I think I was about eight years old when I got my ears pierced in a small-town chemist. They definitely used a gun (my only reference point for needle piercings at that time was The Parent Trap ice cube/apple scene) and I picked a set of “emerald” studs. I graduated to golden hoops and even had a pair of Euro balls in the collection (it was the mid-2000s, sue me). Then came along the generation of statement styles and I indulged in my share of ear candy.

Now I have about three sets of earrings on rotation: all gold, one pearl. And more often than not my lobes go naked. But when I was invited by Sarah & Sebastian for a styling consultation and piercing appointment with Tamila Purvis, I figured this could be my chance to change.

If you’ve noticed an uptick in well-dressed ears lately, it’s likely that they’re the work of Purvis and her team. Sarah & Sebastian’s head of ear alchemy – a title that feels as much like a “dream job” as it sounds – has set to work piercing and styling some of Australia’s most fashionable auricles since stepping into the new role last year.

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To be totally honest, I walked into the Paddington piercing lab not knowing what I would leave with. I actually thought I might chicken out and have to do a “thank you but no thank you” dance to get myself out of there. But Purvis was patient and we worked through my options.

I’d never thought so much about my ears as I did in that hour. Purvis used an ear chart to map out various placements and styles. And while she assured me all ears are different, I started to get a little self-conscious about my folded helix. Apparently I have a really great conch though, so we went for a contraconch placement. And since I sleep mostly on my left side (I read somewhere that it can help digestion and I promise it wasn’t Tiktok), I opted for my right ear. She placed the diamond stud in line with my cheekbone so it draws the eye up – part of the ear alchemy process is about styling to enhance features, as well as offering a moment of self-expression.

The team at Sarah & Sebastian uses needles to pierce as it offers more precision and creates less trauma for the ear. Cartilage piercings take six to nine months to heal – lobes are a little bit less. And the brand has partnered with Orchard Street as part of a holistic aftercare program that promotes overall wellbeing, alongside the usual cleaning and care protocol. A complimentary aftercare appointment is booked for four to eight weeks after piercing to downsize the backing once swelling subsides.

Anyone with existing piercings can book a styling consultation to change or reposition earrings. And while some people come in with well-planned inspiration, Purvis is full of ideas.

I left my appointment with the piercing high. Everyone knew about my new earring obsession. And I started planning my next additions. I’ve found that even on days where I don’t pop earrings in my lobes, I always feel a little bit more “done” thanks to my burgeoning ear curation.


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