7 Types of Piercing Jewelry Explained

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Not only should you carefully consider where to get your body piercing done, but you also need to select the appropriate type of jewelry for your piercing. The right jewelry will be suited to your anatomy, lifestyle, activities, and the aesthetic aspect of your body piercing. Some jewelry types are more suited to piercings in certain areas of the body that are not as prone to moving, knocking, or eating, while others are fine even in high movement areas.

There are types of jewelry that are the only appropriate ones for certain piercings. For example, if you have surface piercings, only surface bars should be worn for them. Other jewelry types will not stay long or can even cause damage. Most labrets and studs are appropriate for nose, ear, or lip piercings, as long as size measurements match.

It is usually not recommended that you change your piercing’s jewelry while it has not fully healed yet. However, if you do need to move, remove, or change your piercing jewelry, you should have your professional piercer do it for you to avoid damage or infection. This is especially important for piercings that are performed in more sensitive areas of the body.

To aid you in the selection of jewelry for your piercing, you should have a basic and working understanding of the different jewelry types out there. These include:

Basic Barbell. The basic straight barbell is the most fundamental of the jewelry types. It consists of a stainless steel barbell and two balls on each side. Tongue, nipple, and genital piercings are usually adorned with a basic straight barbell. For helix piercings or industrial piercings in the ear, a long barbell is used.

Curved Barbell. This is also called the banana bell, mini curved barbell, banana bar or belly ring. The curved barbell can be either symmetrical or asymmetrical with regards to the size of the balls on either side of the barbell. Surface piercings such as genital piercings, tongue piercings, and eyebrow piercings are usually ornamented with curved barbells of different sizes. Asymmetrical curved barbells, in particular, are appropriate for navel piercings.

Circular Barbell. This barbell is bent into a horseshoe shape, and the ends are adorned with either balls, gems or charms. Circular barbells are commonly used for ear, nipple, septum, and genital piercings.

Captive Bead Ring. This jewelry is a circle hoop held in place by each end of the circle. Also may be called Ball Closure Ring, Captive Ring, or BCR. Most popular piercings such as eyebrow, ear, nose, genital and lip piercings may be adorned with a captive bead ring.

Plugs. If you like large-sized jewelry for your body piercing, plugs would be great for you. Plugs may be double-flared, single-flared, or non-flared. Ear lobe piercings are the most common location for plugs.

Tunnels. Tunnels are also appropriate for larger piercings, usually in ear lobes. If you are looking for them in stores, they may also be called earlets, flesh tunnels, eyelets or screwlets.

Tapers. Some tapers are utilized by piercers to increase the size of an existing piercing. But some tapers are also decorative. They look like traffic cones or the pointed end of a pencil. They must be kept clean to avoid bacterial infections.

Aside from the style of jewelry, you also have to select the material of the jewelry. Keep in mind that not all materials are suitable for body piercing use, especially because some piercings are in sensitive body parts. Suitable jewelry materials include:

Surgical steel. Many types of surgical steel are appropriate for body jewelry, as long as they contain a low release of nickel.

Titanium. This is also suitable for body piercing jewelry because of the low level of nickel. Titanium is lightweight and appropriate for most piercings. Of a very similar quality is niobium.

Gold. Both yellow and white gold are appropriate for most body piercings. However, some gold-coated or gold-plated piercings may not be suitable for fresh piercings.

Platinum. Platinum is excellent for body piercings but is more expensive than most other materials.

For new piercings, your piercer may recommend jewelry such as plastic, acrylic, lucite or other biocompatible polymers, but keep in mind that these are not designed for long-term wear. After the initial healing period, you should consider getting piercing jewelry that is long-term and appropriate for the type of piercing you have.

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