woman holding a conch shell

The conch piercing, perhaps the most versatile piercing, has been making its name in recent years as the cartilage piercing that you don’t want to miss. Its near-unlimited placement options coupled with the surprising variety of jewelry that it can sport makes the conch piercing easy to individualize—the perfect choice for someone looking for something trendy yet unique.

With the prospect of any new piercing comes the questions. How much will this piercing hurt? Is the healing time worth it? Which jewelry can I wear?

If you’re thinking about getting a conch piercing, here are some things that you need to know and why we think you’ll love it.

How much does the conch piercing hurt?

It’s widely acknowledged that cartilage piercings hurt more than other piercing types. Although the amount of pain you feel will depend on your personal pain tolerance, you can count on the fact that it’s going to hurt more than a lobe piercing.

The good news is that a conch piercing shouldn’t hurt more than any other cartilage piercing; if your cartilage is already pierced, you should know what to expect.

If you’re afraid of the pain, keep in mind that an experienced piercer will walk you through breathing exercises that will minimize discomfort. It’s also a good idea to practice relaxation methods, like meditation, prior to the piercing. Most of the time, piercings are less painful than anticipated; likely, you’ll walk out of the piercing studio thinking, “That was easier than I thought it would be.”

Is the healing time worth it?

This decision will ultimately be up to you. Cartilage piercings take between 6 – 9 months to heal, and they could take longer depending on your aftercare practices and your body’s ability to heal itself. During this time, you’ll need to stay away from water (showers only), wear hats, headphones, and other things that press against your ears as little as possible, and clean your jewelry three times a day. It’s certainly a commitment.

woman waiting impatiently

Cartilage piercings take the better part of a year to heal. If you’re impatient, you might want to stay away from the conch piercing.

If you’re willing to take care of your conch piercing for the entire healing period, then the look is absolutely worth it. However, you should be honest with yourself, and if you know that aftercare is something that you struggle with, opt for a piercing with a shorter healing time and wait until you’re responsible enough to handle a cartilage piercing.

Where should I place my conch piercing?

The versatility of a conch piercing is both a blessing and a curse. Those who tend to be indecisive might feel a little stressed at the prospects. Luckily, we’ve seen all sorts of conch placements, and we can help you choose the best location for your conch piercing.

You can either get the cartilage in the upper part of the conch region pierced (the outer conch) or the cartilage in the lower part of the conch (the inner conch). Besides the obvious difference in placement, the outer conch is typically decorated with only cartilage studs while the inner conch can sport cartilage studs or large hoops that go around the rim of the ear.

inner conch and outer conch
Photo by @emmybre_
The outer conch appears in the upper cartilage, and the inner conch appears in the lower cartilage

If you like daintier jewelry styles that will stand out a little bit more, the outer conch piercing could be for you. If you’d like your conch piercing to be a bit more versatile, or if you’re looking for something tucked a little bit away, then consider the inner conch piercing.

In order to visualize what this piercing will look like, try making a mark in the place you’re thinking about getting pierced. This way, you can see how the new jewelry might interact with any other cartilage piercings that you have, and you can compare conch locations to choose the optimal piercing point.

When in doubt, have some friends take a look, or better yet, take advantage of a piercer’s expertise. It’s their job to make your piercing look fantastic, and they’ll give you truthful advice without worrying about hurting your feelings.

What jewelry can I wear with a conch piercing?

As mentioned previously, you can wear cartilage studs in both the inner and outer conch, or you can wear a large hoop in the inner conch. Having trouble visualizing the jewelry that you’d like to wear? Here are some of our favorite conch jewelry items.

Why should I get a conch piercing?

Now that we’ve gone over the practical aspects of a conch piercing, we can get to the fun stuff: why we love it.

Besides its versatility, which we’ve already mentioned a few times, a conch piercing can beautifully fill in the gaps in your cartilage party. It can be a fantastic addition if you love to have your ears filled with bling, or it can act as a gorgeous accent in a more minimalistic look.

As piercings become more popular, it’s difficult to find a truly unique piercing. Although conch piercings are becoming more mainstream, the fact that you can get multiple conch piercings in many different locations means that you can make the conch piercing work for your individual style. No two conch piercings are the same.

Another great thing is that anyone can get a conch piercing. Many piercing types depend upon the shape of your ear. You might have your heart set on a snug piercing, for example, but if your cartilage isn’t the right shape, you won’t be able to get one. Not so with the conch piercing. It doesn’t discriminate.

Shop conch jewelry

Still can’t decide if this is the piercing for you? We’ll let the jewelry help make the decision for you. Check out these pieces and others in our conch jewelry collection.

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