Any foreign object in the body has the potential to cause a reaction and if your body piercing jewellery is not manufactured from the appropriate bio-compatible material then you may be in for serious trouble. Wherever you buy your jewellery from, make sure you ask plenty of questions as to its content and quality. If you do not get adequate answers don’t take the risk with your body.
At Primitve Origins we are very particular about what we will and will not perform a piercing with. We will never put anything into your body that we are not 100% sure of. There are plenty places around selling unsuitable jewellery and passing it off as surgical steel. When I see someone come into our studio with a blackened ring with rough/sharp edges and a sore piercing I know immediately that they have been the victim of one of these unscrupulous traders. To help you find your way around the minefield of suitable materials here is some information on the different options available.
EEC compliant Surgical Steel
One of the mainstays of the piercing world, it is considered to be implantation grade by the medical community and is safe for primary insertion i.e. into a new piercing. It is not Nickel free, however the Nickel is so tightly bonded into the metal’s structure that it cannot be released in sufficient quantities to provoke a reaction in Nickel sensitive individuals. New EEC regulations have been put in place recently concerning the Nickel content and Nickel release amounts for body piercing jewellery. All our surgical steel jewellery now complies with both parts of the Nickel directive meaning it is safe for both new and healed piercings.
Light weight, strong and safe this is another material that comes highly recommended for body piercing. However make sure your piercer is using Ti 6Al4V (6% Aluminium 4% Vanadium)grade as this is the only one suitable for insertion into the body. This metal has the added advantage of being available in a range of colours, produced by the anodising process. These colours are not paints or dyes. They are tricks of the light as it reflects, refracts and interferes within the surface layer just like the rainbows you see in a bubble film or oily layer on water.
Similar to Titanium in that it can be coloured, this is also a biocompatible material that we are happy to install in a fresh piercing.
An alternative to metal is plastic which has its own advantages. It is completely inert, flexible and has a coefficient of friction less than ice (i.e. very slippy and hence easy on the piercing). This really comes into it’s own for surface piercings which have a much higher success rate when done with PTFE as the jewellery can move with the body rather than sitting uncomfortably within it.
Many people labour under the misapprehension that Gold is pure and the best material for piercing with. This is probably a throw back to ear piercing studs which tended to be either stainless steel or silver as alternatives and gold is better than both of these options. However, when compared to the advanced biocompatible alloys available for body piercing today Gold features quite low down on the list of suitable materials.
Firstly it is not pure unless it is 24ct and this is too soft to be of any use. Secondly the impurities contained within it include copper, silver and Nickel in varying amounts. These are not tightly bonded to the gold and 9ct gold will tarnish very quickly in a body piercing and possibly cause a reaction to the impurities present in it.Even 18ct gold can tarnish in certain environments (eg oral and genital piercings). If you really want gold in your piercing it will need to be solid 14 or 18ct and the price of this is quite high, especially when you consider that it is still not as good as surgical steel. For a new breakthrough in Gold body piercing jewellery technology, check out the last section of this page on advanced piercing materials.
This is not an option for a new piercing. Small pieces of the plating can rub or flake off in the high friction environment of a piercing and these will then heal up inside the body. The gold plated jewellery we do sell is only for insertion into a healed piercing and is 24ct gold on surgical steel jewellery. This is available on our entire range of surgical steel products but it may have to be made to order as we don’t keep it all in stock.