When is a piece of piercing jewellery good enough? When is it bad and why? Does it have to be from a brand?
When you want to purchase a new piece of piercing jewellery, you want to be looking for two things:
- a pretty piece for as little money as possible
- a safe piece
- something that lasts.
Four things that is. Four things that at first glance won’t fit together.
In any case, the first part about “as little money as possible”doesn’t go well with the other parts of what we’re looking for. Often, but not always.
Pretty, long lasting and safe are properties you will surely find in jewellery made by well known brands. Jewellery by these brands are often protected by a lifetime warranty; they are often hand made with very much attention to detail and with a precious nice finish; they are created with great love for jewellery and piercings in general, this means more attention is focussed on the quality and safety of the piece and the material for long term wear in the skin. With some good, great, well known brands, this is something you can count on when buying jewellery from them. Brands like Industrial strength for instance. And there are many more.
But when you buy jewellery of less know brands or brandless even, does it mean the jewellery is crap?
It doesn’t have to be.
Mass production jewellery you can buy on the market or at the mall will never be long lasting, safe jewellery I’m afraid. But good jewellery doesn’t have to be expensive. Good jewellery doesn’t have to necessarily be brand jewellery.
Some pieces are well finished, with a good eye for detail, hand made… And that’s what you’re looking for when purchasing jewellery with a lower budget. But what do you need to look out for? What are properties you should look for when buying jewellery for your piercings?
As many of you already know, my preference for the jewellery I select for my webshop goes to hypoallergenic jewellery (and, if possible – depending on the clients’ budget – well polished, meticulously processed jewellery) to be sure that no one will ever get a reaction or any other problem or irritation because of the jewellery.
Piercing jewellery, brand jewellery?
Often when people do get a reaction it’s often not even due to a nickel allergy, it can be because of an allergic reaction to carbon, gold, aluminium… and those are examples of many materials and alloys that can be found in piercing jewellery materials. Or it can be reaction to a less than perfect finish/polish/cleaning which cause bacteria and irritations. I want to try and ensure everyone of safety, quality and comfort when wearing my jewellery. And that is why I do my research.
When you want to go and purchase a piece of piercing jewellery you want to look out for the right material and the right size first. But next to those very important criteria, you should also look at the finish.
The metal should be well polished to avoid harboring bacteria when worn long term. Brands like Industrial Strength, Neometal, BVLA, Anatometal and Body Gems among many others – also less known – pay extra attention to this. Some of them use the so-called mirror finish. This is easy to see as you can literally see your own reflection in the jewellery.
What you also want to see in your piercing jewellery is that the balls are nice and smooth and the hole for threading is smooth and free of rough edges. You’d also want the fixed parts of the bar to be smooth. Rings should create perfect circles and the metal should be strong and sturdy, corresponding to the strength of the metal you’ve purchased (for example: gold is softer than steel, which is softer than titanium).
What you also want to look out for is that the gem is well fastened to the jewellery and without any glue.
Because the gem can stick out a little farther on a prong set gem, it can get caught more easily on clothing or other things when worn in some piercings.
When using well known brands you are often certain of good quality and proper settings, but these brands are often more expensive.
When purchasing jewellery for my webshop, I always check the items for their finish and quality. It mustn’t have any sharp edges and – in case of external threading – the threading may never stick out on the sides but it has to be just as wide as the bar it sits on or, preferably even, just a little thinner.
I do sell steel (ASTM F138) jewellery, not only titanium – even though implant grade titanium ASTM F136 is my favorite – but, when purchasing steel jewellery, I always chose high quality 316L ASTM F138 implant grade steel jewellery (read in this article what 316L really means and what the difference is between titanium and steel) that has a nice finish.
Personally I am allergic to nickel for example, but the jewellery I sell have never caused any reaction on me because the nickel release is so very very low and the polish is so smooth. I almost only sell brandless jewellery at this time. I do plan to, so right now I only sell brand jewellery by order request.
But what’s with the organic materials then?
And other types of materials and jewellery for stretched piercings? Which woods or stones should be chosen, which brands, and why? What finish should you look for? Well I actually elaborated on this subject quite a bit in this article ;).