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Conch vs Orbital Piercings: They Are Not the Same!

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If you are considering either a conch (pronounced “conk” like the shell) or orbital piercing, you may be running into some confusion when researching or asking around. Some people refer to orbitals as a conch piercing with a ring, but this is simply wrong. Orbital piercings are not a type of piercing at all. So what exactly is an orbital piercing and how is it different than a conch piercing?

What is a Conch Piercing?

A conch piercing is a piercing that goes through your conch. The conch of your ear most commonly refers to the inside thicker area of cartilage, but it also includes the flat piece of cartilage up until the fold or “helix”. Conch piercings are most commonly worn with labrets, but if placed near the outside of the ear, they can be worn with large diameter rings.

What is an Orbital Piercing?

An orbital piercing is one of the few types of piercings that doesn’t earn its name from location. An orbital piercing is actually two piercings that are connected with the same ring. Pictured above is an orbital connecting two upper lobe piercings. Orbitals can include any piercings. Flats, forward helixes, and even traguses are also common to be worn with orbitals. While it may be possible for you to connect two of your existing piercings with a ring, you will likely need to order a custom ring as your measurements are unlikely to be an even sizing. Most piercers prefer that you actually get both piercings done at the same time so they can heal with the connecting ring inside. This will prevent any healing issues that may occur when you would swap into the ring later.

Why Are Conch Piercings Sometimes Referred to as Orbitals?

Truth is, we don’t really know why some people make this confusion, but we can take a guess. When people refer to a conch piercing as an orbital, they are always only referring to inner conch piercings that have a ring worn in them. When you wear a ring in your conch, you need to be careful with the placement so it is more on the side of the ear instead of the center. The slightly altered placement of the conch complete with the large diameter ring may be what causes some of the confusion. Orbital rings are typically also a large diameter, so seeing a large ring might be what makes some people think “orbital”.

Inner Conch Piercing VS Outer Conch Piercing

For the most part, when talking about a conch piercing, people are only discussing the inside part of the ear, or inner conch. This is because the outer conch (the flat part of cartilage along the top of the ear, under the helix) is called a flat piercing. It would also be correct to refer to this piercing as an inner conch piercing. Interestingly enough, it seems a flat piercing is never confused as an orbital piercing (except of course, when it is a part of an orbital piercing).


If you’ve been doing research on conch piercings or orbital piercings, you’ve probably run into some articles confusing the two terms. Orbitals refer to two separate piercings being held together with the same ring. Conch piercings are piercings that go through any of the cartilage on the inside of the ear and they may or may not be worn with a ring.