What’s That Called?: Ear Piercing Index

piercings of the human ear

Lobe: This is just a standard ear lobe piercing. For most this piercing was originally performed with a piercing gun, but in recent years trained piercers with sterile shops have been called on to perform more ear piercings than ever before.

Transverse Lobe: The transverse, or “horizontal” lobe piercing goes through the full width of the bottom portion of the lobe and as such requires a barbell for normal wear rather than a stud.

Stretched Lobe: A lobe piercing that is considered “stretched” has had the actual piercing hole itself (known as the fistula) enlarged to accommodate plugs rather than standard earrings.

Helix: The helix is the outcropping of cartilage that circles the free edge of the ear, and can be pierced in a range of spots depending on anatomy and preference. This type of piercing is also often referred to as simply “cartilage piercing.”

Forward Helix: The portion of the helix that folds forward where the ear meets the side of the face can be pierced on most individuals, which is called a forward helix piercing.

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Industrial: An industrial is actually a set of piercings performed along the edge of the ear and connected with a single barbell. Although this too can include a variety of positions, the most common is horizontally across the upper ear at a slight diagonal (as shown).

Vertical Industrial: This is an industrial that runs vertically across the ear rather than horizontally. Most often this is done beginning at the helix, running down the length of the ear, and emerging through the concave plate of cartilage at the inner edge, above the lobe.

Snug: A snug is a piercing of the secondary cartilaginous outcropping; the smaller ridge that forms right next to the helix. For most, the snug will be worn with a piece of circular body jewelry, but barbells can also be used.

Orbital: The orbital is a piercing that goes through the ear in two separate spots, connected together by a circular barbell. Although the edge of the ear is popular, orbitals can be pierced in other, more interesting parts of the cartilage.

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Tragus: Tragus piercings are made through the nub of cartilage that protrudes in front of the opening of the inner ear. One of the more popular ear cartilage piercings, they can be worn with a circular, or a stud.

Vertical Tragus: When the tragus is pierced through vertically, most often utilizing a small curved barbell, it’s called a vertical tragus.

Anti-Tragus: The anti-tragus is the protrusion of cartilaginous tissue just across from the tragus, which can be freely pierced in most individuals.

Daith: A piercing of the crest just above the opening of the ear canal is called a daith, but to be a true daith as originally designed, the piercee must wear a hoop or circular, so that the item appears to emerge from within the ear.

Inner Conch: This is a piercing in the concave plane of cartilage at the inside of the ear, below the uppermost ridge.

Outer Conch: An outer conch piercing perforates the flatter cartilage above the upper ridge but underneath the helix.

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Rook: Last but not least, the rook is a piercing of the upper cartilage ridge, usually worn with a curved barbell.