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Body Jewelry Glossary

by Staff Writer

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Beautiful brunette wearing body jewelry in her two facial piercings

A new piercing comes with a lot of questions. Some of those questions will be about buying body jewelry. Whether you are looking for a sparkling new nose stud or a sexy belly ring, you will come across many terms when shopping for piercing jewelry. Body piercing jewelry is an investment because it becomes a part of you and your daily look. The wrong piercing jewelry may be uncomfortable and unattractive. Knowing some basics about body piercing jewelry will help you select great jewelry for your belly button, tongue, nose, eye brow or lip. Consider these common terms when you are looking for the best body jewelry:

Common Body Jewelry Terms:

  1. Barbells: Any specialized body jewelry with a threaded ball or bead at each end of a straight or curved bar. Almost all body jewelry is some kind of barbell. Barbells are great choices for naval, tongue, and septum piercings.

  2. Belly rings: Jewelry designed specifically for navel piercings. Belly rings are not always shaped like rings, though many are. Belly rings may have dangling charms, logos or colorful gemstones.

  3. Bones: Also called nose bones; straight bars for nose piercings. Nose bones are shaped like barbells, with the gem or large ball on one end and a smaller ball on the other end. The smaller ball is pushed through the piercing and holds the bone in place.

  4. Labret stud: A flat-backed stud worn in a piercing on the lip, chin or cheek. The flat back is more comfortable and less damaging to the gums and teeth than the classic barbell style.

  5. Plug: A piece of jewelry for larger piercings, it resembles a stud earring, but sits entirely inside the piercing and keeps a piercing open. Plugs can either be solid or hollow. A rubber ring often keeps the plug in place.

  6. Gauge: The thickness of the post, or the part that goes through the piercing. Different gauges are required for different types of piercings. Belly piercings, for example, are larger and require a thicker gauge than nostril piercings. Gauge can be a misleading measurement, because the higher the gauge, the thinner the jewelry. A 22-gauge nose ring is 0.5 millimeters, which is approximately the size of an earring post. A 14-gauge belly ring is 1.6 millimeters.

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