Constellation piercings are blowing up your Instagram feed, and for good reason. According to Astrid & Miyu's head piercer Sam Hayler, "constellation piercings are a group of multiple piercings that are placed to create unique patterns and stacks on your ear. These are referred to as constellations, as they look like star constellations in the sky." With that definition, it's pretty likely you might be rocking a constellation piercing of your own without even realizing. But, while constellation piercings can come about by happenstance or by fixing an ill-placed piercing, they can also be deliberate. Nicole Mitchell, head piercer at Sacred Gold, notes that "they can mimic actual true-to-life constellations or shooting star-style formations, or also simply have a dazzling, yet minimal and somewhat understated pattern and effect." This can be achieved using varied spacing and distribution of piercing placements, alternating levels, and tiny, delicate jewelry.
When it comes to constellation piercings, placement and jewelry choice are important. If you're tempted to get a series of constellation-inspired piercings and want to know more about the trend, Hyler and Mitchell answered all our burning questions below. Read, learn and pierce away!
Byrdie: What sets constellation piercings apart from a regular curated ear?
NM: Constellation piercings are particularly arranged for the specific jewelry and look; they might not necessarily work if the jewelry was changed dramatically in style. For example, a staggered, wavy lobe constellation may look messy if the jewellery was changed to rings, as the placement is so specific.
A curated ear, on the other hand, would generally be piercings and jewelry placed to compliment the person's anatomy and ear shape, thus working with many different jewellery styles.
Constellations are recreating an image/arrangement and using the ear as a direct canvas for that, and usually, the jewelry is very simple, delicate and minimal. Curated ears can have all kinds of styles, colors, and sizing of jewelry. The piercer and piercee can discuss alternating looks and future possibilities before committing to a particular concept. The possibilities are truly endless and can be made versatile with both constellations and curations!
Byrdie: Are constellations good for disguising bad placement of previous piercings?
NM: Yes! I have tidied up many non-ideal placements by creating patterns and pretty arrangements this way! It doesn't need to be complex if the piercee does not wish to commit to a solid idea or want many, many, piercings—a small and delicate cluster or simple minimal placements can be just as stunning and effective than a whole ear-full!
Constellation piercings are a project and labor of love from you and the piercer.
Byrdie: Can you have a whole constellation pierced in one go?
SH: At Astrid & Miyu, we only recommend getting up to three piercings done in one sitting as more than that can confuse your immune system and cause it to heal longer or not at all. Constellation piercings are a project.
NM: Generally, it does take a couple of sessions at least, although it does depend on the desired effect and if both ears are to be adorned. Two to four piercings are the usual maximum to heal at once, and one ear at a time for upper cartilage and more intricate placements such as daith and forward helix. This is to help ensure that the aftercare and healing for the piercee is as smooth and comfortable as possible. I advise sleeping on the side that has not been pierced, and to give the body time to recover and heal up, a few piercings at a time!
Ultimately, it will be faster to heal piercings a few at a time, than to get eight in one go and struggle to heal them all!
SH: You most likely won’t be able to achieve the 100% finished look of your dreams in one session. These are a project and labor of love from you and the piercers side to get them healing well and looking perfect.
Byrdie: What type of jewelry would you advise to really make the most of a constellation piercing?
NM: Dainty and delicate shapes in alternating textures. Our little BVLA (Body Vision Los Angeles, our premium brand of precious metal body jewelry) Stars and Moons and planetary-themed jewellery is also very fun, should you wish to really commit to a space effect!
I love using tiny diamonds and gemstones of varying sizes. Rings, when form-fitting and simple, can also be used to create shapes and break up multiple studs. Sometimes delicate chains and longer pieces can be used to link piercings and drape the anatomy.
Minimal jewellery is key. Anything too loud and complicated can take away from the effect of the arrangement. It should be clean, clear, and any intricacies should be in the placements rather than the jewelry design itself.
Byrdie: What else should we know before embarking on a constellation piercing journey?
NM: Safely performed piercings by a professional piercer, high-quality jewelry, and consistent checkups and communication with your piercer before, during, and after piercing, are vital for a positive experience and healing journey.
Of course, these beautiful arrangements look incredible, but it takes immense skill from the piercer, and time, investment, and dedication from the piercee, to heal up and have that desired final effect.
Please always check piercing portfolios for fresh and healed work, and choose your piercer wisely, it will be 100% worth it in the end! I always have a thorough consultation with my clients before projects like this to discuss goals, aesthetics, future piercings, and also medical and healing history. The right piercer will take the utmost care, and create piercing art and magic with you!