Orion the Hunter

December 5, 2009

Please welcome Orion, Grandbabycloud No. 7, to the Earth!

Some Meta and a Good Sale:

Yes, it’s snowing on the blog, courtesy of WordPress.  Ho, ho, ho.

And I changed my header once again, although I’m still not satisfied with it. I thought the purple would go well with the blue background, but I like the contrast better.

The pics now showing on my Flickr strip are still Art from My Body–this time taken with the Lolo function on my iphone app.  Still pretty cool, I think! You can see all the piercings pics I’ve posted so far on my Flickr photostream.

BodyArtForms has a sale this month:  Use coupon code LIGHTS2009 at checkout and receive 20% off your entire order for the entire month of December! This sale can not be combined with other coupon codes.

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How to Save Money on Body Jewelry

November 27, 2009

Bargain Box

I’ve looked and looked for a nice jewelry box to put my jewelry and tools in, to no avail.  I wanted a large compartment below to put tools, tapers, etc. in, and all of the “jewelry” boxes I find are too small, too fancy and weird for body jewelry (I’m not putting my barbells in a cherry veneer armoire).  So I found this box at my local Hobby Lobby on sale for 50% off!  Making it a true bargain  box for $2.50.! You can find bargains on body jewelry, too, if you look.

First, a word of warning:

DO NOT compromise on the quality of your initial piercing jewelry, or jewelry to be worn in unhealed or troubled piercings. This includes when you are in the process of stretching.  You are trying to convince your body to heal around a wound, and therefore you need highly polished, well machined simple jewelry from an appropriate material for your new piercing.  This means high  quality stainless steel, titanium, stainless steel, glass (or gold or platinum, but this post is about saving money.)  For your initial jewelry purchase, ask your piercer what brands and grades of piercing jewelry they carry, and buy the best starter jewelry you can afford! This is very important for healing your piercing, and not a place to be cheap!

Well-healed piercings can usually wear a wider variety of body jewelry. In fact, you can spend quite a bit of money collecting wonderful jewelry for all your holes.  I never recommend cheaply made, inferior quality body jewelry, but in stable piercings you can compromise a bit, if you know what to look for.

In honor of Black Friday, here are some ways to save on body jewelry: (Note:  Some of the specific deals and offers described are time limited, so if you come across this blog post much past Black Friday 2009, they will be gone.)

Ask Your Piercer

Your first piece of jewelry should normally be purchased from your piercer.  You should never compromise on quality, nor should you choose a piercer or studio on price.  However, it never hurts to ask if your piercer is offering any special deals or discounts. For instance, some piercing studios will offer a second piercing or jewelry at a discount.  They may have some jewelry they are willing to let go on sale, too.  Studios generally buy they jewelry wholesale and mark them up in accordance with standard business practice.  This gives them a little wiggle room for negotiating.  If you develop a good relationship with your piercer and are a good customer, they may be willing to discount your jewelry a bit–it never hurts to ask.  Don’t be obnoxious about it–remember that jewelry sales can be an important part of a piercing studio’s income (and we want to keep those good studios in business!).

Comparison Shop

Always check different retailers for the item of jewelry you are shopping for, including shipping!  Look for deals on shipping.  This can be tedious and time-consuming, though:  maybe I’ll feature some discounts in future posts to help you out.  Steel Navel and BodyArtForms offer free shipping (via USPS mail) on orders over $25. Many retailers also offer freebies and perks with orders–free o-rings, stickers, gauge cards, and even free jewelry!.  Those gauge cards come in handy, believe me!

Sales, Clearances & Seconds

Most online retailers will have a sale link or bin.  Jewelry seconds are also offered sometimes, particularly by manufacturers.  These seconds may be mis-sized slightly, or have irregularities or imperfections, but they might be all right for your purpose.

Steet Navel has both a Sale page and a Clearance Page. BAF also has a Sale page and a Clearance page. Clearance deals are limited and go fast, but you just might find the perfect jewelry for your hole.

Body Circle Designs frequently has sales.  Right now they are having a “Huge Holiday Sale” offering 20% everything.  They are also offering deals on overstocked items. Body Circle Designs manufactures and sells awesome, super  polished, extremely  high quality jewelry.  Highly recommended!

BodyArtForms is offering 30% off Anatometal Super Gemmed Eyelets through November 30. Great deal on these coveted and rather expensive pieces!

One Tribe runs Current Specials–always worth a look!

Newsletters, Special Offers, and Contests

Sign up for all the retailer newsletters you can.  To varying degrees, these newsletters will have special offers for loyal customers.  Some online retailers reward loyal customers with “points” earned, early discounts, or contests.

The winner in this category has to be Steel Navel; the great people at SN are creative in thinking up special offers and contests for their customers.  They have a ton of free stuff to choose from when ordering.   Contests, Twitter Fridays, and special surprises if you participate in their forums.

Tribe Rewards: From Tribalectic.com.  Earn points by uploading pictures and participating.  100  points=$5 off

BodyArtForms, one of my favorite all purpose retailers, has: “free basic mail shipping on orders over $25 (for jewelry only in the USA & Canada). We offer Free jewelry on orders over $30, 4 free black o-rings, a free gauge/measurement card, and a free BAF sticker.”  BAF is also running a Print Ad Contest for a $250 jewelry prize.

Used Body Jewelry

People do sell or trade their body jewelry.  As people go up or down in gauge, retire their piercings, or just need to clean out their jewelry box, they put their used body jewelry up for sale.  I myself would never purchase used body jewelry in acrylic, wood, or organic materials that could not be sterilized in an autoclave, though, and I would take any used jewelry to my piercer for autoclaving first.  (Please keep in mind there’s a difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing, and protect yourself!)  Steel Navel offers Classified Ads for forum members.  Other sites may have special boards where people discuss trading, bartering, or selling used body jewelry.

Discount Retailers

Type in “save money on body jewelry” and you’re likely to get a score of cheap ads and marketing come ons.  You can find all the inexpensive “belly rings” and acrylic jewelry you want.  You can save money buying cheaply made, imported jewelry by shopping discount retailers, or buying from mall shops, Wal-Mart, etc. You can save money by shopping Ebay–maybe.  I personally don’t buy this kind of stuff unless it’s for limited wear in healed piercings or emergency replacement jewelry. Keep in mind there’s a lot of cheap crap on the market, of uncertain grade and poor finishing.  If it looks cheap, and the price is too good to be true, consider it second tier jewelry; that is, not to be worn long-term or in new or healig piercings.

As you can see, my bargain jewelry box has plenty of room for tools and –oh! Shh!  Someone’s sleeping!

Note:  I am not affiliated with or compensated by any of the jewelry retailers mentioned.

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Earrings for Sensitive Ears

November 15, 2009

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Do you have trouble wearing earrings?  Do they make your earlobes sore and itchy? Have you given up? Try body jewelry!

This pretty little girl (who belongs to mhowry’s photostream at Flickr) is beaming because she just got her ears pierced.  But could her jewelry be making her  vulnerable to a nickel allergy, or even lead poisoning?  Nickel allergies, a type of contact dermatitis,  are on the rise. It can develop immediately, or over time.  Jewelry worn in or against the body, especially earrings, is often cited as the cause.  According to the Mayo Clinic:

Nickel allergy is commonly associated with earrings and jewelry for other body piercings. But nickel can be found in many everyday items — from coins to necklace clasps, from watchbands to eyeglass frames.

The little girl pictured above probably got her ears pierced at the mall with a gun, and will be wearing lots of cute, inexpensive earrings of the type found in every accessory store.  Putting aside the problems associated with healing such a piercing with the typical crappy aftercare provided, because I’ve talked about them before, there are problems associated with the composition of the earrings themselves.  Even if the piercing heals and everything seems fine, after years of wearing this type of jewelry, anyone can develop an allergy to the metal.  I have talked to many women who lament not being able to wear earrings anymore, because their bodies have become sensitized to them.  Dealing with the pain, redness, bumps, and blisters that can result from nickel allergies can be disheartening, to say the least.  Such pierced ears can become infected, or abandoned and left to close up.

It’s all about the jewelry.

What are you putting in your ears? Most commercial earrings are made with low quality stainless steel, sterling silver, or gold filled posts or wires, all of which contain other metals as alloys.  Silver and gold must be alloyed to make them hard enough to be workable, and jewelers like using nickel because it makes the findings hard and non-porous.   Jewelry findings can be plated in rhodium or gold, which can flake and wear  off. Gold-filled earring wires are plated, eventually wearing off to expose the base metal  below.   Silver is not an appropriate metal to wear in anything but well-healed, happy pierced ears, because it tarnishes. Even gold jewelry can cause problems; 14k jewelry is only 14 parts gold to 10 parts alloyed metal.   Some jurisdictions have addressed jewelry quality with legislation.  The European Union banned all nickel in jewelry sold there since 2000, and  concerns about lead found in children’s jewelry prompted California to pass a similar law.

Be skeptical of jewelry industry claims! Even so-called “hypoallergenic jewelry” may not be. “Surgical stainless steel” is an empty term created as a marketing term by the jewelry industry.  (There are various grades of stainless steel; the best stainless steel body jewelry is manufactured to contain any nickel so it doesn’t come into contact with the skin.) These are the same people who promote the use of an implement derived from cattle tagging that inflicts blunt force trauma wounds (i.e., piercing guns).

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An alternative to try. On the other hand, jewelry made for body piercing enthusiasts is specifically designed for optimum healing and long-term wear in the body.  Quality body jewelry in a small gauge made from implant grade stainless steel, titanium, niobium, 14k or 18k gold not containing nickel, and some high-tech plastics are excellent for wearing in lobes.  Young children and people who cannot wear other types of earrings should take a look at some of the body piercing jewelry out there. Titanium is an especially good choice, because very few people react to it, it’s readily available and relatively inexpensive, and comes in un colors! Regular pierced ears are usually 20 gauge or 18 gauge, and you can buy such jewelry online without having to step foot in a tattoo or piercing studio. Take a look at some of these choices from reputable online dealers:

cbr sn TCBR_TBD_135Try a titanium captive bead ring from Steel Navel.  These Industrial Strength CBRs are high quality, and come in plain silver colored (polish) or anodized in host of colors.  They come in as small as 18 gauge, and 1/4 inch.  The anodized colors will come off in time, and those little beads can be really difficult to deal with, so how about:

Tribe is-fixedbeadring-ss_1181_general

Stainless steel fixed bead rings from Tribalectic. They come in 20 and 18 gauge and are made of high quality, implant grade stainless steel.  These  have a very low chance of causing allergic reactions, and you won’t lose the bead.

Neometal_barbellFor a cutting-edge alternative, you could try a Neometal titanium press-fit barbell from BodyArtForms. You can buy various ends for these little beauties, which you simply push in.

More suggestions for happy earlobes:

This type of jewelry can be a little fiddly to get in and out (a friend with a good eye and a steady hand can  help) but is meant to be worn for long periods of time.  If you find something your ears are happy with, don’t change the jewelry too often. While healing, do not use alcohol, “ear-care solution,” hydrogen peroxide, Bactine, Neosporin, or anything other than a mild salt-water solution, and do not twist the jewelry. Leave the jewelry in, and wash your ears and the jewelry with mild soap and water in the shower.  Dry them well. (For more information on basic aftercare, see my Body Piercing Basics page.)

Don’t be afraid of exploring the world of body jewelry for earrings you can wear if your lobes are sensitive. Take a look through some of these retailers’ catalogs for rings, barbells, and other shapes.  They sell gold, titanium, and stainless steel body jewelry that’s worth a try.

Mayo Clinic Page on Nickel Allergy

State of California page on lead in jewelry ban

News article on lead in children’s jewelry

Pic of various jewelry from Ryheen’s Photostream at Flickr.

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The PA Project Pt. 1

September 13, 2009

pa 2 3335961648_60189d9325_mPrince Albert  Piercing

The Prince Albert piercing is one of the most popular  genital piercings for men.  It’s decorative, it’s functional, and it really doesn’t go through all that much skin, so it’s a much less scary piercing than it might appear.

The eponymous prince was the husband of Britain’s Queen Victoria.  ( Wikipedia entry on Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg.) The story goes that men of those days used such a ring through the end of the their penis to tie it away in order to wear the close fitting breeches of their day.

This is a myth! Although there may be some tiny kernel of truth, more likely it was made up by Doug Malloy, an influential early piercing enthusiast.  I’m not a clothing historian, but it would be interesting to do some scholarly research on this and on the claim that some Victorian ladies pierced their nipples.  But I’m getting sidetracked . . . Regardless of satrorial utility,  it’s a very fun piercing and easy to get.  Maybe too easy–is the PA a “gateway piercing?” Maybe–piercings are habit forming!

PA Piercing

PA Piercing

A PA, or Prince Albert piercing is made on the underside of the penis at the juncture of the head and shaft, the jewelry rests within the urethra and is worn out the tip of the  . . . urethral opening,” according to The Piercing Bible (p. 156).   For further surfing, here is the link to the BME Encyclopedia entry:  PA. And here is the actual Wikipedia entry:  Prince Albert Piercing.

If you are considering this piercing, here are a few points to think about:

–This piercing stretches easily, and is likely to be permanent, so consider placement and stretching options carefully. Before the poke, discuss with your piercer how big you are likely to go.  There are also options for expansion or addition to this piercing, such as a Reverse PA or an apadravya.  A project with multiple piercings should be planned in advance with your piercer.

–A typical starting gauge would be 10 or 12, and healing is relatively fast–one or two months for the majority of healing to take place.  It’s a bleeder, so don’t be surprised if you need to keep things wrapped up for a few days.

–Urination may be permanently affected.  Just so you know . . .

Don’t overuse your new toy! Give it a rest and let it heal.

–After the initial healing period, a certain amount of trial and error may be needed to determine the best jewelry for you.  Circular barbells, captive bead rings (CBRs), segment rings, and curved barbells are all possible choices.Here’s a pic of a Tribal Dream ring from Wildcat, which PA newbies can aspire to.  And a link to more info at Steel Navel.

Tribal Dream Ring

Tribal Dream Ring

Unfortunately, not having the equipment, I’m not an expert in male genital piercings, so I’ve asked some friends of mine to share their experience and advice with this piercing.   In Part 2 of the PA Project, they’ll share some drabbles of wisdom:  pearls, drops, or just shaken off.

I’ll be back for Pt. 2!

Statue pic from mira66’s photostream at Flickr.  Drawing by cloudlb, after the much nice drawings by Jennifer Klepacki in The Piercing Bible.  Jewelry pic from Steel Navel, with permission.



Just don’t call ’em “earrings”

August 10, 2009

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New Jewelry!

In celebration of my new 6 gauge status, I of course needed new jewelry to fit.  here are some pics of my new bling.  The first, pictured above, is a pair of Industrial Strength single-flare  titanium plugs. You know, the kind that you have to pre-order, and decide what combination to get.  There are so many–so many colors of titanium, and gems to choose from!  It can be hard to visualize what the combinations look like.  I decided to get yellow titanium, because I wanted something that was not silver (or black); and get AB gems (aurora borealis); you can see the result.  The end part (that is visible in front) is a bit chunkier and sticks out farther from my ear than I expected. They are a bit gaudy, and girly, but that’s okay.  Nice to wear to work, when I want to wear gold-toned jewelry with my outfit.  You can see all the possible color combinations here at BodyartForms.

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Next is a pair of Anatometal 6-gauge single flare steel tunnels (or eyelets).  As always with Anatometal, the finish is smooth, shiny, and flawless (which you can’t tell from the crappy picture–sorry).  Tunnels are always fun, because you can see daylight.  These are lightweight, comfortable, and good for stretching, should I ever decide to go bigger.  Here’s the linky to Bodyartforms.

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One odd thing about these two pieces of 6 gauge jewelry–the IS pieces are noticeably thicker, both to the eye, and to my calipers when I measured them.  There’s a very slight–maybe 1 millimeter?–difference.  This surprised me, since I thought the gauges related to a specific measurement, and Anatometal and Industrial Strength are two of the leaders in making quality body jewelry.  I’m not sure why there would be a difference, but there is.  My ears didn’t seem to care, though.

BTW, the IS colored/gem plugs were “pre-order”–I guess they make them up on the spot after ordering and payment. They took about 10 days to ship, which I don’t think is unreasonable at all.

“Earrings” just sounds so wussy and mainstream, don’t you think? It’s body jewelry! They don’t come in pairs.  They are plugs, or tunnels, or eyelets, or spirals, or barbells, or . . .

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Nifty Visualization Tricks

July 15, 2009

ruler

What size jewelry to get? That’s a pretty common question faced by piercees who are looking to replace or upgrade their jewelry.  Unfortunately, it’s a tough question, because:

a) We’ve forgotten what size we had in the first place; and

b) Sizes are complicated, and weird, and in fractions!;  and those little pieces of jewelry are fiddley; and

c) I can’t visualize distances anyway, because I’m a gurrrl.

So, here are a couple of things to try.  First–the humble ruler.  If you can’t remember whether 1/8″ is bigger than 5/16″ –dig your ruler out of your drawer.  Alternatively, most online body jewelry retailers have charts and helpful sizing info, as well as sending you out a handy gauge card with your order.  I keep my gauge card near my computer to make it easier to order jewelry.  (Is that a bad sign?)

plug chart

Here’s a lovely little page I stumbled across on Steel Navel. I think it very clearly shows the difference in gauge (a measurement of thickness based on wire measurement).  For those of us who are spatially challenged, you can find the real page on Steel Navel here.

There’s also the Steel Skin compact disc-calibrated slidey thing. Slidey thing, you say?  (Okay, fine.  “Dynamic Size Chart.”) Check it out here!


Mirror, Mirror

May 3, 2009

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Little Seven Spirals

New jewelry again! I got my new pair of Little Seven “shortys.” I show them above along with my Little Seven swan spirals, to show the difference in size (the shorty is on the left). These are 8 gauge pieces.  I love the spirals,  but they are heavy, and a little over the top for work.  The shortys I can wear all week without discomfort, and they are just right for work.  Very nice!

Little Seven is a company that makes beautifully crafted hanging spiral jewelry.  There’s a great picture of their wares on their website here:  Little Seven.

The Mirror Finish

One of the reasons why I’m really loving my Little Seven jewelry is the  finish.  The APP jewelry specs specify a “mirror finish” for initial piercing jewelry.  Why?  Because well manufactured, highly polished jewelry is free from nicks, burrs, etc. which can irritate your piercing. (See my post, Body Jewelry: The Least You Need to Know.)

The Piercing Bible describes it like this:

When jewelry has an uneven surface, the new cells that are formed during healing grow into the irregularities.  Then, when the jewelry shifts or moves, these areas tear.  As this cycle is repeated, scar tissue forms and healing is delayed.  A faulty finish can also introduce bacteria into the wound and cause infection.  (p. 79)

Ouch!  This is one reason why cheap body piercing jewelry Is Not Good! It takes a lot of hand-polishing to get the finish this smooth, and of course that translates into a higher cost. But it’s worth it!

You will have no fear of that problem with any of the Little Seven products.  The finish is not only “mirror,” but satiny smooth to the touch and sensual.  Your fingers just want to slide around the swirls and spirals of the jewelry like fondling a worry stone.

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Here’s a pic of what the shorty looks like on.  I tried to get a pic to show the way the two pieces are reverse images of each other . . . but my face kept getting in the way!  You can buy Little Seven jewelry from fine piercing studios and a variety of online retailers.  I got mine from the good folks at Steel Navel.

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