Ear Piercings (Part II): From Conch to Industrial
by K. A. Kristmanson
Last week I talked about 8 of the 16 possible placements for ear piercings. This week, numbers 9 through 16 (my personal favorites because of interesting alternative placements). Also, the names are weird. I dig that.
These piercings puncture the cartilage of the ear. It can take longer to heal and remain sensitive to cheap jewelry for a long time after healing. Ask your piercer for advice on what kind of jewelry to wear—titanium or 316LVM surgical steel (or PTFE if metal is not an option for any reason).
9 & 10: Inner Conch & Outer Conch
The Conch is named after its shape. It looks a bit like a conch shell, and it can be pierced in two ways.
The Inner Conch is the upper portion of the ear’s deepest depression. Plain and simple, the Outer Conch is below the Inner Conch placement. Typically, a labret piercing is worn, or a large diameter CBR.
The Rook is located below the Anti-Helix ridge, and above the Inner Conch. Its name reminds me of the chess piece, but many people believe that its name was given by this placement’s “inventor” Erik Dakota, as a short-hand for his own name.
It is pierced with a curved needle and ornamented with either a captive bead ring (CBR) or curved barbell. I’d also recommend PTFE jewelry (known also as: polytetrafluoroethylene, teflon, or “bio-flex”) to help the healing process. It’s a flexible, durable, and comfortable alternative to metal jewelry that reduces stress on the piercing.
The Daith is another “invention” of Erik Dakota (pronounced dayth or doth depending on your preference, though technically the latter is said to be correct). There are speculations that the name may have come from the word daath in the Ha Qabala, which is associated with knowledge and found in the Pillar of Mildness within some traditions of Gnostic or Jewish mysticism. I’m no theologian, so I can’t say this is accurate, but it’s interesting to speculate!
This piercing is located past the inner curve of the Anti-Helix, just above the Tragus. A curved barbell or CBR is also appropriate for this placement.
I like to think that the Snug gets its name from being tucked into the bit of cartilage that sits right against the end of the Helix ridge where an Auricle would be placed— as if the jewelry is comfortably placed into a nice little bed with cozy blankets. It also requires a curved needle to pierce, and therefore a CBR or curved barbell is worn. Like the Helix, it is what I’d call a high-contact area and will be easily bumped and snagged if the wearer is not careful. Since the area is so stiff as well, PTFE might be a good idea for comfort and flexibility.
For most ear piercings, I’d also recommend a donut pillow. This removes pressure from the ear when laying on one’s side while sleeping. The Snug, in particular, can get very sore if slept on due to the stiffness of the cartilage, and because this part of the ear sticks out father than other placements.
Most commonly, the Orbital circles the outer ridges of cartilage that form the Snug and Auricle placements. A curved needle pierces two pieces of cartilage, and then a large diameter CBR is wound through them. However, the Orbital is not one exclusive placement.
An Orbital piercing can be anywhere on the body. Orbital just means that a piece of jewelry passes through two separate piercings and links them together—most popularly done in the Helix placement shown, or in the Anti-Helix.
15 & 16: Industrial/Scaffold & Vertical Industrial/Scaffold
Another ear piercing accredited to Erik Dakota. The Industrial piercing is two separate holes in the cartilage. One long straight barbell is threaded through them on a diagonal angle, extending from the Anti-Helix and down to the Helix, as shown.
The Vertical Industrial is more complicated. There are multiple ways to pierce it, based on the anatomy of the ear.
My favorite is three holes: the bottom through the Outer Conch area, the center through the Rook, and the top through the apex of the Helix. It can also be pierced through Rook to Helix, or through the Outer Conch and Rook. If the Rook is particularly flat, the Vertical Industrial can even go from the Outer Conch to the Helix without a third hole between.
Well, that’s all folks!
If you’ve missed the first 8 placements, check out last week’s blog post. As always, thanks for reading and feel free to post questions and comments below.