This company is giving away 'free' earrings on Instagram—is it a scam?
For $7 in shipping, Maison Miru sent me these tiny stud earrings. Here's what I think of them
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Conventional wisdom says a free gift is rarely (if ever) actually free. Sign up for enough meal kit box trials or celebrity-founded yoga pants subscriptions, and you’ll learn that the old aphorism is true, and, depending on your experience, come to believe a whole industry has been built on luring trusting customers in with the promise of a freebie gift, only to reveal the “gift” is actually a year-long, impossible-to-quit subscription plan, and leave them with the hefty bill.
But early last year, I found myself tempted by that which I thought I had trained myself to ignore: An ad, sent to me by a friend on Instagram, that promised a free (plus the cost of shipping) pair of petite crystal studs from a jewelry brand called Maison Miru. Though I first resolved to ignore it, the ad throbbed an incessant heartbeat on my Instagram feed over the following days, popping up without fail whenever I tried to check in on my high school acquaintances’ weddings or favorite influencers’ latest drama. I did some Googling, and found a sufficient number of accounts in which people had, in fact, received the earrings, to make me feel that risking a shipping fee could be worth it. The company's Instagram account also seemed legit, with 27K followers, some of whom frequently commented on the posts and the brand responded. Perhaps I needed some miniscule earrings after all.
What is it like to order Maison Miru’s free earrings?
Finally, I clicked through to the ad and learned that, if I wanted the earrings—at this point, I very much did—all I had to do was pay a shipping fee of $6.99, plus tax (about a dollar). I decided to do it. Chances are good I would have balked at this if I was spending money on the product itself—I'm the kind of person who will add on a $15 item to an online shopping cart just to avoid a $5 postage fee—but, in this context, it didn’t seem all that bad. I had to enter my email address into a box, which I assume was to ensure I hadn't tried to take advantage of the deal before. This led me to a page that asked if I wanted to buy more earrings to get free shipping (which you get on orders over $50) then, after I passed on the up-sell, the checkout page. I filled out my credit card information, email (again), and mailing address—wondering if they would, in fact, be delivered there—and waited.
How soon will you get the free earrings?
It didn’t take as long as I’d thought to find out. A week after placing my order, the package arrived on my doorstep, containing two tiny earrings looking, to my surprise, just like the pair I’d seen in the Instagram ad. I put them in my ears.
Are the free earrings you receive any good?
I'm happy to report that the earrings, made of 14k gold-plated brass, didn’t sting, bleed, or turn my skin green on contact. They were, I was relieved to discover, pretty nice.
But I do have some caveats: The earrings are really, really small. Like, tinier than you’d imagine—think of the most minuscule earrings you can conceive, then resize them in your brain to make them suitable for the ears of a newborn baby or American Girl Doll, and you’ll get the idea. My jewelry box has always been on the more minimalistic side, so that was fine by me. However, you may want to reserve these earrings as an accent for a second or third piercing if you tend to prefer a more iced-out jewelry look. (It also bears noting that if you have stretched-out earring holes from wearing big, heavy earrings, these earrings are so small they could slip right through.) It’s been a year and a half since I’ve gotten them, and, in that time, the coating on the earring backing has rubbed off, but because no one but me ever sees them, and earring backings are replaceable, I don’t mind.
These days, I don’t think too much about my Maison Miru earrings—and I mean that in the best possible way. The earrings have become an unassuming staple in my accessory repertoire, especially when I cannot be bothered to mess much with my aesthetics but don’t want to go somewhere bare-lobed. That said, they're also useful for the rarer occasions when I do feel like laying the ole razzle-dazzle on my ears: I’ll put them in my second piercing and, paired with some hoops or dangly loops, they’re not the star of the show but add a glamour boost.
So, are the Maison Miru earrings worth it?
Even though the “free” deal isn’t quite free free, I can say without reservation that, yes, Maison Miru earrings are worth that $7 shipping charge—which, let’s face it, is way more than the post office charges to ship teeny earrings that weigh less than a standard letter. I’m also certain that I’d have paid the full price of $29 because I wear them so much that the cost-per-wear would have become low enough to make that worth it.
Maison Miru also sells a sterling silver pair of the same tiny studs. They usually cost $49, but you can get them for $20 plus shipping if you get them through the free earring link, which may be better for you if your ears don’t react well to plated earrings.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.