Piercing How-To’s: Know Your Body Jewelry

Like our “Tattoo How-To’s”, our piercing “How-To’s” are just a guide to help you narrow in on the right information. These are not meant to be taken as “law”. 

People are finding new places to pierce on their bodies, and with every new piercing, comes a specific kind of jewelry that best suits it.

Jewelry is made from all kinds of materials, ranging from surgical stainless steel to wood or bone. If you know all of your options, it’ll make picking the best one for you much easier!

    • Surgical Stainless Steel – Surgical implant grade metal also referred to as “surgical steel”. Most commonly used, and best metal for extreme sizes or sensitive positioning
    • Lucite – Acrylic resin or plastic. Tends to be more expensive since the balls have to be tapped and threaded (don’t clean this with alcohol or it’ll shatter!)
    • Titanium – Lightweight metal and is most commonly used for colored body jewelry. Color changes are achieved by submerging jewelry in an electrolyte bath and subjecting it to electrical charges
    • Niobium – Soft metal and can be worn for extended periods of time
    • Sterling silver – alloy of silver, copper, nickel, or other metals. All sterling silver jewelry should be stamped with the number 925, as it’s 92.5% silver
    • Base metal – also known as “junk metal” is a mixture of leftover metals. THIS SHOULD NEVER BE USED FOR BODY JEWELRY
    • Organic – Typically made of wood, stone, horn, or bone, and is all hand carved (should NEVER be used in new piercings or for stretching)

Picking the right kind of jewelry can be very important, especially if you have sensitivity to a certain kind of material.

If you have a nickel allergy or sensitivity, it’s best to make sure the jewelry you’re using is implant grade stainless steel. Nickel is a corrosive resistant metal, which is something necessary in body jewelry! You don’t want the piece of metal in your body to start to rust. Chances are if you’ve tried stainless steel from a place like a mall kiosk and you had a bad reaction to it, then it wasn’t implant grade. Generally a piercer will ask what kind of reaction you’ve had to other jewelry if someone claims to have a nickel allergy. If you don’t have issues with buttons or zippers on your pants, backings of watches, or anything like that, then you should be able to wear implant grade stainless still just fine. If you still want to avoid it, titanium is another option you can ask your piercer about.


Now that we’ve discussed materials a little bit, lets move on to the types of body jewelry there are.

There’s so much variety out on the market today, and fashion jewelry can be so fun! Keep in mind that you can’t use the cutesy stuff until your piercing is healed!

Here’s a list of styles –

    • Studs – simple pieces of jewelry that usually contain single stones or metal balls affixed to straight posts.
    • Straight barbells – A common type of body jewelry, it’s similar to the labret studs, except instead of a flat base on one end, they have a removable ball on each end
    • Curved barbells – Called this due to it’s curved shape, it can come with the same size ball on each end or with one larger ball and one small ball
    • Circular barbells – Bent to form a circular shape, but not connected at the ends. It contains balls or other adornments, such as gems or charms that screw off on the ends. Also called horseshoe barbells
    • Captive bead rings – circular in construction, they often have a charm or ball, and pressure by both sides of the ring holds it in place
    • Plugs – worn in piercings that are already stretched. Double-flared plugs have ends shaped in a way that holds them in the stretching. Single-flared and non-flared plugs require O-rings to hold them in place
    • Nose screw – These are also similar to studs but ends with a small curve or a curved semicircular metal shape
    • Tunnel jewelry- similar to plugs, but they have an opening in the middle and are often called eyelets

Jewelry Type Placement
Stud Ear – Nose – Lip/Face
Straight Barbell Tongue – Ear
Curved Barbell Navel – Eyebrow
Circular Barbell Ear – Nose
Captive Bead Ring Ear – Nose – Eyebrow – Lip
Plug/Tunnel Ear
Nose Screw Nose

Healing times

Ear lobe, Eyebrow, Labret 6-8 weeks
Lip, Septum, Tongue 6-8 weeks
Monroe, Nipple, Nostril, Tragus 2-3 months
Navel 6 months - 1 year
Cartilage 4 months - 1 year

Express Yourself

Piercings by Cheryl (Elk Grove Location)

Body piercings

are a beautiful and fun way to show off your personality, so when it comes to sticking something into your body, you should have a general knowledge of what kind of jewelry is out there! Picking the right jewelry will make the experience all the better for you.

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