Quality Body Jewelry vs. Junk Novelty Body Jewelry (For Hood or Bellybutton)

I received a message from a woma who wanted to put a "belly button ring" in her  vertical clitoral hood (VCH) piercing.

I just have a quick question. I got my VCH done back in the beginning of June. I was just wondering if it was safe to put a standard belly button ring in the VCH piercing, or does it require a completely different kind of ring? I was also wondering if it would be too soon to change it? It's been a very painless process and I was able to be sexually active a week after getting it pierced with no complications. Thanks for you time.

My reply:

J-Curves can be worn in VCH piercings and navel piercingsMuch body jewelry is made for both VCH and Navel piercing, like the J-curves shown above. The issues are size, quality, and appropriateness. Many navel bars have sharp edges that won't be safe or comfortable in a VCH. Also, there's a LOT of junk out there. This is jewelry I have available.

If
you need help with jewelry sizing, please send a clear, close-up photo or two of your existing jewelry in place but don't obscure the actual hole(s), and place a ruler or measuring tape right next to your piercing. Provide me with any information I should know (such as that it feels too short or long), and I'll do my best to assist you with selecting the optimal size.

The excerpts below are from my book, The Piercing Bible--The Definitive Guide to Safe Body Piercing:

Fashion and Novelty Jewelry

This inexpensive junk can be trendy or cute, but these pieces are machine-manufac- tured in massive quantities, and they are not hand-finished or inspected. Novelty jewelry is sold in discount stores, kiosks, and shops that do not perform piercings. Piercers selling it should be avoided because they either don’t know enough to steer clear of it or have fallen prey to the lure of the dollar. You generally get what you pay for where body jewelry is concerned. Don’t go for the cheap stuff: it isn’t worth the risk to your piercing and your health.

What to Look for in Quality Jewelry:

Finish and Polish
To be safe for healing, metal body jewelry must have a mirror finish—a high-shine,

super-smooth surface. Wearing body jewelry that has nicks, burrs, tooling marks, or scratches can cause severe complications. When jewelry has an uneven surface, the new cells that are formed during healing grow into the irregularities. Then, when the jewelry shifts or moves, these areas tear. As this cycle is repeated, scar tissue forms and healing is delayed. A faulty finish can also introduce bacteria into the wound and cause infection.


Internal and External ThreadingInternal and External Threads Photo

Most straight, curved, and circular barbells have ends that connect via the use of tiny screw threads. On internally threaded pieces, the part of the jewelry that passes through your skin is smooth, and the threads are on the removable end, such as the ball or spike. The end screws into a hole in the jewelry that has been drilled or tapped with the matching thread pattern, to receive it. This allows for the safe, comfortable passage of metal through your body when you take your jewelry in and out. According to the APP standards, body jewelry for initial piercings must have internal tapping (no threads on the posts) starting at 18 gauge.

Alternatively, externally threaded jewelry has the screw pattern cut into the post, and the ball or other end is tapped with a matching hole to receive it. This comparatively rough surface may be passed directly through the tissue to insert and remove the jew- elry. There are ways to put the threads inside a needle during piercing and special tapers that are sometimes used during jewelry changes. Without this safeguard, insert- ing this style can be like running a small metal file through your body if the channel is tight.

Internally threaded jewelry is more difficult to manufacture. Machining the screws tiny enough to fit inside a 16- or 14-gauge post (and tapping the post to receive them) is much more challenging than simply cutting screw threads into the jewelry post, as with the external threading style. Internally threaded jewelry therefore costs more, but it is usually worth the extra expense. Manufacturers who produce high-end internally threaded products are more likely than the bargain-basement guys to use implant- grade materials. Some companies do make quality pieces with external threads, which are fine for healed piercings that do not have tight channels; but, for initial piercings, internal style jewelry avoids any possibility of scraping your piercing with screw threads.

Buying Body Jewelry

What does all this really mean when it comes to buying body jewelry? You’ll buy most jewelry for initial piercings in a studio, often after a consultation with a piercer. Jewelry can also be purchased from reputable manufacturers via the Internet. Unless you are an experienced piercee, you should always confer with your piercer prior to ordering, because body jewelry can be expensive and is usually not returnable due to sanitation issues.