Conch Piercing: From History to Healing

The conch piercing (pronounced ‘konk’) is named after the conch shell to which the ears have a slight resemblance. It’s one of the most customizable body piercings and if you’re after creating a trendy, cool, and stylish image, then this piercing fits the bill.

But how do you know if this is the right piercing for you?

We’ve got you covered! Here’s everything you need to know about conch piercings to help you decide if this is the right choice for you.

What is a Conch Piercing?

A conch piercing is a type of ear piercing that targets the concave shell-like structure of the ear, aptly named the “conch.” The piercing can be categorized into two styles: the inner conch and the outer conch.

Conch piercing location on ear

The inner conch piercing is located in the central cartilage adjacent to the ear canal, while the outer conch piercing sits in the flat part of the top outer ear. Due to its placement within the thick cartilage, getting a conch piercing may require a bit more pressure and may be more painful than some other ear piercings.

Once healed, conch piercings can be adorned with various types of jewelry, including hoops, studs, and barbells. Proper aftercare is crucial to ensure smooth healing and avoid infections.

Eternity Gems Flower Conch Hoop Earring
Eternity Gems Conch Hoop Earring. See it here.

The outer conch piercing is commonly decorated with a hoop around the ear ridge facing outward. It’s in a more visible location and attracts the eye immediately.

Girl wearing inner conch piercing stud
Inner Conch Stud Earring. See it here

The inner conch piercing is usually adorned with shiny cartilage studs. Here, the perforation goes directly through the ridge of the ear and is hidden within the inner curve of the ear.

Origin and History of Conch Piercings

Conch piercings stand out because of their distinct location in the ear’s shell-like structure and have firmly rooted themselves in today’s body modification scene. But they’ve been around way longer than just recent trends. People have loved and sported various ear cartilage piercings for thousands of years.

In fact, indigenous tribes from Central America, Africa, and the South Pacific islands were some of the first to rock these piercings. For them, these weren’t just fashion statements. They held deep spiritual, cultural, and social meanings, often marking milestones, courage, or a deep spiritual bond.

As cultures began mixing more, these tribal piercing practices, including the conch piercing, started popping up in Western societies. Fast forward to the late 20th century, especially the 1990s and early 2000s, and you’ll notice a big comeback of the conch piercing.

Now, people see it as a cool way to express individuality and style. And speaking of style, the jewelry options have grown too. Nowadays, conch piercings feature everything from simple studs to fancy hoops.

What’s Best Jewelry for Conch Piercings?

There are several conch jewelry options that you can choose from to adorn your piercing. If you’re more on the traditional side, there’s jewelry for that but if you prefer something funky and modern, there’s a piece for that too. Let’s have a look at the best conch jewelry options that you can go for.

1. Conch Studs

labret stud for Conch Jewelry
Labret Stud Earring. See it here.
Curved wide studs
Curve Stud Earrings. See them here.

Conch studs make excellent adornments for both the inner and outer conch piercings, with the labret stud (flat-backed studs) being the most popular option as it’s beautiful and comfortable at the same time. Both the outer and inner conch can sport flat back studs. For inner conch piercings, consider curved embellished studs to trace the natural curve of the ear.

You can choose the style of jewelry according to the size of your piercing, but smaller and daintier pieces of jewelry are among the most popular.

2. Circular, Curved, and Straight Barbells

Solid Gold Plain Ball Horseshoe Earring
Solid Gold Plain Ball Horseshoe Earring. See it here.
Solid Gold Plain Ball Curved Barbell Earring
Solid Gold Plain Ball Curved Barbell Earring. See it here.
Spikes or Ball Ends Industrial Barbel
Spikes or Ball Ends Straight Barbell. See it here.

If you want to go for something a little less traditional, you can always opt for circular, curved, or straight barbells.

Circular barbells tend to feel like hoops and are quite comfortable to wear. They’re also easy to clean and maintain because of the openings on either end. Curved barbells are also a good choice although not as defined. The straight barbell is very similar to a stud, except that the backing also has a rounded ball.

When choosing a straight barbell for your conch piercing, make sure you consider the length of the barbell. The longer it is, the more uncomfortable it could be especially during the night as you sleep.

3. Captive Bead Rings

Horseshoe Captive Bead Hoop Ring
Horseshoe Captive Bead Hoop Ring. See it here.

Captive bead rings are hoops that feature a single, unattached bead that is held in place by tension from either side of the ring. The bead is removable, and it can be inserted by releasing tension on the bead. These are a popular choice for conch piercings as they look great and are comfortable to wear.

4. Clicker Rings

Clicker ring
Solid Gold Hoop Clicker Earring. See it here.

Clicker rings are easy to differentiate from other ring types because of their hinged clasp which snaps into place between two tines, securing the ring in place. They have either a straight or a curved post and the shape fits perfectly with all kinds of piercings.

These are incredibly convenient as they make changing your jewelry so much easier. There are also numerous unique styles and designs for you to choose from.

What’s the Best Metal for Conch Piercing Jewelry?

A Man in a Black Shirt Wearing Earrings and Necklaces

Choosing the right metal for conch jewelry means putting safety and comfort first without compromising on style. When healing from a fresh piercing, you’ll want metals that don’t irritate the skin or corrode easily.

Many people trust surgical stainless steel because it stands strong and doesn’t typically cause allergies. Titanium stands out too. Not only is it light and super friendly to the skin, but you can also find it in many vibrant colors. Niobium offers similar benefits, boasting both skin safety and a colorful palette.

If you’re aiming for a touch of luxury, consider solid gold, sticking to 14k or 18k varieties. But a word of caution: avoid gold-plated options. The gold layer can chip off, revealing the base metal underneath and possibly irritating your skin.

When hunting for the perfect conch jewelry, blend your personal style with skin-friendly metals. This approach guarantees both a trendy look and a comfy feel.

Conch Piercing Pain – Can I Handle It?

Painful pain meter

It’s difficult to say exactly how much pain you would feel during this procedure since pain is subjective and depends on the individual. However, conch piercing is said to be one of the most painful types of ear piercing.

Everyone’s pain threshold is different and while it may hurt for some people, someone else might barely feel a sting. Since the ear cartilage is quite thick, getting the needle through it will take slightly longer which can result in more pain.

Here are what two of our readers have told us:

“Honestly, everyone says the conch piercing hurts but for me it hurt about as much as my nostril piercing – very little. There was a little bit of blood afterwards and a sharp pinch during the procedure. That was it. Healing was so easy because it was kind of tucked away and safe.”

“I got a conch piercing done and it was officially the worst one I got. It depends on how thick your conch is. Mine was pretty thick so it did hurt a lot.  The procedure itself didn’t hurt all that much. I felt a really sharp sting and then it was over. But it was afterwards that it really began to hurt and the pain hung around for a long time.”

Your overall health and mood can affect the level of pain that you feel so keeping a positive attitude and preparing yourself mentally beforehand will help you to cope.

Some recipients of conch piercings state that they felt hardly any pain while getting the piercing so once again, whether you feel pain or not from your conch piercing is subjective and depends on your pain tolerance.

Conch Piercing AfterCare

Dainty Conch Ear Cuff Earrings
Dainty Conch Ear Cuff Earring. See it here.

Conch ear piercings can take quite a long time to heal completely anywhere between 6 to 10 months, depending on how well you follow the rules of aftercare. No matter how tempting it may be, do not change the jewelry until the primary healing is complete.

Avoid touching or pulling the jewelry as this can cause infections. Keep the piercing dry and clean the wound at least two times per day. As always, follow the instructions your piercer gives you as this will help the piercing to heal as quickly as possible.

Where to Buy Conch Jewelry

If you’re planning to buy conch jewelry online, we suggest that you start your search on Amazon and Etsy. With the countless designs and prices available, you’re sure to find your favorite conch jewelry right here. Also, many of the top piercing jewelry retailers offer their products via these platforms, making it easy for you to compare prices and quality on the same platform while making use of perks that come with loyalty programs like Amazon Prime.


Etsy is the perfect place to shop for conch jewelry pieces if you’re searching for a unique or handmade design. There are many independent jewelry boutiques available on Etsy and each one has its own assortment of conch jewelry.


Amazon is one of the biggest online retailers in the world so you are likely to find all kinds of designs and styles of conch jewelry right here. There are multiple diverse jewelry vendors who offer their products on Amazon and you can use the site’s own rating and review sections in order to determine the quality of each product. We are quite certain that you’ll be able to find some amazing conch pieces here.

Now that you have all the information you need about conch piercings, it’s time for you to get a whole new look!

Wrapping Up

Conch piercings stand out not just as a current fashion choice but also as a mix of age-old customs and modern style. They have deep roots in indigenous cultures, and today’s versions respect that history while letting you show off your personal style. So, if you’re thinking about getting a conch piercing, go for it! Let it be more than just a decoration – make it a proud statement of who you are.

Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years in the jewelry niche. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education. She has always been interested in expression through fashion and accessories, and her extensive experience in the field has made her a respected voice in jewelry trends and education. As the chief editor of Jewelry Shopping Guide, she not only leads the content strategy but also shares her insights through engaging articles. Her passion for storytelling is reflected in every piece she curates, exploring the intricate relationship between jewelry and personal identity.

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