A cartilage piercing is a painful pleasure and a guilty pleasure at the same time. It can be said that such piercing is meant to satisfy our desire for accessorizing our ears more than showing off a great jewel. Indeed, it is fairly easy to notice when you put your hair up in a bun or if you’re a guy with short hair. However, in most cases it is a detail that not everyone is going to notice, so it serves a more personal purpose than other types of piercings, such as face piercings.

Until not long ago, a cartilage piercing was placed on the outer rim of the ear. You should know that your ear comprises more than one area with cartilage, namely rook, tragus, snug, conch, daith and so on. During ancient times, piercing the cartilage was part of passage rites. In 1970s it became popular again thanks to the young punks who liked asymmetrical designs. These days, you’ll see more than 10 types of piercings in people’s ears and that’s great because they contribute to their individuality and the way they express it.

1. Golden delight for multiple cartilage holes

cartilage piercing (1)

Here we’re dealing with a dedicated person! She has 4 types of cartilage holes, namely tragus, helix, rook and orbital.

2. Helix piercings as three flowers

cartilage piercing (2)

As you can see, piercings placed on the outer rim of the upper ear are called helix. This girl decorated her upper ear with pretty flowers.

3. Helix holes with round jewelry

cartilage piercing (3)

Round jewelry is more recommended for a fresh cartilage piercing. This is because studs may put pressure on it and prologue the healing process.

4. Jeweled accessories for conch

cartilage piercing (4)

The conch area of the ear is made of cartilage too. It’s nowhere near the consistence of the ear lobe. Even so, many people endure medium pain to decorate it with jeweled accessories.

5. An ornament for your upper ear

cartilage piercing (5)

The upper ear may be ornamented easily thanks to jewelry especially made to cover a large area. She only has one hole, called helix piercing.

6. Large jewel on steady hole

cartilage piercing (6)

The cartilage is not as soft as the earlobe is, so you can safely wear large jewelry without hurting your ear.

7. Shiny gems decorating the outer ear

cartilage piercing (7)

If you’re not in the mood for a simple jewel, than you can opt for shiny stars that look like you have more than one helix piercing.

8. Cartilage bending an arrow

cartilage piercing (8)

The cartilage is a hard tissue. Of course it cannot bend anything, but look how cute that arrow is!

9. Thick ring for cartilage

cartilage piercing (9)

For a less delicate look, you can go for a thick ring in your helix hole.

10. The moon and a star

cartilage piercing (10)

Helix piercings are great because they allow your to wear large jewels, like this moon and star.

11. Wearing a mighty trident

cartilage piercing (13)

Wearing this mighty trident may be a little tricky because it involves many piercings.

12. Pretty flowers everywhere

cartilage piercing (14)

Jewels shaped like flowers are very feminine. You can wear them under the form of tragus piercing, helix piercing and forward helix.

13. Two different forward helix piercings

cartilage piercing (15)

Because the inner part of the ear is opposite to the outer part, the piercings located there are called forward helix piercings.

14. Pac Man plays on the ear’s cartilage

cartilage piercing (16)

If you are creative, you can recreate scenes from popular games on your ear’s cartilage.

15. Seductive orbital piercings

cartilage piercing (17)

Orbital piercings go around the ear’s rim. They may be shaped in various ways, but these thin ones are especially feminine and seductive.

16. Pretty bow and helix rings

cartilage piercing (18)

As soon as you have a cartilage piercing or more, you change the jewels as often as you want, creating pretty patterns like this one.

17. Industrial and forward helix as cartilage piercings

cartilage piercing (19)

The industrial piercing was among the first cartilage piercings that became popular. Even if they take a long time to heal, many individuals prefer it.

18. The orbital piercing combo

cartilage piercing (20)

The orbital piercing is not very common because of its location and because numerous people wear regular piercings in that area.

19. Golden helix with charms

cartilage piercing (22)

When you opt for a cartilage piercing, you should wear jewels made of surgical steel or titanium. This girl probably has a healed hole since she can afford to wear a regular earring with charms. Gold isn’t as sterile as you might think.

20. A glowing ear rim

cartilage piercing (23)

If you like this design, you should know that getting three piercings at once might be very painful. Cartilage piercings in general are more painful than earlobe piercings.

21. A transverse conch

cartilage piercing (24)

This cartilage piercing idea is very original. I don’t think there is a denomination for it, so I call it a transverse conch because it goes in and out of the conch area. It is a type of industrial, but located in another part of the ear.

22. Tragus piercing for princesses

cartilage piercing (25)

A tragus piercing is a simple cartilage piercing which can be personalized. This girl chose a jewel that makes me think of royalty.

23. A helix piercing like a crown

cartilage piercing (26)

Us girls are fortunate because we can find any type of jewels we want. The hardest step is to get pierced and care for it until it heals.

24. Rook piercing with shiny stones

cartilage piercing (27)

A great way to highlight parts of our ears is to wear jewelry with shiny stones. She is pretty special because she wears one in the rook.

25. Golden jewel for a rook piercing

cartilage piercing (28)

Many people who got rook piercings didn’t think it hurt as much as they expected. So, if you think it’s really painful, it might be less than you expect.

26. When originality strikes

cartilage piercing (29)

This design is truly unique. When originality strikes, you obtain art! Just look at how well-thought these piercings are! I’m sure the jewelry is custom made too! Really cool!

27. Rook with white gemstones

cartilage piercing (30)

A cartilage piercing is fitted for both girls and guys. Your choice is jewelry is important because it defines your style. For example, this girl isn’t eccentric although she didn’t choose a classic piercing location.

28. Thorns circling the ear’s rim

cartilage piercing (31)

A simple orbital piercing may become much more interesting if you wear a jewel that looks like thorns.

29. A crown of flowers for the ear

cartilage piercing (32)

All these piercing ideas are very valuable because you might not be aware of the available diversity.

30. Making the ear a galaxy

cartilage piercing (33)

Shiny stars, a few planets and a Sun like a pearl look a lot like a galaxy, don’t you think?

31. Matching jewelry with your hair

cartilage piercing (34)

The jewel this girl chose for her rook piercing looks very much like her hair. Is matching the color of your jewelry with your hair a thing?

32. Helix and forward helix in black

cartilage piercing (35)

When symmetry is not a choice, people tend to choose opposites.

33. Heart-shaped jewelry for ears

cartilage piercing (36)

Depending on the type of cartilage piercing you have, you can opt for heart-shaped jewelry that fits.

34. The outline of a heart

cartilage piercing (37)

Hearts fit nicely in areas like rook, tragus and as orbital piercings.

35. Geometric shapes for cartilage piercings

cartilage piercing (38)

If you search carefully, you’ll find many jewelry under geometrical shapes or different symbols related to religion, cults and so on.

36. A shiny star in the cartilage

cartilage piercing (39)

For a person who doesn’t have an earlobe piercing, this girl was brave to opt for a cartilage piercing. The level of pain and aftercare are very different.

37. Wearing a stud as a helix

cartilage piercing (41)

The only cartilage piercing this girl has is the helix. She is wearing a stud with a star-shape. However, her stretched holes are much more interesting.

38. Spiral on the outer rim

cartilage piercing (43)

You can connect two outer rim piercings with the help of a jewel shaped like a spiral.

39. Girlie crown for girl’s ear

cartilage piercing (44)

It’s said there is a princess inside every girl, so a small detail like an earring might count more than you imagine.

40. Badass look with an auricle piercing

cartilage piercing (45)

Auricle piercings connected to earlobe piercings look badass. This one has large spikes too!

41. Caring for a cartilage piercing

cartilage piercing (46)

Q-tips are good for the aftercare phase. However, cotton buds are more recommended.

42. Studs for the cartilage

cartilage piercing (47)

Studs are popular choices among women. They like to look neat and love diversity too.

43. Golden rings for ears

cartilage piercing (48)

Golden rings aren’t only for fingers! You can wear them on your ears as auricle piercings!

44. The ring with a dove

cartilage piercing (49)

Symbols of hope, doves make nice accessories.

45. Heart, star, moon, dot

cartilage piercing (50)

Earlobe piercings may be continued with cartilage piercings.

46. A stud and an elephant

cartilage piercing (51)

The stud is the simple version of a piercing, while the elephant is the decorative one. The options are unlimited.

47. The planet piercing for ear

cartilage piercing (52)

This jewel looks like Jupiter! How cool is that? It matches her earlobe piercing too!

48. Double cartilage delight

cartilage piercing (53)

Adorn your ear’s cartilage with double piercings for a doubled effect!

49. Triple piercings for a tripled effect

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

The number of piercings you can put in your ears is limited, but the number of combinations is not.

50. Two by two

cartilage piercing (55)

Symmetry can be created in the same ear, not necessarily on both ears. Two by two is just an example.

51. An orbital with shiny gem

cartilage piercing (56)

I think that silver and gold isn’t the best combination of colors or materials, but I like her choice when it comes to the orbital piercing.

52. A feather for luck

cartilage piercing (57)

Earrings can be decorative only or they can have deeper meanings. What type are you?

53. A simple helix design

cartilage piercing (58)

Beginners may opt for several earlobe piercings and a simple helix.

54. Six piercings along the rim

cartilage piercing (59)

This design is minimalist and consists of six piercings.

55. A twisted industrial design

cartilage piercing (61)

This is an alternative to the classic industrial piercing. The holes are the same, but the jewel is twisted and has spikes on both ends.

56. Putting an armor on ear

cartilage piercing (62)

Those three spikes are rad! They look like the ear has an armor on it.

57. Playing with sizes

cartilage piercing (64)

Decreasing sizes in ear studs look like this. They create a nice visual effect, pointing towards the earlobe.

58. A white and blue combination

cartilage piercing (65)

This combination of colors has nothing to do with the art of piercing itself, but with each person’s individuality. You can create rainbows or wear plain jewelry. It’s totally up to you.

59. Flowers blossoming on ear

cartilage piercing (66)

Having a real plant requires attention and it’s a responsibility. In case of jewelry things are different. You can just wear them and enjoy their blossom.

60. Snug and conch brought together

cartilage piercing (67)

The snug piercing isn’t classic, but the conch is. Both are cartilage piercings that take up to one year to heal completely.

61. Star-shaped jewels for the ear

cartilage piercing (68)

Star-shaped jewels aren’t recommended for holes that aren’t fully healed because they might irritate the pierced area. Can you wait one year for this?

62. Flashy jewelry for the cartilage

cartilage piercing (69)

The bigger your jewelry are, the easier they will be to notice.

63. Double tragus and a rook for experts

cartilage piercing (70)

From my experience, having one tragus piercing is enough. However, this girl is extra brave and an expert if she had two!

64. Spike, ring, barbell and stud

cartilage piercing (71)

These are pretty much all the basic types of jewels that you can wear in your ear.

65. Rose on cartilage

cartilage piercing (72)

This rose-shaped jewel is versatile. It can be placed on earlobes or cartilages.

66. A classical industrial

cartilage piercing (73)

The holes for the industrial piercing must be made at the same time for a perfect fit. A less ideal case would be to have one hole and make the other considering the first.

67. Opal forward helix piercings

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

This particular arrangement of cartilage piercings is very trendy right now. Many girls opt for it and flaunt it with every occasion they’ve got.

68. Round conches and nothing else

cartilage piercing (75)

The ear’s pavilion is entirely made of cartilage and a thin layer of skin. You can’t feel pain when the cartilage is pierced, but it takes a longer time to heal.

69. Decorate your ear’s pavilion with a flower

cartilage piercing (76)

A simple cartilage piercing will allow you to wear a flower or other shapes that look appealing to you.

70. An atypical flower for the ear

cartilage piercing (77)

Whether you like the green flower seen above or this one, you’ll still need a hole to wear it in.

71. Shiny studs for shiny personalities

cartilage piercing (78)

Girls like diamonds, so if you’re one of them, you can wear them in your ear as well!

72. A special type of industrial

cartilage piercing (79)

Industrial piercings aren’t just plain. They come in multiple colors and combinations.

73. Forward helixes with a steampunk touch

cartilage piercing (80)

The steampunk style can be adapted to jewelry for ear cartilage too!

74. An almost steampunk arrangement

cartilage piercing (81)

Vintage designs and those that look like clock mechanisms are considered part of the steampunk style.

75. A hidden rook and an auricle

cartilage piercing (82)

Because we all have ears shaped differently, some piercings might also look different. For example, this girl has a hidden rook.

76. Perfectly fitted beads for ear

cartilage piercing (83)

Who said you can wear beads around your neck only? Here’s an idea on how to wear them as a cartilage piercing!

77. Forward helix shaped like a heart

cartilage piercing (84)

Heart-shaped piercings are now all over the Internet! If you want to stay trendy, you should get one too!

78. Teardrop for your ear

cartilage piercing (85)

Teardrops are signs of sadness, but sadness is part of our lives so we might as well embrace it.

79. A tiny cartilage piercing

cartilage piercing (86)

Tiny cartilage piercings hurt just as much as the large ones, but not as much as stretched ones.

80. A flower made of metal

cartilage piercing (87)

You have to be careful what type of metal you put in your ears. Many will generate allergic reactions.

81. The golden feather of luck

cartilage piercing (88)

Gold is a material that isn’t often rejected by the human body, so it is considered pretty safe.

82. A precise arrangement of piercings

cartilage piercing (89)

If you don’t wear geometrical-shaped jewels, then you can create geometrical shapes with studs.

83. Five spikes for a badass look

cartilage piercing (90)

Here’s another cool example of how to wear spikes in your ear’s cartilage!

84. A tragus like a galaxy

cartilage piercing (91)

Tragus piercings are located close to the face, so they are easy to see. This chick chose a stud with a bead that looks like a galaxy. Galaxy motifs are hot right now!

85. Anti-tragus and forward helix combination

cartilage piercing (92)

This is a combination you haven’t seen so far.

86. Golden glow for cartilage piercings


For some reasons, all golden jewelry make me think of femininity.

87. Indian wisdom for the ear

cartilage piercing (94)

The pavilion of the ear is large enough to accommodate symbols like this one.

88. Diamonds for brave girls

cartilage piercing (95)

If you are brave enough to pierce your ears, then you deserve diamonds to decorate them!

89. A perfect alignment of jewels

cartilage piercing (96)


Prepare between $20 and $55 for a cartilage piercing and don’t forget about the aftercare products as well! You’re dealing with a type of piercing that will take long to heal, so you’ll need supplies. If you want more than one piercing in your ear, then you can mention that to the piercing technician. They often make discounts to customers who want more than one body modification. If you can’t handle more than one hole at a time, that’s fine! You can always go back when you’re ready! Happy piercing!