Herringbone lead
earrings by Kirsten Goss jewellery

8 Stylish earrings you’ll want to wear now!

The jewellery piece that instantly elevates your look, earrings not only complete an outfit but also make an excellent gift. Fashion journalist Helen Clemson hunted down eight of the most interesting pairs to suit all styles.

Layering your accessories can be a tricky business; consider multiple chains, carefully tiered around your neck and at risk of getting tangled. Rings, stacked just so, present a precarious balance of being able to dexterously go about your daily life while attempting to do it in style. The earring, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to impede one as much; wearing a single pair – big and bold – can make a real statement. Alternatively, layering a few of them brings a little edge to an outfit. I think we can all agree, adding a set of earrings to an outfit steps it up a notch.

Earrings are the most exciting they’ve been in years; the last time it was 'whiplash' interesting was probably during the punk era, which was startling but not stylish...

… stylist and owner of With Style, Candice Ilic explains, adding that the current tendency to layer earrings with multiple piercings does stem from that era, but we are doing it more elegantly now. Obviously, you can go the classic route and simply buy one striking pair, however earrings no longer have to match. “A popular trend is a fairly simple earring on one side and a bold option on the other,” says Candice. “In terms of styles, hoops never really left but they are very popular now, particularly smaller, almost sleeper-type huggies.” Try stacking them up to two or three on one ear and accessorise them. “The fun side of hoops and huggies is the added charms that one can slip on and off, which gives us a whole new arena of personal style and gifting,” reports Candice.

Where to start? Here are eight pairs – all by South African designers – that’ll up your earring game.

ONE: Out of Africa
BEST FOR: Art Lovers

Sunbird skull earring by Verus
Verus Fine Jewellery Huggies in Rose Gold (9k) with Black Diamonds (x 18), R 6 950 with Sunbird Skull in Rose Gold (9k) R 2 250 each, and R 4 500 for a pair.  

These delicately handcrafted sunbird skulls in rose gold aren’t only distinctive, but a real design ode to our homeland. Think of them as little pieces of wearable art, a treasure that you can add to your black diamond huggies (slipped on or off) as the mood hits.

TWO: Industrial Design
BEST FOR: Minimalists

The clean lines and industrial style of these large yet understated earrings (made from brass and silicone with silver earring posts and butterflies) will suit a contemporary aesthetic. Easy to wear, yet bold thanks to their scale, they’re an excellent gift option or pick-me-up treat. Tip: wear one on its own with a simple gold stud in your other lobe. 

THREE: The New Stud
BEST FOR: All Ages

When designer Lauren Clark set out to create jewellery, her aim was to develop a collection that translated throughout the generations. From young adults to women in their prime, her earrings – and other jewellery – are timeless but with quirk and interest for those who are inspired by classic modernity.

FOUR: Jewel Tones
BEST FOR: A Colour Infusion

Johannesburg-based jewellery designer Katy Valentine draws inspiration from her travels to India in her creations. Her collection is a fusion of handcrafted pieces with African and Indian elements. If you’re into rich colour and organic form, think antique trade beads from West Africa and gemstones from Jaipur, this is a brand that’ll speak to you.

FIVE: Easy Does It 
BEST FOR: Everyday Wear

Kirsten Goss Joëlle, from R1 390
Kirsten Goss Joëlle, from R1 390

You may be the type who likes to keep their look low key rather than switch out their jewellery every day. That said, after the year we’ve all had, these golden hoops might be just the pick me up you’re after. Organically shaped and perfect in their imperfectness, these hoops from Kirsten Goss go with everything. Wear them with white, denim, black, navy, print – you name it!

SIX: Coastal Cool
BEST FOR: Resort Dressing 

If you’re off to somewhere with an achingly chic beach aesthetic this festive season, these statement earrings are just the thing to lift your resort linens and whites. They’ll dress up a simple slip or floaty maxi dress so sucessfully that you may not need to pack any other jewellery – bonus! 

SEVEN: Girl Meets Pearl 
BEST FOR: Style Sleuths 

This past Spring saw the pearl transition from Granny to glammy and it came down to how you paired them. This pair (sterling silver and then gold plated) has a note of feminininty thanks to the petals, but also a touch of raw edginess thanks to designer Belinda Ludek’s hand cutting and texturing using a needle file and drill bits. 

EIGHT: Nature’s Way
BEST FOR: Sustainable Style 

The small woven basket business in Stellenbosch was forced to get creative during lockdown and turned to producing earrings that could be made at home. Constructed from one hundred percent cotton rope – grown locally by farmers who are members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BC) – these bright and cheery pieces mean accessibly-priced earrings in a smorgasbord of shades.

Words: Helen Clemson
Production: Helen Clemson and J-P de la Chaumette
Photographs: Supplied. Hero image courtesy of Kirsten Goss