In everyday conversation, the term cartilage piercing often refers to a piercing on the curved outer rim of the ear. Those more familiar with piercings call it a helix piercing, named for that part of the outer ear. An ear cartilage piercing can refer to any part of the ear that contains cartilage. In addition to helix piercings, these can include conch piercings, tragus piercings, and others.
Cartilage is the tissue that provides firmness and flexibility to certain parts of the body, such as the nose or ear. Cartilage has no blood vessels or nerve endings.
There is a wide variety of body jewelry available for every kind of cartilage piercing, and each one has its unique flair. Whether you are looking for one subtle stud or a whole ear full of decoration, one or more cartilage piercings can be an excellent choice for you.
What is the Best Jewelry for Cartilage Piercing?
The best cartilage piercing jewelry for you is dependent on the type of cartilage piercing. Here we will outline some of the most common locations for cartilage piercing as well as what earring types work best for each one.
What Are the Kinds of Cartilage Piercing?
- outer rim of the ear; the most popular kind of cartilage piercings for the past several years
- Forward helix:
- part of the helix closest to the head; generally located between the top of the ear and tragus
- two different piercings, usually in the upper part of the helix; connected with a visible industrial bar
- raised area of cartilage around the middle of the ear; rook piercings are on the upper part of that cartilage, while snug piercings are on the bottom part
- rounded area just outside the inner ear whose purpose is to collect sound, much like the conch shell; Beyoncé is known as one of the celebrities to popularize this piercing
- tiny cartilage flap above the inner ear; some alternative medicine forms believe these piercings relieve pain from migraines and other severe headaches
- thick triangle of cartilage that juts out of the side of the head to partially cover the inner ear
- made up of the cartilage that is near the tragus, just above the earlobe
Regardless of the type of cartilage piercing you choose, we recommend getting 14k gold piercing jewelry as often as possible. Gold is a high-quality material that is far less likely to cause infection than other similar metals. Another safe option for initial piercing is implant-grade titanium.
After the piercing has healed, many individuals switch to piercing jewelry made of different materials. However, for those with more sensitive skin, we recommend sticking to gold and titanium to prevent irritation of the area as well as a potential infection.
Our Favourite Threadless Ear Jewelry Studs
Do You Need Special Earrings for Cartilage?
There are not necessarily unique earrings just for cartilage piercings, as the types of cartilage piercings vary widely. The most valuable distinction is the gauge size and length of the post. This is based not only on your specific cartilage piercing but also on the unique measurements of your ear anatomy. The gauge size measures the thickness of the post within the piercing hole.
The standard body jewelry sizes for most ear cartilage piercings, including the helix, tragus, conch, and daith, are 16-gauge and 18-gauge and the standard lengths are 3/16”, 1/4”, 5/16”, and 4/8”. For industrial barbells, 14-gauge is most common, and the length of the barbell varies based on the size and shape of the ear but is often about 1 ½” long.
Is a Hoop or Stud Better for Cartilage Piercing?
Professionals recommend doing cartilage piercing with a stud. It is easier for the piercing to heal around the straight post of a stud because it allows for more room for potential swelling. Not leaving enough room for the healing process can cause unnecessary irritation as well as possible infection, as there is a chance that the earring could become embedded in the surrounding inflamed skin.
Our Favourite Cartilage Piercing Rings
Once your cartilage piercing heals, you can choose all different styles for your cartilage piercing jewelry, as long as it is the appropriate size. Hoops are an excellent choice for cartilage piercing jewelry and are especially popular for helix piercing and tragus piercing jewelry.
Before changing your cartilage earring for the first time, we recommend checking in with an experienced piercer. They can help you measure the piercing for the right size, confirm that it has healed, and even change out the jewelry for you.
What Earrings Can You Wear in Your Cartilage?
There are a plethora of options when it comes to cartilage piercing jewelry. Some of the best brands out there for cartilage earrings are Junipurr Jewelry, Buddha Jewelry Organics, and BVLA. These brands not only have a variety of styles available, but they also use high-quality materials, including 14k gold, while still maintaining affordable prices. We also encourage you to browse our online shop!
For most kinds of cartilage piercings, after the initial stud has healed, many people choose to switch to a hoop. The most common types of hoops for a helix piercing or tragus piercing are a seamless ring or a captive bead ring.
Seam rings are those without the lock part of the earring found in most hoops designed for the earlobe. Instead, one end of the hoop fits seamlessly into the other end of the hoop. This allows them to be more understated.
Captive bead rings are hoops that close by attaching to a small bead. The bead serves the dual purpose of keeping the earring connected as well as providing decoration and style.
Others stick with ear cartilage studs, which can come in various styles, from a small, simple gold ball to gemstones to a small design of a favorite cartoon character. Piercers generally recommend labret studs for the thicker areas of the cartilage, such as the tragus, because labret studs have longer posts and flat backings. This allows enough space to pierce the cartilage as well as prevent any issues a standard backing could cause.
There are so many possibilities for cartilage piercings, and cartilage piercing jewelry choices continue to expand. Visit our online shop today to find the best jewelry for you.
Piercing Studios Near You
Need an Experienced Piercer in Mississauga or Newmarket?
Working with an experienced piercer can make all the difference when it comes to your piercing experience. If you’re in the Mississauga or Newmarket, Ontario area and have any questions about ear piercing, body piercing or jewelry, give us a call or stop by our piercings studio today. We’d love to help walk you through what to expect and help you choose the right option.