Are You Sure You’re Wearing the Right Body Jewelry?

Body Jewelry Types

The choice we have in types of body jewelry is bountiful. Most of the jewelry on the market is not suitable for your particular piercings. Fact. Unless you have every type of piercing imaginable.

Wearing the wrong type of jewelry in your piercings causes all sorts of problems. Fact.

It really is worth double checking your jewelry.

Types of Jewelry

One of the most exciting facets of body piercing is the insane selection of jewelry.

Believe it or not, this vast array of styles can be condensed down into two main groups. Rings and barbells. The two main types can each be split into subcategories. Let’s have a closer look!


One of the prime types of body jewelry is the barbell. Jewelry which is made up of a post with a ball on each end.

Straight Barbell

Straight Barbell

It doesn’t take a genius to guess what a straight barbell is. It is exactly what you would assume it to be. A straight post with a ball or other closure shape on each end.

Worn in:

  • Tongue piercing
  • Nipple piercing
  • Industrial piercing
  • Some other piercings around the ears

Curved Barbell

Curved Barbell with Cone Ends

Another common form of barbell. Not wildly different to the straight barbell. Other than the fact that the post is curved rather than straight.

Worn in:

Surface Bar

Flat Surface Bar

Worn in the flat surfaces of your skin. The surface bar has a straight post with a short upright leg at each side. The uprights or legs are usually at a right angle from the main bar. Kind of like an open staple.

The assortment of ends available for the surface bar consists of gems, disks and balls. There is also a variation on the surface bar which has an upright leg on one end alone. This style of surface bar is specifically designed for the Christina piercing.

Worn in:

  • Surface piercings on any part of the body

Jeweled Navel Curve

Belly Bars

The type of jewelry you wear in a belly button or VCH piercing. Commonly known as a Navel Bar or Belly Bar.

The Jeweled Navel Curve has a larger fixed gem at the bottom. It is designed so that this gem faces forward when worn in a vertical piercing. The top is threaded so the top can be unscrewed or replaced.

Worn in:

  • Belly button piercing
  • VCH piercing
  • Other vertical body piercings


J Curved Barbells

Similar to the Jeweled Navel Curve. The J-Curve is shaped like the letter J. This means that the bottom end of the jewelry protrudes much further than the top. Both ends can be unscrewed, making this jewelry versatile.

This type of jewelry is perfect for those who have a deep set belly button.

Worn in:

  • Belly button piercing


The second primary type of body jewelry. This encompasses any hoop shaped jewelry.

Captive Bead Ring (CBR)

Titanium Ball Closure Ring

There are numerous names for the Captive Bead Ring. You may have heard it referred to as a Ball Closure Ring (BCR), captive captive ring or Captive Bead Ring (CBR).

This type of ring is secured in place by tension. The ball or other closure piece is held in between the ends of the ring. There is a dimple on each side of the ball. These dimples help the ball stay in place.

The Captive Bead Ring is one of the best choices for a new piercing while it heals. The edges are all smooth so there is little to no chance of it getting caught on anything. Also the closure piece is easily replaceable without having to remove the jewelry.

Worn in:

  • Labret, snakebites or any other low lip piercing.
  • Septum piercing
  • Ear piercings
  • Eyebrow piercing
  • Tragus Piercing
  • Helix piercing and other cartilage piercings

Fixed Bead Ring

Fixed Bead Ring

Another common ring variation. Appearance wise, the fixed bead ring looks the same as the Captive Bead Ring. The difference being that the ball is permanently attached to one end of the ring. One would open this type of jewelry by twisting it.

A quality bead ring should have a simple drilled into the open side of the bead. The end of the ring should sit in there very neatly.

The best way to tell the difference between a Captive Bead Ring and a quality Fixed Bead Ring is by attempting to spin the ball. If the ball spin, it is a Captive Bead Ring. If not, it is a Fixed Bead Ring.

Note: You will possibly need tools in order to open the Fixed Bead Ring. It is more awkward than the Captive Bead Ring.

Worn in:

  • Same as Captive Bead Ring

Miscellaneous Jewelry

Barbells and rings cover most jewelry styles. Although there are a few other types of body jewelry which fall under neither of those categories.

Labret Studs

Labret Stud

Another very common but slightly more specialised type of body jewelry. As the name suggests, this type off jewelry is designed to be worn in labret piercings. This includes the Monroe and even the cheek piercing.

A labret stud is made up of a post with a flat disk at one end and a removable ball at the other. The screw on ball is worn on the outside of the piercing. The flat disk shaped bottom sits flat against the inside of the lip.

Worn in:

  • Labret piercings
  • Monroe or Madonna piercing
  • Philtrum/Medusa piercing
  • Cheek piercings
  • Dahlia bites
  • Any orofacial piercing

Circular Barbell

Circular Barbell

The circular barbell is a hybrid between a barbell and a ring.

This type of jewelry functions as a barbell. It is removed and inserted by removing one or both of the ends. Although it is shaped and measured like a ring, by inside diameter across the widest part.

You may hear of the circular barbell refered to as a horseshoe ring or bull ring.

Worn in:

  • Septum piercing
  • Ear and cartilage piercings
  • Lip piercings

Nose Screw

Nose Screw

Post style jewelry with a corkscrew tail which rests on the inside of the nostril.

There are a few variations on this style of jewelry.

Worn in:

  • Nostril piercings only.

Size of Your Jewelry

Buying a new piece of body jewelry? One variation you have to get right is the size!

So how do you measure the different types of jewelry? Read on to find out.

Gauge Size

In other words, ‘thickness’.

Your piercing’s size ill be equal to the needle you were pierced with. That is if you were pierced using professional equipment. If you were pierced using a gun you would be a 20g or 18g. Whatever you do, don’t get pierced with a gun!

Your jewelry should either be the same gauge size as your piercing or the next size down. So in a piercing done with a 15g needle you would wear 14g jewelry.

Body Jewelry LengthJewelry Length or Inside Diameter

Knowing how thick your jewelry is makes a good start. That’s all well and good In order to get a truly good fit you will need to consider length or diameter.

Barbells – measured by the length of their post. This never includes the balls or other endings of the jewelry.

Rings – measured by their inner diameter. This means that you will measure the diameter across the widest part inside the ring.

Curved barbells – Which are a bit more complicated. The length of a curved barbell is measured by the length between the balls on each end. Not taking into account the angle or depth of the curve. This means that there is more variation in the measurement of curved barbells, but also less certainty.

Balls, beads and other endings – measured by the diameter at their widest point.


So, Are You Wearing the Right Jewelry?

There you have all the basic types of body jewelry. We’ve only just scratched the surface though! Anything else you need to know about body jewelry, just ask in the comments below. I will reply swiftly.

Getting the shape and size of your jewelry is of utmost importance. Especially if your piercing is new.

Wearing incorrectly sized or shaped jewelry can hinder your body.s healing process. When you first get the piercing done you should where slightly longer jewelry to make room for swelling.

If you are having problems with any of your piercings, it may be time to change your jewelry. Check your measurements and pick the right size! Check out my complete gauge size chart here.

I hope you found this article helpful.

I will be doing an article on jewelry materials as a follow up in the coming month.

There are going to be a lot of changes around Pro Piercing Kits this year. Lots of more in depth articles. Plus I am going to be starting up a YouTube channel. Subscribe to keep an eye on things.

Hannah – founder of PPK.

14 Comments on Are You Sure You’re Wearing the Right Body Jewelry?

  1. Hey thanks for that article really helpful. I had no idea that there was so much factors and items when it came to piercings. In the past I wanted to have one on my eye brow. Maybe I’ll have it now. So what would you recommend as a first eye-brow piercing?

    • Hi Elie.

      For an eyebrow piercing I would recommend a curved barbell. You would want to get pierced with a 16 or 14G needle and wear jewelry of the same gauge size. This will prevent your body from rejecting the piercing.


  2. I never know that their was so many rings that could be use, I see that your site has a lot of information. I believe that the viewers of this site will be well inform. I can see that a lot of work and time went into creating this website

    • Hi Norman.

      It’s important to me to make sure this information is available to those who need it! I do put a lot of time into this site, you’re right. I’m glad you appreciate it!


  3. Hello Hannah!
    Love your site. Really cool and great information! I will keep you in mind as I know of others that wear body jewelry. Now I’m not into doing body piercing but my daughter has done a few things. Too many war scars on my body for this but if you got it, flaunt it!

  4. Wow Hannah you just made aware of so many different options related to piercing. It is very obvious that one must choose wisely the type of jewelry depending upon where he wants to wear it and your post is a great guide for this purpose. Thank you!

  5. Very Informative! I appreciate seeing the pictures that go with the descriptions. I will definitely be stopping back for information before my next piercing!

    • Hey Rachel. Glad you found my post helpful!

      Feel free to stop by any time. I am always willing to answer your questions too.

  6. Hey great post!

    I never knew there were so many different styles to choose from. I have both of my ears pierced and only had a few different kinds out of the ones mentioned. My girlfriend has like 10 piercings and I will be recommending she check out your site to help her choose the next type to go with.

    For an ear that has partially closed up but if you push an earing in it opens back up. Do you have any recommendations on how to keep it from closing so quickly?


  7. Great post
    Out of interest can all piercings be replaced by a retainer if you don’t want to wear the jewellery for whatever reason or must you keep the jewellery in constantly with some.

    • Hi Dan.

      To answer your question, yes there is a piercing retainer for every type of piercing. This is totally possible and a perfectly safe way of keeping a piercing open without it being too visible!

      Thanks for reading my post.

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