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Industrial Piercing Jewelry

This section covers the choice of jewelry which is best for Industrial Piercings. Industrial is a term used to describe a number of different piercings but the most common is two helix piercings crossing the the upper part of the ear at an angle. However it can be any two piercings connected by a barbell.

Jewelry Style:

There is two schools of thought when it comes to Industrial piercings. The first being to do the piercings with two different pieces of jewelry and then once the two are healed to put one barbell in connecting both. The other is to do the piercing with a single piece of jewelry. I've found that the later is the best choice and here is the advantages and Disadvantages of each option:

  • Pierced with a single needle and Barbell:
    • The Advantages:
    1. The piercings are not allowed to migrate out of alignment during healing.
    2. The piercing path is straight and in line without the margin of error that could take place with using two needles.
    • The Disadvantages:
    1. ​The jewelry is fixed and can add pressure that may prolong healing and increase migration.
    2. The needle dulls after the first piercing which may make the second piercing hurt more.
  • Pierced with two needles and pieces of jewelry:
    • The Advantages:
    1. Less stress on the piercing during the healing reducing migration and other problems during healing.
    2. Needle is sharp for both piercings.
    • The Disadvantages:
    1. Each piercing may shift or move during the healing.
    2. Increased likelihood of the two piercings being placed wrong or migrate to an angle that is not in alignment. 
    3. If the healed angle of the two piercing is not straight it could cause the two healed piercings to migrate, reject or have other problems when the barbell is put in.
    4. After the piercings are healed the barbell may need to be bent or adjusted to fit the angels of the piercings. If the jewelry is not adjusted it can cause a healed piercing to migrate, cause scarring or the ear to become deformed.
  • Jewelry that should be avoided during Healing:
    • Novelty jewelry that has sharp edges and points or has anything hanging from it. During healing the jewelry needs to be as simple as possible.
    • Ear Piercing Studs and other traditional jewelry:
      • ​The jewelry is often too short to allow for the thickness of piercing area. Which doesn't allow for swelling and can cause the jewelry to be impacted into the piercing. Also if the jewelry is too tight it can block both discharge and the flow of oxygen that can increase healing time and/or increase risk to infection or other problems.
      • The backs or locks are lose and can tighten with normal wear.
      • Often the jewelry material is not body friendly. Even those that are marketed to those with sensitivity to metal are only plated.
      • In most cases can not be sterilized correctly.

​Size of the Jewelry and Weight:

  • ​Gauge:

As a refresher gauge is the thickness of the wire that the jewelry is made out of. Body piercing jewelry generally starts at 18 gauge jewelry and goes up to 0000 gauge jewelry. The smaller the number the thicker the jewelry will be. As I'm sure you know, the thicker the jewelry is the more weight and thus the more stress on the piercing during the healing period. Also the thicker the jewelry the more tissue that needs to be produce and thus the longer the healing period. Though in most cases a 18 gauge piercing will heal out in about the same time as a 12 gauge piercing will.

When choosing the gauge of the jewelry, the jewelry needs to be thick enough to reduce rejection or migration and have resistance to tearing but light enough that it will not cause added stress during healing. Usually in this part of the consultation I ask the piercee what their plans are for the future. Industrial piecings will often not lend themselves will to stretching and I suggest that if the shape of the ear will allow for larger gauge jewelry and the piercee wants a larger gauge that the piercing is done at the gauge. 

When choosing the proper gauge for an industrial the first consideration has to be how thick both areas are and what gauge is going to reduce the likelihood of rejection and migration. it is my experience that the jewelry needs to be at least 14g to reduce the rejections, migration and tearing. With larger gauges, you have to consider that if there is not enough tissue to allow for the larger gauge, there will be an added risk of tearing, rejection and migration. The combination of the thinner tissue between the piercing and the surface with the added weight may not produce the best results.

  • Width:

The jewelry needs to be large enough to allow extra room for swelling, discharge and cleaning. Since Industrial piercings are done with a barbell which is restrictive, it's important that there is additional length. In most causes at least an additional 1/8 to 1/4 inch longer than the outside of the piercing area. Jewelry that it is too tight can cause the ear to be folded and deformed which will cause stress on the piercing. This will increase the risks to migration, scarring, prolonged healing and possible deforming the ear itself.

Even in a healed piercing you do not want to put jewelry in that has a tight to the piercing. The jewelry should be lose fitting and comfortable and not fold the ear or change the shape of the ear in any way. Even in a healed piercing it can cause migration, scarring and tearing of the piercings. 

In conclusion, nothing replaces the first hand knowledge of a professional piercer when it comes to choosing the correct jewelry. There is vast differences in shape and size and often what works for 99.99% of the public is not the best choice for you. The goal of this is to give you a working understand of jewelry selection, so that you can have an educated discussion with your piercer on what will work best. Every piercer  understands that one of the motivations of you getting the piercing is fashion but jewelry that will produce the best out come should always rule out fashion. Think of the jewelry that the piercing is done with as trainer jewelry that will be replaced with what you like after the piercing is healed. 

Choosing Jewelry Series