How to Choose the Right Jewelry for Your Piercings

Piercing and JewelryThere are many popular piercing types and many different jewelry styles. It’s always useful to know what kind of jewelry suits your piercing.

Generally speaking, most piercings can accommodate at least a few different jewelry styles, but it’s always useful to know what is best to wear for your piercing.

Jewelry Types

There are several basic body jewelry types. Among the most popular ones are barbells of different kinds (straight, curved and circular barbells) as well as rings (Captive Bead Rings, seamless rings, screwball rings and others).

These jewelry styles can accommodate most piercing types. Most of these can be used for many different piercing types, which makes these jewelry types multi-functional.

On the other hand, there are also specialized jewelry types. These are made for one specific jewelry type. For example, ear plugs and flesh tunnels are made for stretched earlobe piercings. Labrets are made for lip piercings. Nose screws and nose bones are made for nostril piercings, and so on.

That being said, even the most specialized jewelry types can usually be used for more than one piercing type. The trick is to know when to use which jewelry type and style. Sometimes, the choice will depend on your individual style and preferences, while it will sometimes be guided by practical reasons. Simply put, some piercings are made to accommodate some specific jewelry types and not the others.

To ensure a good fit and perfect comfort it’s worth knowing when to use which jewelry style for a particular piercing type.

General Guidelines

Here are some general guidelines on the jewelry types to use with specific piercings:

  • Ear piercings. There are many different ear piercing types, such as earlobe piercings, cartilage piercings, and many others. There are numerous earrings used for earlobe piercings, as well as special jewelry types made for stretched earlobe piercing, such as ear plugs, earlets and flesh tunnels. Ear cartilage piercings use many different jewelry types, such as barbells (for example, long straight barbells for Industrial piercing), rings or labrets.
  • Nose piercings. Nostril piercings typically use specific jewelry types, such as nostril screws, nose bones, fishtails and L-bars. Also, this piercing type can use a ring. Some other nose piercings, such as septum piercings, use different jewelry types, such as rings and tusks.
  • Eyebrow piercing. This piercing type usually uses a special curved barbell or a Captive Bead Ring. However, this piercing type can also use different jewelry types, such as barbells of different kinds.
  • Lip piercings. A typical jewelry type for most of the lip piercings is a labret. However, some lip piercings can also use rings or even barbells.
  • Tongue piercing. All tongue piercings are oral piercings, so special care has to be made to use only jewelry made of medical-grade materials and specially designed for oral use. Tongue piercing needs smooth jewelry that will not damage teeth and gums. Straight barbells make great tongue jewelry, though some people prefer to use Captive Bead Rings.
  • Navel piercings. Belly button piercings usually use special curved barbells. These barbells are ideal for this piercing type. However, you may also use a typical Captive Bead Ring or another ring type.

Gauges vs Jewelry

Large Gauge JewelryIt’s not uncommon to hear people talk about “ear gauges” or requesting “ear gauge jewelry”. The word “gauge” is often used instead of a correct term for certain jewelry pieces, typically those made for stretched piercings, such as plugs or flesh tunnels. While everybody will understand what you mean when you say “gauge”, it’s important to know what this term truly means and what are common terms used for jewelry pieces made for stretched piercings.

Are Gauges Large Jewelry?

No, “gauges” are not large jewelry. They are not even stretched piercings. Using this word to talk about jewelry or stretched piercings is not correct. This isn’t what the word “gauge” is about. The word itself is not related to stretched piercings or large jewelry pieces alone. In fact, any piercing and any jewelry has their gauge.

A “gauge” is a measurement. It is the size of the piercing hole and also the size of the jewelry. You are pierced with a needle of a particular gauge, and such a needle produces a hole of the same gauge. In order for your jewelry to fit, you need to wear jewelry of the same gauge as your piercing. This is why it’s important to know the gauge you are pierced with, because this is the only way to order jewelry that will fit you perfectly.

There are many different gauges available, because there are different needles. Thin needles produce small holes and in this case you need to wear small gauge (as in: thin) jewelry. Even these small holes and thin jewelry pieces have their own gauge. “Gauge” is not reserved for big piercings alone.

It’s also important to know that “large” and “small” is somewhat counter-intuitive when it comes to gauges. The smallest, thinnest gauges are labeled with the largest number. Bigger, thicker and larger gauges are labeled with a smaller number. For example, gauge 18 and gauge 16 are considered small gauges. Large gauges are labeled as gauge 4, gauge 2 or gauge 0. There are even some very large gauges labeled as gauge 00 or even 000. The smaller the number, the larger the jewelry and gauge in question is.

There are special Gauge Wheels that can help you choose your jewelry or check which gauge your jewelry is. Typically, Gauge Wheels are made for larger gauges only (usually gauge 8 and up), but it’s always important to know the gauge of your piercing because it’s the only way to choose appropriate jewelry.

Stretched Piercings and Their Gauges

What about stretched piercings, then? These piercings have their gauge, just like any other piercing. Typically, piercings are done at a smaller gauge and you stretch them to a larger one once the piercing is fully healed.

Many people decide to stretch their piercings to a larger gauge. If you perform stretching carefully, you can successfully change the gauge of your piercing. After a few weeks, you can try again and stretch to an even larger gauge. Over time, it’s possible to stretch your piercings to very large gauges.

When you stretch your piercings to a larger gauge, it’s important to use jewelry made in that gauge, too. It’s always vital to wear appropriately sized jewelry. Whenever you stretch your piercing hole to a larger gauge, you will also need to wear jewelry of the larger gauge.

There are many jewelry types made in the larger gauges, so chances are that you will find some nice jewelry for your piercing. There are many elegant Captive Bead Rings, Segment and Seamless Rings and Screwball Rings made in all gauges, including the large ones.

Also, there are certain jewelry pieces made for large gauges only. Ear plugs, flesh tunnels, earlets, spirals and other similar jewelry types are made in large gauges only. These jewelry types are specially designed for stretched piercings. When people say “gauges” and think of jewelry, these are the jewelry types they have in mind.

However, referring to jewelry as “gauge” is not correct. Remember: “gauge” is a measurement. Plugs, tunnels and earlets are jewelry. Those are two different concepts altogether and you should not confuse them.

Popular Piercings and Jewelry Types

Titanium Star Curved Barbell

Titanium Star Curved Barbell

Piercing is a popular form of body modification and all enthusiast who love various piercing styles can enjoy many different types of jewelry. The choice of jewelry is often a very personal one. In a way, it will depend on the body part and the type of piercing you have. For example, certain piercing types require straight barbells as the basic form of jewelry while others require curved barbells, captive bead rings, flesh tunnels, etc. Generally speaking, though, most piercings can use many different types of body jewelry, so it’s often the question of one’s personal preferences and style.

Your body jewelry should suit you and make you express yourself in the best possible way. It should show who you are and it should be something you truly like and feel comfortable with. Many people have one style they stick to, while others like to experiment. Some people prefer simple body jewelry types while others go for more elaborate, complex designs. There is no right or wrong way to go here.

There are some popular piercing types and body parts many people choose to pierce, and these piercings often require a certain type of jewelry. Within these types, you are free to choose designs you like the most.

Earlobe

Earlobe piercing is the most common body piercing. It’s so common and socially accepted that it’s often not even considered body piercing in “true” sense. There are many types of earrings people like to wear in their earlobes, and the choice of designs and materials is endless. Rings, dangling jewelry types and other forms are popular.

Special type of earlobe piercing is a stretched earlobe piercing, erroneously known as “gauge”. These piercings are stretched to a larger size so a different type of jewelry can be worn in the stretched hole, such as ear plug, earlet, flesh tunnel, tusk, spiral, and others. These jewelry types are often made of organic materials and they can be very effective. The “trick” when choosing jewelry for stretched piercing is to always choose the correct gauge. Wrong size can put a pressure on your piercing and tear your earlobe, which can lead to infections and other problems. Therefore, before choosing a design you like, you need to make sure the jewelry is of a correct gauge and also made of a body-safe material you can wear safely.

Ear Cartilage

Heart Helix Cuff for Ear Cartilage Piercing

Heart Helix Cuff for Ear Cartilage Piercing

Various types of ear cartilage piercings are also popular. These piercings are suitable for many different jewelry types, so you can choose between rings or barbells, depending on your style. People who have multiple cartilage piercings often like to connect them with the same jewelry piece. The most popular form of this is the industrial piercing, usually connected by a long straight barbell, but there are other possibilities. Some people use spiraled barbells or chains to connect their cartilage piercings. Many jewelry types also incorporate dangling gems or pendants.

Navel

Navel piercing is one of the most popular forms of piercings. Jewelry used for this type of piercing is often known as “belly rings” or “navel rings”, even though the most popular jewelry type for this type of piercing is not a ring but a curved barbell. There are many curved barbell designs to choose from, such as simple surgical steel barbells with spherical balls or more elaborate designs with pendants, gems and other ornaments.

Another popular type of jewelry for this type of piercing is the actual ring. Captive bead rings are popular, but their downside is that they can get caught on clothing. Therefore, they are recommended only for fully healed piercings.

Nose

Certain types of nose piercings are very common. Nostril piercing, for example, is among the most popular forms of piercing. It is a relatively simple piercing and jewelry types used for this piercing are simple but very effective. Many people choose simple studs and nose screws with bright gems on top for nostril piercings. A good thing about this type of piercing is that it can be very understated and easy to hide for work and other occasions: all you need to do is to choose a flesh-colored nose plug or stud. Some people prefer to wear nose rings instead of studs and screws.

Another popular type of nose piercing is septum piercing. It is a bit more complex type of piercing but it’s very effective. There are many different jewelry designs suitable for this type of piercing, such as rings and curved barbells. Depending on the style, a septum piercing jewelry can be simple or bold and more pronounced.

Eyebrow

Another popular piercing location is the eyebrow. Eyebrow piercing can look very beautiful and effective, but the downside is that eyebrow piercing tends to be very sensitive. Remember, eyebrow piercing is basically a surface piercing, which means there’s a relatively high risk of migration and rejection.

Also, this type of piercing has a high risk of becoming infected. For this reason, it’s important to choose jewelry carefully and with some consideration. Make sure to pick a body safe jewelry material and a jewelry suitable to be worn in an eyebrow piercing without a problem. Simple barbells look effective and they don’t pose much problems. Rings are another popular choice but you need to be careful not to make them caught on the clothing or hair.

Lips and Tongue

Titanium Micro Labret

Titanium Micro Labret

Many people choose to get their lips and tongue pierced. These piercings are very common but it’s important to be careful because of the sensitive tissue. Also, another risk associated with this type of piercings come from the fact lips and tongue regularly come in contact with food, so it’s another thing to keep in mind.

Generally speaking, lip piercings usually use labrets. This is a perfect jewelry type for this form of piercing. It’s effective but relatively simple and it doesn’t interfere with eating or brushing your teeth. However, labrets are not the only jewelry type used for lip piercings; many people prefer to use rings and other jewelry types.

Tongue piercing is more complex and the healing time is longer, so it requires special attention. Jewelry used for tongue piercing must be made of high-quality, body safe materials because it comes in contact with sensitive tissue.

Genital Piercing

While not as common as other type of body piercings, genital piercing has many proponents. Both men and women choose different types of genital piercings and jewelry types. As a general rule, jewelry worn in a genital piercing must be made of a high quality, body-safe material. Most jewelry types are relatively simple in design and have a smooth surface so they don’t pose a problem while walking or sitting. One advantage of genital piercing is that it can be used to enhance sexual pleasure for both partners.

Organic Materials for Flesh Tunnels and Ear Plugs

Double Helix Spiral

Flesh tunnels and ear plugs are a popular type of jewelry made for stretched piercings. They are most commonly used for stretched earlobes. This jewelry is made in large gauges to accommodate stretched piercings. The best thing about ear plugs and flesh tunnels is the effect they make: they leave the holes open while surrounding them.
Flesh tunnels, just like ear plugs, are made in many different materials. Sometimes, these materials are usual body jewelry metals, such as titanium, surgical steel or 14k gold. However, flesh tunnels and ear plugs are often made of various organic materials. This can give them very special, “earthy” style and it looks very effective. Many different materials, textures and colors add a special touch to your ear tunnels.

Popular Materials

Here is a list of the most common organic materials used for flesh tunnels:

Glass. There are many different types of glass used for this type of jewelry. Usually, the glass used is hard and smooth, so the jewelry rests comfortable inside the stretched ear piercing. Glass is a good material for jewelry because it’s non-toxic. It’s also bio-compatible and eco-friendly, so those are sure advantages of glass jewelry. However, glass should not be used for new piercings or during the stretching process. Another thing to keep in mind is that glass is generally very heavy, so it will cause some strain on your piercing or even involuntarily stretching.

Wood. Jewelry made of wood has a very natural, earthy appearance and can be worn in many different situations. Natural wood has beautiful patterns so each piece of jewelry is unique. It’s important to choose jewelry made of body safe wood since some types of wood are toxic. One good thing about wood jewelry is that it’s very lightweight. This is often an issue with other organic materials, so wood jewelry can be worn without any discomfort.

Horn and Bone. Another organic material and widely used for jewelry such as ear plugs, flesh tunnels, earlets or tusks. Organic horn and bone has unique patterns so each piece of jewelry is unique. One possible concern is ethnical, because this material is taken from animals. The Chain Gang uses jewelry made from genuine water buffalo horn, but no animal life is taken to acquire the horn and no suffering is involved in the acquisition of the horn.

Stone. Stone is beautiful and provides a wide range of patterns and colors. Amber jewelry is particularly popular for ear plugs. There are many different types of amber, but the most popular (and beautiful) are honey and green amber. Other popular choice for jewelry is obsidian. Stone jewelry is beautiful but it has the same problem as the glass jewelry: it can be very heavy so it’s best to be worn for short periods of time.

When it comes to organic jewelry, it’s important to choose jewelry made of body safe materials. Keep in mind that certain materials may be suitable only for short-term wear. It’s important to choose a reliable jewelry store so you know all of the jewelry is made of quality, body safe organic materials.

How to Insert Double Flared Plugs and Tunnels

Double Flared Chunky Earlet(

Double Flared Chunky Earlet

Double flared plugs and tunnels are very effective and many people love to use them. These are among the most popular jewelry types for stretched piercings. They are relatively simple but very stylish in design and they can produce great effect. These are very interesting when worn in the stretched ear piercings (commonly, but erroneously called: “gauges”).

As beautiful and effective double flared plugs and tunnels are, there is one common problem. Many people are unsure on how to put them in. It may seem complicated at first, but fear not: the process is pretty much straightforward and easy to do once you know all the necessary steps.

Preparation

Before you start, you need to make a few preparatory steps. First of all, and probably the most important: make sure that your ears are completely healed up. Never try to insert an ear plug or a tunnel if your ears are not 100% healed. This is extremely important for double flared plugs and tunnels. Remember: your piercings may seemed healed even if they aren’t. Always give them a bit more time than you think it’s necessary. It’s vital that your piercings are fully healed up before you proceed.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is to be patient. Don’t rush. Just like stretching your piercing, insertion of double flared plugs and tunnels may take time. If at any point you feel pain or discomfort, or if you see the plug/tunnel just won’t fit, leave it be. It’s better to try again later than to damage your piercing. Remember: patience is important.

That being said, once you know how the process goes, you will be able to insert a double flared plug or tunnel without much problem.

To start, remove your existing jewelry and wash your hands as well as earlobes. Make sure that your jewelry is clean and body safe. It’s important to keep everything sanitized. Dry your hands and ears before you proceed.

About Double Flared Plugs

Double flared plugs and tunnels are made for stretched piercings – this is obvious by their gauge. However, that’s not all. This type of jewelry is also made for a certain type of stretched piercing, the one with enough elasticity. These are typically “older” piercings, the ones that have been stretched a while ago.

To be able to insert a double flared plug or a tunnel, it’s important that there’s enough room in your earlobe so you can manipulate the jewelry as you insert it. The piercing should be elastic and easily manipulated, which usually doesn’t happen with newly stretched piercings. This is why double flared jewelry is usually not recommended for newly stretched piercings. It’s best to wait a bit after stretching to a new size before you try a double flared jewelry.

Inserting Double Flared Jewelry

When inserting double flared jewelry (ear plugs, tunnels, earlets), what you basically need to do is to stretch your piercing to the flare’s gauge, before you settle the piercing on the smaller, middle part of the ear plug or a tunnel.

Here are all the tools and materials you’ll need:

  • Soap
  • Paper towel
  • Lubricant
  • Taper
  • Double flared jewelry (ear plug, ear tunnel, earlet)

To start, you need to relax your ear and to make the piercing easily stretchable and elastic. One easy way to do it is to use hot water. Moisten a paper towel with hot water and place it on your ear. Make sure to cover both front and back of your earlobe piercing. Keep the towel until it becomes cold.

Use a bit of a lubricant on your earlobe, as well as the taper and jewelry you wish to use. This will make the insertion smooth and pain-free.

Carefully, insert the smaller end of the taper into the earlobe. Push it slowly until it reaches the larger end. Line up the large end of the taper with the front rim of skin of your piercing.

Take the double flared plug or tunnel you wish to use and place it in front of the large end of the taper. Gently but firmly, press the plug toward the earlobe and push it inside, while allowing the taper to slide on the back. The plug will pass through your piercing and it will settle on the middle. You should feel a release of pressure as it settles because your piercing will shrink down to fit around the middle of the plug/tunnel.

Repeat the process for the other ear.

Tips

Never attempt to insert a double flared plug or a tunnel if the flare is more than one size larger than your current stretched size. It can lead to tearing, bleeding and ripping, and that’s definitely not something you want.

Many people choose to insert double flared jewelry without a taper. It can be done this way (by simply pressing jewelry through the stretched earlobe), and many people claim it’s their preferred method. However, using a taper makes the process easier and more comfortable. Plus, it minimizes potential tearing and other problems.

Take your time. Never force a plug or a tunnel into your ear. If you feel pain or discomfort it’s a sign you should stop.

In case you feel pain during use or if the plug/tunnel becomes “too heavy”, you should take it out immediately to avoid further problems. You may try again later.

Plugs and Flesh Tunnels

Straight Amber Plugs

Straight Amber Plugs

Plugs and tunnels are among the most striking pieces of body jewelry. They are usually simple but very effective. These are among the best and most beautiful jewelry styles specially made for stretched piercings. Most often used for ear piercing, these beautiful items can be used for most types of stretched piercings, regardless of body part.

One advantage to plugs and flesh tunnels is that they look very simple and presentable, which makes it easy to wear them in all kinds of situations, including work. As you probably know, professional situations often require special attire and limited types of jewelry. Many times, body piercing and body jewelry are completely forbidden. Yet, plugs and tunnels are often allowed, which makes them very practical and functional. It doesn’t mean they are boring or overly simple: on the contrary, plugs and flesh tunnels are among the most stunning types of body jewelry you can find on the market.

Plugs and Tunnels

A plug is specially designed piece of jewelry made for stretched piercings. Plugs are most often worn in ears, but it’s possible to use them on other body parts. Plugs create a very interesting effect, especially at larger gauges.

One great thing about plugs is that they are made of many different materials not usually used for body piercing. There are many organic materials used, such as wood, glass, precious stone, amber, bone, horn, bamboo, silicone, stone, and other highly effective materials.

A flesh tunnel is a tube shaped, hollow piercing jewelry. The most common flesh tunnels are those used in stretched earlobes but they can be worn in piercings located on other body parts, as long as the piercing itself is stretched to a correct gauge. Other common names for flesh tunnels are earlets, eyelets, spools, fleshy and expanders.

Flesh tunnels are great because they allow you to see through the piercing, which produces unique effects. Another advantage to flesh tunnels is that they are relatively light and they weigh less than plugs, which may be significant at larger gauges. You can wear flesh tunnels with a captive bead ring or another object passed through them.

Choosing the Right Size

Glitter Halo Flesh Tunnel

Glitter Halo Flesh Tunnel

The most important thing when buying plugs and flesh tunnels is to choose the right size. Body jewelry is available in many different diameters, and this is particularly true for plugs, flesh tunnels and other types of jewelry specially made for stretched piercings. It means they are available in many different sizes (gauges), depending on the size of your piercing.

Before making a purchase, it’s vital that you know your size and to order a correct gauge for your piercing. Using only the correct gauge is essential for the best comfort and pain-free experience.

There are many different gauges to choose. Piercings range in size from 20 gauge to 00 and more. Initial piercings are usually done in gauges ranging from 20 to 14 gauge, and it depends on many factors, such as location of the piercing. These initial piercings can be stretched to larger gauges (such as 8 or 0 gauge) using tapers or another stretching method. When choosing plugs or ear tunnels it’s crucial to know your current piercing size and how much stretched your piercing actually is so you can pick the right size.

In case you are not 100% sure about the size, you can order and try a few different sizes to see which one feels the best. The correct gauge will feel the most comfortable and will “sit” well in your piercing. When you find the size that suits you, make sure to remember the gauge so you will know what’s the size of your piercing the next time you decide to purchase plugs or flesh tunnels.

Blood Jade Stone Ear Plug in Gauges

Blood Jade Plug

Blood Jade Plug

 

Blood Jade plugs are one of the rarest jades in the world. These are from Tibet and all hand carved and polished by local artists. Blood Jade Plugs will vary in color intensity and is populated by vein patterns. These are really a breathtaking plug.

http://www.thechaingang.com/product/1737/100005/blood-jade-s

Last of the Ear Plugs with Real Ants Inside

Acrylic Ant Plug

The Acrylic Ant plugs have an actual ant inside of them. These are very cool plugs. Don’t expect perfect matching pairs, because these are made from real ants, but I think you’ll really enjoy the attention they bring to your piercings

Concave Obsidian Plug(s)

 

Concave Obsidian Plug

Concave Obsidian Plug

 

The Concave Obsidian Plug is made from obsidian which is a volcanic Glass. These pieces are very serene and would look extraordinary in your ear piercings.

Ear Piercing or Body Piercing?

Double Helix Spiral

Double Helix Spiral

When you think about Ear Piercing what is the first thing that comes to mind. To me it use to be a diamond stud or two. Now you can have you whole ear practically pierced.

There are plenty of places on the ear to pierce that you may not even realize such as the Lobe, the Conch, the Tragus, the Diath, and the Helix. It is recommended to use a Larger Gauge of Jewelry in any cartilage piercings to make the healing more comfortable and less problematic.

The most common Jewelry for the ear piercings are Captive Rings, Circular Barbells, Ear Plugs, Flesh Tunnels & Earlets, Segment and Seamless Rings. I have had my cartilage pierced and to be honest I actually use the Nosebones in mine. They work great for that, for several reasons. They are light, and usually cheaper. Also unlike the standard backs they don’t stick me in the side of my head while I sleep. Also they don’t catch my hair, and have my hair wrap around the post, which can easily cause in infection. So be creative, the choices are only limited by your imagination.

I will not lie the cartilage piercings usually do hurt a little, but not a big deal. And just as with all piercings or tattoos, a few days of pain can equal a lifetime of pleasure and beauty. With all the Jewelry possibilities you have, whether it be in 14K Gold, Titanium, Surgical Steel, or Glass, how can you refuse.