There are lots of different types of jewelry for your stretched ears, as well as lots of different tools for stretching. They all have names, and remembering them can make things less confusing. It is also important to know what is safe to wear in a new stretch and what is safe to wear long-term. Once you know this, you will lessen your risk of damaging your ears with your choice of jewelry.
Tapers are the most basic tools for stretching your ears. These are the long, pointy things that start out small and "taper" to a bigger size. They can be sold by themselves or in a pack with a pair of plugs. Tapers are usually sold in pairs, but this is misleading. Tapers are actually not meant to be worn as jewelry in a stretched piercing because their length causes them to move around, which puts uneven pressure on the hole and can cause a blowout. This is especially true at larger sizes. The safest and most effective way to stretch with tapers is to push it through all at once (stop if you feel pain or resistance) and immediately follow it with a single-flare or no-flare plugs or tunnels. If you do this, you will only need one taper for each size.