The anatomy of the ear is surprisingly complex, but intrepid ear piercers are most intrigued by the idea of a conch piercing. Named after the seashell due to its shape, the conch is the curved cup of cartilage that sits inside the lower part of the ear, next to the ear canal.
You can actually pierce two parts of it: the inner conch (a stud right through the middle of the ear, usually parallel to the daith) and the outer conch, AKA the contraconch (closer to the curved cartilage of your outer ear, making it perfectly-positioned for a hoop). Celebrities such as Kylie Jenner, Zoë Kravitz and Rihanna all rock stunning conch piercings, incase you need any more convincing it’s the ear look you need in your life.
“We’ve definitely seen an increase in people getting conch piercings for their curated ear,” says piercer Laura Bond. “People are more nervous about the thicker cartilage piercings but there’s no reason to be, a good piercer will reassure you and make you feel comfortable.”
Conch piercings allow for big, bold pieces if you want to make a statement, according to Astrid & Miyu piercer Charlotte Collins. “They can accommodate a large statement piece, or small and dainty ones that catch the light beautifully.” These days, piercers use sterile, single-use needles rather than the traditional piercing guns. “Piercing guns can’t be cleaned, let alone sterilised,” warns piercer at Ouija Piercings in Derby, Emma Whitethorn. “They cause trauma to the piercing site and can cause permanent scarring, especially when used for cartilage piercings such as the conch.”
How painful is conch piercing?
“People have different levels of pain tolerance and all ears are unique,” says piercer at Lark & Berry, Svetlana Hristova. “But naturally if the cartilage is thick, this might cause a bit of extra pain.” It’s also worth bearing in mind that a cartilage piercing will take longer to heal, around 6-12 months, compared to the lobe, which usually takes around 2-4 months, depending on the individual and level of aftercare (check out our aftercare section further down).
How much are Conch piercings?
Prices vary depending on the piercer you use and the jewellery you purchase. For example, Astrid & Miyu charge a flat rate service fee of £20 per 20-minute appointment, which includes a maximum of three piercings. Their jewellery ranges from £35-£55 each (for titanium piercing jewellery) and £100-£195 each (for solid gold piercing jewellery). Maria Tash charges £35 per conch piercing and the cost of her conch jewellery ranges from £110 for a solid gold stud earring to £13,095 for a gold diamond spike!