All Different Types of Body Piercing Jewelry

  • Written By Dan Hunter on November 11, 2020
    Last Updated: November 11, 2020

Body piercings can allow you to express yourself and cultivate a look that reflects who you are. There are so many options for piercings that you can easily find something that suits you no matter your style.

There is also a range of different pieces of body piercing jewelry. Depending on the location of your piercing, you may have multiple options for jewelry types. Some locations for piercings will limit the jewelry options, however.

Before you take the leap and get anything pierced, you should understand your jewelry options so you can ensure you get the exact look you want.

Types of Body Piercing Jewelry

MedlinePlus explains that piercings are an ancient tradition in many cultures and a form of body art that has been around for centuries. Some piercings allow for many options in jewelry, while other piercings have limited options due to their locations.

As you learn about the different types of body piercing jewelry, keep in mind where you want to get your piercing so that you can focus on the jewelry that will work for your type of piercing.


Barbells are arguably the most common option for body jewelry. There are many variations on the traditional barbell design, which is a straight piece with balls on either end. You would remove one of the balls to slip the jewelry through the piercing and then put the ball back to secure it in your piercing.

The traditional barbell is incredibly versatile. You can wear it in many different locations. However, the most popular option is in tongue piercings.

Curved barbells are also a common option. You may hear people refer to them as bananas. They are like a traditional barbell but with a slight curve to them. These work well for eyebrow or belly button piercings.

A circular barbell has a shape like a horseshoe. It is not a complete ring but instead makes an incomplete circle. Some people call it a horseshoe barbell. You can wear this in a variety of piercings as well, but the most common is for a septum piercing.

The last type of barbell is an industrial barbell. It looks like a traditional barbell, but its function is to connect two or more piercing holes. The common use is in the ear.

Rings and Studs

The traditional ring or hoop is a common adornment for ears. It also works nicely in the nose, eyebrow, or belly button. Hoops are incredibly versatile, and you can wear them in most piercings, but do be aware they can easily catch on things, such as clothing, so you want to wear them carefully.

Captive bead rings are another type of hoop. Instead of having some type of clasp or back, it uses tension and a ball to stay closed. The ring’s ends do not meet, and a ball goes in the gap. The tension of the ring’s ends trying to push together holds the ball in place.

You would remove the ball to insert the jewelry and then put it back to secure the jewelry. A captive bead ring is also usable in a variety of piercing locations.

Studs are very common. Most people are familiar with them because they are often the initial option for ear lobe piercings. They are a straight post with some type of decorative element on one end. They usually have a backing of some type that pushes onto the straight end to secure it.

The labret is a specific type of jewelry made for use in a labret piercing, which is the piercing in the face right under the bottom lip. It is a type of stud with décor on one end and is flat on the other end so that it fits comfortably once in the mouth. You can also use labrets in the nose.

A nose stud is for nose piercings. Its post curves at the end to secure it in the nose without the need for a backing. This makes it more comfortable to wear.

Special Options

Some body jewelry is more for function than design. A plug, for example, helps to stretch the hole open. You may use it to increase the gauge of your piercing.

Retainers are quite popular because they serve as a placeholder. They are usually clear or nude so that they are not visible. People use them in situations where they cannot wear body jewelry, such as at work. The retainer helps to keep the hole open.

Choosing Jewelry for Different Types of Piercings

Many types of body jewelry fit a specific type of piercing, but most options are versatile. You should always make sure that when you are choosing jewelry that you think about how it will fit your specific piercing.

Ears are the most common place to pierce. Ear lobe piercings are typically socially acceptable in any situation. However, you can pierce almost every part of the ear.

You can also wear almost any type of jewelry in your ear. You will want whatever you use to have some type of backing or other way to clasp the earring so that it does not fall out of your ear.

The second most common type of piercing is the nose. More specifically, it is the nostril piercing. Jewelry choices for this piercing should have a flat back or a curve to the post to hold it in place and to ensure comfort.

Another popular nose piercing is the septum, which is the flap of cartilage between the nostrils. The most common jewelry option for this place is a hoop or circular barbell.

The eyebrow is another place you may want to pierce. You can use barbells or hoops in this location.

The areas around and in the mouth are other places common for piercings. For a tongue piercing, you would usually use a barbell because it is a very secure option that will prevent choking risks and not catch on teeth or food items.

Cheek piercings typically require unique jewelry that will not interfere with teeth. Lip piercings can happen on the lips, above or below them. Piercings on the lips are often suitable for hoops, but those that go through to the inside of the mouth will have flat backs to avoid teeth damage.

Beyond facial piercings, you can get a piercing almost anywhere on your body where you can poke a hole through your skin. The belly button is probably the most popular spot off the face. Intimate piercings are quite popular as well. For these other locations, you always want to make sure the jewelry you choose is practical and will not be a safety risk.

Important Details to Keep in Mind When Choosing Body Jewelry

Comfort is the most crucial aspect to consider when you choose body jewelry. You should always listen to professional advice and pay attention to packaging, which will usually tell you where you can wear certain types of jewelry.

You also want to pay attention to the gauge. This is the thickness of the part that goes through your piercing. Gauge varies widely. You should ask whoever does your piercing what the gauge of it is. Jewelry will have gauge marked on the packaging or in the sales copy.

If you do not get the correct gauge, then the fit will either be too loose, which could pose a risk of it slipping or falling out, or too tight, which could make it impossible to wear. Designers often create body piercing jewelry for specific body parts as gauge is often standard for each part of the body.

You also should carefully consider the jewelry material. If you have sensitive skin, keep that in mind as wearing something you have an allergy to could cause an infection. The Association of Professional Piercers also suggests choosing only high-quality materials to avoid allergic reactions.

Materials can be anything from plastic to surgical steel. Jewelry could be glass or bone, or it might be wood or solid gold and silver. There are so many options that you should be able to find something suitable for your skin and its sensitivities.

How to Get a Piercing

There are several ways to get a piercing, but professionals and medical experts suggest there is only one safe way to get a piercing.

Many people get their ear lobes and sometimes cartilage pierced at pagodas or stores that use piercing guns. This is a traumatic way to pierce that leads to pain and more potential for infection.

The piercing gun punches through the skin, essentially ripping it. It is traumatic for the skin and immediately causes pain for you. While this method is legal and approved by health organizations, it is not ideal and is only an option for a few limited types of piercings.

Another similar option is using a piercing gun kit at home. You or someone you trust can use this kit just as someone in a pagoda or store would. Again, it is a traumatic way to pierce.

In addition, you have the risks of increased infection since you may not have as sterile of an environment as you would if you went somewhere to get it done. There are also issues with inexperience that could lead to a bad overall experience and final result.

The last way to get a piercing, and the one professionals most often recommend, is at a professional shop that will pierce using a needle. Typically, tattoo shops will offer these services.

Needle piercing is available for any type of piercing. It also swiftly cuts a hole in the skin instead of punching it, which is less traumatic. It is less painful and will heal more quickly.

In addition, such piercings occur under strict safety and health codes. You have far less risk of infection. You also have a professional who has training and experience in piercing doing it instead of a store clerk who likely had minimal training.

When it comes to cost, you will get what you pay for. The cheapest option is usually to buy a kit and do it at home, but this is also the riskiest option. Piercing pagodas or stores will usually do the piercing for free, but you have to buy earrings, which often have marked up prices.

Going to a professional at a shop will cost the most, but what you get for your money makes it worth it. You will have a much better experience with far less risk. You also will have more options because a professional shop can pierce any part of the body, whereas gun-style piercing has limits.

Minors and Piercings

The law varies from state to state, but typically, minors cannot get a piercing of any kind without parental consent. The restriction and the resistance from some parents could push a minor to try at-home piercing.

It is essential that parents explain to their kids that at-home piercing, even with a piercing gun, is dangerous. It can lead to infections and injuries.

As a parent, if your child wants to get a piercing and is old enough to take care of it, you may want to consider allowing it. One thing about piercings that is great is that they will close up eventually. All your child would have to do is remove the jewelry.

A piercing does not have to be a forever choice. However, getting a botched home piercing could cause permanent effects, such as scarring.

Whether you let your child get a piercing or not, you should stress the dangers of not having it done by a professional. Ensure your child knows the risks and talks to you before doing anything that could result in irreversible damage.

Final Words

The world of body piercings can be quite fun. There are so many options available to you not only in the locations but in the many different types of body piercing jewelry. Take time to choose the jewelry that suits your piercing location and your style to ensure you end up with a look that is genuinely you.