Body Jewelry Materials and How to Care for Them

For All Body Jewelry

  • First and foremost, take care when handling your jewelry. 
  • Jewelry made of glass or any natural, organic material is easily broken, so rule number one is don’t drop it.  Handle with care.
  • Examine your jewelry before opening to make sure you want to keep it.  Opened jewelry cannot be returned.
  • It's tempting to tear the sealed bag open.  Don't do it!  CUT open, don't tear, our clear sealed bags.  You will avoid breaking fragile items or dropping (and losing) your jewelry. 
  • When handling your jewelry, get in the habit of putting a towel on your bathroom counter and closing the sink drain. You will avoid breakage and/or loss.   

316L Stainless Steel

  • 316L stainless steel is a very popular choice in body jewelry. It can be used for new piercings, although 316LVM is preferable.
  • The cost is lower than other materials.
  • There is a better grade (316LVM, see below) but 316L costs less.  For most people, and for those without metal sensitivities, this grade of steel works just fine.
  • Solid stainless steel jewelry can be autoclaved.
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 
  • If the stainless steel jewelry also has acrylic or gems, DO NOT autoclave.  Do not use alcohol or harsh chemicals to clean it. It will ruin the acrylic and glued gems will not hold in place.  

316LVM ASTM F-138 Implant Grade Stainless Steel

  • 316LVM is a higher grade of stainless steel than 316L.  It is processed through a vacuum and melted.  The low carbon vacuum melt (LVM) creates a shiny, smooth finish and less chance of minor alloy inclusions, which can cause irritation.  If you are at all sensitive to nickel, 316LVM is a better choice than 316L.
  • Solid steel jewelry can be autoclaved, as long as there is no acrylic and no glued gems.  Bezel-set and prong-set gems are fine. The key is, no glue.  This is generally not a problem with 316LVM items as they are typically of higher quality than 316L.
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

Titanium

  • Titanium contains no nickel, so it is a great choice for people with metal sensitivities.  It very light weight, about half that of stainless steel.  
  • Titanium's natural state is high polish which looks like stainless steel.  It is corrosion resistant, and can also be anodized in a wide range of colors (except red and black). 
  • Titanium comes in different grades just like steel.  Grade 23 (6AL4V ELI F-136) implant grade is the highest grade.
  • Anodized titanium does fade over time but presents no danger to you or your piercing. In oral piercings, the color can fade faster.  An experienced person can re-anodize titanium under certain circumstances.
  • Titanium jewelry can be autoclaved (if there is no acrylic and no glued gems).
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 
  • Do not use alcohol or harsh cleansers on your jewelry.

Niobium

  • Niobium is an inert, elemental metal making it hypoallergenic.   It's malleable, has low toxicity, and is corrosion resistant.
  • Niobium can also be anodized in a wide range of colors (including red and black).
  • Like titanium, niobium is a good alternative for people with metal and nickel sensitivities.  It is closer in weight to stainless steel, but is lower in cost than titanium.
  • Niobium jewelry can be autoclaved (if there is no acrylic and no glued gems).
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

Silicone

  • Silicone is a wonderful, pliable material. Implant grade silicone, such as used in all Kaos Softwear items, is best. 
  • Do not use silicone in new piercings, or for stretching a piercing.  Use silicone body jewelry only in fully healed piercings
  • Silicone is great for people with metal sensitivities.
  • It is lightweight, comfortable to sleep in, while wearing headphones or ear buds, or while wearing helmets or protective head gear.  Since it is flexible, silicone is also a safe option for sports or any physical activity.
  • It’s not recommended to wear silicone in swimming pools or spas, due to the chemicals.   
  • Silicone is great during cold weather because it stays close to your body temperature.  If you've ever worn stainless steel plugs in freezing weather, try silicone instead and literally save yourself the headache!
  • Silicone jewelry can be autoclaved. 
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

Acrylic

  • Acrylic jewelry is light weight and great for healed piercings *only*. Acrylic should not be used in new or unhealed piercings. It should also not be used in newly stretched piercings. Be aware that this acrylic when worn in tongue piercings can emit toxins from the plastic. For tongue piercings, dental acrylic is recommended.
  • Acrylic can be fragile and easily cracked.  Don't apply pressure when you are inserting your jewelry.
  • Do not leave in heat or direct sunlight.
  • Do not clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals.  It will crack the acrylic.
  • Don't overtighten acrylic ends.  They can crack or the threading can be stripped.
  • Acrylic cannot be autoclaved.
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

Gold

  • Only 14k or 18k gold is appropriate for body jewelry (10K is too impure and 24K is too soft).
  • 14k is the best as it is strong enough to maintain the threads for barbell etc. The higher grade of gold, the softer it gets. Lower grades than 14k could result in migration, rejection, or develop permanent reactions to gold.
  • Yellow, White, or Rose Gold that is 14k or higher and nickel-free is suitable for initial piercings. 
  • Do not clean with alcohol or other harsh chemicals
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 
  • Restore the glow of gold with a light buffing.  

Gold plated steel

  • Gold plated surgical steel body jewelry is a cost effective way to own beautiful gold piercing jewelry.  It is not solid gold, but 18k gold plated onto surgical steel.
  • Gold-plated steel is achieved by electroplating a thin layer of real gold onto steel. This produces a hard-wearing, high quality gold finish. Because pure gold is a relatively soft metal, it is combined with other metals before electroplating to improve its durability. 
  • Can be yellow gold or rose gold.
  • Gold plated jewelry is for healed piercings only.  Do not use for stretching. 
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

Wood (all types)

  • Wash with mild soapy water.  Do not soak.  Dry immediately.
  • To prevent your wood jewelry from drying out or cracking, or just to make it nice and shiny, we suggest using a bit of jojoba oil every week. 
  • Do not wear in water or during sports.  It is recommended you remove your jewelry for sleeping.
  • Keep away from heat and sunlight to avoid fading and cracking due to drying out the wood.
  • Wood jewelry is for healed piercings only.  Do not use for stretching. 
  • Wood jewelry cannot be autoclaved. 
  • A bit of info about wood:
    • Wood body jewelry is a great vegan alternative to horn and bone.   
    • There are many wood types to choose from… light to dark, reddish, and just about everything in between. 
    • Wood can darken over time with exposure to natural oils from hair and skin.  
    • As with all jewelry made of natural organic materials, wood body jewelry is both delicate and hand-carved.  
    • Bloodwood can cause sensitivities in some people.
  • Due to the nature of wood  as a natural material and because our designs are all hand-carved, there may be slight variations in color, size, and design from what is pictured on our website, but the pair should be well matched.  The gauge may measure +/- 0.5mm from the stated gauge.

Stone

  • Stone is surprisingly fragile.  Don’t drop your stone jewelry, or it WILL break. 
  • Wash with warm soapy water.  Do not soak.  Dry immediately.
  • To keep your stone jewelry nice and shiny, you can use a bit of jojoba oil if you like.
  • Do not wear in water (to avoid loss) or during sports (to avoid injury).  It is recommended you remove your jewelry for sleeping.
  • Stone jewelry is for healed piercings only.  Do not use for stretching.
  • Stone jewelry cannot be autoclaved. 
  • Due to the nature of stone  as a natural material and because our designs are all hand-carved, there may be slight variations in color, size, and design from what is pictured on our website, but the pair should be well matched.  The gauge may measure +/- 0.5mm from the stated gauge. 

Bone and Horn

  • Wash with mild soapy water.  Do not soak.  Dry immediately.
  • To prevent your organic jewelry from drying out or cracking, or just to make it nice and shiny, we suggest using a bit of jojoba oil every week. 
  • Do not wear in water or during sports.  It is recommended you remove your jewelry for sleeping.
  • Keep away from heat and sunlight.
  • Organic jewelry is for healed piercings only.  Do not use for stretching.
  • Organic jewelry cannot be autoclaved. 
  • A bit of info about these materials: 
    • Horn is collected from various islands of Indonesia: Sumba, Sumbawa, Java, Sumatra, Lombok, and Suluwesi.  It is primarily black in color.  Variations of color include golden, red, tortoise-color, and occasional white "shocks", streaks, and opalized effects.  The water buffalo is a member of the bovine family.  It has a fairly short lifespan.  The water buffalos' lives are not taken in pursuit of the horn. In this region of the world, the water buffalo is often regarded as sacred. When the animal dies or is sacrificed, the entire animal is utilized. 
    • Body jewelry made of bone is made of Indonesian cow bone.  It is a very abundant material, and like water buffalo, the Indonesian cows are primarily raised in family farm environments.
    • As with all jewelry made of natural organic materials, bone and horn body jewelry is both delicate and hand-carved.  
  • Due to the nature of bone and horn as natural materials ,and because our designs are all hand-carved, there may be slight variations in color, size, and design from what is pictured on our website, but the pair should be well matched.  The gauge may measure +/- 0.5mm from the stated gauge. 

Pyrex glass

  • Pyrex glass, aka borosilicate, is a fantastic material for body jewelry.  It is non-porous, has an extremely smooth surface, and is available in intermediary sizes.  
  • It is hypoallergenic, lead free, nickel-free, is kiln annealed for strength, and comes in a wide range of colors. 
  • While Pyrex is strong, it can still break, crack, or chip if dropped.  Handle with care.
  • Do not wear in water (to avoid loss) or during sports (to avoid injury).  It is recommended you remove your jewelry for sleeping.
  • Glass is non-porous.  It is suitable for new piercings and can be used for stretching.
  • Pyrex jewelry can be autoclaved
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 
  • All jewelry is sized to the millimeter. Gauges/inches are approximate. Tolerance is +- 0.3mm

Quartz glass

  • Quartz glass is used for smaller gauge jewelry, like retainers.  It is available in clear only.
  • Quartz glass can break, crack, or chip if dropped.  Handle with care.
  • Do not wear in water (to avoid loss) or during sports (to avoid injury).  It is recommended you remove your jewelry for sleeping.
  • Quartz glass is hypoallergenic, lead free, and nickel-free.
  • Quartz glass can be autoclaved.
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

PVD 

  • PVD (Physical vapor deposition), also known as thin-film coating, is a process in which a solid material is vaporized in a vacuum and deposited onto the surface of a part. 
  • The coatings are compound materials deposited atom by atom, forming a thin, bonded, metal or metal-ceramic surface layer that greatly improves the appearance and durability of the item. 
  • PVD can be used on steel or titanium.
  • PVD coated jewelry will fade and can chip over time, especially in oral piercings.
  • PVD can be autoclaved.
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

PTFE

  • PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), also known as Teflon, is a biocompatible flexible material that is popular for piercings where more flexibility is needed (such as for the navel during pregnancy).
  • It has a "non-stick" surface and can be used in initial piercings and for those taking a long time to heal. Its non-stick properties mean that lymph material does not adhere to it. 
  • PTFE can be used as a retainer while at work, or for x-rays, scans, and surgeries.  
  • PTFE can be autoclaved
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 

Silver

  • Sterling Silver is an alloy containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals (normally copper). This is because pure silver (99.9%) would be too soft and malleable to make jewelry.
  • Silver is a soft, easily scratched metal that is for healed piercings only.  Do not use for stretching.
  • If you have metal sensitivities, it's best to avoid silver body jewelry.
  • Silver jewelry should not be autoclaved. 
  • At home and for a healed piercing, you can just wash with warm soapy water before inserting your new jewelry. 
  • Over time silver can tarnish and become dull.  A light buffing will restore its shine. 
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