Berlin - To be or not to be, that is the question. Hamlet already knew that - and he only spoke aloud what his creator William Shakespeare was thinking. After the latest lockdown extension, we're facing several more weeks during which we'll have to forgo the accoutrements of our daily lives. Casual gatherings with friends, cultural events, going out to eat and drink. 

The venues remain closed, places where we could do justice to an occasion with our fashion sense. Where we could express ourselves with the trinkets that are important to us. And so we continue to circulate - masked and wrapped up - between the supermarket, the post office and the home office. If we're lucky, we can head into a real office now and then. This is our way of being. Or is it non-being, because the audience is missing?

Shakespeare wore an earring. At least, the famous Chandos portrait shows him with a small gold creole in his left ear. Why did he wear it? Because it was fashionable among poets and actors at the time. It was Shakespeare's way of showing his affiliation to the world of theatre. And there we are again with being and non-being. Being requires resonance, in the theatre as on the stage of life. Despite all the misery, we're lucky to have our dear computer, our gateway to the world and to our colleagues. And what have we learned in front of the screen lately? It doesn't matter how you look down below, as long as you look okay from the chest up.

Image: National Portrait Gallery
The Chandos portrait (painted between 1603 and 1610) shows William Shakespeare with a golden creole earring.

So, which zones of portrait mode haven't yet been exhausted in online meetings? The ear still holds potential. So, dear depressed individualists and bored action heroes: your hair can be so-so, but your ears must shine if you want to make an impression in your next Zoom call.

Celine and Gucci adorn men's ears

Goth, anti-fashion and the Renaissance are currently en vogue, maybe in part because of dishevelled hairstyles due to a lack of professional care. Inspiration can be found in "Teen Knight Poem", a highly romantic short film shot at the Château de Chambord in which Hedi Slimane shows off his new Celine Homme fall collection. We see young men with curly hair, white frilly collars, eyeliner - wearing silver earrings. Crucifixes, stars, Bourbon lillies and pearls. Now there's a statement. You might even have some of these classics in your own jewellery box. If not, the collection goes on sale in the Celine online shop in the summer. Right now they're still pushing the spring E-Boy style - a clown face with green hair or a cute wolf.

Alessandro Michele's models have been wearing tonnes of jewellery for ages. The Gucci creative director also loves the Renaissance, which is also evident in his own look. Gucci's ear jewellery includes a flamboyant lion's head with diamond eyes and gemstones in its mouth - so magnificent that it doesn't need a twin in the other ear. The smaller version sparkles with a violet amethyst or a dark green chrome diopside as a cabochon.

One of Dior's specialities is the tribal earring, in which a large pearl forms the clasp behind the ear. These earrings are available in countless variations in the brand's online shop, decorated with stars, bees, hearts or letters. Inspired by piercing jewellery, refined by couture.

Photo: Wempe/Celine
Left: Brilliant "Art Déco" earring, 18k white gold, diamonds, €9,950, by Wempe|Ashoka®. Right: "Wolf" earring, aluminium and enamel, €400, by Celine.

People have been wearing earrings for thousands of years. In 2004, Chinese archaeologists found several pairs of jade earrings from the Xinglongwa culture in the Inner Mongolian city of Chifeng, estimated to be 8,000 years old. And even though earrings have tended to be a women's item throughout history, they have always been fashionable for men now and then, for example in the Baroque period or at the time of the French Revolution. Sailors wore earrings for practical reasons: in case they drowned, the jewellery was supposed to ensure a Christian burial. If a sailor was found abroad, their initials inscribed in the creole could be used to identify them. Sailor earrings can still be found at jewellers' shops to this day.

Splendour on Zoom, Teams and co.

Even the big brands like to design ear jewellery with initials these days, but they are often their own. Back to video conferencing: Prada offers people interested in logos an alternative to a handbag, because who wants to hold one up to the camera "as if by accident"? With the earrings in the form of the iconic triangle, in which "Prada" can hardly be overlooked, it's a cinch to express which fashion brand you appreciate.

Photo: Gucci/Sabrina Dehoff
Left: Single "Lion's Head" earring with sapphire, fire opal, chrome diopside, amethyst and diamonds in yellow gold by Gucci, €2,900. Right: "Disco Loop" ear clips, gold-plated brass, with Swarovski crystals, by Sabrina Dehoff, €199.

For those whose ears aren't pierced and prefer clip-on pendants, Berlin jewellery designer Sabrina Dehoff comes highly recommended. Her range includes glamorous costume jewellery that is sure to draw compliments from meeting participants since even a slight shake of the head can look quite lovely with a clutch of Swarovski crystals swinging from your ears. Not to mention the "Disco Loop" model: its crystal loops demand almost violent head movements, because only then do they truly sparkle.

Those not so impressed by such special effects might consider something more durable. Shifting to a different price range, for example: real stones are always a good investment. It's worth taking a look at the Wempe shop, which features plenty of them. 

But for some, a small golden creole, like the one in the ear of the English bard, is enough. So, let's dare and turn non-existence (as pleasant as it has been for a few months) into being with a capital B. And don't turn off the camera: the audience must see you!