Earrings are jewelry attached to the ear through a piercing in the earlobe or some other external part of the ear (except in the case of clip earrings, which clip onto the lobe). Earrings are worn by both sexes. In western cultures, earrings have traditionally been worn primarily by women, although in recent decades, ear piercing has also become popular among men in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Common locations for piercings, other than the earlobe, include the rook, tragus, and across the helix . The simple term “ear piercing” usually refers to an earlobe piercing, whereas piercings in the upper part of the external ear are often referred to as “cartilage piercings.” Cartilage piercings are more complex to perform than earlobe piercings and take longer to heal
Earring components may be made of any number of materials, including metal, plastic, glass, precious stones, beads, and other materials. Designs range from small loops and studs to large plates and dangling items. The size is ultimately limited by the physical capacity of the earlobe to hold the earring without tearing. However, heavy earrings worn over extended periods of time may lead to stretching of the earlobe and the piercing.
In southern India, most children, both boys and girls, will get their ears pierced in religious ceremony before they are about 5 years old. Infants may get their ears pierced as early as several days after their birth. Similar customs are practiced in other Southeast Asian countries, including Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Laos, although traditionally, most males wait to get their ears pierced until they have reached young adulthood. For males in Sri Lanka, this rite of passage is called Nugegoda.