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The 11 Best Earrings For Cartilage Piercings

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By Claire Epting

Cartilage piercings are effortlessly cool, and they give you so many options when it comes to wearing jewelry. From titanium studs to gold-plated hoops, the best earrings for cartilage piercings come in a range of styles and materials. Your choice will partially depend on whether or not you’re shopping for an initial piercing, but you’ll also want to consider any skin sensitivities — and, of course, aesthetics.

The Expert

Jef Saunders has more than 20 years of experience as a professional body piercer and is the Public Relations Coordinator for the Association of Professional Piercers (APP), a nonprofit alliance that provides the best and most up-to-date information on body piercing.

If You’re Shopping For An Initial Piercing

  • Materials: For an initial piercing, you’ll want to take extra care when choosing materials in order to prevent irritation or infection. Professional body piercer Jef Saunders recommends sticking to implant-grade metals such as titanium, niobium, solid 14-karat or 18-karat gold, and solid platinum. (A full list of approved metals can be found on the APP website.) By the same token, he advises against any material that doesn’t meet the APP standard for initial piercings, including silver, sterling silver, most plastics, stainless steel that doesn’t have an accompanying implant-grade standard, and any gold-plated or gold-filled jewelry.
  • Shape: While an initial piercing is healing, Saunders recommends starting with straight jewelry such as stud earrings, noting that you can “change to rings or curved jewelry after the healing process is completed.” Additionally, earrings that are internally threaded — or in other words, have screw threads in the earring back instead of on the post— are recommended by the APP for initial piercings since this design allows for a smooth surface to be inserted into the hole. When in doubt, he recommends consulting the piercer who initially did the job. “Professional advice can spare you losing the piercing or irritating the channel of the piercing while it is healing,” he says.

If You’re Shopping For An Existing Piercing

  • Materials: If you’ve had your piercing for a while, you have a bit more freedom — the most important thing is sticking to metals that don’t irritate your skin. Nickel is one of the most common sensitivities, so if that’s you, you’ll want stay away not only from nickel but from stainless steel as well. Instead you can opt for metals like solid gold and titanium, both of which are hypoallergenic. If you don’t have a nickel sensitivity, however, the world is yours (and stainless steel can be a fantastic, budget-friendly choice that maintains its sheen over time).
  • Shape: With a healed piercing, you have lots of choices when it comes to the style of your jewelry. You can choose anything from hoops to studs to crawlers, all of which look great in a cartilage piercing.

Ranging from diverse multipacks that let you switch up your look to high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time, these are the best earrings for cartilage piercings.

1. A Wallet-Friendly Multipack Of Stainless Steel Studs

Highlights:

  • Wide variety of shapes in each set
  • Great value for the price

If you love switching up your earrings throughout the week, this multipack of 18 pairs gives you tons of different options, and you can choose from four tones: silver, gold, rose gold, and black. The studs and posts are made out of 316L stainless steel, with certain pairs featuring cubic zirconia crystals for a sparkly look. You get a variety of shapes, including hearts, stars, and lightning bolts.

Each earring has an externally threaded screw-back design that keeps the post securely in your ear. While it’s not good for initial piercings, this is a great budget-friendly set you can incorporate into your jewelry collection once the piercings have healed. Stainless steel does include nickel, however, so these earrings should be avoided if you have a nickel sensitivity.

According to a reviewer: “I absolutely love these earrings. They are very comfortable and easy to get on and off. I love that they send so many options and can switch these out as much as I want. I have cartilage piercings so no more stabbing me in the head because the backs of these are flat which is a plus!”

Material: 316L stainless steel | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? No | Back type: Externally threaded screw | Available styles: 4

2. These Simple Titanium Studs — & 40+ More Options

Highlights:

  • Safe for sensitive ears
  • Wide variety of shapes available

Whether you have a nickel sensitivity or you just got a fresh piercing, these cartilage piercing earrings are suitable for just about everyone. Made from titanium, the nickel-free studs feature an internally threaded design that won’t cause irritation to your ear. The disc-shaped labret backing lays flat against your ear, without any sharp poking. There are more than 40 styles to pick from, including this low-key metallic ball shape that goes with everything.

According to a reviewer: “I have new cartilage piercings and lost my studs, these are great replacements. I have very sensitive skin and the studs didn’t react negatively to my piercings. My piercings are healing up nice without any trouble.”

Material: Titanium | OK for initial piercings? Yes | OK for nickel sensitivity? Yes | Back type: Internally threaded screw | Available styles: 40+

3. These Sparkly Crawlers & Studs Made From Titanium

Highlights:

  • Safe for sensitive ears
  • Unique crawler designs and studs available

Made out of solid titanium with internally threaded backs, these straight post earrings are a great option for those with sensitive ears or initial piercings. And since they’re nickel-free and hypoallergenic, they not likely to cause irritation to sensitive ears. The brand features multiple silver-tone styles with cubic zirconia crystals that look like real diamonds at a fraction of the cost. The brand offers a variety of styles in both crawler and stud designs.

According to a reviewer: “I looooove these earrings! They sparkle wonderfully and sit comfortably in the curve of my ear the way I had intended. [...] Very comfortable and gorgeous. These were a bit hard to put in, but that has been the case with every internally threaded piece of jewelry that I have and will just take practice. Highly recommend!”

Material: Titanium | OK for initial piercings? Yes | OK for nickel sensitivity? Yes | Back type: Internally threaded screw Available styles: 13

4. A 14-Karat Gold Hoop Earring That’s Worth The Investment

Highlights:

  • Safe for sensitive ears
  • Higher quality ensures long-lasting wear

Those with sensitive ears may also find success wearing solid gold cartilage earrings such as this sophisticated hoop. While it’s on the pricier side, it’s a worthy investment — the precious metal is durable and will retain its shine over time. The shape is not recommended for initial piercings, but it’s a great option once your ear is healed. The slightly twisted design adds nice texture, and you can choose from yellow and white gold options in a variety of sizes.

According to a reviewer: “I absolutely love this hinged ring. It’s beautiful, REALLY 14K GOLD (stamped and checked), very sturdy well made and so easy to put in! In love with this and will be purchasing more for myself and family. If you're on the fence, buy it! You’ll love it.”

Material: 14-karat gold | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? Yes | Back type: Hinge clasp | Available styles: 10

5. These Gold-Plated Earrings That Come In Unique Shapes

Highlights:

  • Safe for sensitive ears
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Available in a wide variety of unique shapes

These cute and unique cartilage earrings are made from 14-karat gold-plated sterling silver, making them a good choice for those who are sensitive to nickel — but you should wait until your piercing is fully healed before wearing them. Choose from several shapes, including butterflies, moons, stars, and lightning bolts — each available in yellow gold, rose gold, and white gold finishes. Every shape is elevated with cubic zirconia studs, adding a touch of sparkle to your ear, and a butterfly back keeps the earring in place.

According to a reviewer: “Amazing!! The cutest little lightning bolt earrings! I was on the hunt for some cute unique earrings for my cartilage piercing and these are perfect! No tarnishing, no turning my earrings green after showering with them on for over a week! Soo happy with my purchase, cannot wait to get more!”

Material: 14-karat gold-plated sterling silver | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? Yes | Back type: Butterly | Available styles: 27

6. A Pair Of Diamond-Like Studs Set In Solid Gold

Highlights:

  • Safe for sensitive ears
  • Cubic zirconia gives a diamond-like look

With cubic zirconia settings, these solid 14-karat gold earrings for cartilage piercings are ideal for those who have sensitive ears. The screw-back design keeps the earrings securely in your ear, but since they have an externally threaded design, you should wait until your piercings are healed to wear them. Several reviewers have noted that these studs look like real diamonds, but they’re much more wallet-conscious.

According to a reviewer: “I love these. My ears are pierced three times and they are the perfect size for my third hole. I have very sensitive ears, so I can only wear 14k jewelry. I have had these in my ear for over a month with no issue. The screw-back is secure and I never have to worry about losing my earrings. I am very happy with my purchase!”

Material: 14-karat gold | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? Yes | Back type: Externally threaded screw | Available styles: 8

7. These Steel Hoop Earrings That Are Simple & Chic

Highlights:

  • Wide range of sizes
  • Highly rated by reviewers on Amazon

Sometimes, less is more, especially in the case of these subtle hoop earrings that have more than 22,000 five-star reviews on Amazon. Made of 316L stainless steel, they come in a wide array of sizes, as well as a handful of colors, like black, gold, and rainbow. They’re not suitable for initial piercings or if you have a sensitivity to nickel, but if you don’t, the hinged design makes this pair super easy to take on and off.

According to a reviewer: “Love this hoop! It’s the easiest to close of all the hoops I’ve tried. I also like that you can’t really see the joints. I was worried it would open on its own, but 3 nights of sleeping with it in my cartilage has proven to me that it stays closed!”

Material: 316L stainless steel | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? No | Back type: Hinged clasp | Available styles: 100+

8. An Eclectic Multipack With Opalescent & Cubic Zirconia Studs

Highlights:

  • Budget-friendly price
  • Wide variety of color options

What’s great about this multipack of cartilage earrings is that you get a mix of opalescent studs and cubic zirconia crystals, allowing you to create a mix-and-match look. The internally threaded posts are made from stainless steel — so they’re not a good choice for new piercings — but they’re a wallet-friendly choice if you don’t have a sensitivity to nickel. You get a variety of different-sized studs in this set, so you can get creative with their placement, and they have internally threaded screw backs.

According to a reviewer: “Absolutely beautiful product!!! [...] Even stayed on while scuba diving. Highly highly recommend!”

Material: 316L stainless steel | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? No | Back type: Internally threaded screw | Available styles: 6

9. A 6-Pack Of Elegant Hoops With Cubic Zirconia Studs

Highlights:

  • [Add “Safe for sensitive ears”?]
  • Can be worn individually or stacked
  • Variety of sizes included

Featuring a row of cubic zirconia studs, these hoop earrings look great when stacked on your ear, but they can also be worn one at a time. They’re made from 14-karat gold-plated sterling silver, making them ideal for those with a sensitivity to nickel, and they’re available in four metal tones: silver, black, gold, and rose gold. Each pack includes three different-sized hoops, which can be worn in pairs or individually. Their hoop shape isn’t suitable for new piercings, but once you’re healed, this set is a great staple to have in your jewelry drawer.

According to a reviewer: “I have never found a cartilage piercing that clips so easily. These feel so sturdy, they are easy to secure, light but great quality and so cute. Don’t go anywhere else! Buy them now!!! I love how sparkly the diamonds are, the pictures don’t do it justice. 10/10 recommend!”

Material: 14-karat gold-plated sterling silver | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? Yes | Back type: Hinged clasp | Available styles: 13

10. This Colorful Multipack Of Jewel-Like Studs

Highlights:

  • Budget-friendly multipack
  • Array of colorful studs

Inject some color into your jewelry wardrobe with this multipack of cartilage piercing studs in rainbow-bright shades. The studs are made from stainless steel — so they’re not suitable for nickel-sensitive ears or initial piercings — and feature bright jewel tones like amethyst, emerald, and ruby. The flat screw backings keeps them securely in place (though the type of threading isn’t noted), but you can also opt for butterfly backs.

According to a reviewer: “Super comfortable and great value. What a steal! [...] I was having a hard time with a sore cartilage piercing and these have been perfect!”

Material: Stainless steel | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? No | Back type: Screw (threading not stated) | Available styles: 8

11. This Multipack That Includes A Variety Of Shapes

Highlights:

  • Budget-friendly
  • Variety of shapes

If it’s options you’re after, it doesn’t get any better than this multipack of 12 cute cartilage earrings, which includes simple studs, crawlers, a feather, and a rose. (You can also opt for sets with all studs, or sets that also include small hoops). The earrings are made from stainless steel, which is great for your wallet, but not your best choice if you have a nickel sensitivity or are shopping for an initial piercing. The earrings have ball closures, and you can choose from gold, rose gold, and silver tone options.

According to a reviewer: “I really like these. They fit well. The balls aren't super small which makes them easier to put in and change out. Not too long or short. So far they are my favorites. Gems have stayed in...”

Material: Stainless steel | OK for initial piercings? No | OK for nickel sensitivity? No | Back type: Ball closure | Available styles: 8