Having a cartilage piercing – a piercing at the upper end of your ear – is not easy at first. I should know, having pierced my left-ear cartilage and then been forced to leave it to close naturally after suffering from a very itchy and very painful infection. This, I admit, was mostly caused by my own neglect and lack of knowledge.

For a cartilage piercing to be healthy, one must pay attention to it and clean it assiduously and regularly with salt water or a specialised solution for the first two or three weeks. This is, in fact, what I did when I pierced the cartilage of my right ear a year or so later… Yes, I really did want another one. This time round, there was no infection, no itching and no pain, and my cartilage piercing is still rocking on after more than five years.

Piercings however, are not for everyone, even though they may seem cool or trendy. Everyone has a different style and different likes. For those who aren’t really interested in the cartilage piercing itself, but still admire the style, there’s to be a hot trend for you this summer! This is what’s known as the ear cuff trend. Basically, in this case a cuff is a mock cartilage earring which will allow you to flash the style, without having actually pierced anything.

This latest jewellery trend is perfect for the summer, when sloppy hair-does and chic buns will not only keep our neck and shoulders cool, but also cunningly expose our ears and earrings. Perfect timing!

Ear cuffs come in all shapes and sizes. There are various designs, some of which look good for formal wear, while others may enhance a more grungy, casual look. Here are some types of different ear cuffs:

Ear-wire cuffs – These are earrings which adorn a large part of the earlobe. Ear-wire cuffs are very thin and graceful; the wire runs mostly behind the ear, giving the illusion that the earring is just floating, or even part of your ear. A simple, coloured ear-wire would be a nice addition to some formal wear.



The band cuff – This is simply a thin band or ring around one’s cartilage. Of course, this can be further enhanced depending on the design. One does not need to have a pierced cartilage for this, since the cuff can be just clipped on that part of the ear.



Wrap-around cuffs – These are quite elaborate and can be further embellished with fantasy designs, beads or crystals. They’re pretty glamorous and better worn with simple clothes, in order to be accentuated further. The design can be quite whimsical, so I wouldn’t recommend them for formal events.



Ear-chain cuffs – These are quite flashy, being made up of a chain extending from the cartilage to the earlobe. The chain is usually adorned further with small rings, feathers or designs. The ear chain can be dainty or chunky and goes well with outfits having a punk, rock or bohemian style. Again, you don’t need a pierced cartilage for the upper part of the earring, since it clips into place, however you do need to have a regular earlobe piercing for the lower part.