Jewelry material descriptions

316L Stainless Steel back to top ^

316L steel is the most basic metal used in body jewelry. It is the basic requirement of metal to be used in initial piercings and for healing. There are better grades (below) but usually they cost more as well. For most people this grade of steel works just fine.

  • Solid steel jewelry CAN be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • If the steel jewelry also has acrylic DO NOT use alcohol or harsh chemicals to clean it. It will ruin the acrylic.
  • If the steel jewelry has gems on it DO NOT use alcohol or harsh chemicals to clean it. It could eat away the glue that holds them in place. Better pieces of jewelry will have the gem bezel set in it (not held in by glue). These pieces cost significantly more but are well worth the money.

316LVM ASTM F-138 Implant Grade Steel back to top ^

This grade of steel is top of the line. It is highly recommended, but it comes down to a personal preference on whether you want to pay a little bit more for the best. Lots of people are fine to use the basic 316L steel, but for some people with extremely sensitive skin, getting the top grade of steel usually helps.

  • Solid steel jewelry CAN be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing

Titanium back to top ^

Titanium is usually preferred over steel because it contains no nickel and it weighs almost 50% less than steel. Titanium can come in plain polish which looks just like steel AND it can come in a variety of colors (but NOT red or black). Titanium is super for people with sensitive skin to steel. It does cost a little more but is well worth it. Titanium comes in different grades just like steel with Grade 23 (6AL4V ELI F-136) implant grade being the highest. Colored titanium does fade over time (but is not dangerous to your piercing). If worn in the mouth the color usually fades faster.

  • Solid titanium jewelry CAN be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • No need to use alcohol or harsh cleansers on your jewelry

Acrylic / Lucite back to top ^

Acrylic jewelry is light weight and great for healed piercings *only*. Acrylic should not be used in new or unhealed piercings. It should also not be used in newly stretched piercings. Be aware that this acrylic when worn in tongue piercings can emit toxins from the plastic. For tongue piercings, dental acrylic is recommended.

  • Acrylic cannot be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water
  • DO NOT clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals as it will ruin the jewelry
  • Be careful with your acrylic balls! If you try to thread them down too far the threads can strip.
  • Acrylic is very fragile and brittle and will shatter under stress
  • Do not leave in direct sunlight or heat as it can warp

Dental acrylic back to top ^

Dental acrylic is much stronger AND safer than standard acrylic which most jewelry is made from.

  • Dental acrylic CAN be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water
  • DO NOT clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals as it will ruin the jewelry

PTFE back to top ^

PTFE (Monofilament nylon and teflon) is a 100% safe flexible material that is becoming very popular for surface piercings and also for piercings where more flexibility is needed (the navel during pregnancy or for surgeries). It has a "non-stick" surface and can be used in initial piercings.

  • PTFE can be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water... no need to use alcohol or harsh chemicals.

Flexible plastic back to top ^

Flexible plastic is okay for temporary use. If you're looking for a permanent solution with flexibility you need to use PTFE as it's safer for piercings. Flexible plastic also comes in colors where PTFE only comes in white.

  • It can NOT be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water... no need to use alcohol or harsh chemicals.

Organic back to top ^

Organic jewelry is considered anything that comes from the natural environment such as wood, bone, buffalo horn, and natural stone.

  • Do not let wood, horn, or bone jewelry get wet. Do not wash it with soap and water.
  • For wood, horn, and bone jewelry lightly oil it with jajoba or olive oil about once a week to help keep it from cracking
  • You can use antibacterial soap and warm water to clean natural stone
  • Organic jewelry can NOT be sterilized

Pyrex glass back to top ^

Pyrex glass is a great alternative to steel or titanium and you can get all kinds of cool designs in it! It contains no nickel and is extremely sturdy. Pyrex is basically kiln annealed (heated) to make it as strong as it can be.

  • Pyrex jewelry CAN be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • Obviously, be careful not to drop it on the floor or on a hard surface. After all it STILL is glass!

Silicon back to top ^

Used from Kaos Softwear:
Implant grade silicon is entirely safe for body piercing use and is great for people with metal allergies or sensitivities. It's also a good substitute for acryllic, since it comes in a wide range of colors and won't react badly with your body.

  • Silicon jewelry CAN be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing

Niobium back to top ^

Niobium is an elemental metal (not man made) and is slightly heavier than 316L stainless steel. If you are allergic to stainless steel, niobium is a good alternative, but most people prefer titanium because it is much lighter and about the same price. Niobium is also the only metal that can be colored black through a heating process, and is still proven to be safe.

  • Solid niobium jewelry CAN be autoclaved
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing

Gold back to top ^

Only gold of at least 14k or higher is appropriate for body jewelry. 14k is the best as it is strong enough to maintain the threads for barbell etc. The higher grade of gold, the softer it gets. Lower grades than 14k could result in migration, rejection, or develop permanent reactions to gold.

  • Do not clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • Be gentle when screwing on balls as threads could easily strip
  • Over time gold can lose it's luster from being within the body. All you need to do is lightly buff it back to it's natural shine.

Sterling silver back to top ^

Silver should never be worn in new or unhealed piercings. It is safe to wear in healed piercings for short periods of time. Silver tarnishes quickly and when worn in a new piercing, the tarnish can be deposited into the skin causing it to darken or turn gray, sometimes permanently. Silver is very soft and is easily scratched. Scratches in the jewelry surface can easily irritate even a healed piercing and trap bacteria, encouraging infection.

  • Do not clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals
  • Simply wash with antibacterial soap and warm water before inserting into your piercing
  • Over time silver can tarnish (turn brown colored). All you need to do is lightly buff it back to it's natural shine.

PVD coated steel or titanium back to top ^

The process used to black-coat jewelry is called PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition). It is an outer coating over a base metal (titanium or steel). This jewelry is fine for autoclaving or steam sterilization treatments. We carry two types of black-coated jewelry:

  • One is from the #1 manufacturer which is made from a top of the line wear resistant thin film coating on solid G23 (6AL4V ELI ASTM F-136) implant grade titanium. If you are concerned about quality, buy titanium black-coated jewelry.
     
  • The other is a coating on standard 316L steel and is less expensive. If price is more important buy steel coated. Cheaper steel black-coated jewelry does risk fading or even possibly chipping over time. It should be for occasional wear only.
  • Do not use alcohol or harsh chemicals to clean jewelry. Just use standard antibacterial soap and warm water to clean jewelry.

 

 



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