Looking for a Unique Ear Piercing Off the Beaten Path? It May Be the Rook

We’ve seen the Buzzfeed articles discussing the possible medical benefits of the daith piercing. We’ve read the listicles on future 2022 piercing trends, including ones about curated ears. But if you’re looking for a piercing that’s a bit off the beaten path, a rook is an excellent choice. 


The rook piercing was first discovered in the 1990s by Eric Dakota who supposedly named it off a shortened version of his own name. It was presented to the public in the fourth issue of Body Play magazine.

Keep reading on and we’ll fill you in on all you need to know about the rook piercing.

Rook Piercing Placement

The rook piercing is an anatomically dependent piercing. The technical location of it is in an area of the ear called the inferior crus of the antihelix. However, there are people who don’t have a pronounced enough ridge of cartilage to pierce through.

Rook Piercing Placement

You can be pierced so the jewelry sits vertically or leans at a slight angle. It can either frame the center of the ridge of cartilage or rest closer to your face—it depends on your own personal preference and the look you’re going for as well as your anatomy. Your anatomy is important to take into consideration even when deciding what jewelry to wear—the bottom of the jewelry shouldn’t press against your ear; this leads to irritation.

Sometimes, your ridge of cartilage is large enough to accommodate two rook piercings.

How Much Does a Rook Piercing Hurt?

It’s hard to say exactly how painful a piercing is because it does vary from person to person. That being said, it’s fair to expect a rook piercing to be on the medium of the pain scale. This is because the needle is going through thicker cartilage; it will need a bit more pressure to get through the tissue.

Are You Suitable for a Rook Piercing?

This question isn’t just about your anatomy. Sometimes, your job or hobbies will prevent you from being suitable for a rook piercing. For example, because of the location of the piercing, it’s best to avoid wearing headphones or holding the phone up to your ear all day. If you currently need to use headphones for work or spend time on the phone, then maybe wait to get your rook pierced right now.

How Long Does a Rook Piercing Take to Heal?

How Long Does a Rook Piercing Take to Heal?

The healing time will vary from person to person. However, rook piercings do take longer than traditional lobe piercings to heal because thicker tissue and cartilage are being pierced. Additionally, your cartilage is not very vacuous, so the lower blood supply means it will take longer to heal.

You can expect a rook piercing to heal in anywhere from three to six months or longer.

Rook Piercing Aftercare Tips & Tricks

Rook Piercing Aftercare Tips & Tricks

The most important part of healing your rook piercing is practicing proper aftercare.

What to Avoid Doing

One of the easiest steps of the aftercare process is to avoid touching your piercing. You don’t need to spin, rotate, twist, or move your jewelry at all. In fact, doing so will irritate your piercing and elongate the healing process.

You are also going to want to avoid sleeping on your piercing while it’s healing. One way to go about doing this is to buy an airplane neck pillow. When you go to bed, place your ear in the center of it. This allows you to get comfortable sleep on a pillow without irritating your ear.

We know temperatures have been sweltering lately across the U.S. But if you have a freshly pierced rook piercing, you’re going to have to avoid public bodies of water. This means no swimming in the ocean, river, lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. The reason you need to avoid public bodies of water is that bacteria can spread through the water and into your piercing, which is essentially a healing wound. The bacteria can cause infection, which you want to avoid at all costs.

Lastly, you’re going to want to avoid putting any harsh chemicals on your new piercing. This means that you should not put any of the following anywhere near your fresh rook piercing: Neosporin, Bactine, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol.

What To Do for Aftercare

These days, taking care of a new rook piercing is pretty simple. You just have to make sure you wash it properly at least twice a day. It used to be that you had to mix your own saline solution, but now you can buy a pre-mixed spray, like NeilMed’s or H2Ocean’s.

Next, take a clean, dry paper towel and use it to pat the area dry. You shouldn’t be using any cotton balls or q-tips because they tend to leave fibrous material behind that leads to cysts and other irritations.

Neilmed Piercing Aftercare Spray

To read more about rook piercings and aftercare before you reach out to your piercer, click here.

The Main Point

While movies like The Batman made certain piercings popular (we’re looking at you Zoe Kravitz and your daith piercing), there are other piercings that aren’t as popular but still look so incredibly cool in an ear. Rook piercings are definitely the way to go if you’re looking for unique piercings that stand out for being a little different. Additionally, for being in such a small, tight space, there are still a variety of jewelry options available. While it’s easiest to heal with a curved barbell, you can switch to a small captive bead ring or seamless ring once it’s healed.