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High-Quality Earrings Take Piercing Parties to The Next Level

Store owners generate excitement with Aurelie Gi events.

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WHEN EITHER ORE Jewelers in Virginia Beach hosts an instore piercing party, purchasing manager and custom design specialist Jessica Masciangelo is surprised by how many Aurelie Gi diamond snake earrings they sell. “It’s one of the more expensive earrings, closer to $400, and people want three of them in their ear. I wouldn’t think that would appeal to our more traditional clients.”

That’s the thing. Piercing parties are attracting a new, younger, edgier, more unpredictable clientele to Either Ore and to other Aurelie Gi clients, including Stratton Jewelry in Huntsville, AL. At Either Ore Jewelers, clients reserve their spot with a deposit but pay only for the jewelry; there’s no piercing fee. “This whole new network of clients, you can’t put a price on that,” Masciangelo says. “Charging a piercing fee doesn’t make sense.”

Stratton Hobbs is a fan.

Stratton Hobbs is a fan.

Stratton Hobbs, owner of Stratton Jewelry, says piercing parties are tailor-made for independent jewelry stores, which have the opportunity to elevate the experience as well as the jewelry itself.

“If you’re trying to grab that younger generation, this is the way to do it,” she says. “They can bring their girlfriends or their moms and have a fun day out. Moms love it. It makes them feel young and trendy, and they get to do something fun with their daughter that’s going to last forever. And that’s what jewelry is all about.”

While Masciangelo is surprised by what her new clients are buying, her mom, Donna Firestone, owner of the family business, is shocked by how easy it has been to sell out these events on Instagram, a free marketing medium, after she spent much of her career spending thousands on traditional print advertising. “It blows her mind,” Masciangelo says. “I posted it and we were booked up within an hour.”

The jewelry brand Aurelie Gi brought the piercing parties to Stratton Jewelry, Either Ore Jewelers and other select clients in 2021 after they introduced the concept at the Atlanta Jewelry Show in 2020.

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Katherine Whitacre, U.S. sales director for Chic Pistachio, parent company of Aurelie Gi and Ania Haie, says the brand developed a line of earrings for new piercings after she recognized a need, not only in the market, but for herself, for stylish, 14K gold pieces, since they must be worn for months until the ear heals. “There’s a trend for multiple earrings and the curated ear, and that starts with a piercing,” she says. “I personally didn’t have many options for earrings. I want diamonds. I want something pretty, not a titanium stud.”

The earring line is designed to be used with needle piercing, which is safer, less traumatic and more accurate than “gun” piercing. The process also takes more time, allowing the store owner and piercer to develop a relationship with the customer that goes beyond the usual earring sale. “With gun piercing, they’re using a $20 to $40 base metal or stainless steel earring, and the earrings are not super cute,” says Alisa Bunger, Chic Pistachio’s VP of sales and operations. “By using the needle piercing, stores are seeing much higher sales. People do multiple piercings. We’re talking about earrings that are $100 to $300 retail. That’s a much larger sale overall.”

High-Quality Earrings Take Piercing Parties to The Next Level

(Left) Piercing parties at Either Ore and (right) Stratton Jewelry.

It’s turned out to be an excellent repeat business for many retailers, Bunger says. “Everyone’s looking to find ways to bring in the Gen Z customer base. They find they have people who get addicted and want to have more.”

By popular demand, Hobbs continues to host both piercing parties (for ears and noses) and the equally popular events for “zapping” permanent 14K gold bracelets onto wrists.

With 20 piercings of her own, Hobbs is one who embraces the trend. “The piercing parties, no one is doing that around here. It’s very important to me to mix the edginess of piercings with fine jewelry because that is literally who I am. Women who want piercings may not want to go to a tattoo shop or get an earring from Spencer’s. They want a nice piece of jewelry.”

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Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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