Basic body jewelry is a staple in body piercing. Most piercers have a healthy supply of different styles of body jewelry in the most commonly-needed sizes on hand at all times so they can do a wide variety of piercings at a moment's notice. What constitutes basic body jewelry? What type of basic body jewelry is used as starter jewelry for which piercings? We'll answer these questions and more in the paragraphs below.
Note: If you're interested in learning about the standard starting gauges for different types of piercings, check out our Typical Piercing Sizes article. To learn about the styles of basic body jewelry most often used in new piercings, read on!
What Is Basic Body Jewelry?
Basic body jewelry is the type of jewelry most commonly used as starter jewelry for new piercings. It typically isn't all that flashy, but it's solid and made of a good-quality material. That material is typically one that's highly unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in the piercee (i.e. surgical stainless steel, titanium or bioplast). Basic jewelry is in a certain shape that works with the anatomy of the area of the body being pierced. It's also extra large to allow for post-piercing swelling--in other words, it's extra long or has a wider diameter than what you'd probably like to wear in your new piercing, but it's necessary to leave room for swelling after you're first pierced. Finally, basic body jewelry is autoclavable, which is very important since any jewelry placed in a fresh piercing must be properly sterilized for the piercee's protection.
Types of Basic Body Jewelry Used as Starter Jewelry for New Piercings
Some piercings require a single, specific style of jewelry, while other piercings can accommodate multiple styles of jewelry. Regardless of whether the piercing you're getting will work with one type of jewelry or twenty, there's typically a single best style that should be used as the starter jewelry for a new piercing--i.e. a style that not only fits well with the part of the body being pierced, but that also is least likely to constrict the pierced area and hinder the healing process if post-piercing swelling occurs. Here's an example of good vs. potentially-bad jewelry for a brand new piercing:
What's the best style of jewelry for the new piercing you're about to get? It depends on the type of piercing, as we've illustrated in the starter jewelry chart below. Two or more recommended starter jewelry style options are listed only when all options are equally matched in terms of their unlikeliness to constrict a new piercing (assuming they're also the appropriate length or diameter for the person being pierced).
|Piercing Type||Best Starter Jewelry||Why This Style's Best for This Piercing|
|Ampallang Piercings||An ampallang piercing is a horizontal piercing through the head of the penis. Since it's a horizontal piercing, a straight barbell makes the best ampallang piercing starter jewelry. In some rare cases, a curved barbell or a D-ring may be used, but straight barbells are certifiably the best option for this piercing.|
|Apadravya Piercings||An apadravya piercing is a vertical piercing through the head of the penis. As with an ampallang piercing, a straight barbell is the ideal starter jewelry for an apadravya piercing. There really aren't any other practical options for this type of piercing.|
|Belly Button Piercings||A curved barbell--whether it be a plain bent barbell or a standard belly button ring--is the ideal starter jewelry for a belly button piercing. (The only difference between a bent barbell and a belly ring is that the bottom ball is usually bigger on a belly ring, whereas curved barbells normally come with 2 balls in the same size.) A captive bead ring can also be used, but it's second best to a curved barbell of any variety.|
|Bridge Piercings||Curved barbells/bent barbell are the best starter jewelry for bridge piercings, because they follow the natural curve of the nose. That means no undue pressure will be put on the healing fistula, which is important with surface piercings, since they have a high rejection rate and pressure against the piercing can trigger migration. Sometimes a straight barbell is better, depending on the shape of a person's nose. Listen to your piercer; s/he will make the best recommendation based on your anatomy.|
|Cartilage Piercings||Cartilage piercings usually don't swell much, so labrets make great starter jewelry. Captive bead rings and variations like segment rings are good starter jewelry for cartilage piercings, too, but a labret stud is less likely to get caught in a hair brush or something else. Cartilage piercings can stay tender for up to 6+ months; wearing lighter jewelry that's out of the way, like a labret stud, will help minimize soreness.|
|Cheek or Dimple Piercings||Cheek piercings can be tricky, because they can swell a lot at first. We carry special cheek jewelry that's kind of like a cross between a labret stud and a straight barbell. Cheek/dimple piercing barbells need to be long to account for swelling during the initial healing period. Once you're fully healed, you can switch to more close-fitting labrets. (Our UFO-back labret studs are extra comfortable as cheek/dimple piercing jewelry.)|
|Christina Piercings||There's a special Christina piercing barbell used for Christina piercings, that's basically an L-shaped surface barbell with one end sticking up at a 90-degree angle and the other, decorative end being inline with the barbell, but with the decorative part facing up/out. You can change the top on a Christina piercing bar later, but you shouldn't try to change the barbell yourself. Get your piercer to help you if you have a problem with your starter one..|
|Dermal Piercings||Dermal anchors come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some have small, solid round discs as their "feet", others have round discs with holes, and others yet have longer "feet" with multiple holes, like the one shown top-left. Sometimes the longer-footed anchors have two large holes, but the kind that "root" the best tend to be the ones shown here, with long "feet" and multiple smaller holes. Skin can grow up through and around them, firmly securing the anchor in place.
Depending on the location where you're having a dermal anchor placed (like on your face), one with a small round base (a.k.a. skin divers or skin anchors) may be your only option. The type used really depends on how fleshy the area where it's being placed is.
|Dydoe Piercings||Dydoe piercings go through the top ridge of the head of the penis. They're often done in pairs, with a bit of space in between. Usually, short, straight barbells are used as the starter jewelry for dydoe piercings.|
|Earlobe Piercings||Captive bead rings, or variations like segment rings and hinged rings, are ideal starter jewelry for earlobe piercings. No matter how much your earlobes swell after being pierced, a ring with a healthy diameter won't put any pressure on your new piercings. Stud earrings are fine later, but they're not ideal starter jewelry because they can put a lot of pressure on your healing fistulas. Studs that came out of a piercing gun are even worse, because they tear the skin on their way through. Have a professional piercer pierce your ears with a needle. Piercing guns are bad!|
|Eyebrow Piercings||Micro bent barbells make the best eyebrow rings from the start. Eyebrow piercings are surface piercings, which means they have a tendency to migrate out. If you start with a heavy-enough micro bent barbell, that's curved to fit against your brow, it will put less pressure on the healing fistula and minimize your chances of rejecting the piercing.|
|Frenum Piercings||Frenum piercings are placed horizontally across the underside of the penile shaft. They're called dorsal frenum piercings when placed on the top side. A Jacob's Ladder is a series of frenum piercings along the penile shaft. Straight barbells are the best starter jewelry for frenum piercings of any variety. Occasionally, a D-ring may be inserted if the frenum piercing is placed just below the head of the penis.|
A fourchette piercing is a type of female genital piercing that only select women with the right anatomy can get. You have to have an extra flap of skin at the rear rim of your vulva. If you have that, you can get this type of piercing that's basically the female equivalent of a guiche piercing. Usually small rings are used as the starter jewelry (captive rings, segment rings, or even circular barbells).
|Guiche Piercings||The shape of the guiche, which is the skin between a man's anus and the base of his scrotum, is best pierced with a D-ring or a captive ring. A bent barbell could work well in this area, too, if it was just long enough to straddle the width of the guiche area. That's not what's typically used as starter jewelry for guiche piercings, but it's an interesting alternative to consider. It would stay out of the way better than a ring and may facilitate healing--especially since this is a surface piercing and minimizing tension against the fistula could minimize migration.|
|Hafada or Scrotal Piercings||Piercings on the scrotum and pubic area are typically done with captive rings initially. In fact, you rarely see other styles of jewelry used even after a scrotum piercing has healed. Variations of captive rings, such as segment rings and seamless rings, may also be used.|
|Horizontal Clitoral Hood or HCH Piercings||Horizontal clitoral hood piercings (a.k.a. HCH piercings) go from left to right, through the clitoral hood, passing over-top of the clitoris itself. Captive bead rings are almost exclusively the only type of body jewelry used in HCH piercings, as starter jewelry and beyond.|
|Industrial Piercings||Industrial barbells, which are extra-long straight barbells, are typically used as industrial piercing jewelry from the start and beyond. However, since cartilage piercings can stay tender for so long, and since it's so easy to tangle your hair around or catch your hairbrush on an industrial barbell and generally keep it perpetually irritated, you may consider asking your piercer to insert labret studs or captive rings as your starter jewelry, but with the holes placed so that you can easily put an industrial barbell in later. You'll be more comfortable during the healing process.|
|Labia Piercings (Inner & Outer)||Inner labia piercings go through much more delicate flesh, so a very small, fine-gauge (~20g) captive bead ring or circular barbell will often be used as the starter jewelry. Outer labia piercings go through much thicker, sturdier flesh, so a heavier-gauge, larger-diameter captive ring or circular/horseshoe barbell will typically be used as starter jewelry for these piercings.|
|Lip Piercings||The 2 types of body jewelry most commonly-used as starter jewelry for lip piercings of all varieties are labret studs and captive bead rings. Circular barbell are also frequently used for lip piercings. All 3 styles are perfectly fine starter lip piercing jewelry (except for Monroe and Medusa lip piercings, which won't work with rings), so if you have a preference for one style over another, just tell your piercer. If you get a labret, it needs to be sufficiently long to account for swelling. Get a longer shaft if your jewelry begins pressing into your lip because of swelling.|
|Lip Web (Frenulum) Piercings (i.e. Frowney & Smiley Piercings)||More often than not, small-diameter/small-gauge horseshoe barbells are used as the starter jewelry for frowney and smiley piercings, which go through the very thin, delicate tissue connecting your lips to your gums. Sometimes a captive bead ring will be used as the starter jewelry for these piercings instead of a circular barbell--again, in a finer gauge (~20g).|
|Nipple Piercings||While you can wear straight barbells, captive rings, circular barbells. or even bent barbells in nipple piercings, straight barbells are the ideal starter jewelry. They put less downward pressure on nipple piercings than captive rings and circular barbells. Also, they're more out of the way and less likely to get caught on clothing when you're dressing. If you feel strongly about starting out with rings, that's fine; straight barbells are just a bit better. Once your nipples are fully healed, that's when you can contemplate nipple shields and other fancier nipple rings.|
|Nostril Piercings||Nostril piercings are best done with labret studs as the starter jewelry. Captive rings may also be used, but labrets are a superior option. Once you're healed, then you can look at nose bones, fishtails, nose screws, and other nose ring options.|
|Prince Albert Piercings||Captive bead rings and circular barbells are the most popular styles of starter jewelry for Prince Albert piercings (a.k.a. PA piercings) and Reverse PAs (where the piercing enters the urethra from the top side of the penis instead of the underside). The jewelry actually goes inside the urethra with this piercing, so it may cause some difficulty with urinating cleanly. Once you're well healed, you can consider trying a PA wand.|
|Princess Diana Piercings||A Princess Diana piercing is an alternative to a triangle piercing. The Princess Diana was invented for women who want the stimulation of a triangle piercing, but who don't have the anatomy for a triangle (a variation of an HCH piercing in which the jewelry goes through the clitoral hood, but under the clitoris instead of over it). With a Princess Diana, two VCH piercings are done along either side of the clitoral hood. Bent barbells are used for for this stimulating piercing.|
|Septum Piercings||Circular barbells are the most common type of starter jewelry for septum piercings. You can flip the ring up into your nose if you need to hide your piercing at work or in other situations. Later, once you're fully healed, you can try a septum retainer, a jeweled hinged ring, a septum tusk, or another type of septum jewelry.|
|Surface Piercings||There's really only one style of jewelry for surface piercings (excluding eyebrow, bridge, guiche, and the other surface piercings listed separately on this page): surface barbells. These are straight bars in varying lengths that come with ends bent at varying angles. You can get surface piercing barbells with 90-degree or 80-degree bends on either end. You can use just about any pretty dermal tops you want with your surface barbell. However, you should stick to simple designs, like flat discs, during the initial healing process. You'll be less likely to snag your jewelry and irritate your piercing.|
|Tongue Piercings||Tongue rings come with lots of different fun tops, like koosh tops, but when you first get pierced, you should be given a fairly simple long, straight barbell. Your tongue will most likely swell, so the barbell has to be much longer than you'd probably like. It may feel a little uncomfortable or awkward at first, but you'll get used to it, and within 6 weeks you can have your piercer swap it out for a shorter one that's more comfortable.|
|Tongue Frenulum Piercing||Captive bead rings and circular barbells are the most common types of starter jewelry for tongue web piercings, also known as tongue frenulum piercings. The tissue beneath the tongue, if it's sufficient enough to be pierced at all, will be very delicate, so a small, fine-gauge ring will be inserted initially (one that's ~20 gauge, typically).|
|Triangle Piercings||Triangle piercings are like deep HCH piercings, so the jewelry goes through the clitoral hood from left to right, but it passes underneath the clitoris instead of over-top as it would with an HCH. Not all women have the right anatomy for this type of piercing--which requires a captive bead ring or a circular barbell as its starter jewelry, just as with an HCH piercing. If you don't have the right anatomy for a triangle piercing, consider getting a Princess Diana piercing instead. It provides a similar degree of stimulation. You can read more about that option above.|
|Vertical Clitoral Hood or VCH Piercings||Bent barbells are the most common type of jewelry for vertical clitoral hood piercings (a.k.a. VCH piercings) initially and beyond. Sometimes captive rings are used, but most women prefer the look and feel of a bent barbell in a VCH piercing. If you don't have the right anatomy for this piercing (which your piercer will determine with a simple Q-tip test), then consider getting an HCH piercing with a captive bead ring instead.|
If you'd like to learn more about starter jewelry, like what gauges are most commonly used for which piercings and how to measure body jewelry, if you have questions about your new piercings, or if you're looking for tips on where to find the best basic body jewelry on our site, check out these helpful links:
- Learn about the most common gauges used for new piercings by reading our Typical Piercing Sizes article. (This article primarily discusses gauges of starter jewelry. Lengths and diameters are tailored to individuals' differing anatomies.)
- If you find some jewelry you like and want to know if it will fit you, or if you want to measure your current body jewelry to make sure you order new jewelry in the right size, our Measuring Body Jewelry article will help.
- Measuring organic body jewelry is a little different than measuring precision-machined body jewelry. To learn more on this subject, read our How to Measure Organic Body Jewelry article.
- If you read our How to Modify Your Belly Ring article and watch the videos embedded in it, you'll learn how to change threaded jewelry of any type. The tips on that page aren't just limited to belly rings.
- Learn about stretching your earlobes so you can wear the gorgeous large gauge earrings shown above and others like them by reading our Stretching the Size of Your Ears blog post and our FAQs About Ear Piercings article.
- If you're ready to start shopping for some starter jewelry for your next piercing, visit our new Basic Body Jewelry section.
- You can also visit our forum anytime to read about other people's piercing experiences, post questions about your own piercings, and connect with our online community members.
Happy piercing and shopping!