What type of metal do you recommend for piercings? Is surgical steel fine?
Surgical steel is very loose term that doesn’t tell us much about the metal. It doesn’t designate any kind of proof that it is safe for long term wear in the body.
For initial body piercings, jewelry that is either internally threaded or threadless with a proper surface finish should be made of the following materials:
Surgical Steel is made of a variety of alloys. Many of them are used for body jewelry, but only a few specific grades are proven biocompatible: steel that is ASTM F138 compliant or ISO 5832-1 compliant; ISO 10993-(6,10, or 11) compliant. [Note: The EEC Nickel Directive is a regulation that requires a low rate of nickel release for all materials used for costume or fine jewelry, belt buckles, watches, or other metallic accessories with direct skin contact. It does not specify nor prove that a material is safe to wear in the body; therefore, compliance with this directive alone is not sufficient for meeting the APP initial jewelry standards.]
Titanium is a lightweight metal that is ideal for people with concerns about nickel sensitivity. This material can be anodized to create jewelry of different colors without affecting the safety. Look for implant certified titanium (Ti6Al4V ELI) that is ASTM F136 compliant or ISO 5832-3 compliant, or commercially pure titanium that is ASTM F67 compliant.
Niobium has been widely used by piercers with good results for many years. It is very similar to titanium, but does not have an implant-grade designation. Like titanium, niobium can be anodized to produce different colors. (And, unlike titanium, it can be heat treated black.) Anodized niobium and titanium may fade due to body chemistry or when worn in friction-prone areas, but this is not harmful.
Gold (yellow or white) is appropriate for initial piercings if it is 14k or higher, nickel-free, and alloyed for biocompatibility. Gold higher than 18k is too soft for body jewelry because it can easily be scratched or nicked. Gold plated, gold-filled, or gold overlay/vermeil jewelry is not acceptable for fresh piercings. All of these involve coating a base metal with a layer of gold. The gold surface (which is very thin—measured in millionths of an inch) can wear or chip off.
Platinum is a heavy precious metal that is extremely inert and excellent for wear in body piercings. However, body jewelry in this material is rare and very expensive due to the high cost of the material and greater difficulty in manufacturing jewelry from it.
Glass—Fused quartz glass, lead-free borosilicate, and lead-free soda-lime glass are inert and considered safe for initial piercings. They can also be sterilized in an autoclave.
Hello, lovely followers! I just wanted to update you all on my post-trip and fall plans:
We just arrived back in Denver after driving across the country from MA, very tired and sore, but otherwise alright and with a new car!
During our time in Boston, I was able to meet up with an old friend/roommate who makes amazing chainmaille art (amongst many other awesome skills). She gave me some intro lessons on various jewelry-working techniques, which I hope to experiment further with and put into practice over the coming months. Who’s ready for anodized niobium elf ears?!
This fall I will be focusing on collabs with local artists; if you are a photographer, model, MUA, stylist, etc living in the Denver area (or close enough to visit) and would like to collaborate on some fantasy shoots (renaissance/medieval, elven, mermaid, gothic/dark, vampire, to name a few theme ideas), don’t hesitate to get in touch!
P.S. To follow up on the new techniques part: these will require a number of new tools and possible an upgrade to my jewelry working area. In order to do this without dipping too far into my savings, I will need to raise a little bit of extra funds. I’m thinking more flash sales? What do you wonderful people think? What would you like to see as part of my fundraising efforts?
Amanda stopped in today to pick up some bronze anodized niobium rings for her septum, and Diablo Organics for her ears, so I took the opportunity to snag some photos of her double bridge and paired upper lip piercings I did a few years back.