My dd (10) has recently had her ears pierced in London and I wanted to share our great experience.
We chose to go to the Richard Ward hair salon in Sloane Square as they use the Inverness piercing system there. I was worried about going to Claire's after reading other reviews, had also become worried about going somewhere that uses a gun (for hygiene and trauma reasons stated in other posts) and had called a piercing salon which informed me that they wouldn't pierce a child's ears with a needle.
The beauty of Richard Ward is that the Inverness system uses earrings that are encapsulated in a unit of the piercing machine, which is then disposed of, there is therefore less chance of cross infection (compared to a standard piercing gun). This system also uses hand pressure to pierce instead of the spring loaded guns, so the trauma is reduced.
We saw Gina and she was brilliant! It was a family affair (me, partner, daughter) and she was very kind and patient with us. She explained everything really well and made my daughter feel at ease. We had a choice of earrings and were in a private room in their salon. We even returned at the end of the 6 weeks healing period because my daughter wouldn't let me take her earrings out! We just popped in and Gina helped us do the first change over.
Ear piercing at Richard Ward costs £45, so a bit more expensive than Claire's (£28 I think) but worth every penny.
We had a very similar experience at the Top Shop piercing salon on Oxford Street. It was £30.- and the woman was brilliant, very friendly & reassuring. It was the same system which is very hygenic and safe. Highly recommend it.