For Celebrity Piercer & Jewelry Designer Maria Tash, Piercing is a Form of Art

Author: Coco Marett

Think about it - most of us have a go-to when it comes to getting our hair done, or our nails, tattoos, you name it. So why wouldn’t we do the same when it comes to piercings?

“I love that piercing is intimate,” says Maria Tash, celebrity piercer, jewelry designer and owner of two piercing studios - one in London and one in New York. “When someone gets a piercing from you, and a piece of jewelry from you, it’s something that they have to care for and look after. It’s not like a t-shirt they just put on and take off. It’s really something intimate and personal.”

Tash is currently in Hong Kong to host a pop up at Lane Crawford - the region’s leading luxury multi-brand retailer. “We heard that they dominate luxury retail in this region, and the Asian market is so intriguing to us. It’s really exciting to get the brand infiltrated in Asia. It was a no brainer to come and do this with Lane Crawford,” says Tash, who has done pop ups all over the world.

“We have a wide range of jewelry, so it’s interesting to see how different cultures like different styles. When we went to the Middle East, they like their bling, they like big stones. What’s fascinating about the Middle East is, even though the women are covered up, there’s actually so much going on underneath. We went out there and I was like, “Are these women subjugated? What’s going on?” But the truth is they love this stuff, and they don’t ask for permission to do it, they just don’t show it publicly. Whereas in New York or London, we’ve had couples come in where the guy is like, “this is what I want her to get” so it’s like - who’s the more subjugated female?”

With her subtle New York accent, sleeves on both arms, hair that goes down past her hips, and piercing green eyes, there’s something simple yet alluring about Tash. And the same could be said about her jewelry.

“When someone gets a piercing and a piece of jewelry from you, it’s something that they have to care for and look after. It’s really something intimate and personal."

Heavily influenced by Indian and Pakistani designs, Tash is steadily pushing society’s perception of piercing with her delicate yet edgy pieces - think dainty opal droplets, 18-karat gold cartilage hoops, or a bar with arrows made of white diamonds - reminding us that it’s not just about studs, spikes and punk rock.

“Going to a mall and sitting in a chair to have someone pierce you with a gun - that’s a pretty archaic way of looking at piercing,” says Maria Tash. “Piercing is a lot more than just poking holes in people. Think of the Maasai tribes with stretched ears, or ancient Egyptian royalty with their navel piercings - it’s not western, it’s very historical. It’s just we happen to think of it as a punk rock thing.”

Tash has been piercing since 1993, and in that time she’s pierced some pretty impressive clientele including Beyoncé, FKA Twigs, Scarlett Johansson, and Jasmine Tookes, just to name a few who keep coming back for Tash and her team’s bespoke approach to piercing.

“When someone comes in for a consultation, I look at their style - are they more modern and just wearing simple chains? Are they more gaudy, or avant garde? I assess what their personal style is and I look at their complexion. You have to find something that fits their skin tone,” she explains. She’s also always looking for interesting new places to pierce, which she tests on herself and her staff. “You think… how can I suspend a diamond somewhere unusual, and how do you execute it so it will heal? If we haven’t seen anything in a particular nook, we think, “How do we do it? What kind of jewelry do we need to invent for that? That’s sometimes how things start.”

Photos by: Stanley Cheng