When socialite par excellence Kim Kardashian, with nine-year-old daughter North West in tow, stepped out to attend the Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture show in July 2022, she created yet another uproar in the media. The duo was wearing nose ring chains; Kardashian’s attached to her choker, while West’s was attached to her earrings. It instantly brought back the spotlight on creative interpretations of body jewellery.
Body jewellery goes beyond the regular necklaces, earrings and rings to encompass a wider range of ear, belly, face and body piercings and chains. At a simple level, think helix ear piercing (situated at the middle of your outer ear). At a complicated level, think body chains dotted with natural diamonds that wind around your neck, breasts and stomach, taking an almost bra-like shape.
The Instagram-friendly millennial and GenZers of today, and pop culture celebrities, have been all too happy to inspire their followers with body jewellery. Hailey Bieber flaunts a body chain under her bikini quite frequently. Singer Demi Lovato sports a bad-ass industrial bar on her ear now. ‘Don’t Worry Darling’ actress Florence Pugh highlighted her septum piercing on the nose on Instagram. Olympic gymnast Simone Biles has an, ahem, chest piercing adorned with a diamond stud. Even Priyanka Chopra, during a recent visit to Mumbai, sported underbust jewels which got tongues wagging. It’s the in-thing. And always has been!
Indian culture has a deep relationship with body jewellery. From diamond pins on the nose to toe rings, each placement has meaning behind it. Sushruta Samhita, an ancient Ayurvedic text, recommends piercing the left nostril at a prescribed spot to reduce menstrual cramps in women. Waist belts, made with precious natural diamonds and gold, were seen to help with fertility, beauty and weight loss as per Indian tradition. Amit Pratihari, Vice President of De Beers Forevermark, says, “Young buyers are now increasingly open to expressing themselves by experimenting with different forms of jewellery. Body piercings are one aspect of this shift. Body jewellery is also an integral part of the culture and heritage of different regions and for some, it helps make a bold fashion statement.”
We spell out a few styles in body jewellery that are making the round.
Ear it Out While the ear offers more than 12 piercing positions, there are a few that add an element of chic to your look. Upper lobe, helix, flat, daith, and rook are some of the most in-trend ear piercings.
Multiple piercings give the opportunity to create your own style. Jump between natural diamond studs or rings, or simply stack different earrings to create a seamless look. Maria Tash, a Hollywood-favoured piercing artist, with clients such as Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Hudson, offers many designs with natural diamonds, suspended innovatively without obvious settings.
Ear cuffs, that snake up or down the ear, are another way to deck up your entire ear with one piece, eliminating the need for multiple piercings. Ece Sirin, co-founder of talismanic fine jewellery brand Bee Goddess says, “Our ear cuffs are particularly popular. A diamond is an investment…and it communicates certain powers. We know our customers are investing in pieces that will bring them joy… and that will last a lifetime.”
Nose Styles Nose pins are an integral part of traditional Indian jewellery, especially diamond nose pins, which in some communities are mandatory for the bridal trousseau.
Going beyond, nine nose piercings have been invented by man by now, a few of which have become a regular affair. The bridge piercing, situated right between the eyes, has become a style staple. Septum piercing, which runs through the wall that divides both nostrils, is ideal for horseshoe shaped nose rings.
The standard nose piercing on the left or the right will continue to rule. Another piercing above the standard point helps to create a stack look.
Hold it On Finger bracelets, or hand chains, are getting the spotlight for adding that sparkle to your party dress up. Another Indian tradition where brides wore hand ornaments for their wedding, a slimmed down version is now doing the rounds globally. It winds down from the middle finger to encircle and finish delicately at the wrist. Dior’s Rose des Vents Hand Jewel, made with mother of pearl, gold and diamonds, is one beautiful example.
Wrap it Around Body chains are super versatile. With no piercing required, it adds an element of sensuality. They could encircle the upper part of your body or wound around to go from neck to stomach. There is no limit to its adaptation. These sleek chains, studded with natural diamonds, look best with camisoles or mini dresses. But well, play it out and own it.
Other popular forms of body jewellery include eyebrow piercings, nail rings (yes, they fit on your nail!), belly piercings (often combined with belly chains) and thigh chains.
There was a time when body jewellery was perceived to be worn by the rebellious only. Today, it’s an artistic form of expression. People are, therefore investing in delicate, designer pieces with natural diamonds that will last them longer. “People who gravitate towards natural diamonds know their true value — that they are real, long-lasting and will uphold the commitment of forever. For body piercings particularly, consumers should choose natural diamonds as they will never cause any discomfort or skin irritation,” advises Pratihari.
Choose lighter, yet bolder pieces that communicate your personality every day. Adding your favourite stones, such as diamonds, further amplifies your identity through body jewellery.
For something that has been worn since more than 10,000 years ago, Sirin has a microscopic explanation for the rising identification of body jewellery: “We live in a time when so many people are searching for greater meaning and these ancient symbols we wear on our body as jewellery carry clues to our inner forces and potential… jewellery is no longer simply a status symbol but a symbol of the soul which resonates personally with the wearer and brings them joy and enlightenment.”
Body jewellery, with its various manifestations, communes a person’s vision and ‘vibe’ more lucidly. It is indeed here to stay and will continue to evolve into various styles which will reverberate across millennia.