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Published Monday, August 28, 2023

Exploring Different Types of Ear and Cartilage Piercings

Curious about ear piercings? What’s the difference between a rook and a snug piercing? What even is the helix? When trying to decide on a new ear piercing, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but don’t worry because today we’re covering them all. Or… as many as we can. Let's dive into the world of ear and cartilage piercings! But first here's a quick image of them all!


The Lobe: Where It All Begins

Starting off, you have the lobe. The fleshy part at the bottom of your ear is where most people get their ears pierced. It’s also the part of the ear that’s commonly stretched to wear plugs and eyelets. Different types of earrings like studs, hoops, hooks, and huggies are used for this piercing, and labrets are also becoming popular.

Upper Lobe

The upper part of the lobe is called, well, the upper lobe. It can be home to additional piercings and can also be stretched, if there is enough soft tissue to do so.

The Helix

Above the lobe, we have the helix. The helix is the outer part of the ear. It starts above the lobe where the cartilage begins. It ends all the way around at the front or the forward helix. This part of the ear can be pierced in a wide variety of ways, though some - like the industrial piercing - require the helix to be shaped a certain way. The exact piercing might determine the jewelry used, but generally, labrets and different style rings are most common.

The Conch

In the innermost section of the ear, you’ll find the conch piercing. The conch is the cartilage of the cupped section of the ear next to the ear canal. Labrets and straight barbells can be worn here, but the cartilage can also be punched to accommodate a plug. Another option are large clickers or captive rings that go through the conch and around the helix - often referred to as an orbital conch.

The Snug

The snug piercing is located on the small, inner ridge of cartilage surrounding the hollow of the conch, sometimes known as the anti-helix. Unlike lobe and conch piercings that go through the ear and come out on the back side, this piercing goes through one side of the ridge, and out the other. A curved barbell is a comfortable piece to wear through this piercing when it is healed, but it’s possible to wear circulars or small hoops as long as they’re, y’know, snug.

The Rook

A rook piercing can share the anti-helix with a snug, placed on that same line of cartilage, in a small hollow below the forward helix and above the daith. The best jewelry for this piercing is usually a curved barbell, but an oval shaped clicker is also an attractive and low maintenance option.

The Daith

Next, a daith piercing is located on the innermost curl of the forward helix - along the bit of cartilage that dips and transitions into the hollow of the ear. Most often the jewelry used here will be a seamless, clicker ring, or a curved barbell. Everyone’s anatomy is different and some people can accommodate a ring with a pretty large diameter in this location for an impressive statement piece.

The Tragus

Just below that, we have the tragus - the small cartilage bump that protects the opening of the ear canal and transitions smoothly to connect with the side of the face. It’s possible to wear small captive bead rings, clickers, or circular barbells in your tragus, but labrets are another attractive option that give the impression of a single point piercing. 

The Anti-Tragus

Adjacent to the conch, the anti-tragus offers an interesting location for piercings. Consider curved barbells or rings to enhance this area.

The Flat

Finally, you have the flat of the ear. As the name suggests, this is the flat part of the cartilage surrounded by the helix and the anti-helix. It can be home to a wide variety of piercing placements and projects, from simple plugs to barbells and labrets featuring dangling charms.

The Industrial

This piercing is not named after ear anatomy, as it's technically a double helix piercing. It is two helix piercings across from each other with a bar connecting them both.

Every Ear is Unique

Remember, everyone's ears are distinct. Consult with your piercer to determine the best piercings for your individual ear shape and size.

We hope this exploration has been enlightening. Do you already have any of these piercings or are you considering them? Share your thoughts, and for an array of jewelry options, visit

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