The tragus is the small piece of cartilage that sticks out slightly from the head and covers the ear canal. It can be pierced and adorned with a few styles of jewelry. Like all piercings, the tragus piercing will hurt. The tragus is thicker than most pierced parts of the body, so it takes more strength to pierce. There are a few styles of jewelry that can be worn with a tragus piercing. All of them might be rejected if the tragus piercing does not heal properly.

Captive Bead Rings

The captive bead rings (CBR), also known as a ball closure ring (BCR), is a metal ring with a single bead connecting the ends. Some will have a straight bar instead of a bead, so that the jewelry looks like a complete circle. They come in varying sizes and can be custom made to suit personal taste. Smaller bead rings can be opened with hand pressure, while larger ones need to be opened with a special tool called a ring opener. Usually, the piercer will help change the jewelry for free. The CBR can come in many colors and even have charms, jewels and shapes such as skulls, lizards or hearts.


Barbells are a shaft of metal with a bead on each end. According to BMEzine, the design was created by Jim Ward in the 1970s. Straight barbells have a straight shaft. Curved barbells are curved like a half circle. The curved barbell is used for vertical tragus piercings. The vertical tragus piercings goes from the top of the tragus to the bottom. Circular barbells look like captive bead rings, except there are two beads. The horseshoe barbell is like a circular barbell, except the ends are straight so it looks like a horseshoe. Barbells can have dangling charms and the shaft can be twisted into shapes or designs.

Labret Studs

A labret stud has a flat disc on the bottom, a straight shaft and then the jewelry of choice at the other hand. The end can have a bead, spike, charm or many other shapes and designs. The flat disc rests behind the tragus in a tragus piercing. It is flat so that it won’t rub on the skin. Labret studs are for smaller gauge sizes but plugs can be used. Plugs stretch the skin and larger gauges are added until the piercing is the desired size. Since the tragus is a small area, only plugs with smaller gauge sizes will work.


Microdermals are small implants. They can go almost anywhere on the body. Only one hole is made, and the jewel rests level with the skin. The piercing looks as if it is part of the body, not poking out from the body. The jewelry has a curved bar at the bottom, shaped like an “L.” The “L” shape slips beneath the skin. In a tragus piercing, the microdermal is most often placed right beside the tragus. The jewelry can have a bead, star, gemstone, spike or other design.