Here we are going to show you what to look for when you're looking at a piece of body jewelry in a studio. To compare quality of body jewelry, the best example to do this with is navel jewelry.
Here we have three pieces of navel barbells. They all look pretty much the same don't they? Lets take a closer look.
First lets look at threading. This is external threading which is found on the first navel bar. The issue here is you're pulling a tiny screw through the tissue. This will cut up the tissue causing prolonged healing, excess scarring/swelling. As well as collecting tissue cells/fluids which will fester and rot into the bead, next to your healing piercing. Externally threaded jewelry is usually made in China or Thailand under slave labor conditions. The metal is made of what we call a mystery metal. We have no clue what this is made out of just that they claim it is "surgical steel", which is a very broad term to use. You want your jewelry to be made of implant grade materials.
This is an example of an internally threaded piece from the second bar. You will notice the threading is inside the post. This will eliminate the threads catching on the tissue. Though, not all threads are created equal. There are studios that are using internally threaded pieces, though the problem here is they are obtaining it from the same companies they got their external. So the same issues still apply as with the externally threaded piece you just saw. Notice how it has a very sharp edge to it? This make insertion of the jewelry uncomfortable as it's more likely to catch the tissue.
Next we have an internal threaded piece from the third bar. Notice how the edges are rounded. This allows the bar to "nest" inside the needle to minimize it catching on the tissue. This piece is made of implant grade materials.
Next lets look at the gems. Here we have a gem from the second bar - We've left out the first gem since they are from the same company, thus they are the same gems. Looks pretty nice doesn't it? Consider that it's a piece of plastic with foil on that back to give it an appearance of a gem. The foil itself is so high in lead content that California banned them with Prop 65 and if you purchase this jewelry in Illinois, they have to warn you it causes cancer and birth defects. Though many of these companies will import from China stating the jewelry is lead free or within the legal limits. Also if you could feel this gem, the gem moves around with a touch of your finger. Note the grungy hunk of metal on the bottom.
Next we have the gem from the third piece. The ones we use. Notice the difference and brilliance of the cut. As with all our gems we use, this is a Swarovski gem. It's an actual gem with no lead content. It's also hand press fitted into the piece creating a super tight seal. This gem isn't going anywhere! We guarantee it!
The next thing we want to look at is the polish. Polish is really important to consider. When you have a musty grey polish like this one (from the first two pieces), consider what it's like at a microscopic level. It will have tons of tiny crevices for bacteria to hide, as well as to irritate the tissue. Being that there is a piece of metal stuck to the bottom, how much effort did they put into polishing this piece?
We want to see pieces polished to a mirror finish, like this one (third bar). This way you don't have any tiny crevices for bacteria to hide and/or to irritate the tissue. Notice how you can clearly see everything the bead "sees"? It's like looking into a mirror! This is what you want to see! A mirror finish will help dramatically with healthy healing.
Now lets look at countersinking. Countersinking is when threading of the bead is recessed so the post can fit into the bead, creating a seal around the post. You can see this piece has no countersink, but rather a high machined flat surface with no effort done toward polish. This allows for a space between the bead and shaft for bacteria and/or body fluids to hide in. This is from the second barbell.
See how the threads actually sit lower in the bead. As you can see here, the shaft of the bar fits snugly into the bead. This will create a seal which will limit bacteria and body fluids from hiding in the bead. You can see this piece (third bar) has a nice seal.
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Next we want to look at the seams of the pieces. This is how the bottom bead is assembled to the post. Here you can see a nice large gap, which will allow bacteria, tissue cells and fluids to enter into the bead and seam. They punched a hole in the bead which was obviously way too big for the post, inserted the post and crimped it. Crimping allows for more spaces for bacteria, tissue cells and fluids to hide.
Looking at this piece you can see there are basically no seams! This leaves absolutely next to no chance for bacteria, tissue cells and fluids to enter the bead and/or "seam". That is because the company that made this piece, did the calculations to make sure it was as tight of a fit as possible and some even laser weld it shut! A good portion of our jewelry is actually machined out of solid stock in CNC machines. These are just a few reasons why we can offer a life time guarantee against manufacturer defects!
Now that you know more about what you're looking at when you see a piece of body jewelry, hopefully you will think twice before having someone put jewelry in your body! If you want to see these pieces up close, feel free to drop by the studio! We will gladly show you the difference in person!