Ear Piercings and Cuffs Explained- read before you buy [3 min post]
  • Post author:
  • Reading time:5 mins read

Confused about ear piercings? Looking for your next ear adornment?

Here we unravel popular queries on modern ear piercings, cuffs, climbers and jewellery positions.

Ear jewellery can be great fun to experiement with, whether you choose cuff jewellery, fake piercings, clip on ear adornments, or commit to a more permanent piercing. Have fun experimenting.

Simple minimalist hoops can be fairly inexpensive to buys, so its great to stock up in a selection of different sizes and patterns. Sterling silver, Gold (including 14K Gold filled)and Rose Gold and other precious metals are highly popular and worth the investment of a few pounds extra, as with a little care and occasional cleaning they can give you years, if not a lifetime of wear. 


Here we have the folded area just above the tragus pierced. A smaller hoop at around 6mm often looks good in this area due to restricted room.


A Conch hoop is either a cuff (open hoop) that wraps around your ear, or a piercing (pierced hole) just inside your ear.

Conch hoops are typically around 12mm outer diameter (outside edge to outside edge), but pierced conches can require a bigger hoop depending on your ear size and how high up or across the piercing is. For example, 15mm is not uncommon for an average sized hoop in a higher position.

Don’t presume each ear will be the same size either if buying a pair.

What size do I need?

To help get the right size  take a ruler against your ear and measure across the area you want your hoop in mm. Don’t forget to measure the front to back of your ear too to get a good idea of he size. Alternatively a piercer or jeweller can measure the area professionally. Or if you have a piercing use the original hoop you got with the piercing as a template for measuring across.  From there choose a bigger or smaller mm hoop as preferred.

Cuffs can be more flexible as they come as an open hoop which can usually be adjusted by gently pulling open or squeezing slightly to tighten.


Also called a cartilage piercing, this can be seen at the top of the ear opposite (7mm outer diameter/ 6mm inner diameter). Smaller than the conch hoop this cuff or piercing sits high up on the ear. This area is popular for tiny diamond and ball studs as well as hoops. 

There are many varieties of decorated and plain hoops to choose from for this area.

Q: What size/gauge are your helix piercings?
A: These are made 0.8mm (appx. 21G) as standard (which is the same thickness as a normal earring). We also have listings for thicker gauges and thinner ones and can make custom orders for an unlisted thickness by request.
Q: What size hoop do I need for my helix piercing?
A; This can vary slightly depending on where exactly the hole is placed, and whether or not you like a looser or tighter fit.
Generally, 7mm outer diameter works well for this area with an 0.8mm thickness earring.

This refers to the middle inner section of the ear. Hoops in this area are usually of similar size to the Helix above (7mm outer diameter, 6mm inner diameter in photo).

LOBE PIERCING / Standard Earring Positions

This is the standard position of piercings on the bottom part of the ear, or the ear lobe. There are three primary positions for this (as demonstrated by the 9mm, 8mm and 7mm size hoops in the photo). These can also be called lower, middle and upper lobe piercings. Cuffs tend not to sit quite as well here due to less to grip. Instead if there is not already a piercing in the desired location, a screw back or clip on earring is often preferred and more secure. Especially where precious metals or gemstones are included in the ear adornment.

Above you can see the most common types of piercings and cuffs available. There are of course many other ear piercings possible and ways to wear ear cuffs. Its all down to personal preference and talking to either a piercer or experimenting with a few cuffs to see what look you prefer.

Its a great idea to have a selection of different ear cuffs in various sizes and spend a few minutes fitting them to different areas of your ear to see what you like the look of. You might even find you want to go ahead and get a piercing in that area. Cuffs are a great way to experiment with ideas first before committing to pierced ears.

You can find a selection of earrings for Pierced Ears and Ear Cuffs for non-pierced areas in our online shop.