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rec.arts.bodyart: Piercing FAQ 2B--Jewelry Sizes & Designs

( PartA - PartB - PartC - PartD - PartE )
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Archive-name: bodyart/piercing-faq/jewelry/partB
Last-modified: May 01, 2000
Posting-frequency: Quarterly
URL: http://www.cs.uu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/bodyart/piercing-faq/.html

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
Summary: This posting contains information about body piercing.  Anyone 
    interested in the subject and/or who wishes to read/post to
    rec.arts.bodyart should read the Piercing FAQ first.

The rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ is divided into 30 parts:

1--Introduction
2A--Jewelry Materials
2B--Jewelry Sizes & Designs
2C--Facial Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry
2D--Body Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 
2E--Genital Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry
3--Getting A New Piercing
4A--Professional Organizations, Piercing Instruction
4B--Professional Piercers - United States - Alabama - California
4C--Professional Piercers - United States - Colorado - Iowa
4D--Professional Piercers - United States - Kansas - Nevada
4E--Professional Piercers - United States - New Hampshire - North Dakota
4F--Professional Piercers - United States - Ohio - Pennsylvania
4G--Professional Piercers - United States - Rhode Island - Wyoming
4H--Professional Piercers - Canada
4I--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America
4J--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America Cont'd
5--Care Of New Piercings
6--The Healing Process & Healing Problems
7--Healed Piercings
8--Historical Information
9A--Resource List
9B--Resource List Cont'd
10A--Personal Experiences - Facial & Unisex Piercings
10B--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings
10C--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd
10D--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd
11A--Jewelry Manufacturers
11B--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd
11C--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd

This section includes:

2B  Jewelry Sizes & Designs     
   2B.1  Jewelry Sizes
      2B.1a  Gauges And Equivalents
   2B.2  Jewelry Designs
      2B.2a  Basic Designs
      2B.2b  Piercing-Specific Designs

All texts written and (c) 2000 by Anne Greenblatt unless otherwise
noted.
Please see Part 1 of the FAQ for information regarding copyright and
dissemination of the FAQ.

DISCLAIMER!  The Piercing FAQ contains material of a sexually explicit
nature. The information contained in the Piercing FAQ should not be
construed as medical advice.


2B  JEWELRY SIZES AND DESIGNS

Jewelry designed for ear piercings is not appropriate for wear in body
piercings. Ear jewelry is designed to fit the thickness of the average
earlobe; most body piercings are wider than the thickness of the
earlobe.
Ear jewelry is too thin to be safely worn in body piercings. Rings and
hoops
designed for ear piercings often have hinges, hooked ends or overlapping
hollow tubes with rough edges which easily irritate the piercing. Ear
piercing studs are difficult to clean. The butterfly clip backing can
become
clogged with discharge, dirt, and bacteria. Ear jewelry is usually made
of
silver or of a lesser grade of steel or is plated, all unsuitable
materials
for wear in body piercings.

Sewing needles and safety pins are made of a lesser grade of steel and
are
usually nickel-plated. Wearing sewing needles and safety pins can cause
a
severe allergic reaction and lifelong sensitivity to nickel.


2B.1  JEWELRY SIZES 

Jewelry is measured by gauge (thickness) and width. Rings are measured
by
the inside diameter. Straight and curved barbells are measured by the
linear
width from ball to ball. Most manufacturers offer widths in 1/16"
increments.

2B.1a  GAUGES AND EQUIVALENTS

Most jewelry manufactured in the US is gauged according to the Brown &
Sharpe system. Most jewelry from the UK and Europe is manufactured by
metric
gauge.

A visual representation of gauges and diameters is available at
http://www.cf.ac.uk/uwcc/psych/stevensonwc/bodyart/gauge.html

Brown and Sharpe Gauges (used by most American manufacturers)

---------------------------
gauge inches   millimeters
---------------------------
20    0.032    0.812
18    0.040    1.024
16    0.051    1.291
14    0.064    1.628
12    0.081    2.053
10    0.102    2.588
8        0.128    3.264
6        0.162    4.115
4        0.204    5.189
2        0.258    6.544
0        0.325    8.251
00    0.365    9.266

Jewelry larger than 00ga is usually measured by fractional inches in
1/16" increments.


2B.2  JEWELRY DESIGNS

2B.2a  BASIC DESIGNS
          
CAPTIVE BEAD RING

The basic ring design is the captive bead ring or ball closure ring in
which
a bead with holes or dimples in opposite sides is fitted between the
ends of
a round ring. The bead is not attached to the ring and is held in place
by
the tension of the ring. Factors affecting how tightly the bead is held
in
place include the width of the bead, the depth of the holes or dimples
in
the bead, the hardness of the ring, the gauge of the ring, and the
diameter
of the ring. The amount of difficulty of removing the bead increases as
the
gauge and hardness of the ring increases. Ring expanding pliers may be
required to release the bead of rings in small diameters or thick
gauges.
The ends should be rounded for easier insertion.

Variations on the standard captive bead ring include:
  
  Ball and socket ring: The ball and socket ring has the same
appearance 
  and utilizes the same design principle as the standard captive bead
ring 
  except that the ring ends are concave to hold a solid bead. Because
of the 
  tension required to hold the bead, this design only works well in 8ga
and 
  thicker.

  Flat-tipped: The ends are flattened horizontally, making the ends
tapered
  and pointed. While this design makes insertion and stretching the
piercing 
  easier, it is not suitable for most new piercings because the thinner 
  section cannot be prevented from rotating into the piercing.
Flat-tipped 
  rings may also be uncomfortable in some areas, depending on the cut
and 
  angle of the horizontal edge. 

  Asymmetrical teardrop / navel ring: A teardrop-shaped ring in which
the 
  opening is on one side rather than at the bottom, intended for navel 
  piercings because it protrudes less than a round ring.

  Teardrop ring: A symmetrical upside-down teardrop in which the
opening 
  is at the narrow end. The inside width of the ring at its widest
point 
  is considered the diameter.
  
   Twisted Rings: A ring made of two or more wires twisted together.
This
   design is inappropriate for new or healing piercings. Prolonged wear
can
   cause the piercing to deform into the crevices of the ring.

  Large gauge rings with bevelled ends: The bead has shallow dimples
the 
  same width as the gauge of the ring and the ends of the ring are 
  bevelled vertically to fit into the dimples with no gaps. The ring
has 
  the appearance of passing through a hole in the bead. Because the
dimples 
  are shallow, this design reduces the effort required to release the
bead.
  This design is comfortable to insert.

Rings in other shapes such as octagons, triagles, and ovals, are also
available but are often only appropriate for healed piercings.

Rings can be fitted with a wide assortment of beads. Decorative beads
such
as cubes, skulls, and hearts are usually too heavy to be worn on a new
piercing.

Most quartz, chalcedony and obsidian stone beads such as amethyst,
onyx, and
agate, can be safely worn on all piercings. Since stone beads are
usually
drilled completely through with a small hole, the entrances should be
bored
a bit wider to accommodate the gauge of the ring. Soft stones such as
malachite, lapis, turquoise, or jaspers should not be worn in genital
piercings or new piercings because urine and discharge from the
piercing can
erode the stone. Malachite, turquoise, and lapis can leach copper in
these
environments. Soft, porous stones trap bacteria. Lesser grades of
brittle
stones, such as garnet and amethyst, which are easily chipped should be
avoided.

--------------------------------------------
bead size      fits gauges    in diameters
--------------------------------------------
1/8"        18 - 16ga      1/4" - 3/8"
5/32"       18 - 14ga      5/16" - 7/16"
3/16"       16 - 14ga      7/16" - 5/8"
3/16"       12ga        3/8" - 5/8"
7/32"       14 - 12ga      5/8" - 3/4"
1/4"        12 - 8ga    1/2" - 1" +
5/16"       10 - 6ga    1/2" - 1" +
3/8"        6 - 4ga        5/8" - 1" +       
7/16"       4 - 0ga        5/8" - 1" +

BEAD RING OR ATTACHED BEAD RING

The bead ring is similar to the captive bead ring except that the bead
is
attached, usually by soldering, to one end of the ring which prevents
losing
the bead. The disadvantage of the bead ring is that it must be torqued /
twisted sideways to be opened and closed which can be difficult if the
ring
is small in diameter and large in gauge or is not annealed. If the ring
is
opened and closed frequently it can become warped or break,
particularly if
the ring is not annealed.

Since there is no guaranteed permanent method of bonding steel to steel
for
body jewelry applications, there is a risk that the bead may detach
from the
ring with time or by force. A soldered joint is weak, especially when
metals
are mixed, for example when karat gold solder is used to join steel, and
when the surface areas joined together are very small. The acids in
bodily
secretions will penetrate any gaps in the joint and break down the
alloys in
the solder, weakening the joint. Over time the joint may come apart.
Some
manufacturers use soldering compounds which may not be appropriate for
people sensitive to the high amount of alloys found in the solder,
particularly if solder residues are present beyond the joint.

SEAMLESS OR BEADLESS RINGS

The names beadless ring and seamless ring are misnomers because the ring
does have a seam where the flat ends of the ring are pushed together to
close the ring. Seamless rings must be torqued / twisted sideways to be
opened and closed. If the ring is opened and closed frequently it can
become
warped or break, particularly if the ring is not annealed.

Seamless rings are not appropriate for new piercings for several
reasons.
Inserting seamless rings into a new piercing can be very uncomfortable
and
difficult because the ends are not rounded. Closing seamless rings and
aligning the ends is difficult, particularly with thicker gauges,
smaller
diameters and harder metals. If the ends are not aligned the edges will
irritate the piercing when the seam rotates through the piercing. The
seam
collects bacteria.

Seamless rings made of gold can be made with a rounded convex end and a
concave end which interlock. The convex end should be inserted into the
piercing.

CAPTIVE TUBE OR CAPTIVE BAR RING

Instead of a bead, a short, straight or curved tube or solid bar is held
between the ends of the ring. The tube or bar is usually the same gauge
as
the ring. Because of the tension required to hold the tube, this design
only
works well in 14ga and thicker. Captive tube rings are inappropriate
for new
or unhealed piercings because of the seams between the ring ends and the
tube.

SCREW ON BALL RING

Screw on ball rings are an alternative to large gauge captive bead
rings.
Since the ball is threaded to one end of the ring, ring expanding
pliers are
not needed to remove the bead. However, the gap between the ball and the
opposite end of the ring may make this design uncomfortable in some
piercings.

BARBELLS

Straight and curved barbells are measured by the linear width from ball
to ball. Circular barbells are measured by the inside diameter.

  Straight Barbell: A straight bar with a ball on each end.

  Curved Barbell: A curved bar approximately one quarter of a circle.
Often 
  used in navel piercings or when an unobtrusive piece of jewelry is
desired. 
  Also used when the width of the piercing requires such a large
diameter 
  ring as to be uncomfortable. Curved barbells are sometimes called
L-Bars 
  or Half Moon Barbells or Banana Barbells.
  
  Bent Barbell: Bent Barbells usually refer to barbells bent at an
angle, 
  not curved. Because the bend limits movement of the jewelry, bent
barbells 
  are not appropriate for new piercings.
  
  Circular Barbell: A circular bar approximately three quarters of a
circle 
  which can be worn in piercings for which a captive bead ring is 
  appropriate. Circular barbells are heavier than captive bead rings
and 
  hence may not be appropriate for all new piercings. A captive bead
can be 
  inserted between the balls for aesthetics or to prevent losing the
balls.  
  Circular barbells are sometimes called Horseshoe Barbells, although
some 
  manufacturers make Horseshoe Barbells that are U-shaped rather than 
  circular.

   Slave or Banger or Captive Barbells: A captive bead ring is attached
to
   one or both balls of a straight or curved barbell or Labret. Because
of
   its weight, this design is not appropriate for new piercings in which
   the ring portion is worn. This design may be appropriate for new
   piercings in which the barbell portion is worn depending on the
location
   of the piercing; the ring can also be removed to allow the piercing
to
   heal.
   
   Barbells in complex shapes: Barbells made in complex shapes are often
   not appropriate for new piercings.

Barbells are manufactured with one of two thread designs:

   Internally threaded: The bar is threaded internally and the ball
screws
   into the bar post. The edge of the bar post should be slightly
rounded
   to ease insertion. A guide wire or taper can be used between the
barbell
   and needle to aid insertion. Most internally threaded balls are made
by
   tapping threads into a drilled ball. A few manufacturers make solid
   one-piece balls that are made from a single piece of metal.
Couterbored
   or countersunk balls are bored around the threads so that the ball 
   overlaps the end of the bar post.

   Externally threaded: The bar is threaded externally and the bar
screws
   into the ball. The threads can damage the interior of the piercing
   during insertion; the threads can get caught on the interior of the
   piercing, making insertion difficult and painful. The threads can
   irritate or damage even a healed piercing when the jewelry is
changed.
   Some externally threaded jewelry is designed so that the threads can
be
   inserted into the end of the needle, preventing contact between the
   threads and the piercing.

  Threading style and dimensions vary between manufacturers and are
often   
  incompatible. Replacement balls should be purchased from the same 
  manufacturer.

Barbell ends are not limited to balls. However, certain barbell ends
such
as spikes, skulls, dice, and other complex shapes are often not
appropriate or comfortable in new piercings because of their shape and
weight.

The threads of internally threaded stone balls are usually affixed using
an epoxy and should not be worn in tongue or genital piercings because
the
epoxy can deteriorate and weaken when exposed to saliva and urine.
Additionally, stone balls can shatter when accidentally bitten,
particularly if the stone is brittle or porous. Soft stones such as
tigers
eye and jaspers should not be worn in tongue or genital piercings
because
saliva and urine can erode the stone. Malachite, turquoise, and lapis
can
leach copper in these environments. Lesser grades of brittle stones
which
are easily chipped should be avoided.

GEMSTONE OR JEWEL SETTINGS

Gemstones can be set in metal using either a prong setting or bezel
setting. Bezel settings refer to a bezel cup or ball which holds a
gemstone. Both settings can be threaded for barbells or labret studs.
Bezel settings can be dimpled on either side to be worn as captive
beads.

Gold bezel settings are generally more secure than steel bezel settings
because gold can be shaped to overlap the edge of the stone.
Cheaply-made
steel settings do not overlap the edge of the stone because steel is
more
difficult to shape; the stones are usually held in place with epoxy. The
difference between the two types of bezel settings is visible; the edge
of
the setting should overlap the edge of the stone. Settings affixed with
epoxy usually cannot be safely autoclaved. Such settings should not be
worn in tongue or genital piercings because the epoxy can deteriorate
and
weaken when exposed to saliva and urine.


2B.2b  PIERCING-SPECIFIC DESIGNS

JEWELRY FOR ENLARGED PIERCINGS

The following designs are intended to maintain the enlarged size of the
piercing without the weight of a ring. While these designs are most
frequently worn in ear and septum piercings, some are appropriate for
other
enlarged piercings such as nipple, labia, and labret piercings. Most of
the
designs are available as small as 10ga and as large as 3" and in a
variety
of lengths.

  Eyelet / Earlet / Flesh Tunnel / Grommet: A short, hollow tube with
flared
  ends. The flared ends necessitate that the piercing be stretched a
gauge
  larger than the gauge of the eyelet for insertion. Eyelets with one
flared
  end and one straight end, held in place by a rubber o-ring, are
easier to
  insert. A ring may be worn through the eyelet to prevent losing the
eyelet
  if it becomes dislodged. Because the ring must have a diameter wider
than
  the length of the eyelet, eyelets smaller than 6ga can be difficult
to fit
  with a ring. Eyelets may be made of metal or glass or wood.

  Plug: A short, solid, cylindrical piece of metal, lucite, acrylic,
glass,
  or wood held in place by rubber o-rings at each end. The ends of the
plug
  may be grooved to secure the o-rings. The grooves may get caught on
the
  piercing when inserted.
  
  Threaded Plug / Flatback Plug: Two-piece design made of metal or
acrylic
  and internally threaded at one end, similar to a labret stud disc.

JEWELRY FOR NIPPLE PIERCINGS

  Nipple Retainer: Comprised of a straight bar worn through the piercing
  which is held in place by a round or flat wire which encircles the
nipple. 
  The bar is hinged to the wire circle.
  
  Nipple Shield: Decorative jewelry which encircles the nipple and is
held
  in place by a barbell or ring.
  
  Nipple Stretcher: Jewelry designed to stretch the nipple outwards,
usually 
  held in place by a barbell worn through the piercing. One design is
  comprised of a metal band or ring at the base of the nipple attached
by
  two or more legs to a smaller diameter ring over which the barbell is
  worn. Another design is essentially a metal corkscrew worn through
the 
  piercing which slowly stretches the nipple outwards as it is rotated.
Some 
  nipple shield designs can function as stretchers. Stretchers should
only 
  be worn on healed piercings and the wearer should watch for signs of 
  migration or trauma to the piercing.

JEWELRY FOR SEPTUM PIERCINGS

  Septum Retainer: A U-shaped piece of metal, either rounded or
squared-off,
  usually between 5/16" and 3/8" wide and approximately 3/8" long. The 
  spread of the shanks should be adjusted so that the retainer may be 
  comfortably flipped up into the nose but snug enough to prevent
losing the 
  retainer. Wire in gauges larger than 10 is more difficult to shape
into a 
  small U shape. Some manufacturers make large gauge retainers with
thinner 
  shanks so that the retainer can be accurately shaped and adjusted.
For 
  piercings larger than 8ga, plugs or eyelets may be more comfortable or
  more readily available than retainers.

  Septum Spike / Tusk: A solid piece of tapered metal between 1" and 4" 
  long. Septum spikes may be straight, curved, or circular; curved
spikes 
  are often called tusks. Some designs have a notched center which
keeps 
  the spike centered and secure in the piercing. Some manufacturers
make 
  spikes from wire one gauge larger than the gauge by which it is
listed to 
  prevent the spike from slipping out of the piercing.

  Threaded Septum Spike / Tusk: Similar in appearance to the spike, the 
  threaded tusk is comprised of two pieces which screw together with a 
  thinner center bar worn through the piercing to give the illusion of 
  wearing a very large gauge tusk.

PRINCE'S WAND

The Prince's Wand or Urethral Tube can be made to fit either the Prince
Albert, Ampallang or Apadravya piercings. It consists of a solid or
hollow
stainless steel rod or tube, usually between 3" to 5" long, which is
inserted into the urethra and held in place by a ball-ended stud worn
through the piercing(s) which screws into the Wand.

For personal experiences and photos please visit:

  The Body Modification Ezine, http://www.bme.freeq.com/
  http://www.littleblue.demon.co.uk/p_intro.html

EYEBROW AND NOSTRIL "BONES"

"Bones" are solid one-piece miniature barbells usually worn in healed
eyebrow, nostril, and ear piercings. One or both balls are barely wider
than the gauge of the bar post. A stretching taper may be necessary for
insertion.


-- 
--

                              Anne Greenblatt
                Manager of the rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ
                             Piercing Exquisite
                      http://www.piercingexquisite.com

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM