Conch Versus Orbital Piercings Explained

Unfortunately, the spread of misinformation is all too common in the piercing and body jewelry industry. Whether it’s on Reddit, fashion websites, or more, there’s, unfortunately, more misinformation out there than there is correct information.

Lately, piercers have had an influx of people visit their shops asking for an orbital piercing when they mean a conch piercing (or vice versa). This is largely due to the spread of a mislabeled diagram where what’s labeled as an orbital piercing is actually just a conch piercing.

In this blog post, we’ll explain conch versus orbital piercings, including their similarities and differences.

What Is a Conch Piercing?

A conch piercing is many piercers’ favorite piercing to do because they’re relatively easy to heal. This makes them great for both beginner and experienced clients.

The name conch refers to the location of the piercing on the ear. In fact, there are two types of conch piercings: inner and outer conch. An inner conch piercing is located in the bowl-shaped shell of the ear, also known as the concha. This is where the piercing gets its name.

Conch Piercing

An outer conch piercing, also known as a contraconch piercing, is anatomy dependent and located along a flat spot on the thick ridge of cartilage, that creates the bowl shape for the inner conch.

A more straightforward way to think of the difference between the two possible placements is this: an inner conch piercing’s location is the deepest part of the ear above the entrance to the ear canal. In contrast, an outer conch piercing’s location is the rim of cartilage around the inner conch.

What Is an Orbital Piercing?

An orbital piercing can be done anywhere on the ear, or the body for that matter.

An orbital piercing is a set of two piercings joined together when a person wears a singular ring through both piercings. It is very similar to an industrial piercing, which combines two piercings when a bar is worn through both simultaneously.

Orbital Piercing

What Are the Differences Between a Conch Versus Orbital Piercing?

There are many differences between these two piercings, including:

Jewelry You Can Wear

You can only wear a ring in an orbital piercing, as that makes it, well, an orbital piercing.

However, you can wear either a ring or a flatback stud in a conch piercing.

Location Options

With an orbital piercing, the two piercings must parallel each other. This means you can opt for lobe orbitals, a conch-to-rook orbital, or even helix-to-helix orbitals.

With a conch piercing, you’re stuck to choosing inner, outer, or, if your anatomy permits it, both.

Where the Confusion Comes From

The confusion comes from two main errors. The first is an improperly labeled diagram that labels a conch piercing with a ring worn as an orbital piercing.

The second is the growing popularity of the misnomer “conch orbital piercing.” Much like the mislabeled diagram, many people who use this term mean a conch piercing with a ring instead of an actual orbital piercing.

The Main Point

Regardless of which piercings you decide to get, it’s important to know the difference between the two, so your piercer knows which one you intend to get pierced. It could mean the difference between leaving with one piercing or two separate piercings joined by a singular piece of jewelry.

Whether you need jewelry for your orbital or conch piercing, you can trust that Urban Body Jewelry has what you want. Be sure to check out our selection today!

Written by Jackie Rachel

Jackie Rachel

Jackie Rachel is a poet and Content Account Manager. She has been getting pierced for over 16 years, while taking the time to learn proper aftercare techniques from the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) members. Always enamored by the jewelry options that exist for body modifications, she one day hopes to assist clientele with picking out jewelry and styling ears.