Common Piercings And Types Of Jewelry

Helix Piercing by Helena

Crash Course: the Basic Types of Body Jewelry


Straight Barbells

Straight barbells are usually used in tongue piercings, nipple piercings, in industrial ear piercings, and occasionally in other ear cartilage piercings. Depending on preference, flexible ones may also be seen in surface piercings (like the nose bridge piercing), or in the septum.

Curved Barbells

These are worn in a vast variety of piercings including the eyebrow, navel, madison piercings, ear cartilage piercings, septum piercings, and oral piercings of tongue web or connective tissues. When worn in the navel, curved barbells will usually be a banana bell, with a smaller top ball and a larger bottom ball, and may or may not include dangling elements.

Spiral and Wave Barbells

On occasion an industrial barbell may be bent or waved, mostly for aesthetic effect or fit. Spiral barbells are also seen, usually in the belly button, ears, or lip.


A stud, or straight post, is usually worn in labret/monroe style piercings, in tragus piercings, or in other piercings of the ear cartilage. These will include lowbrets, bites, medusas, tragus, and forward helix piercings.


Captive Rings

Ball or bead captive rings and segment rings are universal, and depending on style and initial piercing, can be worn almost anywhere. They’re commonly seen in the ears, septum, nipples, navel, and in corset piercings. Essentially these are just a ring with a ball, 3D charm, or ring segment that pops out to allow for insertion and then pops back in to hold the item in place.

Horseshoe Rings

These are exactly what they sound like, a circular in the shape of a horseshoe. Each end is closed off with a ball or charm, and the item will be worn in many different piercings, just like a captive ring.

Lippy Loops

A lippy loop is a kind of rounded staple shaped barbell with decorative ends made to be worn in the lip with the barbell inside and both ends facing outward.


Shields are worn in nipple piercings or navel piercings, and include a barbell and a large design with an open center. For belly button rings, the shield portion is usually attached to the curved bar, while for others it may be fashioned to slide on over a straight barbell.

Large Gauge Jewelry

A plug is solid (without a hollow center), and comes in straight, single flare, double flare, and shaped varieties. Common shapes include hearts and teardrops, for which a stretched ear may or may not be specifically scalpelled or shaped.


Tunnels, like plugs, may come in double or single flare and are also available in shapes. These have a hollow center, meaning that you can see through them from one side of the ear and out the other.


These come in many types, including straight, curved, buffalo curve, spiral, super spiral, and hanger style. The common thread connecting all tapers is that they change in thickness at different areas of the structure and are meant to be worn with the thickest portion through the piercing.
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