Jewellery materials and policies:
- We perform new piercings with jewellery which meets ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International specifications for implant materials.
- We do not accept returns, exchanges, or trades on any jewellery once it has been purchased.
- We will replace defective items purchased from us.
- We can take requests for custom jewellery designs. Special orders require a minimum 50% down payment.
Please check the "Terms and Conditions" tab for details on our returns and replacements policies.
How do I know if my body jewellery is safe?
Our jewellery for use in new piercings meets ASTM and/or FDA designations for surgical implant grade materials. Documentation of independent lab biocompatibility testing is available to assure you that your jewellery is safe for prolonged wear in the human body.
Our jewellery designs are carefully chosen for both comfortable wear and safety. The quality of the jewellery is evident on inspection, as shown in the following examples:
Captive bead rings compared:
This first ring is an example of a common type of flaw from many companies. The ends of the ring are uneven and the ball does not fit appropriately. Notice the large gap between the ball and ring. If the gap in this type of ring were to shift into a piercing the ends can pinch or otherwise cause discomfort to the wearer. The large gap will harbour dead skin and bacteria, increasing infection risk.
This captive ring is a stock item from our studio. Notice how the ball and ring fit smoothly without significant gaps. The ring is round and the ends smooth and uniform. This piece meets the ASTM standard for implant titanium [F-67] and was received with a mill certificate for the material in each size, including the matching certificate for the bead. This has proven an ideal piece for long term wear in a healed piercing.
Internally threaded vs Externally threaded body jewellery:
This is an example of an externally threaded barbell. Notice the sharpness of the threads which will certainly damage the tissue upon insertion or removal of the jewellery. Material content for the piece is unknown, and balls are ill fitted allowing for a gap between post and ball. Such gaps can harbour bacteria.
This barbell is an example from our studio. Note that the post itself is not threaded. This is an example of an internally threaded bar. The threads are on the ball instead of the post. This allows for comfortable insertion without damage to tissue. Also note that the bar contains no gap between post and ball.
The majority of jewellery on the body piercing market does not adhere to implant standards, leaving you to guess whether your shiny stuff is toxic to wear in your body. Tolerance to a material (no signs of adverse allergic reactions) can be misleading. An example of this is the fact that most gold regardless of alloy, is not scientifically proven as an implant material.
The standards for costume and fine jewellery do not address the necessary chemistry for safe wear inside the body. Most of what is known only applies to superficial skin reactions.
Why not Acrylic?
Acrylic is rated as slightly toxic on the required Material Safety Data Sheet.
Acrylic contains chemicals that are known to cause cancer.
Acrylic cracks and crazes (forms a network of tiny fissures) and becomes porous.
Acrylic has not been proven safe to wear for any extended period of time, especially in the mouth, mucous membrane, or genitals.
The main problem with acrylic is that body temperature causes it to degrade and release monomer vapours, which are as toxic as carbon monoxide. Ethyl acetate in particular is a carcinogen. The ethyl acetate and methylmethacrylate monomers are the biggest problem with clear and or colored (Plexiglas© or Lucite© methylmethacrylate) acrylic resin jewellery. Even somewhat below body temperature they are constantly released into the body. These chemicals are slightly toxic and known to cause damage to living tissue, as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer in that area.
This risk is easily avoided, and worthwhile for healthy piercings. Most plastic melts in an autoclave, so you cannot safely sterilise it for wear in the first place. If chemical germicide [Wavicide, Madacide, and others] is used to attempt to clean the plastic, it can bond to the material and poison you. Hydrogen peroxide/peracetic acid solutions have come along to accomplish low temperature sterilisation in as quickly as three hours to a new pre-cleaned piece [Compliance, Sporox].
Implantable plastics may be used in a piercing instead of acrylic. Polymers of polycarbonate, PTFE (Teflon©) and PMMA and elastomers such as silicone, are among many plastics used in human implants covered by ASTM.
Why not surgical implant steel?
Steel should only be considered for short term wear in fully healed piercings only. Nickel (13 to15% by volume) is dissolved in the F138 alloy to make it non-magnetic and resistant to corrosion. This alloy is supposed to trap nickel and other irritants under a layer of chrome (chromium oxide, which is susceptible to corrosion by chlorine, such as the salt in perspiration) where it releases allergens and toxins very slowly. As ions of the metal diffuse into skin, the tissue reacts to protect itself and granulates thick scar tissue around the offending item to wall it off, like a splinter.
Use of materials that contain nickel in human implants has been found as the culprit behind harm such as discolouration, soft tissue damage and excess scar tissue from it leaching into the contacted area and into deeper tissue.
In body jewellery wear, steel can be seen to cause thickened scar tissue, which contributes to loss of sensation in the scar area in addition to direct damage to local nerve endings.
Current uses of the steel commonly advertised as "implant grade" for body jewellery in medical devices in contact with broken skin is primarily limited to temporary devices such as surgical staples, wires and other fixation hardware and can not be used for any implant or initial piercing purpose in Europe.
Most of "surgical" steel is labelled as such for marketing purposes, as the material was intended to be used for instruments such as scalpels, forceps and retractors.
Misdirection exists in regards steel alloys, considering that they are numerous, e.g., Cobalt chrome alloy steel has been used in permanent surgical implants, and may be tolerated by the body with below 0.05% detectable nickel but has other irritant properties and toxicity.
Allergic reaction to chemicals in steel alloys, such as nickel are as common as 1 in 10 individuals, and can lead to mild to severe contact dermatitis and infection, since it has not been proven harmless to your soft tissue and bone.
Most such materials will keep a piercing in an unhealthy state, the skin more permeable at the contact surface, increasing your risk of damage and infection. Abscess, yeast and fungal infections are commonly reported at the site of piercings in clinical literature, and this may be related to excessive moisture in the opening. The primary clinical microbiology behind common infections related to body piercing should be determined. For the time being, the closest comparison can be made with the organisms related to infection of sutures and surgical staples.
Body jewellery should meet the same standards intended for human implant, which are sensible, applicable and achievable. These standards were developed to ensure safety for insertion of objects into the human body in contact with broken or intact skin, soft tissue and bone.
Most common body jewellery does not even come close to the most applicable specific standards for chemistry and surface finish. Many of the jewellery making traditions and materials that apply to a necklace or wedding band that are attractive on the outside of your body are not adequate or appropriate for items that are put inside your body, whether in a healed or fresh piercing.
Thanks to Brian Skellie for this important information.
Please check out his website - www.piercing.org