If you are shopping for body jewelry, or looking for a good piercer, I have 3 words for you:
Don’t be Cheap!
In our consumer society, we are conditioned to shop for the best value, looking for a sale, getting a deal, negotiating for a bargain, and getting the most bang for the buck. Unfortunately, when it comes to piercings, this type of bargain hunting doesn’t apply well.
In terms of looking for a piercer or choosing jewelry, I’ll tell you flat out: You get what you pay for! Oh, it’s not an absolute guide–I’m sure there are crappy piercers out there who may overcharge their customers. But as a general rule, studios who charge a little more for their services can be depended upon to be more professional, cleaner, and carry better quality jewelry.
Piercers and Studios: If you call up two shops and compare prices for a particular piercing, and one is higher–go with that one! Furthermore, don’t try to be cheap and say, but “I can get that ten bucks cheaper over at XX.” Instead, ask why. If you ask the more expensive place to explain why their prices are higher, chances are you will get an earful of why their jewelry is top quality, how their clean and safe shop procedures require good quality decontamination equipment and disposable, sterile equipment, like needles and gloves, to be purchased. Good piercers take pride in their professionalism, and hate to be undercut by hacks or people just in it for the money.
Look for the most skilled, experienced piercer you have access to, with a clean shop, and a good portfolio. When I look for piercers, I don’t even consider the pricing at all. I find a piercer I like and pay whatever they ask. And I tip!
Jewelry: Top quality jewelry costs more. It’s worth it. Why? Oh . . . let me count the ways! Implant grade metal which won’t cause allergic reactions or skin sensitivities; precision machined parts so the beads and balls don’t fall off; premium finishing and polishing so there are no nicks and burrs to irritate your healing flesh or capture pockets of bacteria. Ask for and check! that your jewelry is made from a reputable manufacturer and is smooth and gleaming to the eye. It’s kind of like the plumber guy from the movie, Moonstruck:
“Then there’s copper, which is the only pipe I use. It costs money. It costs money because it saves money.”
(Love that movie!) This is not to say that you can’t look for specials or negotiate. If you find piercers you like and develop a good rapport with them and are a good client, they may be willing to work with your budget. Sometimes shops have coupons, or run special deals for the holidays, or give a discount for a referral. Lots of online jewelry retailers have special deals, points earned, sales, etc. Look for those, but don’t buy cheap. And don’t buy your jewelry at the mall! (Yes, I know, I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating.)