Rook piercings are among the more modern piercing types. Nestled in the cartilage fold that’s located right beneath the rim, or helix, of the ear—also known as the anti-helix—this piercing is adorable alone or in a cartilage cluster.

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Since it’s located directly above the daith, piercers and piercees alike often get these two piercing styles mixed up. When getting this piercing, make 100% sure that you’re asking for the piercing that you want. It’s a good idea to bring along pictures so that you and your piercer are on the same page.

As a cartilage piercing, overall aftercare won’t differ too much from any other cartilage piercing. However, its location within the folds of the cartilage make it a difficult piercing to access for both you during aftercare and your piercer during piercing.

Here’s everything that you need to know about the rook piercing.

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How much does the rook piercing hurt?

The rook piercing, like all cartilage piercings, falls about midway on the pain scale. You’ll feel more of a pinch than in other fleshier areas, but it’s more than bearable.

Much of the pain will depend upon the piercer. An experienced piercer will most likely have you lay on your side so that you don’t pass out or move around too much during the procedure. He or she will then puncture the ear using a hollow needle. Veteran piercers will let you know when to breathe in order to make the process easier, and they will produce the puncture in one smooth motion, so you shouldn’t full anything more than a tug and a pinch.

Rook piercing healing process

The rook piercing takes anywhere from 2 - 3 months to one full year to completely heal. Cartilage piercings healing times vary greatly from person to person, so be sure to consult your piercer to make sure that the piercing has fully healed before stopping aftercare practices. If you try to remove the jewelry prior to full healing, you run the risk of infection or cartilage bumps.

Aftercare rules

Since the rook piercing is tucked away within your cartilage folds, it’s easy for dirt, dead skin, and other foreign substances to get into the piercing as it heals. Therefore, it’s a good idea to conduct regular saline or sea salt soaks throughout the healing process.

Here are some rook-specific healing tips.

Don’t wear headphones. Headphones can press against your jewelry, putting pressure on the new piercing holes, and leading to complications like jewelry rejection and migration, cartilage bumps, or infection. Instead, opt for ear buds for the duration of your healing process.

Keep the jewelry clean. The rook’s tight location makes it difficult to reach during cleaning. While saline or sea salt baths can help remove much of the dirt and dead skin that can accumulate throughout the day, you still need to keep an eye on the piercing. Use saline sprays to conduct easy, hands-free washes in between soaks.

Don’t move the jewelry. This rule can be difficult, especially while cleaning, but it’s imperative for cartilage piercings. Cartilage is easily damaged, and when you move the jewelry around, it causes trauma to the surrounding skin. This can lead to scarring. When conducting saline soaks, make sure that you use a cup that’s big enough to engulf the jewelry without touching it, and refrain from twisting the jewelry.

Rook jewelry styles

Even though the rook is located in such a tight location, there’s a wide variety of rook piercing jewelry styles to choose from so that you can make this piercing your own.

Curved barbells are incredibly popular in the rook piercing. It makes great starter jewelry because it won’t tug on your piercing as much as a hoop might, and you can get a barbell long enough to leave space for swelling. Once your rook has healed, you can get a smaller barbell so that the beads sit flush with your cartilage, or stick with the longer barbell so that the jewelry hangs in the center of your ear. Spice it up with barbells that sport charms, opals, or other fun beads.

Seamless hoops, clickers, and captive bead rings are also a popular style in the rook piercing. You’ll want to opt for a hoop in a smaller diameter for a more comfortable fit.

To mix the curved barbell and hoop looks, you can also rock a small circular barbell.


Why shouldn’t I get a rook piercing?

The inner folds of the cartilage vary greatly from person to person. Some won’t have enough of a cartilage fold in the rook area to pull off this piercing. If you’re concerned, talk to your piercer, and they can let you know if you can get this piercing or provide other piercings that will have a similar aesthetic, like the snug, conch, or daith piercings.

Cartilage piercings are susceptible to scarring, cartilage bumps, and other permanent issues. If you’ve had problems with scarring in the past, or if you struggle to adhere to proper aftercare practices, then this might not be the piercing for you.

How much will it cost?

The rook piercing will cost anywhere between $30 and $100. Often, this price won’t include the jewelry.

Don’t skimp on price. An inexperienced piercer can set you up for failure by using bad instruments, not piercing deeply enough, choosing the wrong starter jewelry, or any other number of mistakes. You want to find a piercer who is experienced enough to get you the piercing that you deserve.

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Additionally, you’ll want to splurge a bit on your starter jewelry. Lower quality metals contain allows that can irritate your skin and contribute to jewelry rejection. Even if you’ve never had metal allergies or issues in the past, these could pop up at any time, so play it safe as you heal and choose quality metals like 14k gold or platinum. Your starter jewelry should also be big enough to accommodate swelling, and it shouldn’t be too heavy.