The conch piercing has always been high up on my lust list. But what is it? This type of cartilage piercing is named after the large spiral shell that ears sort of resemble. There's the inner conch piercing, which is where a hole is punctured right through the middle of the ear to make way for a stud. Then there’s the conch orbital, which allows a ring to go around the outer edge of the ear's cartilage.
A conch piercing is beautiful, no doubt, but it's also intimidating. After all, you're piercing solid cartilage there, and just the thought of the pain is enough to make many piercing enthusiasts (read: me) tremble.
I called on expert piercer Rhianna Jones who works at The Circle in London’s Soho, to answer my questions and hopefully allay my worries. Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about the conch piercing.
Meet the Expert
Rhianna Jones is head piercer at The Circle in London, England. She specializes in nontraditional piercings.
Byrdie: Okay, hit me—how painful is a conch piercing?
Rhianna Jones: Any piercing is painful to a degree. It varies for each person. But on the whole, it is pretty much the same as other ear parts and not that bad!
Byrdie: Is there anyone it wouldn’t suit?
RJ: A conch piercing is suitable for many ears and suits all styles. In my many years of piercing, I have not come across one that wasn’t suitable. Working with the anatomy of each ear, the placement can achieve a subtle look or be a statement piece, depending on the style and desires of the client.
Byrdie: What type of piercing do you pierce with—hoop or bar?
RJ: For the initial healing period, I use a bar, but once healed, the piercing can be fitted with jewelry of either a bar or ring style dependent on the placement and anatomy of the client.
Byrdie: How long does it typically take to heal?
RJ: The healing process can take from three to nine months. This varies due to how well the aftercare is followed and the client’s general health.
Byrdie: Is it painful to sleep on?
RJ: I don’t recommend sleeping on any ear piercing until it is fully healed, due to the possibility of irritating the piercing and delaying the healing process.
Sleeping on your side can cause sagging or wrinkling of the skin. We recommend trying to sleep on your back with or without a conch piercing.
Byrdie: What does the aftercare involve?
RJ: I recommend my clients clean the piercing two times a day with a sterile saline solution, and don’t fiddle with it!
Byrdie: Anything else to consider when it comes to getting a conch piercing?
RJ: My advice to anyone interested in getting a new piercing is to research your piercer before choosing where to go, and always follow the aftercare advice that they give.
[Ed. note: Depending on where you receive it, a conch piercing will cost around $40 to $60 and may or may not include the cost of the jewelry.]
If our Insta inspo above doesn't already have you running to book a piercing appointment, check out some of these gorgeous rose gold earrings.