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How to Change Captive Bead Rings

illustrated collage of piercing pliers and captive bead rings
 

Captive bead rings, also known as captive ball rings or simply captive rings, are one of the most common types of body jewelry. They’re simple, stylish, highly customizable, and work for a wide variety of body piercings including earrings, lip rings, and nose rings. But if you’re new to body piercing or don’t have any captive bead jewelry yourself, it might be hard to picture how to set those captive beads free when you need to change your jewelry.

To change a captive bead ring you’ll need the correct body piercing tools. For this job, you’ll want three basic ones: a piercing ball grabber, ring opening pliers, and ring closing pliers. If you don’t plan on changing your captive bead jewelry very often and don’t want to invest in the tools, you can always ask your piercer for help. Otherwise, follow the steps below.
 

How To Remove Captive Bead Ring Jewelryillustrated ring closing plier icon on blue circular background

  1. Slide the ring opening pliers through the captive ring and squeeze the handles gently so that they rest snugly on the inside of the ring and hold it in place.
     
  2. While gripping the captive ring with the opening pliers, expand the teeth of the ball grabber tool with your other hand and use it to grip the captive ball. Squeeze the pliers a little more as you pull the ball grabber to release the captive ball. Be careful not to open your captive bead ring too far, as it could distort the jewelry.
     
  3. Check to make sure that the open segment is wide enough to remove the jewelry. If not, gently open the captive ring a little further with the opening pliers. Once it is open wide enough, carefully turn the ring so that the pierced skin passes through the open segment.
     

How To Install Captive Bead Ring Jewelryillustrated ring opening plier icon on blue circular background

  1. Open the captive bead ring using the method described in the first two steps above, making sure it’s open just wide enough. Set the ring opening pliers and the ball grabber aside.
     
  2. Press one end of the open captive ring to your piercing. Gently rotate the ring so that it passes through the piercing until the open segment is in the correct location for the bead.
     
  3. Place the captive ring in the grooves of the ring closing pliers and apply gentle pressure until the open segment in the ring is slightly smaller than the diameter of the captive bead. Set the ring closing pliers aside.
     
  4. Use the ball grabber tool to grip the captive bead with its indentations on either side. Hold the ring steady with your free hand and push the captive bead into the open segment of the ring. The captive bead should pop into place. If the open segment is too narrow, you can use the ring opening pliers to expand it slightly.
     

Captive Bead Ring Clickers

If the process above sounds like a lot of trouble, captive bead ring clickers are a simple alternative that offer the same look with less hassle. Clickers feature a hinged opening, so you’ll never need to remove the ball from your captive ring. We supply basic captive bead ring clickers in various anodized colors in both 14g and 16g.

As always, if you are unsure about how to change your jewelry, or if any part of the process is uncomfortable or painful, get help from your piercer. If you’re looking for new captive bead jewelry for your lip ring, eyebrow ring, earring, or nose ring, head over to our online store.