Piercing Jewelry isn’t Just for Counter-culture Anymore

Once perceived as strictly counter culture, body piercing jewelry has slowly been going mainstream. No doubt the growing number of celebrities seen wearing piercing jewelry has influenced this trend (Emma Roberts, Katy Perry, Zayn Malik, Bella Thorne, and Justin Bieber to name just a few).

Of course, body piercing is not new; it’s been around for 1,000s of years across many cultures. During the Elizabethan era in Britain, men of nobility often had at least one ear piercing as a sign of their wealth. In certain Middle Eastern cultures, gold nose rings were and are still frequently given as wedding gifts from the groom to the bride, and tongue piercings were a ritual practice among the Aztecs and Mayans. Historically, lip piercings were most commonly seen as a tribal practice in Africa, and in Ancient Egypt navel piercings could only be worn by royalty. Today, however, all types of body piercings have crossed the time and cultural divide with many people using them as a form of personal expression, often combining the piercings with tattoos to create their own unique look.

In spite of some of the risks associated with piercing jewelry (e.g., allergic reactions, pain, infections etc), and its longtime association with underground or subversive cultures, it appears that body piercing jewelry is becoming trendy and will continue to be trendy for the foreseeable future – at least it will according to fashion experts. To explore this trend further, we’ve looked at some of the questions most frequently asked about piercing jewelry.

What metals or alternative materials can be used for piercing jewelry?

Piercing jewelry made from the wrong materials can halt the body’s healing process, or cause an allergic reaction or infection. For this reason, it’s important to choose materials that are biocompatible and don’t react with body tissue. Acceptable materials and metals are as follows, (note: for initial piercings, it’s best to stick with just the metals):

  1. titanium (commonly used for first piercings)
  2. surgical steel 316
  3. tungsten
  4. black steel (a coating is applied to surgical steel 316)
  5. platinum
  6. gold PVD (gold that has gone through a physical vapor deposition process)
  7. rose gold PVD
  8. Bioplast (a trademarked, medical grade plastic)
  9. organics: bone, wood and even glass
  10. crystals

How is piercing jewelry designed and produced?

Like any piece of jewelry, designs for piercing jewelry often start with a sketch or photo, which is then turned into model.

Any type of jewelry designed as piercing jewelry should take into consideration the type of metals that will be used in the production stage, since piercing jewelry cannot be made from all of the precious metals that can be used to make regular jewelry. In addition, some body piercing jewelry is designed with threads; a thread is a spiral ridge that winds around the metal similar to the threads on a bolt or a nut. There are two different types of threads: internal and external. If threads will be used, designers must think about which thread type is best for the jewelry piece they are designing. Size is another important consideration in body piercing jewelry. If the jewelry is too long, it can get caught in clothing or in the hair, which could cause tears at the piercing site that might bleed or lead to infection.

When produced, and whichever material is used, the final piece should be free of burs, nicks, scratches and polishing compounds. Finished pieces should also be polished and steam cleaned before they are ready for wear.

What are the body piercings and piercing jewelry that are trending now?

Ear piercings. The most trendy ear piercings right now are high lobe piercings, daith, tragus, conch, helix and rook piercings. The jewelry used for these piercings are described below:

  • High lobe piercings – These look best with studs for the higher lobe area, but as you move a little down the lobe, rings look great.
  • Daith piercings – Curved barbells are the most popular for daith piercings.
  • Tragus – Studs or snug hoops look best with tragus piercings.
  • Conch – For the conch, studs, double studs and cuffs are trendy.
  • Helix – Captive rings are often used as starters for single helix piercings while spiral barbell rings are used as starters for double or triple helix piercings.
  • Rook – Hoops are best suited for rook piercings although the bar is usually used as the starter piece.

Nose piercings. There are five types of nose piercings, with nostril piercings being the most popular of all; more popular than septum and bridge piercings. Nose piercing jewelry include the following:

  • nose studs
  • septum piercings
  • bones
  • rings
  • screws

Navel piercings. Navel piercings have been making a comeback lately, probably largely due to the number of celebrities (men and women) seen sporting belly-button jewelry. Another reason navel piercings are so popular is the variety of choices that are available:

  • bent barbells or banana barbells
  • captive bead rings
  • seamless rings
  • segment rings
  • clickers (also called daith or septum rings)
  • circular barbells
  • twisters

Eyebrow piercings. Considering the small amount of ‘facial real estate’ that the eyebrow takes up, there is a surprisingly large choice of piercing jewelry available for eyebrows as well:

  • eyebrow ring
  • side stud
  • eyebrow stud
  • vertical barbell
  • corkscrew barbell
  • horizontal barbell
  • spikes

Lip piercings. Not to be outdone by the choice and variety of other piercing jewelry is lip piercing jewelry – there at least 18 different types of piercings! Here are the 10 most popular and their accompanying jewelry:

  • Medusa piercing – above the top lip; usually takes a labret stud
  • Madonna/Monroe piercing – resembles a mole on the right or left side of the mouth and usually takes a labret stud
  • labret piercing – below the center of the bottom lip and usually takes a labret stud or captive bead
  • vertical labret – two points on the bottom lip; usually takes a bent barbell or captive bead
  • jestrum – similar to the vertical labret but in the same location as the Medusa piercing; usually takes a bent barbell or captive bead
  • Dahlia – a piercing on both corner edges of the mouth; usually takes a captive bead ring or labret
  • snake bites – a piercing on each side of the lower lip and usually takes captive bead rings or labret studs
  • angel bites – a piercing on each of the upper lip; usually takes captive bead rings or labret studs
  • cyber bites – two piercings (the Medusa and labret) with a labret stud as the piercing jewelry of choice
  • canine bites – a combination of snake bites and angel bites for a total of four piercings; most common piercing jewelry are labret studs and rings

Tongue piercings. There are 5 basic types of tongue piercings and they are usually pierced with a straight barbell made from either titanium or surgical stainless steel.

  • midline – uses a straight barbell and goes straight through the middle of the tongue
  • frenulum – underneath the tongue on the frenulum and uses a curved or circular barbell
  • horizontal – piercing goes straight across the tongue with the balls of the barbell sticking out on either side
  • tip (or snake eye or venom) – placed on the tip of the tongue and the balls of the barbell stick out appearing like snake eyes
  • side – similar to the midline piercing but slightly to the left

What is the healing time for body piercings?

Healing times for piercings will vary depending upon the body part that is pierced.

  • Ears: Earlobes heal relatively quickly (6-8 weeks) whereas cartilage piercings can take up to a year to heal.
  • Tongue: Surprisingly, tongue piercings heal pretty quickly too, but they do swell up a lot and can cause other complications such as chipped teeth and gum damage.
  • Eyebrows: Healing time for eyebrows is similar to the healing time for earlobes, and can take 6-8 weeks.
  • Lip piercings can take 2-3 months.
  • Navels: A navel piercing is another type of piercing that has a long healing time, typically taking from nine months to one year for full recovery.
  • Nostrils: Nostril piercings fall somewhere in between and take about two to four months for complete healing.

How can Jewelrythis help?

As you can see, there are a considerable number of different types of piercing jewelry to choose from for anyone interested in this form of body art. However, there isn’t much variety within each type. For people who want to express their own style and uniqueness, which is largely what body piercing jewelry is all about, the selection is actually limited. Fortunately, Jewelrythis can help. We can work with the client’s ideas and personal tastes to create and deliver the right jewelry design- one that expresses the client’s own unique style and creativity.




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