to-helix adornment.
When it comes to studs, their tiny size and vast variety give them more versatility than any other type of earring. But it can be hard to track down exactly what you want: Do you opt for industrial stainless steel or Instagram-only dainty gold bars?
We’ve asked eight cool people, from an L.A.-based Brit actor and piercer to an interiors trend forecaster, to share their favourite stud earrings with us. Read on for their recommendations for everything from the best singles to the best mismatched pairs; the best for sensitive ears to the best to wear in the shower; and, of course, the best studs on a budget.
Best overall studs
Monica Vinader studs were picked by two of our experts. The British brand has long been a go-to for fashion insiders in need of jewellery that looks much more expensive than it actually is. “I love the inexpensive expensive-looking Siren stud earring,” says Michelle Ogundehin, former editor-in-chief of Elle Decoration and an interiors expert. “The rough-cut stones come in such beautiful colours; they’re the earrings you end up wearing every day.” In fact, Ogundehin loves them so much, she has bought several pairs to match different outfits. Monica Vinader is currently offering 30 percent off for key workers and publishes a full sustainability report of its conscious-consumerism efforts on its website.
Best (less expensive) studs
Orelia London came a close second as a favourite brand for studs. “What I love about Orelia London’s stud-fastening Mini Interlocking Earrings is that they literally go with any look and any hairstyle. They are so classic and such a perfect size,” says fashion-and-lifestyle influencer Fisayo.
Skin-care influencer Alicia Lartey, who is in her third year of a biomedical-science degree, also has Orelia London in her top jewellery brands. “Whenever I’m on the hunt for something new to spice up my look, I head to Orelia London. They do a lot of pieces that are stackable and easily integrated into any collection, like the Triple Bar Earrings, which look like stacked huggies but are in fact three bars on a single stud post.” The Ear Party collection also offers great-value mismatched single-stud multipacks.
Ania Haie is geared towards great quality, well-designed, trend-led pieces at super-affordable prices. “These Gold Twist Studs pack a lot of design into a tiny price point,” says jewellery journalist Rachael Taylor. “These earrings have a sweeping, curvaceous design that curls behind the ear — a clever motif often seen in high jewellery. It’s a playful twist on the stud that creates a lot of interest without ever having to venture south of the lobe.”
“For anything around the £20 mark, I would head to the high street, and my favourite shop is Arket because the jewellery is really minimal, modern, and well made,” says Chiara Perano, an illustrator and artist. “I love these Crunched Double-Stud Earrings because they’re completely original and versatile at the same time.” Although these are nickel based, Arket uses an alloy in which the nickel content is ten times lower than the amount that would trigger an allergic reaction. Arket also has pretty transparent policies and is committed to careful sourcing of its materials, sustainability, and recycling.
Best for single studs
For the multi-pierced, single-stud options can be preferable to traditional pairs. Perano recommends the Danish-Irish designer Maria Black for stylish single studs. “I love Maria Black’s sleek and fun style. In this Onyx Heart Stud, the clever use of onyx and baroque pearl to create a standout monochrome design is so original.” What’s more, Black has a piercing studio in London’s Selfridges (which should reopen along with nonessential retail on 12 April), just in case you’re in need of more holes to accommodate all your purchases.
Best for less expensive single studs
“I discovered Helix & Conch on Instagram. There’s a mix of trend-led and really unique pieces, and I love everything that Abby, the founder, creates,” explains Lucy Partington, beauty journalist and influencer. “I love that she sells some studs as individuals rather than in pairs and also mismatched pairs like these Florete Silver Flower stud earrings; everything is handmade in her studio. The other thing I love about small, independent businesses is that the owners are always happy to offer advice. I have a few holes in each ear, and I had no idea how to curate my perfect look. But Abby really helped me out, gave me her suggestions, and told me which pieces she thought would work best together. It’s that extra sort of customer service that I really love.”
Best stainless-steel studs
Hey Harper coats its stainless-steel jewellery in 14kt gold-coloured PVD (physical vapor deposition), which makes it ten times thicker than standard gold plating. This means it’s way more durable; it’s resistant to water, sweat, and general wear and tear; and you can basically sleep, shower, and exercise in pieces like these simple stud earrings. “I love this brand because I love nothing more than being able to shower with my jewellery on,” says Lartey. “It’s a little reminder that one day I’ll be able to wear it while I swim in the ocean on a tropical adventure.”
Best gold studs
Mejuri is like the Beauty Pie of jewellery: offering fine jewellery at “real” pricing that is roughly one-third of the usual retail markup. Fans include everyone from Lizzo to Margot Robbie to Oprah. “I think Mejuri is wonderful,” says Jessica-Rose Clark, an L.A.-based British actor and trained piercer. “Gold and diamonds are their main materials, like these Diamond Bar Studs, which are so elegant and simple. I also like that they sell in pairs or as individual studs. This brand is great for gifting because the range of styles is so huge that it appeals to all age groups.” Also good to know is that Mejuri offers free shipping to the U.K. on orders over £75 — all import duties and taxes are included in its prices — with two to three business days being its standard delivery window.
“Everything this brand does is so cool and unique,” says Perano. With Irish folklore, fairy tales, music, and magic at the heart of her designs, Morton loves to source found objects to create her pieces, which she handmakes in Edinburgh. “I have a pair of Morton’s drop-stud pearl earrings, and I also love the brilliant mismatched studs like this Pearl & Chevron pair. I love the overall creativity and the fact she uses found objects, which could be anything from shells to glass eyes to Victorian cameos.”
Best (less expensive) gold studs
“I love Motley London — it’s a brilliant diffusion-line concept that gives you access to exclusive collections created by exciting names in contemporary jewellery, like Emily Robson (former Christopher Kane designer), at what I think are really reasonable prices,” explains Taylor. “These sunny Gold Copernicus Studs are just the blast of vitamin D we all need after a hard winter in lockdown!”
The Strategist UK is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Read about who we are and what we do here. Our editors update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.