Welcome to Arka

Our Story
Years ago, I was lucky enough to go travelling around the world. I worked and saved up for years and then myself and my partner went on a global adventure. We did long hikes and camped up mountains in the wilderness of Tasmania. We sat with Sadhus on the banks of the Ganges at Varanasi. We went to meet isolated tribal people in Odisha. We paid our way by buying beautiful things from one place and selling them in another. I didn't realise it at the time, but I had already started Arka. 

One time in Indonesia, at a rural market, I found the most curious, beautiful and exquisitely hand carved items. They were carved from horn and inlaid with bone. I had not come across anything like them before. They felt so timeless and evocative, like a connection to a lost tribal world in the palm of my hand. Even though I was a vegetarian with an aversion to animal products, I fell in love with them as objects. They were so tactile, such interesting shapes. I bought almost as many pieces as the seller had, and I didn't even know what they were.

traditional flesh plug from bali

A few months later I was at a market in Bali and found some simple small Hindu sculptures but they had rounded bottoms and I couldn't understand how they would stand up. But after asking the seller it was explained they were actually for wearing in stretched ear lobes. Now this was in the mid 90's, before ear stretching was even a thing in the west. Yes, a few of the more extreme body modders had their ears stretched but it was still pretty rare to see over here, so my ignorance was understandable. The same seller then told me that the items I had bought from the other market were also for wearing in stretched ears... I had started buying ear stretching jewellery before I even knew what it was! 

Little did I know that ear stretching was about to become pretty popular in the west as body piercing and tattooing already had and that I had inadvertently started a business that is still thriving over 20 years later! 

Ear Stretchers Hindu Gods

“Metamorphosis is the most profound of all acts.”
 Catherynne M. Valente, In the Night Garden

Metamorphosis is the change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one. Physical rituals and metamorphosis are used to mark rights of passage; transitions between the stages of life. Many tribal peoples still have these as part of their culture but here in the west marking these rights of passage with rituals, piercings and tattoos had been long forgotten. It is a testament to how powerful and compelling these processes are that so many have chosen to resurrect them in a new and vibrant way. It represented the birth of a kind of neo-tribalism and a rejection of mainstream culture but has now become a fully imbedded major alternative culture.

Arka has now been selling ear and body jewellery online for 16 years. We have since broadened our range into other alternative jewellery.

We are based in Brighton in the UK and we have built up relationships with independent artists, manufacturers and crafts people from all over the world meaning that we can supply beautiful high quality authentic items at the most reasonable prices you will find anywhere. This is our passion. 

We're still a very small and independent team, with young blood joining us all the time. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not fully satisfied with your jewellery. We are sure you will be because we don't sell anything we wouldn't wear ourselves!

We'd like to say thanks very much for all the support, especially to our long term returning customers. (you know who you are) Here's to many more years supplying quality plugs, tunnels, weights, earrings and body jewellery to all you lovely people.



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