The character in question is a nineteen-year-old male, lower-class, former prostitute, and something of an all-around criminal. He has his ears pierced, though only one of the actual earrings remains. I know that this was, in general, a sailor thing from what I've been able to read, but was there any other way to acquire a piercing like that in an urban setting? It's probably cheap material in the piercing itself, and I can't imagine the procedure having a particularly hygienic or classy reputation even for the time period.
Terms googled: Ear piercings 19th century/ear piercing 19th century, piercings 19th century, ear piercing France, ear piercing 19th century France, pierced ears 19th century/19th century France, ear piercing history, piercing history.
(I did check Wikipedia, but they just reiterated the sailor thing, sadly.)
ETA: I think I have my answers. Thank you!