Celebrity piercer and jewellery designer Maria Tash has landed in Canada. The London and New York-based designer is known for her intricate, highly wearable jewellery, and her unique approach to piercing that she calls “ear styling”—essentially, taking a deliberate, artful approach to the placing of piercings and the types of jewellery on the ear.  “It’s amazing how much interest there is now in ear styling and jewellery,” says Tash, who had just returned from a series of pop-ups in Dubai, Hong Kong and Kuwait when we meet with her. Tash and her team will be making 10-day stops at Hudson’s Bay locations in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver where Canadians can have their ears styled and get a first hand look at a selection of her jewellery. Below, Tash explains her methodology, how long it takes to go from zero piercings to “styled,” and the most interesting places to pierce right now. Plus, we get a Tash rook piercing on Facebook Live—watch if you dare. 


On her approach to ear styling:

There are a lot of different ways that we look at styling. Let’s say I was styling you. I would look and see your personal aesthetic, and what jewellery you are already wearing. Is it white gold? Is it yellow gold? Is it minimalist? Is she wearing just plain chains, or does she love diamonds or flat disks? Is she mixing metals? [I’d consider] how fashion forward you are—that’s kind of a lose term, but sometimes people take more fashion risks and they wear a lot of black rhodium with diamonds. It’s [a look] that is not that popular, but some people like to be more edgy.

Then I would look at your complexion. Some people, like myself for example, I am Mediterranean and very olive-y. I intellectually love pink gold, but when I put it on my skin with my oliveness it just does not look good! Yellow and whites look much better on me, even though mentally I love the pinks. That speaks to colour theory, and you know for yourself what colour of clothing looks good on you. It’s an old theory, but I am a “winter.” I look good in bold colours, like blues and greens and black and white, whereas orange and yellows—spring and summer colours—don’t really work with my colouring. That [theory] speaks to jewellery and gem stones. [Do you look better] in turquoise? Opal? You know what stones look good with your complexion.

Then we look at your anatomy, how you are built. Do you have any scars that you are trying to detract from or hide? Because we can do that with jewellery, we can minimize it. There is an element of medical-ness to it. Let’s say you have a mole [low on your ear lobe]. You’d want to get a piece of jewellery up high, that is going to take the eye up, so you are going to look at the piece instead of the mole.

There is a real art form to ear styling. There is fitting, there is complexion, there is detracting from scars, and there is making it work with your lifestyle. All of my jewellery [is made to be a] part of a very active Western lifestyle. You should be able to sleep in everything, you should be able to go work out in everything. You shouldn’t have to take everything out at night and shove it back in in the morning. It’s not like that. So that’s part of the reason why [my line] is popular too. We fit it to your anatomy and we make sure that it is not too heavy or too thick, where you can’t wear it continuously. 


On how long it takes to go from zero to a “styled ear”:

It really is about how bold you are feeling. How nervous are you about getting multiple things pierced? One of the things about piercings that makes it a little bit more meaningful than stacking finger rings or layering necklaces is that you have to heal them right. When you heal them, you nurture it, and you have a little bit more of an attachment to it; it’s not as easy to give it up! I would say to try and do some research on Instagram, [and find] inspiration pictures. It’s better if you have an idea, when you come in to us to say “I like this,” and then we can tailor it to you. That’s better than nothing. Some people come in to me and they are like, ‘Do what you want!’ And I’m like, ‘Ok!’ 

I will usually do up to six piercings in a sitting. I have done more than that, but generally six. When we have gone to the Middle East—and we’re not there very often—and there is nothing like [what we do], women say, ‘I gotta get it [all] now.’ But the problem is when you get a lot of piercings, it can tax your immune system and things may take a little longer to heal. You can supplement by taking vitamins with zinc, which helps speed tissue revitalization, but in general, if you have the time and the luxury to access us then get a couple at a time, heal it and then go back. 


Where to begin ear styling:

Earlobes are wonderful and popular because they heal so easily. We’d normally do it with some sort of tiny little studs. I have specialty studs, they are called Tash threaded because they have this flat decorative backing. They have a thin post, much thinner than traditional body jewellery that screws together. The high first lobe or the high second lobe is a very fun way to accent an existing piercing, and it is a quick heal. We have these things called sizing rings—they are just plain titanium rings with gaps. What it enables us to do is give you previews of what diameters look like in all of the different spots of your ear. There is also a plain called a faux rook or a Tash rook, where we can do larger studs. It’s is a lovely, thin bit of cartilage that heals really well—I love that thing. [Ed note: Watch associate beauty editor Victoria DiPlacido get a Tash rook piercing below!] 

Tash and her team will be at the Hudson’s Bay Queen Street store in Toronto until May 28, Hudson’s Bay in downtown Montreal from June 1 to 11, and Hudson’s Bay in downtown Vancouver from June 22 to July 2. Appointments can be booked online at www.mariata.sh