Body jewelry shopping for the holidays?
Piercing studios see an increase in body jewelry sales around the time of gift giving holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s day. Of course professional piercings studios sell jewelry everyday, but in this article we’re referring specifically to the body jewelry one person buys as a gift for someone else. There are some special considerations to be aware of if this person is you and we want to help you make sound decisions before giving a loved one jewelry that may not be the perfect gift you thought it would be.
What is body jewelry?
Simply put, jewelry worn in piercings is jewelry with a portion worn inside the body. In contrast, traditional jewelry is worn on the outside of the body. A necklace is worn outside the neck, but an earring is in fact worn inside the ear. The jewelry worn in piercings should be considered a separate type of product than the traditional jewelry you’re likely familiar with. Watches, bracelets, rings on fingers, necklaces, and even standard earrings are usually easy to remove and change as desired. Body jewelry, however, is generally considered to be semi-permanent, meaning it’s often worn for long periods of time.
This doesn’t mean it can’t be changed often, but removing and replacing body jewelry is sometimes difficult enough that people visit a professional piercer to provide this service. Sometimes instruments are necessary to remove and install body jewelry and a precise understanding of how specific pieces assemble and un-assemble is critical to preserve the health of the piercing and the integrity of the jewelry. Also, people are often wearing multiple piercings with specific jewelry intended to create a particular aesthetic. Changing jewelry would likely mean changing multiple pieces, which may be an inconvenience when done at home.
What makes body jewelry different than other types of jewelry?
Another difference is that body jewelry (with some exceptions) is often multiple components. A single component by itself isn’t a complete piece of jewelry. For example, a gem that might be perfect for a nose piercing can’t be worn without the backing. Likewise, a backing can’t be worn in an ear piercing without a gem (or other decorative end) attached to the front.
Who wears body jewelry?
Today, the range of people that wear body piercings, other than standard ear lobes, is so diverse that it seems impossible to squeeze piercing clients into a box. Remember that many people wear body jewelry in piercings that can’t be scene so easily. Belly button piercings, for example, are very common but not usually visible under normal circumstances. Even hair may conceal beautiful jewelry sitting inside well placed and well healed ear piercings on many of the people you may interact with.
Where to buy body jewelry?
Where someone buys their body jewelry communicates a lot about the value they place on what they wear in their piercings. To many professional body piercers, jewelry purchased from most online sources like Etsy and Amazon, clothing stores, convenience stores, kiosks, and even most tattoo studios is often referred to as being made with “mystery metal” and reflects the low quality associated with jewelry purchased from those sources.
Body jewelry made with quality in mind is manufactured with very specific materials and other specific details. When a piercing is new and/or still healing, safety should be a consideration and jewelry quality is one of the first factors we consider important. Manufacturers of quality jewelry provide certificates for the materials used in their facilities which indicates the use of implant standard metals. When shopping for body jewelry nothing equals entering a professional piercing studio and meeting a trained salesperson capable of asking the right questions about your needs.
How is jewelry sold?
Most sales of body piercing jewelry include the purchase of two independent components, such as a gem and a backing, or a ring that may have an attached gem. But, for a well healed piercing, on someone wearing jewelry that already fits well, only the decorative piece may be desired. Remember, body jewelry is often individual components sold separately, and assembled to create a complete piece of jewelry. Sometimes, sellers of generic jewelry offer bundles with multiple components or complete pieces, like six in a package for example. Jewelry like this, especially sold online, is often a one-size-fits-all deal. Please use caution when considering buying holiday body jewelry in this way. Not only are the materials likely to be very low quality, but the jewelry isn’t likely to be a perfect fit or style.
What questions will a salesperson ask?
If you haven’t figured out by now, the purchase of body jewelry can be a process, not necessarily complicated, but selling high quality body jewelry that costs more than its low-end counterpart necessitates that the customer leaves with jewelry that will fit well and be suitable for long term wear. To achieve this a trained sales person will ask a customer very specific questions such as:
- the age of the piercing
- preferred jewelry designer
- material preference
- length or diameter
- how often the jewelry is changed
- and any relevant questions about the jewelry’s decorative features
If you’re purchasing body piercing jewelry for another person and can’t answer these questions you’re increasing the likelihood of buying something that won’t be enjoyed. Buying body jewelry is similar to buying shoes, there are several factors considered in selecting the best shoe for a specific purpose and buying piercing jewelry is the same.
What about quality?
We’ve made it clear that body jewelry can be divided into that which is considered high quality and that which is low quality. Some people are simply not interested in spending the money necessary for upscale jewelry, and for others, its elegant look isn’t appealing. If lower quality jewelry doesn’t irritate their piercings they’re certainly going to be happy with low cost products.
Piercing clients who do their shopping for jewelry in professional piercing studios generally have more sophisticated goals for their piercings and an elevated fashion sense. For these jewelry shoppers, quality is a priority. Learn more about jewelry quality here.
What to avoid?
Knowing what to avoid when holiday shopping for body jewelry starts with knowing what you’re needs are. If you’re shopping for a person that you already know buys body jewelry online or at the Point of Sale display at their favorite clothing store, avoid professional piercing studios with well stocked showrooms full of name brand designers, unless you’re confident they’ll appreciate the fancy stuff.
However, if the person you’re shopping for prefers finer things and has a well established style, avoid stores that aren’t specific to body piercing. We also suggest that you avoid making any jewelry purchases without being able to answer the questions mentioned previously. Use caution when purchasing jewelry from stores with jewelry in sealed packaging on racks, jewelry with plastic components, and anything with the meaningless term “surgical steel.”
How is jewelry priced?
Jewelry prices are determined by the materials, designer, and other specific features. You can certainly buy jewelry for a nose piercing for as little as just a few dollars, but this will come with the risks associated with low quality construction like plastic “gems” that may come unglued and fall off after only a short time. A similar looking piece of jewelry for the nose from a high end jewelry designer with Swarovski crystals may cost $50 or more. Once you upgrade to gold or genuine stones the price will increase accordingly. Remember, many body jewelry styles are made from individual components and it’s possible to purchase individual parts (if that’s all the recipient needs.)
Before committing to any purchase in a studio, even a gift card, make sure you know what the studio’s policies are. Some studios don’t offer any services to minors at all, while some may offer only limited services to minors, and there may be strict ID requirements too. There are even some piercing services that studios don’t provide, even for adults. If you walk into the showroom of a professional body piercing studio, please let the staff know the specifics of who and what you’re shopping for.
Also, make sure you clearly understand the return and exchange policies. Every year during the winter holidays and again around Valentine’s day people think they’re making a nice purchase of body jewelry for a loved one, sometimes against the recommendation of the sales staff. Once the gift is given, and the recipient doesn’t want it, for any number of reasons, the jewelry likely can’t be returned or exchanged. This could have been avoided, and is always disappointing.
Unless the studio has policies preventing them from fulfilling the requests of the recipient, a gift certificate is the absolute best way to give the gift of body piercing during the holidays. with a gift card you’re able to give something tangible for them to open, but this also allows a studio’s staff to contribute to the decision making process when they arrive to redeem the gift card, which helps your loved one feel great about what they’re wearing. You’re also supporting a small business and shopping locally. New Flower Studio in Long Beach, California would love to see you in person during this holiday shopping season. Happy Holidays and happy New Year!