“Nirvana

Body Piercing Jewellery: A thru Z

A

Acrylic

Acrylic is a lightweight and completely inert plastic most commonly used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Flesh Tunnels, Eyelets, Plugs and Tapers used in stretched/stretching Ear Lobes. Acrylic cannot be autoclaved due to its relatively low melting point as this would cause the jewellery to change shape and distort during the sterilizing process. See also Material section.

Aftercare

The treatment regime undertaken to make sure a fresh piercing will heal as well and as quickly as possible. The healing period can last from two weeks to a year, with even longer periods not altogether uncommon. Aftercare works best when practiced with a great deal of patience and common sense. All reputable piercing studios should give you an aftercare sheet away with you outlining the healing/cleaning process etc. Check out our FAQ section on cleaning your piercing.

Alan Oversby (AKA Mr. Sebastian)

Without doubt the man who more than any other helped to popularise piercing in Great Britain in the '70s and '80s. Mr. Sebastian worked in London, both as an exceptional tattooer and piercer, sadly passing away in May1996 at the age of 63. A relatively quiet individual, he is probably best known and remembered amongst the older piercing community. We owe him a great debt. Wikipedia: Alan Oversby

Amber

Amber is fossilized tree resin from approx. 100 million years ago, more often than not mined in the Baltic Regions. Variation in colour is good and ranges between a bright golden yellow to a deep brown with many pieces having small amount of debris including minerals, seeds, pine needles and in some rarer instances even small flies and insects trapped within them. Usually used in the piercing industry to make solid Plugs for stretched Ear Lobe Piercings. See also Material section.

American Wire Gauge

Piercing industry standard for measuring the gauge (thickness) of both jewellery and needles.

Ampallang

A Male Genital piercing that passes horizontally through the Glans of the Penis. Can be positioned either through or above the Urethra depending on personal choice or anatomy. Can be quite a slow piercing to heal with a time of 4-6 months not being uncommon.

Anchor

please see 'Sub-Dermal'

Anodising

An electrical process whereby the metal to be anodised is placed into a chemical bath and an electrical current is then passed through, building up an oxide layer to give the surface of the metal the appearance of being coloured. Different thicknesses of this oxide layer will result in the way that light bouncing off it is refracted giving a great range of colours including blue, purple, green, yellow and pink. It is most commonly applied to Aluminum alloys for general manufacturing, whereas in the piercing world it is predominantly used on Titanium.

Antic Wood

A lovely mid-brown patterned wood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken in colour with long term wear. See also Material section.

Anti-Eyebrow

A surface piercing usually carried out on the upper side of the Cheekbone slightly below the Eye socket that is sometimes referred to as a 'Teardrop' piercing. Both surface and curved Barbells can be used in this piercing although the latter is more likely to be rejected by the body and migrate out through the skin. Usually initially pierced using 1.2mm (16 gauge) thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Anti-Helix

The name for the curved ridge of cartilage that runs in front of the Ear Helix (outer rim) and the site for the Snug piercing, which is arguably one of the slowest and most difficult to heal. Usually initially pierced with 1.2mm (16 gauge) thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Antimicrobial

A chemical substance that prevents and destroys Fungal, Viral and Bacterial infections.

Anti-Tragus

The small ridge of cartilage on the lower inner rim of the Ear opposite the Tragus. Usually pierced using a 1.2mm (16 gauge) thick Curved Barbell. See also Piercing Type section.

Apadravya

A Male Genital piercing that passes vertically through the Glans of the Penis. Passing through the Urethra, in some instances this piercing may exit through the hole left by a Prince Albert (if there is one). Most commonly pierced with 1.6mm or 2.4mm thick jewellery, Apadravya can take 4-6 months to heal completely.

Asam Wood

A mid-brown hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken in colour with long term wear. See also Material section.

Association of Professional Piercers (APP)

A 'not for profit' organisation that promotes the sharing of information on body piercing amongst health care professionals, safety organisations and the general public. Website: APP

Autoclave

A Vacuum Autoclave is without doubt one of the most important pieces of equipment in any piercing studio. The mixture of high temperatures and pressure will kill all spores, viruses and bacteria on both jewellery and tools to be used during any piercing procedure. Tools and jewellery can be placed into individual sterilizing bags and once sterilizing is carried out they can be safely stored for well over a year.

B

Ball Closure Ring

A classic piece of jewellery that can be manufactured from a great many different materials including Surgical Steel, Titanium, Acrylic and Gold. The removable ball that's used to both open and close the ring is held in place by the tension of the ring pressing into a small dimple machined into either side of the ball itself. In larger gauge jewellery a set of Circlip Pliers may be needed to insert and release the ball. See also Jewellery Type section.

Ball

Balls are available in two different types, Clip-in and Threaded. To put it simply, Clip-in Balls will work in any Ball Closure Ring with a gap of a matching size whereas threaded Balls are used with threaded jewellery such as Barbells, Labrets and Circular Barbells. Please be careful to check that the thread on the Ball is the same as the one on the jewellery it is to partner. See also Jewellery Type section.

Bananabar

please see 'Navel Barbell' or 'Curved Barbell'

Bananabell

please see 'Navel Barbell' or 'Curved Barbell'

Bar Closure Ring

Basically a different take on the Ball Closure Ring that see a straight bar used to close the ring instead of a ball to give the jewellery a radically different look. Works well in Nostril, Lip, Labret and Septum piercings. See also Jewellery Type section.

Barbell

please see 'Straight Barbell' or 'Curved Barbell'

Batik Wood

A lovely light yellow patterned wood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken in colour with long term wear. See also Material section.

Bellybar

please see 'Navel Barbell' or 'Curved Barbell'

Belly Button

please see 'Navel'

Betadine

An Iodine based surgical scrub commonly used (in the United States more than Europe) for the cleansing and preparation of skin before a piercing is performed.

Biocompatible

A product that can be worn in a piercing with absolutely no adverse effects.

Bioplast

Bioplast is the trade name for Udel Polysulfone a form of plastic manufactured from natural materials such as soya bean and hemp oil rather than traditional plastics made from crude oil. Slightly flexible, Bioplast can be threaded either internally or externally and is a great choice for the majority of oral piercing due to its tendency not to rub and irritate either the teeth or gum line. See also Material section.

Bindi

A great but now quite unusual piercing placed vertically between the Eyebrows or in some cases slightly higher. Initially carried out using a 1.2mm thick Surface or Curved Barbell although 1.6mm thick jewellery is not uncommon. As with many of these piercing, it has been superseded by its sub-dermal equivalent. See also Piercing Type section.

Blackline

Manufactured from Surgical Grade 23 Titanium then finished with a black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating, all Blackline jewellery is completely bio-compatible and can be worn in both fresh and healed piercings. Hard wearing and scratch resistant, Blackline is available as a finish on a wide range of jewellery. See also Material section.

Black Steel

A Surgical Steel product, finished with an inert Black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating that gives it a beautiful black glossy sheen. A less expensive alternative to Blackline. You will find a lot of Black Steel marketed under the trademark 'Mysterium'. See also Material section.

Blade

A straight, Surgical Steel piercing needle with no outer plastic sleeve. More commonly used in North America than Europe. Arguably more difficult to use than a Cannula.

Blood Wood

A lovely red/orange Hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken slightly with wear and age. See also Material section.

Blowout

A loose term that refers to a complication caused by either stretching a piercing too quickly or stretching a piercing beyond its healthy limitations, often ended up looking like the piercing has been turned inside out. Not attractive, but usually solvable by Resting the piercing for a certain period of time.

BME

Long running and super interesting body modification website holding a huge library of piercing photographs that range from the tame to the ultra-radical. A great way to spend a few hours but be warned that some content is extreme and definitely 'not safe for work'. Website: BME

Body Modification

A blanket term that covers Body Piercing, Tattooing, Branding and Scarification amongst others.

Body Spiral

A Body Spiral (or now more simply referred to as a Spiral) is similar in design to a Circular Barbell but also twisted from front to back making it a great choice for Ear Lobe and Rim piercings as well as Navels and Outer Lower Lips. Both balls in its 1.2mm and 1.6mm formats are threaded and removable, and can be exchanged for other threaded accessories to modify the original piece. See also Jewellery Type section.

(Confusingly, Spirals also refer to the larger gauge Spiral shaped piece of jewellery, often made in Glass or Acrylic, usually worn in stretched Ear Lobe piercings. Please see Spiral.

Bridge

Also widely known as an 'Earl', this piercing passes horizontally across the bridge of the Nose between the Eyes. Usually initially carried out with a Straight Barbell, it should be noted that Curved Barbells are not altogether unusual and that 1.2mm and 1.6mm Barbells are both safe options. See also Piercing Type section.

Buffalo Horn

A natural product used to make Plugs, Flesh Tubes and even heavy gauge Spirals, Buffalo Horn can come in a multitude of colours from a dark yellow to a superb deep brown. It should be noted that Buffalos are not killed for their horn; it is removed as a by-product. See also Material section.

Bullet Keeper

A bullet shaped retainer originally designed for keeping Septum piercings open yet hidden, Bullet Keepers have become a popular choice for wearing in stretched Ear Lobe piercings. Available in a good range of diameters. Can be worn with or without Rubber O-Rings depending on personal preference. See also Jewellery Type section.

Bull Ring

please see 'Circular Barbell'

C

Calliper

An instrument used in the piercing industry to measure both the internal and external dimensions of any piece of jewellery/piercings.

Cannula

A straight Surgical Steel piercing needle that comes complete with a snug plastic sleeve (the Cannula). Once the piercing is carried out, the Cannula is left in place, holding the piercing open. The jewellery to be fitted is then placed into the open end of the Cannula before being drawn carefully back through the piercing leaving the jewellery in place.

Captive Bead

please see 'Clip-In Ball'

Carat

please see 'Karat'

Cartilage

The thick, dense tissue pierced during upper ear and nostril piercings. Cartilage is the main factor in giving Ears and Noses there individual shapes. Relatively slow to heal due to not containing any blood vessels.

Cellulitis

An inflammation of the cells below the skin than spreads infection into the surrounding area.

Cheek

Initially pierced with Long Labret Studs to allow plenty of room for swelling, Cheeks are usually pierced around the area where the 'dimples' naturally occur. Can be worn singly or as a pair. It should be noted that it is imperative that the correct length of Labret is worn once the piercing has healed to prevent biting the jewellery while eating and damaging the teeth. See also Jewellery Type section.

Circlip Pliers

please see 'Ring Opening Pliers'

Circular Barbell

Also commonly known as a 'Horseshoe' or to a lesser extent 'Bull Ring', Circular Barbells are basically a long Straight Barbell that has been bent to form an open circle with threaded, removable Balls on both ends. Available in a huge range of gauges and diameters, Circular Barbells are a fantastically functional piece of jewellery. See also Jewellery Type section.

Circular Conebell

A variation on the Circular Barbell (please see above) that sees the more traditional Balls replaced by a pair of matching Cones. See also Jewellery Type section.

Clamp

Clamps come in many different shapes, styles and sizes and are used during most piercing procedures to hold and support the tissue being pierced. If used properly and with care, a clamp should cause very little or no discomfort. Once used, clamps can be cleaned and sterilized using a Vacuum Autoclave for re-use.

Claw

A hooked, flared and tapered piece of jewellery usually worn in stretched Ear Lobe piercings, Claws can be made from a great deal of different materials including Horn, Plastic and Steel. Can be worn with or without a Rubber O-Ring to hold it in place. See also Jewellery Type section.

Clip-in Ball

A Ball that has a small dimple machined into either side fits into the opening of a Ball Closure Ring, securing the jewellery in the piercing. See also Jewellery Type section.

Clip-in Accessory

Different pieces manufactured to replace Clip-in Balls in Ball Closure Rings. Held securely in place by a small dimple machined into either side. Care should be taken to make sure that the new Ball / Accessory is the same diameter as the Ball it replaces. See also Jewellery Type section.

Clitoral Hood

Probably the most common of the Female Genital Piercings, the Clitoral Hood can be pierced either vertically or horizontally depending on both the local anatomy and/or personal preference. Jewellery choice is wide with Curved Barbells, Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells all proving to be both a popular and practical choice for the initial piercing. Usually pierced with 1.6mm (14 gauge) jewellery this piercing should not be confused with a Clitoral piercing.

Clitoris

The most sensitive part of the Female anatomy, the Clitoris piercing is only possible on a very small percentage of women due to its relatively small size and the fact that it's almost completely covered by the protective Clitoral Hood.

Coconut Wood

A lovely light coloured wood flecked with small dark particles used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken slightly with wear. See also Material section.

Collagen

A protein formed by the body to heal wounds and strengthen skin.

Concave Plug

An Ear Plug that has an indent machined into the front plate making it thinner across the centre than the rim. The 'opposite' of a Convex Plug. See also Jewellery Type section.

Conch

The Conch is basically the curved, open piece of Cartilage that makes up the bowl of the Ear. Mainly initially pierced with a Straight Barbell, the Conch can also be pierced with either a Ball Closure Ring or Circular Barbell although it should be noted that these pieces will probably take considerably longer to heal. Usually pierced with 1.2mm (16 gauge) thick jewellery although 1.6mm (14 gauge) is not an uncommon or inappropriate choice. See also Piercing Type section.

Consent Form

A form that must be filled in and completely understood in any piercing studio before a piercing is carried out. The forms must be signed by the person getting the piercing and countersigned by a parent or guardian on age consent piercings. These forms must then be kept on file for a minimum amount of time laid down by either the local or national authorities.

Contact Dermatitis

Rash or skin break caused by contact with any form of irritant from an inappropriate cleaning agent to an unsuitable metal.

Contraction

Second stage of the bodies healing process that involves the edges of the wound tightening up and moving together.

Convex Plug

An Ear Plug that has a domed front plain rising from the outer rim making it thicker across the centre than the rim. The 'opposite' of a Concave Plug. See also Jewellery Type section.

Coral

Over time Coral has become a more popular choice for both Ear Plug and Eyelet manufacture. A beautiful natural and unique choice. See also Material section.

Crocodile Wood

A lovely pale yellow hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken slightly with wear. See also Material section.

Curved Barbell

Curved Barbells (also known as Bananabells) are without doubt the most practical and popular choice when considering the initial jewellery for both Navel and Eyebrow piercings so much so that 1.2mm Curved Barbells are now usually referred to as Eyebrow Barbells and 1.6mm as Navel Barbells. Sitting flat against the body, the Curved Barbell is far less likely to get either caught or bumped during the period of healing making it a great choice. See also Jewellery Type section.

D

D-Ring

D-Rings are an absolutely brilliant choice for Nipple piercings that were originally pierced and healed with Straight Barbells in place. The D-Ring is a great combination of a straight Barbell and Ball Closure Ring that sees the straight section sitting inside the piercing, with the Ring segment hanging below, making it a much more practical and comfortable choice in comparison to both regular Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells. See also Jewellery Type section.

Daith

The Daith piercing passes through the fold of cartilage directly below the Rook and slightly above the Ear Canals opening. Unfortunately not suitable for all Ears, the Daith works best if pierced with 1.2mm thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Dermal Anchor

please see 'Sub-Dermal'

Dermal Punch

A surgical tool developed for taking circular biopsy samples in the medical profession, the Dermal Punch is now widely used in the piercing industry to create larger and more permanent holes than more conventional needles. Most commonly used on the Ear Lobe, Ear Rim and Conch, this is a good option for the latter two piercings as cartilage can be particularly difficult to stretch up to any great size. It should be noted that piercings carried out using a Dermal Punch may in some instances cause considerably more bleeding than is considered normal with a more traditional needle.

Dermis

The thick layer found directly below the Epidermal outer layer of skin that contains the blood vessels and the nerve endings.

Deviated Septum

A Septum that does not sit centrally between the Nostrils. Can occur naturally or be the result of an earlier brake or injury - please see 'Septum'.

Diameter

In relation to jewellery, diameter can be measured in two different ways, internally and externally. Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells are measured internally across the centre of the piece of jewellery in question where as Plugs, Eyelets and Flesh Tunnels are all measured across their outer plane to give their external diameter. Diameter sizes can be measured as metric millimetres and/or an imperial gauge size and are usually given as the second part of a measurement - for example: 1.6mm (the thickness) x 16mm (the diameter).

Disinfection

The application of anti-microbial chemicals to radically reduce the number of micro-organisms present on the surface of the skin, jewellery or tools.

Double Flared Eyelet

please see 'Eyelet'

Dydoe

The Dydoe piercing is a male genital piercing that passes under the outer ridge of the Glans. Not suitable for all men due to individual anatomy these piercings are more often than not seen as pairs. Most commonly pierced using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery although it should be noted that 1.2mm (16 gauge) and 2.4mm (10 gauge) is neither unusual or inappropriate.

E

Ear Cartilage

please see 'Cartilage'

Ear Piercing

The collective term for Lobe, Rim, Conch, Rook, Daith and all other available Ear piercings.

Ear Lobe

Probably the most common piercing of all, the Ear Lobe. The Lobe can be pierced with a huge variety of different jewellery and either maintained at its initial gauge or stretched up to almost any size desired. Practised in almost every culture, this piercing has a history going back thousands of years. See also Piercing Type section.

Earlet

please see 'Eyelet'

Ebony Wood

A dark-brown coloured hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. See also Material section.

Edema

Localised swelling caused by an excess of fluid in the tissue surrounding the site of the piercing.

Epidermis

The largest organ in the body, the Epidermis is the outer layer of skin covering the entire body and providing protection from bacteria and resulting infection.

Ethyl Chloride

A fast acting local anaesthetic used by some piercers to numb the skin prior to a piercing being carried out. If used inappropriately can burn the skin. Not suitable for use in the mouth.

Eyebrow

Eyebrow piercings are usually carried out a right angle to the Eyebrow itself with the most common placement being through the outer third. Jewellery choice is good with Curved Barbells, Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells all proving popular choices. See also Piercing Type section.

Eyelet

A hollow piece of jewellery designed for a stretched Ear Lobe piercing that is designed with either one or both ends slightly wider that the diameter of the centre of the Eyelet. Single Flared Eyelets are usually held securely in place with a Black Rubber O-Ring on the back end with Double Flared Eyelets featuring either a fixed or removable flared back plate. See also Jewellery Type section.

F

Fakir Musafar

Along with Jim Ward, one of the major players in the promotion of body piercing from sub-culture to popular culture. Born in South Dakota in 1930, Musafar coined the term 'Modern Primitive' and still lectures, teaches and pierces widely in both the United States and Europe. An inspiration! Wikipedia: Fakir Musafar

Female Genital Piercings

The collective term for Clitoral Hood, Inner Labia, Outer Labia, Christina and Fouchette piercings.

Fistula

The tunnel of scar tissue that surrounds the jewellery to form the actual piercing. May take months or even in some circumstances years to completely form and strengthen, see also Healing Times below.

Flared Eyelet

please see 'Eyelet'

Flare up

A term for a piercing, thought to be completely healed that can become irritated and/or inflamed for seemingly little or no reason.

Flat Backed Barbell

An American phrase for a 'Labret Stud'.

Flesh Tube

please see 'Tube'

Flesh Tunnel

A Flesh Tunnel features a threaded and removable back plate for ease of both fitting and removal and can be manufactured from a variety of different materials including Steel, Acrylic and Titanium. Available in a great range of diameters, Flesh Tunnels are a great choice for almost all stretched Ear Lobe piercings. See also Jewellery Type section.

Foreskin

Foreskins can be pierced anywhere around the leading edge with Ball Closure Rings, Circular Barbells and Curved Barbells all proving practical choices for the initial piercing. Usually pierced with 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery, although it's neither uncommon or inappropriate to use a 2.4mm (10 gauge) version. Commonly seen as a multiple piercing.

Freehand piercing

A style of piercing using only a needle with no clamps, needle pushers or receiving tube involved in the procedure.

Frenulum

A Frenulum (also know as Frenum) is a small fold of tissue in the body that controls or restricts an organ. Three of the four Frenum that lend themselves to being pierced are inside the mouth; between the upper lip and the teeth/gum line Smiley, between the lower lip and the teeth/gum line Frowny and underneath the tongue Tongue Web. The forth is the small v-shaped web of skin on the underside of the penile shaft directly behind the Glans that controls the movement of the foreskin (the one usually referred as a 'Frenum Piercing').

Frenum

please see 'Frenulum'

Frenum Piercing

A piercing through the small v-shaped web of skin on the underside of the penile shaft directly behind the Glans. Jewellery choice is good with Ball Closure Rings, Circular Barbells and both straight and curved Barbells being a practical initial choice for this piercing. Usually carried out using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery although it should be noted that 2.4mm (10 gauge) pieces are neither unusual or inappropriate.

Frowny Piercing

A Frowny, also called an inverted or anti-smiley, is a piercing through the lower lip frenulum sometimes placed between the gum line and the lip. Usually pierced with 1.2mm thick jewellery with Curved Barbells, Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells all working well. A tricky piercing to change the jewellery in. See also Piercing Type section.

G

Gauge Size

An Imperial measurement used mainly in North America for measuring the thickness of jewellery. Gauge sizes can be converted using the following chart:

gauge mm
18ga 1.0
16ga 1.2
14ga 1.6
12ga 2.0
10ga 2.4
8ga 3.2
6ga 4.0
4ga 5.0
2ga 6.0
1ga 7.0
0ga 8.0
00ga 10.0

Gauging up

A mainly American term for stretching a piercing.

Gauntlet (AKA Gauntlet Enterprises)

Gauntlet Enterprises was founded in late 1975 by Jim Ward, a pioneer in the field of body piercing. Initially piercing from his West Hollywood home, Ward opened his first shop in Los Angeles 3 years later in November 1978. Gauntlet also eventually opened stores in San Fransisco, New York and Seattle before finally closing its doors for the last time over 20 years later. The name 'Gauntlet' is without doubt a legend in the piercing world. Wikipedia: Gauntlet

Glass

Mainly sold in the form of Plugs, Flared Eyelets and various Ear Spirals and Twists, Glass can either be man made in the form of Soda Lime, Barium Crystal or Borosilicate or naturally occurring in the form of Obsidian or Volcanic Glass. Completely inert, Glass makes a great choice for all piercings of a suitable size. Almost impossible to break although tiled shower floors have claimed their fair share of broken victims. See also Material section.

Gold

Available in many different purities, Gold in its purest form is classified as being '24 Karat Gold' but is probably too soft in this grade to be of any practical use in the Body Piercing field. Both 14 and 18 Karat Gold will work well for use in an initial piercing, although it should be noted that it is prone to being easily scratched. A great if expensive choice that, along with Gold Plating, has more or less been replace in the piercing world by Zircon Gold, a gold coloured PVD Titanium. See also Material section.

Gold Plating

A process by which a super thin layer of Gold is laid down on top of another metal (usually Surgical Steel in the piercing industry) giving the impression of solid Gold jewellery at a fraction of the price of the real thing. Note that the use of Gold Plating has diminish considerably with the introduction of Zircon Gold. See also Material section.

Granulation

Part of the second phase of the healing process during which the body produces Collagen (a protein) to seal the wound.

Grommet

Also widely known as a Rubber O-Ring, these small rubber rings will fit over one or both ends of a Tube or Single Flared Eyelet to hold it firmly in place.

Guiche

A piercing located in the region of the Perineum, between the back of the Scrotum and the front of the Anus. Can be healed using Curved Barbells, Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells. Usually the initial piercing is carried out using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery, although it should be noted that 2.4mm thick jewellery should not be considered either unusual or inappropriate. Multiple and stretched piercings are fairly common and can usually be achieved without too much trouble.

Gun

please see 'Piercing Gun'

H

Hafada

The Hafada is a Male Scrotal piercing that can be placed anywhere on the Scrotum that practicality will allow. Jewellery choice is wide for the initial piercing, with Barbells, Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells all working well during the healing period. Usually the initial piercing is carried out using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery, although it should be noted that 2.4mm thick jewellery should not be considered either unusual or inappropriate.

Hand Web

Quite an uncommon piercing that can be placed between any of the fingers but most commonly sited in the thin web of skin between the Thumb and Index Finger. A difficult, but by no means impossible, piercing to heal due to its constant use and propensity to get caught and knocked. See also Piercing Type section.

Hardwood

please see 'Wood'

Healing Times

The period of time that it takes the body to form a 'Fistula' around the piercing. The time periods listed below are a rough guide and will vary from person to person: 

piercing estimated healing time in months
1-2 1-3 1-4 2-3 2-4 2-6 2-12 3-4
Ear Lobe              
Ear Rim, Inner Helix, Tragus, Rook              
Conch, Anti-Tragus, Snug, Diath              
Orbital              
Industrial, Traverse Earlobe              
Lip, Labret, Madonna, Medusa              
Snake Bites, Spider Bites              
Tongue              
Venom              
Smiley              
Cheek              
Nostril              
Septum              
Earl (Bridge of Nose)              
Eyebrow              
Nipple              
Navel              
Prince Albert              
Inner Labia, Clitoral Hood              
Outer Labia              
Foreskin, Frenum, Pubic, Scrotum, Guiche              

Helix

The curved outer rim of the mid to upper Ear and commonly referred to as simply the 'Ear Rim'. Without doubt the most common part of the Ear to place a Cartilage piercing. Usually initially pierced with either 1.2mm (16 gauge) or 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Hood

please see 'Clitoral Hood'

Horizontal Clitoral Hood

please see 'Clitoral Hood'

Horseshoe

please see 'Circular Barbell'

I

Inflammation

Part of the first stage of the healing process that helps to protect the body against the possibility of infection.

Implantanium

A trade name for a Surgical Steel that contains less than 0.05% Nickel (by weight). Suitable for use in initial piercings under all three Annexes of The European Nickel Directive. Suitable for anyone with any form of Nickel sensitivity. See also Materials section.

Industrial

A combination of two Ear piercings joined by a single Straight Barbell, more often than not seen crossing the flat plane of Cartilage on the upper Ear. Initially pierced with two smaller, separate Straight Barbells, that can be exchanged for a single one of an appropriate length once the piercings have fully healed. In common with all Cartilage piercings, they may take quite a few months to heal completely. See also Piercing Type section.

Infections

Infections are cause by bacteria getting into a piercing before the body has time to produce a scar, healing the wound around the jewellery. Signs of infection include the area around the piercing being red, swollen and warm or even hot to the touch. In addition to this, pain is also a common sign of infection, throbbing and spreading outward from the piercing with the discharge of puss being a further guarantee that all is not well! Puss may be grey, green or yellow and sticky in appearance. Please don't mistake puss for the small amount of crusting that is normal with all skin breaks. If you think that your piercing may be infected please consult your Doctor or Physician as soon as possible.

Inner Labia

Common name for the Labia Minora. The soft, hairless folds of fleshy tissue found between the larger, heavier Outer Labia. Not uncommonly seen with multiple piercings (see 'Ladder') Usually pierced with 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery. A popular choice with ormally a relatively quick piercing to heal.

Insertion

The placement of jewellery into either a new or healed piercing often aided by the use of a water based lubricant.

Insertion Pin

A domed pin used alongside a water based lubricant to help fit jewellery or to stretch a piercing from one size to the next. Usually machined with a concave tail to fit Ball Closure Rings, Horseshoes and Segment Rings or a small 'pin' to aid the fitting of Internally Threaded Jewellery. A simple but brilliant piece of design. Please refer to our comprehensive 'Stretching Guide'.

Internal Thread

please see 'Internally Threaded Jewellery'

Internally Threaded Jewellery

A piece of jewellery, usually either a Labret Stud or a Barbell where the thread is machined into the inside rather than the outside the post. A good choice for sensitive piercings that might be irritated by the insertion of an externally threaded piece of jewellery. Accessories for Internally Threaded Jewellery are quite distinctive as the thread protrudes from the accessory and fits snugly into the post (the ball will 'screw-in' to the jewellery post). The accessories on our website have been divided into 'screw-on'or 'screw-in' to help ensure you get the correct type.

Iron Wood

A dark brown, beautifully smooth hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken over time with wear. See also Materials section.

J

Jade

A natural stone found all over the world in a variety of colours and limitless veined patterns used in the piercing industry for the production of both solid Ear Plugs and Eyelets. See also Materials section.

Jewelled Clip-in Balls

Replacement Balls that are suitable for Ball Closure Rings. Care should be taken to make sure that any Balls purchased are the same size as the ones being replaced. See also Jewellery Type section.

Jewelled Threaded Balls

Replacement Balls that are suitable for Barbells, Labrets and Circular Barbells. Jewelled Threaded Balls will either be 'screw-on' for externally threaded jewellery or 'screw-in' for internally threaded. Care should be taken to make sure that any Balls purchased have the same size of thread as the pieces to be replaced. See also Jewellery Type section.

Jim Ward

Arguably the founding father of commercial body piercing, Mr. Jim Ward founded both the PFIQ series of magazines and the Gauntlet chain of piercing shops. To achieve one of these feats would have been fantastic, to create both is nothing short of remarkable. Mr. Ward, we salute you!

K

Karat

International standard measurement of Gold purity with 24 Karat Gold (100% pure) being the finest quality. 18 Karat Gold is made from a mix of 75% Gold with the remainder being made up with a mixed of other metals that will affect both its colour and hardness. 22, 14 and 9 Karat Gold are also available and are more popular in some countries than others.

Keepers

please see 'Septum Keepers'

Keloid Scars

After any skin break such as a cut, scratch, burn or piercing, the body produces a protein called collagen that gathers around the wound. The body uses this protein to build up a protective barrier that over a short period of time will completely seals the wound. In general, the vast majority of scars will fade over time and become less noticeable but some will continue to grow becoming bigger that the original wound, these scars are known as 'Keloid Scars'. Official figures suggest that between 10-15% of all wounds may form a Keloid Scar during the healing period, most commonly on the head, ears and neck though all other parts of the body can be affected to a lesser extent. Although mainly encountered in the African and African-Caribbean communities these scars can also affect people with the fairest of skin.

K-Y Jelly

please see 'Lubricant'

L

Labia (Inner)

please see 'Inner Labia'

Labia (Outer)

please see 'Outer Labia'

Labret

One of the most instantly recognisable piercings, the Labret lies directly below the centre of the bottom Lip. A fairly easy piercing to heal, the Labret is a great choice for most people. Usually initially pierced using either 1.2mm (16 gauge) or 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery although heavier gauges are neither uncommon or for some people, inappropriate. See also Piercing Type section.

Labret Retainer

Made from Bioplast, Labret Retainers are a great option for either making a piercing more discreet or for replacing either a Titanium or Steel Labret that cannot be worn during surgery, X-rays or CT Scans. Available in 1.2mm and 1.6mm thickness. See also Jewellery Type section.

Labret Stud

Originally designed solely for use in Lip piercings, Labret Studs have a round bar protruding from a circular baseplate with a threaded ball screwed on to other end of the bar. The flat disc base helps with comfort and practicality of long term wear. Available in Surgical Steel, Titanium and Bioplast, Labret Studs are also a great choice for Ear Lobe, Ear Rim and the majority of Conch piercings. See also Jewellery Type section.

Lips

In piercing terms 'Lip' usually refers to a 'Lower Lip' piercing; which is any piercing slightly below the bottom lip itself, placed on either side of centre (whereas the centre piercing is know as a Labret). Jewellery choice is good with Labret Studs, Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells all proving practical choices during the healing period. Usually initially pierced using either 1.2mm (16 gauge) or 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery although heavier gauges are neither uncommon or for some people, inappropriate. See also Piercing Type section.

Lobe

please see 'Ear Lobe'

Ladder

The collective name for a row of piercings carried out at the same angle and distance apart. Most commonly seen in Inner Labia, Scrotum and through the thin skin on the Penile shaft.

Lingual Frenum

The medical term for the thin web of tissue that holds the underside of the Tongue to the floor of the mouth. The location for the Tongue Web Piercing.

Lorum piercing

Placed horizontally through the skin at the bottom of the Penile shaft where it joins the top of the Scrotum. Most commonly carried out initially with a 1.6mm (14 gauge) Ball Closure Ring although using 2.4mm thick jewellery is not at all unusual as a starting point.

Lubricant

A water based lubricant such as 'K-Y Jelly' will assist in both the insertion of jewellery and the stretching of a piercing from one diameter to the next. Lubricating and rotating a piece of jewellery before removing it will make the installation of the next piece much easier.

M

Madonna

An upper Lip piercing that is usually placed slightly outside the Nostils outer wall, the Madonna piercing is also commonly known as a 'Marilyn'. Initially pierced with a Labret Stud slightly longer than the Lip is thick to accommodate a small amount of swelling, this can be shortened within 2-3 weeks to a more suitable length. Most commonly pierced using 1.2mm (16 gauge) thick jewellery although it should be noted that 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery should be considered neither unusual or inappropriate. See also Piercing Type section.

Madison

The Madison piercing sits horizontally within the slightly looser indent of skin between the Collar Bones. Usually initially fitted with a surface or curved Barbell during the healing period these Barbells can be exchanged for Ball Closure Rings or Circular Barbells after healing is complete. Usually initially carried out using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Male Genital Piercing


The collective term for Ampallang, Apadravya, Dydoe, Prince Albert, Reverse Prince Albert piercings etc.

Mammoth Ivory

Mined from Northern Siberia from the permafrost tombs of this long extinct giant mammal, Mammoth Ivory has in recent years become a popular and interesting choice for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. With all pieces unique, these are a great choice for any stretched Lobe. Will darken with wear. See also Materials section.

Medusa

A great piercing placed in the centre of the Philtrum between the centre of the upper Lip and the base of the Septum. Initially pierced with a Labret Stud slightly longer than the Lip is thick to accommodate a small amount of swelling, this can be shortened in 2-3 weeks to a more suitable length. Most commonly initially pierced using 1.2mm (16 gauge) thick jewellery although it should be noted that 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery should be considered neither unusual or inappropriate. See also Piercing Type section.

Migration

The process by which the body rejects and expels jewellery through the skin. Although relatively uncommon, it tends to occur in Navel and Eyebrow piercings more than any others. Will leave a certain amount of scar tissue behind which will tend to fade well over time. Your piercer should be able to advise you against a piercing if they feel that the likely success rate for the piercing is too small to make it worth trying.

Musafar. Fakir

please see 'Fakir Musafar'

Mysterium

A trademarked brand for certain pieces of Surgical Steel jewellery that have been finished with an inert black PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating to give them a lovely rich black shine. Hard wearing and scratch resistant, Mysterium, sometimes referred to as 'Black Steel', tend to be a cheaper alternative to the lighter Titanium based Blackline. See also Materials section.

N

Nape

A surface piercing that travels horizontally across the back of the Neck. Usually pierced with a surface Barbell some people have also healed the piercing with great success using a simple Curved Barbell. Usually initially carried out using a 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery. Please note that many piercers no longer offer this piercing due to the potential for scarring and much prefer to use Sub-Dermal anchors for this placement. See also Piercing Type section.

One of the most popular piercings carried out today, Navels (also referred to as Belly-Buttons), can be pierced anywhere around their rim with best results coming from vertical placement through a pronounced 'lip' of skin at the top of the navel. Usually carried out using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery with multiple piercings now becoming more popular. See also Piercing Type section.

Navel Barbell is now the prerered name for a Curved Barbell manufactured at 1.6mm (14gauge) due to it being the most practical and popular choice when considering the initial jewellery for a Navel piercing. Sitting flat against the body, the Navel Barbell is far less likely to get either caught or bumped during the period of healing. See also Jewellery Type section.

Needle

Needles come in two basic forms, Blade and Cannula. Different piercers may favour either type or even one over the other for different piercings. Needles come in various gauges and will be selected to suit the piece of jewellery being inserted.

Needle Bin

please see 'Sharps Container'

Needle Pusher

A small round piece of plastic that fits into the palm of the hand of the piercer to give a better grip and control when using the 'Blade' style of needles while carrying out certain piercings.

Nickel

One of the many metals that makes up Surgical Steel, Nickel is an important part of the Steel alloy that makes it softer and easier to work with and reduces the cost of manufacture. Some people, (mainly females) will be Nickel sensitive to a greater or lesser extent and will not be able to use any product containing it. For a suitable alternative look no further than Titanium or 'Nickel Free' Steel. See also Material Type section.

Nickel Free

In piercing terms, refers to metals that contain no nickel or less than 0.05% nickel by weight, will not cause Nickel dermatitis or release Nickel salts into the body and satisfy the 'European Metal Directive'. Titanium and Implantanium Steel are the most popular metals used that conform to this standard. See also Material Type section.

Nipple (Female)

Containing around 20 milk ducts around its leading edge, Female Nipples are commonly pierced slightly forward from the base of the Nipple where it rises from the plane of the Breast. Jewellery choice is good with Ball Closure Rings and both Straight and Circular Barbells all working well as an initial choice. Usually pierced using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Nipple (Male)

Ranging greatly in size, the placement of a Male Nipple piercing depends on personal preference as much as the actual anatomy of the Nipple itself. On a well developed Nipple, the piercing can be placed either through the head of the Nipple itself or slightly further out through the Areola. In smaller Nipples the latter position may be the only practical choice to avoid migration or in some cases even rejection. Usually initially pierced using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Nipple Jewellery

As the name so obviously suggests, these pieces are designed solely for use in nipple piercings. When selecting your jewellery it's probably a good idea to choose barbells 2-3mm longer than the nipple is wide to allow a little room for movement and cleaning. Nipples are almost always pierced using 1.6mm (14 gauge) jewellery.

Nostril

Initial choice of jewellery is good with a great variety of Nostril Studs and Ball Closure Rings both proving successful during the 2-3 month long healing period. Usually pierced in the small groove about 6-9mm above the lowest edge of the Nostril using 1.0mm and 1.2mm thick jewellery, although slightly thinner and slightly thicker jewellery is not uncommon. See also Piercing Type section.

Nostril Retainer

A small headed inert Bioplast Stud suitable for hiding a Nostril piercing in a situation where a more obvious stud might be see as unsuitable. Also a great choice for keeping a Nostril piercing open during a medical procedure such as a surgical operation, an X-ray or a CT-Scan where it is not suitable to wear Surgical Steel, Titanium or Gold jewellery. See also Jewellery Type section.

O

Obsidian

A naturally occurring glass caused by volcanic activity. Used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs. See also Materials section.

Orbital

A combination of two Ear piercings sharing a single piece of jewellery (usually a Ball Closure Ring or Circular Barbell) between them. See also Piercing Type section.

Outer Labia

A Female Genital Piercing that passes through the thicker, heavier set of Labia (the Labia Majora). Common to see in either single or multiple format, the jewellery choice is good with Ball Closure Rings and both Curved and Circular Barbells all working well during the healing period. Usually pierced initially using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery, although heavier gauges are neither uncommon or for some people inappropriate. Although Outer Labia piercings are without doubt one of the most popular genital piercings, it should be noted that they will take longer to heal than Inner Labia piercings.

Oversby, Alan

please see 'Alan Oversby'

P

Palm Wood

A mainly mid-brown wood flecked with darked spots used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken slightly with long term wear. See also Materials section.

Parasite Wood

A beautifully grained mid-brown hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken slightly with long term wear. See also Materials section.

PFIQ (Piercing Fans International Quarterly)

Piercing Fans International Quarterly was the worlds first magazine solely devoted to the art of piercing. Published in the USA for 20 years between 1977 and 1997 by Jim Ward, in total 50 editions were produced and published. A fantastic insight into the rebirth of the popularity of piercing for modern times. Wikipedia: PFIQ

Philtrum

The vertical groove on the surface of the upper lip, below the septum of the nose. In piercing terms, the location for a Medusa.

Piercing Gun

As the name so obviously suggests, a gun used to fire a fairly blunt stud (held in place by a 'butterfly' on the back end) through the lobe or rim of the Ear. Unloved by professional piercers due to the trauma caused to the surrounding tissue and the fact that the gun cannot be sterilized in an autoclave after each use. Based on a cattle tagging gun.

Piercing Migration

please see 'Migration'

Pink Ivory Wood

A lovely red / pink hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken slightly over time with long term wear. See also Materials section.

Pinna

An Ear piercing located through the rim of cartilage at the top of the Ear. Jewellery choice is great for the initial piercing, with Straight Barbells, Circular Barbells and Ball Closure Rings all proving viable options. Usually carried out using either 1.0mm or 1.2mm thick jewellery. See also Piercing Type section.

Platinum

Inert but super expensive metal that can be used in the manufacture of body piercing jewellery. Very dense, very heavy and very nice!

Plug

Worn mainly in stretched Ear Lobes, Plugs are solid single cylindrical pieces of jewellery that are available in both a wide range of materials and diameters. Held in place by two Rubber O-Rings they are a great choice for any stretched Lobe. See also Jewellery Type section.

PMMA (Aka Acrylic)

A man-made polymer used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of jewellery including Ear Plugs and Eyelets and Screw-On Accessories. See also Materials section.

Polyester

A man made polymer used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of jewellery.

Pregnancy

During pregnancy as the baby grows it is probably a good idea to change any navel jewellery from traditional Surgical Steel or Titanium to a more flexible plastic Barbell that will flex with any movement. An altogether more comfortable and practical choice!

Prince Albert

A Male Genital Piercing passing down through the Urethra and exiting behind the Glans on the underside of the Penile Shaft. A popular piercing usually initially fitted with a 2.4mm thick Ball Closure Ring it will usually heal fully within a few weeks.

Princebell

A curved Barbell measuring from 3mm upwards designed for use in stretched Prince Albert piercings.

PTFE

PTFE or Polyetrafluoroethylene is an inert plastic widely used for making jewellery in the body piercing industry. Completely autoclavable, PTFE will work well in both initial and healed piercings. See also Materials section.

Pubic

The Pubic piercing passes through the skin horizontally around the area where the upper end of the Penile shaft meets the body. Can be pierced with either a Curved or Surface Barbell. Usually initially carried out using 1.6mm (14 gauge) thick jewellery.

Push Fit

The generic name given to a type of jewellery, usually Bioplast Labret Studs that don't have a thread. Instead the head of the jewellery just pushes (hence the name) onto the body and to remove, simply twist off.

Push Fit Head

A Ball head with a male pin that fits into a female post eliminating the need for a thread. These (usually very small) heads are suitable for both 1.2mm and 1.6mm Bioplast Labret Studs. No thread is needed, simply push the head on and twist it off.

PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition)

An inert film formed over various different metals to change its outer appearance and colour. Works brilliantly well on both Surgical Steel and Titanium, PVD coatings were initially devised to create an incredible smooth surface for various medical devises and implants. We sell both PVD coated Steel (see Black Steel) and PVD coated Titanium (see Blackline and Zircon Gold) in the materials section.

Q

R

Receiving Tube

A hollow metal re-usable flared or straight tube used to 'catch' the needle as it exits the piercing.

Resting

The removal of large gauge jewellery from a piercing for a certain period of time to let it 'close down' slightly. This procedure is thought to help improve the condition of a piercing and perhaps allow it to be stretched up to a diameter that might otherwise be unobtainable.

Retainers (Metallic U-Shaped)

Manufactured from either Titanium in the form of PVD coated 'Blackline' or 316L Surgical Steel, these U-Shaped Retainers are a great choice for hiding a Septum piercings. See also Jewellery Type section.

Retainers

Acrylic retainers are available in many different forms including Nostril Studs, Barbells, Labret Studs and Circular Barbells and can be used to either hide piercings in a situation where they may be deemed inappropriate or to replace Surgical Steel, Titanium or Gold during a medical procedure such as an operation, an X-Ray or a CT-Scan. See also Jewellery Type section.

Reverse Prince Albert

A Male Genital Piercing that inverts the more traditional Prince Albert, exiting through the centre of the top of the Glans rather than below and behind them.

Ring Opening Pliers

A great and quite often completely necessary tool used to relieve the internal pressure on a Ball Closure Ring allowing the Ball to be removed with ease. Although used mainly on Ball Closure Rings measuring 2.4mm thick and upwards, they are still very useful for smaller diameter 1.6mm and 2.0mm BCRs.

Rook

An upper Ear piercing placed through the ridge of cartilage that joins the side of the head just above the Tragus. Jewellery choice for the initial piercing is good, with both small gauge Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells working well.See also Piercing Type section.

S

Saline

Saline solution is a mild mixture of Salt (Sodium Chloride) and water and, if used correctly, is probably the best aftercare treatment for the majority of piercings.

Scaffold

please see 'Industrial'

Scars

Scars are formed by the body to seal wounds and prevent the invasion of bacteria that may cause infection. A protein called Collagen is secreted around the skin break, forming the scar over a variable period of time depending on the size of the wound itself – see also 'Keloid Scars'.

Screw-In Accessories

Screw-in Accessories, such as flatheads or balls, will have a threaded shaft that protrudes from its back enabling it to be 'screwed-in' to jewellery that has a thread machined inside its shaft (internally threaded jewellery) such as Sub-Dermal Anchors, Labret Studs etc. The number of styles of Screw-in Accesories has increased substantially in the last year or so due to the ability to have a much lower 'profile' than their screw-on equivalent. Be careful to match the correct thread size.

Screw-In Ball Closure Ring

A heavier gauge range of Rings that sees the traditional clip-in ball discarded and replaced with a threaded variation for ease of both fitting and removal. See also Jewellery Type section.

Screw-On Accessories

Screw-on Accessories, such as balls or cones, will have a thread cut into them allowing them to be 'screwed-on' to jewellery that has a thread machined onto the outside shaft (externally threaded jewellery) such as a Straight Barbell, Circular Barbell, Labret Stud etc. Available in a vast choice of different styles, Screw-On Accessories can take you from the subtlest balls to the most outrageously long spikes. Be careful to match the correct thread size.

Segment Rings

A great take on the traditional Ball Closure Ring sees the Ball replaced with a beautifully machined clip-in segment for a super smooth continuous finish. Available in a good range of gauges, they are a popular choice in everything from Lips and Septums to Prince Alberts. See also Jewellery Type section.

Septum

In piercing terms this refers to the Nasal septum which is the cartilage wall separating the nostrils of the nose

Septum Piercing

Pierced usually through the thin piece of membrane that separates the upper and lower pieces of cartilage that makes up the Septum itself. Jewellery choice is good for the initial piercing with U-Shaped Keepers, Circular Barbells and Ball Closure Rings all working well. See also Piercing Type section.

Septum Keeper

A small piece of jewellery designed more for practicality and function than visual design. Septum Keepers come in two main formats; 'U-Shape Keepers' and 'Bullet Keepers'. U-Shape Keepers as the name suggests are curved pieces of eitrher Sugical Steel or Titanium that can be pushed up into the nose to hide the jewellery. Bullet Keepers  have a small flat plate and a domed surface on the other

Septum Retainer

please see 'Septum Keeper'

Sharps Container

A puncture proof and lockable container, sometimes referred to as a needle bin, used for holding contaminated needles and small amounts of blood waste. A necessity in any piercing shop.

Silicone

Fully biocompatible, Silicone is both flexible and relatively soft, making it an ideal choice in the body piercing industry for the manufacture of both solid Plugs and Eyelets. See also Materials section.

Silver

A precious metal used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of jewellery. Much easier to cast than Surgical Steel or Titanium but prone to oxidise (discolour) and tarnish with both handling and wearing.

Single Flared Eyelet

please see 'Eyelet'

Smiley piercing


Inner upper lip Frenulum piercing that sits snugly between the lip and the teeth/gum line. Curved Barbells, Ball Closure Rings and Circular Barbells are all suitable for the initial piercing. See also Piercing Type section.

Snake Bites

A symmetrical pair of lower Lip piercings placed on either side of the centre. Can be carried out at the same time or on two different occasions. See also Piercing Type section.

Snake Wood

A nicely, light brown/dark brown stripped hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken over time with long term wear. See also Materials section.

Snug

Pierced through the inner rim of cartilage about half way down the Ear sometimes referred to as the 'Anti-Helix'. Usually pierced with a Curved Barbell 3-4mm longer than the Ear is thick to accommodate some swelling. See also Piercing Type section.

Sono Wood

A mid-brown coloured hardwood used in the piercing industry for the manufacture of Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken over time with long term wear. See also Materials section.

Spiral

A larger gauge Spiral shaped piece of jewellery mainly worn in stretched Ear Lobe piercings and predominantly manufactured from Glass or Acrylic. To confuse this a little, Spiral is also commonly used to refer to a 'Body Spiral' that is twisted in shape and features a threaded and removable Ball on either end.

Spore Testing

A test to verify the effectiveness of an Autoclave where a sealed vial containing heat resistant spores is placed inside the 'clave before a cycle is run. The vial is then removed and processed by an independent laboratory to assess whether the sterilizer is functioning correctly.

Stem Thickness

please see 'Gauge Size'

Steel

please see 'Surgical Steel'

Sterilize

An object that has been rendered free of any micro-organisms by a sterilizing process.

Sterilization

The process to Sterilize an object - please see 'Autoclave'

Straight Barbell

A straight piece of metal or plastic with two threaded and removable balls that is without doubt one of the most popular and practical pieces of jewellery available on the market today. If purchasing spare Balls / Accessories please make sure to choose the correct thread size. See also Jewellery Type section.

Stretching

A technique for enlarging a piercing. Most commonly carried out on Ear Lobes, stretching can be achieved in different ways with the use of Insertion Pins, Stretching Crescents and Tapers being popular and practical choices. Different people can stretch their piercings at different rates with a slow and cautious approach usually proving the best option. Please refer to our comprehensive 'Stretching Guide'

Stretching Crescents

As the name suggests, a Stretching Crescent is a curved and tapered piece of jewellery that can, over the course of time be pushed through a piercing to increase its diameter. The use of a water based lubricant and a slow and careful approach is without doubt the best option.

Stretching Taper

Stretching Tapers can be either curved or straight in shape and are used to stretch piercings from one diameter to another. The use of a water based lubricant and a slow and careful approach is without doubt the best option.

Sub-Dermal

please see 'Sub-Dermal Anchor'

Sub-Dermal Anchor

A Sub-Dermal Anchor (also know simply as a Sub-Dermal) is a small super thin plate sitting just below the skin with a single threaded post sticking out through its surface. A great choice for areas of the body where Surface Barbells are prone to migration or even rejection, Sub-Dermals are internally threaded with a great selection of interchangeable heads. See also Jewellery Type section.

Surface Barbell

An elongated U-shaped threaded Barbell with two short posts that protrude through the skin. Available in a choice of different lengths, Surface Barbells are used in conjunction with Surface Piercings.

Surface Piercing

A term for any piercing that passes under the skin both entering and exiting the same surface. Usually pierced with a Surface or Curved Barbell, Surface Piercings tend to be more difficult to heal than more traditional piercings that pass from one surface to another and are known for leaving large scars if they migrate through the skin. See also Piercing Type section.

Surgical Stainless Steel

please see 'Surgical Steel'

Surgical Steel

Surgical Steel also know as Surgical Stainless Steel, is an alloy (a mixture of different metals) used in two different grades in the body piercing industry, one for piercing and one for healed piercings. For initial piercings, 316LVM Surgical Steel is used due to its lack of contaminants and high resistance to corrosion, is classed as 'Nickel Free' and satisfies the 'European Metal Directive'. 'Implantanium Steel' is the most common trade name for 316LVM Surgical Steel. For healed piercings, the highly polished 316L Surgical Steel is without doubt the most popular material on the market for making piercing jewellery. However, due to the small amount of Nickel in 316L Surgical Steel, it is not suitable for people with a Nickel allergy. See also Material section.

Swarovski Crystal

A man made 'crystal' available in a multitude of colours, shapes and sizes used in the piercing industry in the manufacture of jewellery.

Swimming

Swimming and the use of hot tubs should be avoided during the period of healing due to the increased risk of infection caused by any bacteria present in the water. (refer to Healing Times for your particular piercing).

T

Taper

A pointed piece of jewellery that can either be worn in a stretched Ear Lobe piercing of a matching gauge, or used as a tool to stretch from one size to the next. Most commonly made from PMMA but also available in Surgical Steel and Titanium. See also Jewellery Type section.

Thickness

please see 'Gauge Size'

Teak Wood

A light brown hardwood used in the piercing industry to manufacture Ear Plugs and Eyelets. Will darken slightly over time with long term wear. See also Materials section.

Teardrop Piercing

please see 'Anti-Eyebrow'

Thread

A single groove cut into metal or plastic to facilitate the fitting of a ball or other object with an identical 'opposite' threaded groove.

Titanium

A super lightweight inert metal used for the manufacture of jewellery for the body piercing industry. Polished up to a nice metallic silvery grey colour, Titanium is also widely used in both the medical and aerospace industries due to its strength, purity and corrosion resistant qualities. Can be Anodised to give a massive range of superbly bright colours. See also Materials section.

Tongue

Usually pierced vertically through the centre, Tongue piercings are a popular choice that tend to heal well after a small amount of initial swelling that can last from 2-3 weeks. Due to individual anatomy Tongue piercings aren't a viable option for everyone due to the length of the Tongue in question and the placement of the various blood vessels nearby. Tongues should only be pierced by an experienced piercer with a good anatomical knowledge. When the tongue is pierced horizontally on either side of the more traditional central placement it is referred to as a Venom. See also Piercing Type section.

Tongue Web


Positioned through the Lingual Frenum where the base of the tongue joins the soft palate on the base of the mouth. Tongue web piercings are not particular common although it should be noted that the healing time is fairly fast. Usually pierced using 1.6mm (14 gauge) jewellery, with Ball Closure Rings, Circular Barbells as well as Straight and Curved Barbells being very effective. The jewellery can be awkward, even difficult to change plus the piercing is prone to an unpleasant build-up of plaque if not properly maintained.

Tragus

A popular Ear piercing that passes through the small roughly triangular shaped flap of cartilage covering the Ear canal. Jewellery choice is varied with Circular Barbells, Labret Studs, Straight Barbells and Ball Closure Rings all working well in the initial piercing.See also Piercing Type section.

Traverse Ear Lobe

A great twist on the traditional Ear piercing sees either a Straight or Curved Barbell pass through the horizontal plane of the Ear Lobe rather than the traditional front to back placement. See also Piercing Type section.

Triangle Piercing

A female genital piercing placed directly behind the Clitoral shaft. Should only be carried out by the most experienced of piercers.

TST Strip

A form of chemical testing used in an Autoclave to ensure that the cycle that it was included in has worked correctly and killed all bacteria and spores present. Results are recorded by a change of colour on the strip.

Tube

Available in a great variety of styles, materials and diameters, Tubes are, as the name suggests, straight cylindrical hollow piece of jewellery. Designed for use in stretched Ear Lobe piercings, they come in a multitude of diameters and are held securely in place by a Rubber O-Ring on either end. See also Jewellery Type section.

Twists

A piece of jewellery usually manufactured in a heavier gauge that is not dissimilar in shape to a Circular Barbell with one leg twisted through a 90 degree turn. A popular choice in their Glass format for stretched Ear Lobe piercings. See also Jewellery Type section.

U

U-Shaped Septum Keeper

please see 'Septum Keeper'

Ultrasonic Cleaner

A ultrasonic chemical bath that uses sound waves to remove any residue, blood or saliva from any tool that may be reused. After the cycle is run, the tools are removed from the bath, rinsed clean of any chemicals, dried, bagged and sterilized in a vacuum autoclave for use at a future date.

Ultraviolet (UV) Jewellery

A piece of acrylic jewellery that will react to give off a bright glow under Ultraviolet light. A popular choice for threaded balls and various other Screw-On Accessories. I popular misconception with UV jewellery is that it will just 'glow in the dark', it doesn't!

V

Vacuum Autoclave

Please see 'Autoclave'

Venom

The Venom piercing is in actual fact a pair of Tongue piercings located horizontally on either side of the more traditional central placement. See also Piercing Type section.

Vertical Tragus

A modern take on the original Tragus piercing sees the traditional front to back placement turned through 90 degrees and placed under the skin parallel to where the Tragus itself joins the side of the head. Both Curved and surface Barbells should work well in this piercing. See also Piercing Type section.

Vertical Bridge Piercing

please see 'Bindi'

Vertical Clitoral Hood

please see 'Clitoral Hood'

W

Ward, Jim

please see 'Jim Ward'

Webbing

please see 'Hand Web'

Wood

Different Wood (predominantly hardwoods) are used in the manufacture of jewellery in the body piercing industry mainly to make Eyelets and solid Ear Plugs for stretched Ear Lobe piercings. Porous in nature, all hardwoods must be lightly lubricated from time to time to prevent them drying out completely and leaching moisture from the surface of the piercing itself. With so many types of hardwood available on the market today, a good range of colours are available from an almost blond 'Crocodile Wood' through to a deep red 'Blood Wood' and a dark brown 'Palm Wood'. It should be noted that all Wood Eyelets and Plugs will darken slightly with age and long term use. A great choice for any healed piercing. See also Material section.

X

X-Ray

Before going for an X-Ray, you must remove all metal jewellery and replace with non-metal equivalents that won't interefere in any way with the proceedure. Popular materials for replacement jewellery are Bioplast, Acrylic, PTFE and Silicone.

Y

Z

Zircon Gold

A trade name for an inert PVD (Physical Vapour Deposition) coating applied to Surgical Grade 23 Titanium to give it a lovely golden coloured sheen. Hard wearing, scratch resistant and super light weight in comparison to actual Gold. See also Material section.

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