Q: What is Flat Back jewelry? - Hazel
A: To answer this question, it is best for us to start with an explanation of what flat back jewelry is not. Recently, we answered a question in which we explained the problems associated with piercing guns and typical clasp/butterfly back jewelry often used. This clasp design is outdated, common for novelty jewelry, uncomfortable if pressure is applied to it, and can trap bacteria easily. Furthermore, using this design suggests that “one size fits all,” when that is not the case.
The design that has become more popular in high-end studios is the “flat back” style of jewelry. The name describes the flat disk on the back of a post. The post is inserted into the earlobe from the back to the front, and the interchangeable top is assembled. These can be threaded (screw on) or threadless (press-fitted) type fronts. To change the jewelry from one decorative top to the next, the client can simply swap out the top, leaving the flat disk and post in place.
In contrast to the butterfly back style, flat back jewelry is modern, common for high quality jewelry, comfortable to wear, and can be easily cleaned. This style of jewelry also accommodates various lengths and widths needed by the client. Jewelry that is either too tight or too loose can be irritating for a piercing, but your piercer can customize the flat back jewelry to perfectly fit your anatomy.
The flat back design is not limited to earlobes, it is extremely comfortable in various ear cartilage, nostril, and lip piercings, as well. This is another reason why being able to customize the gauge or length of the jewelry is important.
Materials can vary, and there will always be low quality knock-offs flooding the market. Regardless of the design, look for ASTM F138 compliant implant-grade steel, F136 compliant implant-grade titanium, or solid 14k gold from a North American manufacturer to ensure the highest quality. A reputable piercer will be able to inform you about the specific material and manufacturer of the jewelry you are considering.
Price will vary depending on the manufacturer/design and materials and will be typically more than your “standard” jewelry. Note that the price also relates to the decorative front you select. Flat backs have countless options when it comes to the material or design of the front. Whether you are looking for a basic ball, semi-precious gem, genuine diamond, or a cluster of shapes or gems, you can find what you are seeking for a flat back post. This higher expense for flat back jewelry is easily justified by interchangeable fronts, superior comfort, and materials that are proven safe for long-term wear.
Q: What advice do you have if I want to give a body piercing or jewelry as a holiday gift? - Jasmine
A: The joy of the holiday season is upon us, which means our family and friends are deserving of wonderful and personal gifts. Avoid the socks and scarves, put down the itchy sweater, and get something they can love for a lifetime - a new piercing and/or some fantastic body jewelry!
If you are giving the gift of jewelry, the most common problem when buying for others is sizing. What is the gauge or length/width needed? This is difficult to answer when the intended wearer is not available to ask, but picking the wrong size would be a big waste of your money. (Professional studios will not accept returns or exchanges, in order to ensure safety at their studios).
If you are not certain of the jewelry size or the person’s taste, we suggest gift cards. Gift cards let them come to us to pick out a piece they will love. You can even make it a personal trip together and be part of the piercing and jewelry selection process.
While gifting for others is a great feeling, it can be exhausting! Why not treat yourself this season and give yourself that much deserved piece of gorgeous jewelry, that perfect little piercing just for you? Discover the new you for the New Year among so many custom options, materials, and gemstones to express yourself. Why not? You deserve it! #31DaysOfGold2016
Q: I want to get a body piercing soon, do I have to get starter jewelry? Because they are ugly - Susan
A: “Starter jewelry” is a term commonly used referring to the initial jewelry worn in a piercing. It is often a limited style/brand/color/size of jewelry. The limited options are not necessarily related to safety. Some establishments keep options minimal to reduce inventory costs. If you feel comfortable with the safe practices of the business, and you are happy with the options available for your new piercing, then this option may be for you.
If you want more, you will need to do a little research. Start by asking yourself what you really want. Do you want elegance or something more extravagant? Do you want jewelry that stands out or something to compliment your look and lifestyle?
Once you have determined what type of image or concept YOU want, then it’s the right time to start asking what studios can offer. You cannot learn this by making phone calls or sending emails to ask what each shop’s piercing or jewelry costs. Physically step into each studio and see what you are actually buying, as standards and options vary drastically. Plan to take some time doing this. Make consultation appointments and meet up to discuss your direction and gain insight to their visions/abilities and practices. Each studio representative should be more than willing to make sure you are comfortable and excited about your piercing experience
and the awesome new jewelry that you will wear.
There are certain limitations to what can be worn, but these limitations should be geared around the sizing, health, and safety of your new piercing. Jewelry that can harbor bacteria or is improperly sized may not be appropriate for an initial piercing. But balance between practical and pretty falls into the hands and expertise of an experienced practitioner and artist.
Some establishments will go to the extent of really meeting your character and style, matching or contrasting your skin tone/eyes/hair and adapting the fundamentals of art and design to really take your new adornment to the next level.
Ask yourself what you really truly want. Remember that you are going to wear this 24 hours a day for months on end, so view it as an investment in yourself.
Do you imagine yourself in yellow gold and diamonds? Which semi-precious stones do you cherish the most: amethyst? emerald? citrine? Are you someone who loves the look of clustered tanzanite glistening back at you? Perhaps you want the elegance of smoky quartz in a rose gold setting. Or maybe you want to show everyone your adventurous nature with a mix of pink and purple sapphires. Your piercer should work with you to ensure that the first jewelry you buy is the jewelry you will adore for a lifetime.
Initial jewelry does not have to be “starter jewelry.” It can be fun, elegant, and one-of-a-kind, just like you!
Our entire staff here at Prysm collectively answers these questions. Please ask those questions you've always wanted to know. Not all will get published, but all will get answered.