Body Jewelry Terms
If you're new to body jewelry, some of the terms can be a little confusing. Bananabell is actually pretty self-explanatory, but what about a Monroe? An industrial piercing? And what the heck is a tragus? Here are some common terms that you'll run into as you're exploring body piercing.
Anti-tragus - a piercing through the extruding part of the ear opposite the tragus - the usually triangular flap of cartilage closest to your cheek
Austin Bar - a bar piercing worn through the tip of the nose
Autoclave - a sterilizer that uses heat and pressure to sterilize instruments used for piercing
Bananabell - also known as a curved bar bell, a banana bell is a piece of jewelry consisting of a curved shaft tipped at both ends with a threaded ball to secure it. Banana bells are most often used in navel and brow piercing
Bar Bell - a straight shaft with a threaded ball at both ends that is meant to be inserted through a body piercing. Bar bells are used in most straight piercings.
Bar Closure Ring - similar to a captive bead ring, but closed with a straight bar of metal rather than with a bead. If the metal bar is curved to fit the curve of the ring, it is called a segment ring
Caliper - an instrument used to accurately measure jewelry gauge
Captive bead ring - is a curved, almost closed ring of metal that is closed by a bead or ball held in place by pressure. CBRs may be used in navel piercing, brow piercing, ear piercing and lip piercing among others. High quality rings have no gap between the ring and bead that could catch or injure skin
Chrome Crawford - is a labret piercing through the side above the upper lip, in honor of Cindy Crawford and her beauty spot
Circular bar bell (also called a horseshoe bar and a three quarter bar) is a bar bell with the shaft curved into a semi-circle close to the shape of a horseshoe
Conch piercing - the inner part of the ear that is shaped like a shell or a piercing designed to be worn through that area
Daith - a piercing through the flap of cartilage above the tragus, closest to the face
Dangles (danglies) - pieces of jewelry meant to be worn hanging from a bar, stud or ring in a body piercing
Dermal punch - an instrument used to remove a circular plug of skin, most commonly used by doctors to do skin biopsies. In piercing it can be used to instantly make larger piercings, typically in the ear
Earlobe - the soft, fleshy part of the ear with no cartilage
External threading - threading is the spiral grooving on which you can screw another piece. Externally threaded shafts on body jewelry can damage skin or piercings
Eyelet - a hollow cylinder that can be inserted into a stretched piercing to hold it open
Helix - the outer rim of cartilage along the edge of the ear
Hepatitis - a viral disease of the liver. Hepatitis is a blood borne disease that can be transmitted by body piercing done in un-sterile conditions
Industrial piercing - a set of piercings along the ear designed to hold a single piece of jewelry
Internal diameter - one of the measurements for body jewelry. The internal diameter is the distance between the internal surfaces of a ring. In a curved barbell, it is the shortest distance between the ball ends of the jewelry. The internal diameter is important when fitting a piece of jewelry to a piercing. If it is too small, the jewelry will put pressure on the piercing
Internal threading - threading that is concealed inside the shaft on a piece of jewelry. It prevents injury to new piercings from the sharp edges of the threads.
Keloid - scar tissue built up around piercing openings, most common among darker skinned people
Labret - a piece of jewelry inserted through the lower lip, originally. Now the term applies to most types of jewelry consisting of a straight shaft with a flat disk on one end and a ball at the other. The disk is used to avoid injuring soft mouth tissues, as labret jewelry is most often used in oral piercing
Madonna - a labret piercing through the side of the upper lip
Migration - the movement of piercing jewelry out from its original position as a piercing heals. Sometimes the jewelry is pushed out of the skin completely.
Monroe - also called a Madonna or a Chrome Crawford, a piercing just above the upper lip to one side
Navel - belly button - the most popular body piercing after ear lobes
Nickel - a metal used in stainless steel
Niobium - a chemically inert metal that is suitable for use in piercing jewelry
Oral piercing - includes any facial piercing which enters the mouth: cheek, chin, labret, lip, tongue
Outie - a belly button in which the center pokes out from the stomach. Outies may be an indication of an umbilical hernia which is a complete contraindication to a navel piercing.
Parking - the way that jewelry will often travel in a piercing to lie in its most comfortable position. Navel piercings often park to one side because of clothing pressing against them
Piercing gun - a device used to pierce ear lobes that should not ever be used on any other part of the body
Piercing needle - a hollow needle that is used to do body piercing
PTFE - more commonly known by its brand name, Teflon, is used for jewelry when metal is not desired. PTFE body jewelry is flexible and moves with the body and is sometimes recommended as an alternative to metal for navel piercings during pregnancy
Retainer - a piece of jewelry, often made of clear acrylic, designed to be worn in a piercing to keep it open without calling attention to it
Ring opening (closing) pliers - are used to open and close jewelry rings without damage to the metal
Rook - a piercing through the anti-helix, the ridge of cartilage opposite the curved rim of the ear
Septum - the piece of cartilage in the nose at the center of the upper lip, that separates the nostrils from each other
Sleeper - a piece of jewelry designed to be worn through a piercing to hold it open
Spore testing - a method to test the effectiveness of a sterilizer. Spore tests should be run regularly
Stainless steel, surgical stainless steel - alloys of iron with other metals, including nickel. The only surgical grade stainless steel that should be used for piercing is ASTM 316LVM F138-97, which releases very little nickel in contact with skin
Taper - a piece of jewelry that gradually increases from one gauge to another, meant to be used when it is desired to widen a piercing
Titanium - a white, inert metal that is often used in surgical implants. Suitable for piercing jewelry
Tongue barbell - is specially designed to reduce the risk of aspiration when it is worn in the tongue. The top ball and shaft of the barbell are one piece and the bottom ball is fitted against the underside of the tongue
Tongue rim piercing - a piercing along the outer edge of the tongue, usually done with rings
Tragus - the triangular flap of cartilage of your ear closest to your face. To find your tragus, put your finger in your ear with your hand facing forward. You should be able to grip the tragus between your thumb and finger now.
Web piercing - a piercing through a web of skin. The most commonly pierced web is the web between thumb and forefinger.